La Lumiere
November, 2018
Sky Above Clouds
UN
HACK MY BIBLE

No, this doesn't involve anything sharp or violent. Hack My Bible is an initiative to use technology to make the Bible more accessible to our changing culture. Since Agapé France didn't host a hackathon this year, May participated in Hack My Bible, hosted by the French Bible Society. Together with two colleagues and 40 other participants, they dreamed together to use today's technology to bring the Bible into people's daily lives. May's group created a working model of a voice operated Bible app (in French), like talking to Alexa, Siri, or Google. Imagine if your "assistant" were thoughtful enough to ask you how you are feeling, then offer you a Bible verse that corresponds? This is what they did! When they call to the assistant saying, "tell me a Bible verse." it offers a verse of the day. Or it can ask how they are feeling in the form of several multiple choice questions: calm or stressed, and so on. Then the assistant shares a verse tuned to their needs. That's a neat idea, isn't it? Another project during Hack My Bible was a chatbot that could help people memorize scripture. This program progressively displays a Bible verse of your choice with more and more words to fill in over time. I could definitely use that! As the use of assistants and augmented reality grow, we can bring the life giving message of the Bible into people's lives in new ways.

Hack My Bible

May with colleagues David and Xavier at Hack My Bible.

Doodles

Efrem plays during the Gala concert at the 2018 Crescendo Summer Institute.

Dan at the Bean.

Dan enjoying the Chicago Arts Institute.

Please pray

  • for May working on the final details and the initial testing of Agapé France's new giving site.
  • that Silas and Efrem pursue the Lord as well as excellence in their studies.
  • for the final hurdles of publishing Dan's first animated video, and successful promotion online.
Doodles

Doodles from the Creatives conference.

DEUX
MEETING THE CREATIVE 1

A passel of creative artists + blank paper over the tables + a healthy supply of markers = lots and lots of doodles! I spent a week in Chicago to meet Cru's Creative 1 media team. These are 46 staff who work in the creative arts primarily for campus ministry. One of them, Jesse Rogers, studied animation in college and has already been regularly connecting to coach me in the animation process. I am very thankful for the encouragement and support Jesse has given, and I'm hoping that some of the additional connections with this team will prove helpful. Scriptwriters, illustrators, videographers, photographers, graphics designers and animators are great to know! Since Agapé France doesn't have anyone working in the field of creative arts, besides me, I'm longing for the spurring on that comes from teamwork and the candor of the critical eye of others. But let's take a look at the name Creative 1, a nod to the One who is the origin of all things creative. This time of year it is a joy to see the colors the Creative One paints with the trees turning color and pink sunsets on blue skies. God is at the origin of all creativity! Why is it easier to think of him as originator than as artist - creator? Yet any close look at flowers or the dazzling colors of fish in the sea should remind us that God is a master artist. I am thankful to be living in this masterpiece. He is the true creative one.

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La Lumiere
October, 2018
Back to school.
UN
GETTING DIGITAL

Think about an 18 year old college student, whose birth year doesn't start with a nineteen. They never knew the world without the internet and were starting grade school when the first major smartphone was released. Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are their playgrounds. They have the same relational and spiritual needs, but the way their relationships connect is digital. The French campus ministry had a great idea to kick off this school year. They had a conference focusing on being digital: using social media to connect with students, using the digital tools available to them, and engaging in outreach online. May and I were there, excited to represent the technology team and digital strategies. Presenting the French EveryStudent and StartingWithGod websites, I reported a noteworthy jump in the number of visits, averaging 78,000 per month in the last year. And although the highest percentage is from France (#1) and French speaking Canada (#4), over 60% of visits are in African countries. These sites are reaching the French speaking world. This includes the thousands of people who have signed up to receive our email series. I encouraged the campus staff to get to know the articles on questions2vie.com because there are excellent answers to questions students are asking, a relevant digital resource. During the conference, I also had the opportunity to host the video option of the digital outreach. The objective was to record a testimony in 30 seconds or less, being open and real about your walk with Jesus, inviting your friends to talk with you about it. These were then posted or shared in Facebook or Instagram. I really enjoyed coaching the campus staff through recording the video and refining the testimony to be on point and inviting dialogue.

Campus kickoff.

The yearly campus kick-off conference.

Dan presenting.

Please pray

  • for May, her small team and their big projects, notably building a new giving site.
  • that Silas and Efrem would be committed in their walk with the Lord and focused on their studies.
  • for the final stages of Dan's first animated video, making it viewable to as many as possible.
Tech help.

Helping campus staff with their technical questions.

Dan being digital.

Dan being digital.

DEUX
YES, THEY DO GROW UP QUICKLY

We love first day of school pictures. Since Silas is a senior, this might be the last one with everyone together. You've probably noticed they're both taller than May! Silas is applying to colleges in the US, the UK, and in France. What exactly he'll study is still being defined, but we do know music will be an element. Silas wants the flexibility to pursue violin along with other studies. This factor along with where he is accepted and affordability will inform the decision making process. À suivre.

Efrem is a freshman, the final year of middle school in France with its "Brevet" completion exam. He has also started his professional degree at the conservatory, which means taking evening classes in composition and rhythm, and playing in the same orchestra as his brother! His skill with the flute continues to progress at race-horse pace; he is a rare talent. Of course, Efrem is playing baseball once again this year, working on his changeup and curveball.

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