Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Joyeux Noël Christmas Letter Home

France BRIE-fly
an eNewsletter      There is No Greater Poverty than the Need for the Gospel 
Joyeux Noël 
"Christmas Letter TO Home"
  1. Small groups continue to grow with new members opening the Bible for the first time EVER and receiving their first personal Bible. Everyone we baptized this year is in a small group!
  2. Kiddiboum-I'm translating full-time now the texts for our 3-5 ministry, with editors to correct afterwards. So I'm halfway now through creating the full 3-year curriculum. One of the women baptized early in 2013 has committed to Serving that ministry every other Sunday in 2014 with Kirsten Furr and I as lead teachers. Pray that God give us wisdom to discern if she is our answer to prayer for a FRENCH leader of this ministry.
  3. That same woman,(new Kiddiboum volunteer) as well as another woman baptized in September, both former practitioners of magic/occultism have now become influencers of the lost in their former circles. Dramatically. Each of these women burned and renounced all former ties and object tied to the occult. Now 2 sets of our leaders are walking 1 man and 1 women through the steps to freedom in Christ as well, from out of the occult. Our prayer is the seeing the transformation in the lives of our new believers would cause their friends to fall like dominoes under the grace of God's irrestible love.
  4. 9 months ago we began to pray for a bas player and his wife because they were told their new baby would be a vegetable and would not live long. The bass player recently played at our November evangelistic concert. Several members of the church have regularly surrounded the family in love(including 2 older brothers) and little by little this family who had no knowledge of God has witnessed many miracles. Little Sacha, not at all the vegetable he was diagnosed to be, was released to go home with his family after 9 months just this past week. He still has some health challenges but the picture below is of an alert little boy who is his family's special gift. The parents have expressed their appreciation and deep gratitude for the way our members have surrounded and surprised them with love over and over again.
  5. I've been helping with the social events for the Youth. The very 1st youth meeting(Sept 2012) there was only teenage girl in attendance. We discussed her questions about Jesus, God and faith. Today she is ready to be baptized and able to clearly understand (head and heart) her need for a Savior and God's grace in providing His son for her redemption and eternal life. She is also serving as an apprentice in our ministry for 6-11 year-olds.
  6. Our worship team held a saturday night Concert of worship music(and a few U2 covers at the end) as an opportunity to invite all our unchurched and unsaved friends to a non-threatening step that was less pressure than being invited to a service. We let the music speak our message. Several of my Music Theatre Classmates attended! One was so touched she asked question after question about the fellowship and community she could discern amongst our church famiy and what faith means etc. She asked all the right questions for someone opening their heart for the first time to consider faith in God. Pray that she would continue to seek Him as He draws he in.
  7. Our lead and Associate Pastors have become part of a mulit-denominational coalition to concult on how to better church-plant in France. In essence this poises Brie Church to influence even church-planters in other missions with the vision of planting church that draw the FRENCH to Christ and which are naturally self-reproducing!
  8. Our 2 church plant partners continue to appropriate the vision and apply it to their specific contexts with success. One testimonial: In Montreuil, the newest work, starting from scratch there is only the Pastor and his wife. So the had to rethink how to get families into small groups. So after the "mini-show/lesson" on a Biblical value, they let each family be a small group to process the discussion questions. An atheist mother and her pre-teen son attended and after the small groups were very excited. Thanks to the format he was able to share personal concerns he had never been able to share before with his mother. She was so moved to grow closer to her son she said they would be faithfully attending every week, even tho she doesn't yet believe in God! Our team continues to mentor both those church-planting teams and to provide resources and coaching so that they can reach their neighborhoods and towns with the Gospel.
  9. Brie Church begins planning in 2014 to create a National Conference in 2015(we hope) where we walk leaders(from all over France) through the vision and planning of our ministries, highlighting the Vision and desired outcome of growing together in the Word and in Christ every day. When God broke my heart for 60 MILLION lost in France I prayed to find a project that would influence not just one City but all of France. He is answering that prayer in surprising ways faster than any of us anticipated!
  10. In setting our yearly goals at united World Mission, we decided to meet in Budapest and plan together, all the teams in Europe. We heard each others needs and challenges and offered feedback, ways to partner and encouragement to one another. France is one of the few fields where we actually have a growing church plant, led by a national and already influencing and planting other churches. So I was able to share our vision for reproduction, always having an apprentice(or being on the lookout for them), and that the heart of our community and growth is in small groups. This means that when YOU pray for and give to this ministry YOU become the hands and feet of Jesus reaching the lost in 3 churches in the Paris region, several church-planting associations, and in the entire contingent UWM Missionaries planting in Europe. THANK YOU and Keep praying...He is actively at work. Pray WE would be able to keep up with HIM!
THE PHOTOS-Starting Christmas Day and going in reverse chronological order:

(The Furrs, my UWM team-mates, friends/family
invited me to share Christmas Day with them.
Merry Christmas from Team France to your Family!
My Christmas tree and toe socks I received from the Youth at our
December Youth Night Chinese /White Elephant Gift Exchange 
This Photo is so Norman Rockwell.
From before I was born, a distribution center for a southern(France) drink that is almost named after me.

New Church Sign Accessorized by one excited Parking Greeter

Sanctuary Decorated for Christmas

Silhouette snow-painted on the entry glass doors.

End of the year VIDEO REPORT:
Youtube Link:

Part of the wider impact was exporting videos we use to teach Family Values to the rest of the French speaking world! Nestor and Alphonse are 2 earthworm puppets who really connect with the French!
This is us advertising at a national forum.

My tree and toe socks I received from the Youth at our December Youth Night. Chinese or White Elephant Gift Exchange where I won these!
Christmas Eve The Kleins invited me over so I wouldn't be alone.
Here was our hors d'oeuvres table.
Included bacon wrapped scallops!
The kids spent all day decorating for us. First time they have celebrated with non-blood family!
I was so honored!
Lego Christmas
Fiso is an amazing cook. So good we forgot to photograph ourselves or the meal but we remembered to get her homemade dessert!

I left the Kleins about 10 mins to midnight which is right before 6PM in the States. So on the way home I propped my phone on the dashboard and watched the Christmas Eve service with the Mullers. AC and Kinsey were so gracious to Facetime me in for the whole thing!
I got home about 10 minutes before it ended and lit my regulation Christ United Candle that I borrowed at my last Christmas Eve Service in 2011! It does my heart so good to light my candle with them and sing Silent Night!

2011-Thanx for the photo Sis!(Jess)
"Thru the years we'll always be together, if the Lord allows..."

You don't know them but this is Supporter from DC and her family at their service. It is my vision of what Christmas Eve is as a family and the body of Christ.

 Christmas Decorations in the Paris Region

Foie Gras is a controversial liver pate usually served with warm toasted bread and figs preserves. It's so good. We had this at our staff Christmas lunch a week ago!
My Godson loves his Pooh from Paris but these huge Poohs would rock his world!
Sunday night I sat the Furrs kids(European Director for my mission and Co-planters of Eglise de la Brie 6 years ago)
Carlson didn't make it thru "Turbo."
But he did make it thru his chili.
 Last week I got to start one-one-one discipleship with Josias!
We had coffee and began studyig the Bible together. he accepted because he knows he's been dragging his feet on being the spiritual leader in his home and growin in the faith. It was great! Then we went to pick of up his 2 youngest daughters. These are decorations we saw during that walk.

Our Christmas Services and Kids Ministries were all Month in December. I got someone to take pics because I was serving in parking, Singing and teaching each of the 3 Sundays!
Chris FURR on the left is sort of a Handy man, wearing a Mullet wigg and using his American Accent to teach kids in the Bi'Dieu'Dul, our kids show. He's my area Director and co-founder of the church here! 

 Kiddiboum. The following Sunday I finished Esther with the kids. We built a city to show how many people Esther was able to help God save!

 Christmas Kiddiboum. The last Sunday was a Birthday party for Jesus that focused on the Good News coming to everyday people, the shepherds, who are just like you and me.
Kirsten Furr, Chris's wife and our teammate, taught the Nativity Story with flair! She's amazing!

 The kids were riveted to her every word!
 becoming a Shepherdess
 My babies
 In Character
Jesus' Birthday |Party Swag
 Agnes finally got her prayer answered, another girl!

That's pretty much the news for December. In Oct and November I did get a few visitors and even attended Matt Readman and Martin Smith's Worship Concert in Paris!

 Friends, Dorman-Sister, from SC
We had snails together and they were lovely.
I got back to this restaurant , one of Lenny Kravit's favorites. When I taught in Paris in 97-98 my 2 good friends Kathy and Hailey, and I, would always eat here together and share our struggles with adjusting to France. Kathy and I stayed in touch. She lives in Toronto with her husband and 2 children. Mathieu is my first godson.
 My Thanksgiving Feast.
I got back to SC for a wedding at my home church and saw many beloved faces, hugged necks, and heard you guys say how you feel like you really are a part of the work here. YOU ARE! I came back so encouraged and super-recharged!
The Bride and Groom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Curtis and Erika are so authentic and their love story is one I treasure.
Their ceremony was dreamy and cool!
 They met me at the airport.
 And gave me another going away the night I left...but i got a pic with all my babies again!
 These are the Kipes...some of my dearest. Shannon and I sing on the worship team together....

And we are the God-parents to Micah, AC and Kinsey's oldest. They have another boy, Ezra, and are expecting twins soon!

 I hugged many friends at Chic-Fil-A
and Barnes and Noble Cafe
 Singing at My Home Church That Sunday!
Thanks for this photo from my Barich family! They wreck me by their encouragement(a good thing) because they ALWAYS call me "their missionary."
And I am their, and yours, and together we are God's hands and feet here in France!

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