La Lumiere
July & August, 2016

Imagine you’re in the basement of a high school, trying to stay cool. You close your eyes and absorb the flurries of notes pouring from every direction, a piano behind, a birdlike flute off to your right, a deep cello from the left. They’re all practicing different works, seemingly unrelated chaos which will meld together into beautiful concerts and recitals over a two week period. We are currently in Tokaj Hungary for the Crescendo Summer Institute, part of Cru’s ministry to musicians. This year there are participants from 43 different countries, two of which are Silas and Efrem. Crescendo is an amazing blessing to musicians, an outreach to non-Christians, with top quality music professors teaching individuals and leading orchestras. Every morning different speakers touch on a different aspect of this year’s theme, creativity. How important is creativity to a musician? What—or Who—is the source of creativity? How does fear affect creativity? In the evenings Dan is leading a small group discussion on these lessons, as a volunteer. The small group is an important place to make friends and reflect, and we’re praying that God will work powerfully in each one’s life. He has also been given responsibility for the dozen youth under 16 who are staying in the dorms. He has to make sure everyone is in by 11pm, knocking on doors and counting them, then making sure they don’t sneak out (which has happened in the past). Most of them are Hungarian which makes communication a challenge too! This two week event is a meeting point of the arts and faith. The creative, highly musical worship invites both the participants and local community to consider the author of our creativity. It’s only half way through, so we haven’t even seen the crescendo yet! One thing is certain, outstanding music and powerful times are in store.

Crescendo Youth Section
The youth section climbing the hill of Tokaj
Tokaj Hungary
Tokaj, Hungary, home of the Crescendo Summer Institute.

May just returned from the two week Programmers Summit in Orlando. Their project was to re-create an online tool that staff members across the world can use to calculate the amount of financial support they need. Imagine the complexity of this task! Every country has unique laws and financial constraints. This tool needs to be flexible enough for any country to set their own parameters, yet simple and intuitive. To be honest, the international team wrestled with how to approach it, but they did make progress and perhaps most importantly - they worked together! It was also good to reconnect with colleagues from her internship a year ago, and even meet new specialists like Brenton, a digital marketing expert with a heart for France. So there were even unexpected benefits from the programmer’s summit!

May enjoying brisket, okra and grits!

  • for the Crescendo Summer Institute, the chance to volunteer and Silas and Efrem to participate.
  • that we will be able to take another camping-biking vacation this August.
Please pray...
  • that the small group discussions encourage each participant in just the right way.
  • for good concerts for the boys and safe travels.

Discussion Group
Dan's discussion group selfie!
Tokaj Family Selfie

La Lumiere
June, 2016

Researchers have said that people with a certain characteristic are more mentally and physically healthy, sleep better, have increased self esteem and stronger relationships. It is something each of us can consciously foster, and is something Paul exhorts us to do in many of his letters. Have you made a guess? It's gratitude, thankfulness. It is the theme that Cru in France chose for this year, because of Paul more than the science. At the end of this school year, here is a glimpse (in no specific order) of the many things we are thankful for!

  • The teams we work with! The technology team, the campus team and the greater Rennes team is full of precious people we love and respect. We are team players, and it's important to have a good team.

  • God at work! Whether it's drawing students like Yiteng to faith or Valentin growing and sharing his faith, God’s Kingdom is advancing in France.

  • Good grades! Both Silas and Efrem are doing fantastic in school. France has a solid yet potentially negative educational system. Thankfully both of our boys have stayed ahead of the curve and are learning very well.

  • You! We simply couldn't be here serving Jesus if it weren’t for you, your faithful prayers and gifts. This is a beautiful team effort, which is both encouraging and humbling. We appreciate you!!

  • Music! Our apartment is constantly filled with music, usually a violin or flute being played. Music is a joy for all of us. Being here has opened up the possibility of our boys receiving an excellent music education.

  • Rhubarb! And other things from our garden. We rent a small plot where strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, peas, garlic and herbs are growing under May's steady encouragement. Dan likes baking rhubarb pies, and everyone enjoys eating them.

  • 20 years! We celebrate twenty years of marriage this month. They have been wonderfully full, but have gone by quickly.

  • Family! Especially our family in the States who patiently endures the consequences of such distance with us. It's hard to be so far apart when grandparents pass away or yet another birthday goes by. Thankfully our family understands our calling. Their support is really important to us.

  • Grace! No list of thankfulness could be complete without God's grace, the source of every good thing. Our prayer is that it would be ever more abundant in our relationships and for you too!

Celebrating what God has done this year!
20 years
This month we celebrate 20 years of marriage!
flute exam
Efrem playing for his final exam. Allegretto by Benjamin Godard

  • for the many blessings listed in the first column.
  • for twenty years of being married!
  • that Silas and Efrem were both accepted to participate in the two week Crescendo conference taking place in Hungary. Crescendo is Cru's ministry to classical musicians.
Please pray...
  • for the "Programmer's Summit" May is going to in Orlando on July 9-23, that everyone would work well together on their common project.
  • that Dan is able to connect effectively with you and many others on this ministry team.
  • that we stay centered on Christ and the gospel.