René Descartes


Raymond and I were without a tool. We had been sent out with a portable dvd player, with the intent of approaching students, offering to show them an 8 minute film, and discussing it afterward. But our dvd player was out of battery. What do we do now, we asked? 

I proposed that we come up with a simple survey and ask a few questions, the questions that are most on my mind when I talk with French students anyway: Do you believe in God? What is your religious/spiritual background? And what do you think it means to be a Christian? 

We approached a group of four students and explained that we were part of a Christian student group and would like to hear their thoughts on God and faith. They were open, so we sat down on the grass with them. One promptly offered us a cigarette (: I was able to ask them all three questions, and we had a really good conversation for over an hour! When asked if they believe in God their response was typical, "I don't believe in God, I'm Cartesian." This is referring to the French mathematician and philosopher, Descartes, inventor of the classic Cartesian system.

Martin Luther King Jr.


I received an email from a good friend and supporter who expressed concerns over using Martin Luther King as the subject of an exposition here in France. He cited his personal character, that Martin Luther King allegedly wasn't faithful to his wife. He felt that Campus Crusade should be careful because Martin Luther King was mainly a political figure and not a Christian example. Others have brought up issues with King's theology. This is a response to those questions. 

Campus Crusade published a letter responding to concerns about Martin Luther King's moral behavior and theology. It's in French, but I'll quote part that I think summarizes the stance they're taking: "We're not making a eulogy to Martin Luther King, but presenting his actions against the injustice and discrimination which confronted black Americans during the 50's and 60's." The churches who partnered with us in Rennes were aware of their theological differences and his immoral behavior, but they supported the project because it focused on his non-violent stance for civil rights. It might be helpful to give some context...

New backyard paver tiles

I spent my spring break playing in the sand, but not at the beach. We had two enormous bags of sand delivered (70 cubic feet) to put under a new patio. Unfortunately, the truck couldn't get very close to our yard, so the sand was transported one wheelbarrow at a time the remaining 75 yards. I think my arms are an inch and a half longer! The project included removing the old tiles, removing the bamboo from our hedge (which spreads obnoxiously!), hand tilling the soil for bamboo roots, leveling and tamping, laying sand, then tiles. We plan to plant some kind of greenery between the tiles, which should look really nice! 

Stormtrooper cake

First, May baked from scratch a buttermilk layer cake, a Joy of Cooking recipe. I used a simple pattern that I drew for a stormtrooper, trimming the sides of the cake to form the top part of the helmet. With the trimmings, I built up the bottom part of the mask and the nose. It was frosted with cream cheese frosting. The black on the cake is licorice, and silver sprinkles were used for the teardrop, speakers and mouth.

They chose Silas' story, about a triceratops, iguanodon, ankylosaurus, and a tyrannosaurus who wants to eat the other three up! The ankylosaurus swings his tail and knocks out his teeth. Whew!

Hot apple cider


The word "goûter" (goo-tay) in French is loaded with meaning. It's to taste or try, but is also an afternoon snack corresponding with the time kids get out of school. Now, if you want to invite someone over in France, but don't want to commit to the standard four or five hour commitment a dinner holds, a goûter is a good option. So that's what we did, we invited all 14 households in our apartment to enjoy a goûter, American style. We served hot apple cider, served celery sticks filled with peanut butter and cream cheese, pumpkin bars, and chocolate oat bars. Guess what, they loved it! There were 8 households who came, that's 15 adults and 7 kids.