La Lumiere
May, 2016

Think of a time you felt empowered. Maybe when you were handed some keys or asked to lead a big project. Campus ministry strives to be "student led," which is all about empowering. We encourage the students to dream, then we help those dreams become reality. This month we hosted an event called Faith at Work. The idea was from a student, implemented by the student leaders. And it was brilliant! A panel of 7 professionals were asked to talk about how their faith plays out at work. They fielded questions from a group of students who were eager to hear how being Christian affects how you teach, run a business, code programs, perform physics research, or organize mass transit. What are the challenges? How does it affect your relationships or the way you approach work? Are there opportunities to talk about faith? They want to benefit from experience and wisdom. I would love to hear what you might have said had you been on that panel!

The atmosphere in France can be overwhelmingly hostile to Christians, who are swimming upstream against a strong current. 63% of the French claim to be atheist or non-religious. These people are so far from Christ. Please pray for the French, and for the courage to share the gospel!

Faith at Work
The panel of professionals talking about faith at work.
Faith at Work

We mentioned earlier that Silas had the big decision of which high school to attend next year. He has taken tests and been accepted into the international section at Saint Vincent, a private school not far from the music conservatory downtown. Until now, Silas has attended public French school, which is naturally taught in French. This international section, however, has roughly a quarter of the classes in English, including American history. This should firm up the years of American homeschool we did with Silas and insure that he can perform at a good level in both English and French. Silas also wants to continue studying violin at the conservatory, pursuing a diploma which would allow him to play or teach professionally. An important test in September will decide if he makes the cut. This all comes at a cost, but like any parent we're wishing the best for him!

Armenian dance
Silas playing an Armenian dance by Aharonian.

Thursday I spent 6 hours on the train to attend Agapé France's general assembly. It's an administrative necessity to be a recognized association. Two different people from up front thanked May for her efforts resolving a technical problem with donor processing. Ironically, May was at home wrestling with even more programming issues, and making great progress on a major enhancement to

  • for the Faith at Work panel and the wisdom they shared with our students.
  • that Silas was accepted into the international section at Saint Vincent school.
Please pray...
  • that the campus team would be Spirit led as they plan for next year.
  • for Dan's next big project - finding additional monthly support.
  • for the "Programmer's Summit" being planned in July.

The wooden spoon!
Amazed at the size of the wooden spoon!

La Lumiere
April, 2016

I was sitting with Valentin just inside the door of La Fuente del Peregrino. We kept the doors open late offering coffee, tea or water to pilgrims walking the path to Santiago in Spain. La Fuente is a refuge where they can stay the night, 75 km out, but so far that day everyone had continued down the road. A lone pilgrim, backpack in tow, ambled painfully toward us. As I walked out to meet him he asked, "Es un alberge? Can I stay here?" I invited him in to take off his pack and sit down. He had pushed his limits, was exhausted and thankful to find a place to rest. Charlie is retired from the military and lives in Texas. That night we served him a hot meal, gave him a bed and breakfast in the morning. During the week we served on project, the goal was to serve the pilgrims as if they were Jesus - agape love in action. The stone farmhouse is two hundred years old and has been a refuge since 1999. The pilgrims we housed were from the US, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Israel, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Why were they walking the Camino that ends at the Cathedral of Santiago where supposedly the remains of Saint James lie? Surprisingly, many weren't catholic. They walked for tourism, sport, to accompany a friend, or for "spiritual" reasons. There were scores of nationalities and a wide range of ages. At least 50 Koreans passed by, much to the delight of our student from Korea. There were 13 on our team, many students choosing to serve during their spring break. Silas also went with us, and what an experience it was! We were a tight knit group serving Jesus together, cooking, cleaning, welcoming, helping in any way we could. Pilgrims left smiling, taking pictures with us in front of the fountain. They called it an oasis, lifting and encouraging their spirits on their journey. Many left with a brochure containing reflection questions tactfully pointing the way to Jesus, who is the Way.

This group of pilgrims was actually from Rennes!
Yellow arrows (and Silas) point the way on the Camino.

Valentin came over to our house for some discipleship. When he went to ride his bike home, it was gone! Another bike stolen (this makes 4), so frustrating! May happened to relay this information to our colleague Trent, who was walking home. Seeing some guys suspiciously passing a bike around he called me to ask what Valentin's bike looks like. Clever as can be, Trent approached them saying he was supposed to meet someone to purchase a bike. He surreptitiously took video of them, then bought it from them for 50 euros. The look on Valentin's face when he saw his bike again was priceless! He and Trent promptly went to the police with video in hand, arrests were made, and Trent had his money back the next day. If only stories could end this well more often!

Welcoming pilgrims.

  • for a great experience serving pilgrims on the trail to Santiago.
  • that Valentin's bike was recovered!
Please pray...
  • that the pilgrims who stop at La Fuente del Peregrino would be led to Jesus as they walk.
  • for new student leaders to step up, and for continued momentum in campus ministry.
  • for the "Programmer's Summit" being planned in July, with Cru techies working on a project in common.

The team from Rennes.