Concert in Vogüé.

At the French staff conference a young music teacher named Pascal was asked to come do bible studies with the teenage staff kids. The conference is held beside the medieval village of Vogüé, and the 300 year old stone church gave Pascal an idea. He and Efrem visited the church and tested the acoustics. Several phone calls to key people had to be made. The tourist office helped by printing out and distributing posters for an impromptu concert. Several members of the church and people from our conference attended. Efrem, Silas and Pascal all played. Our boys contributed classical pieces and Pascal offered up songs he had composed based on Psalms as he played guitar. It was such a precious moment seeing these young musicians desire to simply bless with their music, so beautiful and appreciated by everyone! We wish you could have been there.

The parents enjoying.

Please pray

  • for protection and health.
  • that we would all endure this lockdown in good spirits, and that it will be effective.
  • for wisdom in responding to emails, people are scared, frustrated and upset.
Efrem sharing.
Only outdoor access.

Catching sun on the roof outside the boy's bedroom window during lockdown.

Silas sharing.

Is this your first global pandemic? Us too. Hoping you are healthy and well and being safe. We intended to travel back to Rennes before the French government tightened the screws, but ended up stuck in Paris for the lockdown. So far, everyone in our family has remained healthy in spite of Paris being the hardest hit area with its dense population. To leave our home we need a signed form stating the official, approved reason we're out. Police are on the streets stopping people. Paris is eerily quiet, and you can walk down the middle of streets usually racing with cars. How is our family taking it? Honestly, it hasn't affected our jobs one bit. May can work her technology role easily from home, and internet ministry is fortunately virus proof. An article was added to our website addressing anxiety and fears over Covid 19, and emails continue to flow. Silas and Efrem have been able to continue their studies, communicating with their teachers online. They receive homework assignments, record themselves playing their instruments for their teachers, and Silas has even had some online classes. Concern is palpable here in France, and everyone is taking measures seriously. A few of our colleagues have had the virus; a couple were hit particularly hard, almost going in to the hospital. A French Christian man who has partnered with our ministry on a number of projects died, Stephan was only fifty. Please be safe, for yourself and for others. We care about you and if you need specific prayer, please let us know! Prayer is something we can always do; it is a vital faith-filled endeavor. We are all in God's hands. This situation, however painful or troublesome, is in God's hands. We can trust Him. How can we be praying for you?.

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Photo: Hope Curran

While it's exciting to see the number of visits to skyrocketing, there are also more and more emails to respond to. At the French national staff conference I (Dan) gave a workshop on responding to people's questions online in hope of recruiting some colleagues to share the load. So far, four have said they would help, which is encouraging. The 5 points I shared are equally useful for being intentionally salty in any conversation. Would you like to hear them? Here goes:

  1. The person you are talking with is on a spiritual journey. Where are they in relation to Christ? How can you find out? By asking good questions. Listen well, and remember that each of our spiritual journeys are unique.
  2. Seek out the real needs beneath the questions, the soul desires: to be loved, forgiven, accepted, authentic expression and authentic relationships. How can you uncover this? By asking good questions. Then consider this - how does Jesus meet that need in your life?
  3. Don't say your answers, lead them to the answers. The most reliable and convincing logic will be their own. Even if you've already wrestled with the question, they need to go through the struggle too. How can you do this? Once again, by asking good questions, honest questions, not leading ones.
  4. Lean on the resources available to you! So many questions have already been answered on Well written articles address: the scientific reasons to believe in God, the reliability of the Bible, why does God allow suffering? Check out what's there and you might find just the right article to share. There is an app called GodTools and other apps developed by Cru to help you.
  5. Express God's love and consider their next steps. The first of the four spiritual laws is - God loves you. We express a message by our words and we also express a message through who we are. If we manage to respond with kindness and gentleness to someone who is antagonistic, that's God's love. The most important thing to express is God's love. At the same time, we all need to grow on our spiritual journey. Like a good coach, how can you encourage them on theirs? What might their next steps be? Jesus brought grace and truth, which is a difficult balance to walk. Grace and truth require the Holy Spirit, intentionality, tact, and for me, courage.

I hope this very condensed version is helpful and encouraging to you! Who has God placed in your life who you can talk with today? What are a few good questions you could have ready to ask them?

Dan's workshop

Dan giving his workshop at the staff conference.

Playing at the National Conference

Silas and Efrem playing with the praise band.

Praise band
Photo: Xavier Lespinas

Please pray

  • for May's efforts to pull together the French fiscal receipts from the new financial system. It has been more challenging and time consuming than expected.
  • for wisdom regarding ministry activities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak (we both plan to participate in a campus project in Nice next month).
  • that Silas and Efrem will continue to pursue God as well as staying strong in their studies.
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