Thursday, March 7, 2013

February + March - Whew. Wow! Yes!

Christophe and Dadou(David)
Feb 24th at their Baptisms
Eglise de la Brie

I was super nervous. Mary-Alice, Perrine and I gave Lorenzo a break from Leading Worship.
My 1st time leading all the songs!
Especially because each guy requested a special song right before each baptism.
My favorite was "Please be my strength"-"Toi sois ma force" by Gungor.
I've always wanted to offer that song back to God!

Dadou's testimony, on video, played right before his Baptism.
He's a missionary kid who was wounded by the Church when his family returned to France when he was a kid.
His father left the ministry, wounded, until just recently, and Dadou had told him to NEVER invite him to church again.
But our Fall message series "Come as YOU are"
really struck home and God led Dadou on a path to healing and to forgiving the Church...and to being forgiven himself.
He and the Monges have been friends for 20 years so there were lots of tears as Lorenzo and Dadou's father baptised him. I
was just trying to hold it together until I finished singing but love language is tears too : )

Lorenzo's only sibling, Davide who volunteered exceptionally to help with sound. He is a phenomenal worship leader and Gospel singer with a unique Gospel voice!
Me on Baptism Sunday. So happy to be here and to see God transform lives like this!


First some great news: we finally received our permit from the government! We "exist" and can proceed with official renovations and parking lot construction!
Also thanks to generous donors, among them several of you, we have ordered the chairs required by french building code for the Sanctuary!
BEST OF ALL we celebrate the church's first ever BAPTISMS in January and February!!! Thank you for being part of all of these ways God is working and moving in the suburbs of Paris!!!!
We also purchased the chairs some of you helped sponsor! Thank you! They are perfect for our space!

Where are the photos?    
January Photos Click HERE


This is the year of Strategic Service at Brie Church. Many of us are in key roles based on where we need leaders and volunteers most! We try to match gifts and passion to roles but sometimes we just fill a role because we have no other choice with so few leaders and so many attenders who are just getting started on the road towards faith! And often we each have 2 or 3 supplementary roles where we serve because we just don't have a large volunteer base. That is particularly true of my involvement as I serve and assist the French leaders to free them to do what they do best or cannot delegate.

That sounds complicated huh? Add in the French school calendar and its overabundant vacations!
The schedule follows this pattern each month:

1st Sunday-Bi'Dieu'Dul (Family/Kids Show Service)
2nd Sunday-Celebration #1( Worship Service)
3rd Sunday-Celebration #2( Worship Service)
4th Sunday-Family Sunday at Home and Online

I would love it if you would be praying for Brie Church from 4:00pm when volunteers arrive until 5:00pm when the Bi'Dieu'Dul and Celebrations start. All services last about an hour  and 15 minutes. So we end about 6:15pm but people hang around to talk sometimes for up to an hour!
We are 6 hours ahead of NY Eastern standard time. So when it's 4:00pm in Brie it is 10:00am in NY.

MY ROLES in 2013
I started full-time in January after first observing and then getting my feet wet a little in the Fall. At Eglise de La Brie I am involved in 4 areas officially:
1-Building Preparation Point Man -I organize volunteers to clean the building every Sat 10-12, to Set-Up for Services the next day, and I make sure all materials are stocked.
2-Worship Team ("Celebration" worship service) I was surprised how much more work it is to learn songs in French and to not stumble over the words. BUT I so needed the time to be musical and unite with my church family in song. It is all welcome work!
3-Parking Team (during the Bi'Dieu'Dul (Family Kids Service) One person stays on duty until 20 minutes into the service. I decided at the BDD this should be me so all the other Parking team members can enjoy it with their kids. (Yup. I'm the only single guy.)
4-Preschool Team Leader (Kiddiboum) (Preschool ministry team) that meets during Celebrations for our 3-5 year olds. Lesson preparation which includes gathering and translating songs and materials from English to French. We usually have 12-14 kids per Sunday (mostly boys!)
We are a team of 4: Kirsten, Ricardo, Jennifer and Valentin.
Let me tell you a bit about them so you can pray for me as I mentor us thru developing a yearly curriculum for this ministry AND hopefully apprentice Jennifer to co-lead next year.
As always...THANK YOU. These miracles happen because you are praying for and with us...and because you are directly supporting this mission thru your missionary! Merci for your faithfulness and generosity!!! The final photo is from our service this past Sunday where we held our first Baptisms ever! I also got to sing a song from my Bucket List: ONE by U2. It's message was the perfect song to accompany the baptisms and the message about forgiveness!

Open Air Market 

My friend Joe Colletta visited me in France from Italy where he is living with family.
He just ended a term of service in our military and decided to spend a few months in Europe.
It was so refreshing to have a friend from Refuge, from my home church, from SC come visit. I laughed so much! Thanks bro for coming to visit!
Here's the Chateau of Versailles
we visited together in Paris during his trip.
Joe's trip was not tourist in nature however. His goal was to see the church plant at Eglise de la Brie that he supports thru his : )

The Hall of Mirrors is my favorite indoor architectural marvel in France!

Joe even came as my special guest to my lesson with Clement!

 Couscous with Joe

Au Revoir Joe!

Skyping with some of my Men's Group
while they were at our nursing home ministry in SC!


 I had 3 or 4 boys everyday and we had so much fun. It was sort of an emergency request. I was so glad to help free the families up to receive and hear from Jesus at their annual retreat.

The facilities and grounds are owned by Grace Brethren in France. Beautiful!

Minutes before leaving  :) Missionary Kid friends :)