Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Yesterdays we finished a new book Je trouve la vie déjà bien difficile or literally in English 'I already find life really difficult'. It is written by a French woman to reach pre-teens with the Good News. This book was different for me because I was involved in the editing process as liaison between the editor and our illustrator.
The author wanted a cartoon raccoon to follow along the reader of the book. We found a friend of a summer intern who is an awesome artist. I gave him all the instructions and the list of drawings that we needed. This was fun because I translated everything from French to English.

I was invited over to a friends house for lunch yesterday. We had raw oysters, soup and mashed potatoes. Then I tried something new. I tried cow tongue for the first time. It was good. The idea is kind of funny. It tastes like beef (coincidence?) but the texture is a little smoother.

Today we worked a half day to finish a few things including getting a few orders of Je trouve la vie déjà bien difficile. It was finished before Christmas but it won't be delivered until just after.

Tonight I will be at my director's house for a Christmas Eve meal. Tomorrow I will go up to Brussels with friends for a Christmas get together.

I pray that God would bless you all where ever you are this Christmas. If you are troubled I pray God would grant you the peace that only comes from him. If things are great I pray you will know that the only real joy we can have is in God. If you are busy I pray you make time to slow down and remember our God that took time to set make himself like us to pay the price for us to be with him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009


In the month of August here at BLF in France we get 3 weeks off. At the shop we had a barbecue with a visiting team from the states on Friday, August 31st our last day of work. I however missed out on the barbecue to travel to Alsace, a region in France near Germany. My friend, David drove up from Paris Thursday night to stay the night at my place and we left at 6am in the morning. Our reason for going was to film a wedding ceremony for a friend of a friend of ours, Ruben. David was able to borrow two professional video cameras from the place where he works giving us three cameras with Ruben's camera. It was a 6 hour drive from Maubeuge France. We took a nice break in Luxembourg to visit its beautiful capital.

We arrived early in the afternoon after traveling through the gorgeous pine covered Vosges mountain range which is really close to the Cascade range near Seattle. The houses and buildings in Alsace are much more like German houses than the houses here in the north of France. That evening we set all of the cameras in place at the church and stayed for tarte flambée (Flammekueche in Alsatian) for dinner. Tarte flambée is like a thin crust pizza with a light white sauce, bacon, cheese and onions. Mmm I could eat it all day, but we were too busy setting up to get our fill so when we got back to Ruben's parents house where we were staying, I had a snack.

The next day, Saturday, the wedding. After breakfast we went to a store called E.LECLERC (pronounced Leh clair when I see it I think electric) to get a shirt for David and a sleeping bag for me (which comes in handy later). Then after lunch we headed to the church. My job was to stand behind the main camera, pan to focus on musicians and change the cassette. Not hard but important. It went well, more than two hours of standing on a table behind the camera for a lovely wedding for two people that love each other and Jesus. After the ceremony I packed up the equipment and David went around the crowd doing video interviews with family and friends. Then more tarte flambée! They also had large pretzels like you might find at your local American sports stadium.

Then we were off the the 'dinner'. In France there is a general order to wedding ceremonies. First the couple and close family and friends will go to the town hall to sign official papers and become 'married' because here the state does not recognize a pastor to marry a couple. Then there is the ceremony similar in many ways to the States. Last is the dinner, which is a long event which can start around 6pm and goes until 2am or later. There is food and there can be dancing and time for sharing. Guests are either invited to the ceremony or to the ceremony and the 'dinner'. David and I didn't know the bride and groom but because we look good behind a video camera we were invited to the dinner. The food was great. Not too many courses. I think just the normal appetizer, main course, and dessert. That evening there were slide show presentations, skits, singing, dancing, and live music from family members. From working during the wedding and not sitting I got tired that night so we left at 2am when the party was still alive.

The next day we got up in time to eat and go to church with Ruben's parents at the same church. David and I found that we were the only ones to show up to church from those at the dinner everyone else must have been pooped or it could be a cultural thing. Sunday afternoon we had lunch and took a well deserved nap. In the morning we headed back to the north directly to a two week outreach mission in Douai, a city Forty-five minutes west of my place. Believe it or not we had McDonald's on the way which keeps my average to one time a year for fast food. David dropped me off at André et Esther Schwab's place in Rouvroy twenty minutes from Douai. André is the pastor heading up the two week outreach. He also started a bar, Équitable (meaning fair trade), downtown Douai, alcohol and tobacco free that serves fair trade products.

I wasn't totally sure what I was getting into. I found out there were old fashioned games and we were playing music, circus acts (juggling, unicycles, face painting, balloon animals) along the street of the bar Équitable. As well as a car wash at a nearby parking lot. All donations from the street activities and the car wash went to two organizations. One, SALAM, formed after the Red Cross center moved out takes care of refugees in the north of France. The other, SEL, gives food and vocational training for kids who are taken advantage of in Africa We stayed at the Schwab's house, most stayed the whole two weeks, some left early and others came late but we tended to stay above thirty mouths to feed. There was a group from a town called Bitch in the east of France several Germans amongst those from the north of France. It was a great time of fellowship with old friends and new ones.

I volunteered for the car was which I enjoyed. We had all the supplies but no signs so I made six signs two make our work known. The first day I think it was 5 cars. Then 6 and the on the hottest day 30°C (86°F) we only had 3 cars. Then the next day there were 9! It was great providing a service for others and the money donated didn't go to ourselves for a trip or nice hats but to those who really needed it.

With thirty youth and adults at André's place we had the rooms full and some guys in tents. I started out in a tent but my allergies acted up. I moved into the house on the third floor. Then I had a fever and hard of breathing. I went to the doctor and got some prescriptions. Sunday I was feeling better for church. During the free time I went and played soccer with our group. One person from our group even had the chance to share the good news of Jesus with some local youth and invited them to play soccer with us. That's when it happened. CRACK !!! The X-ray showed that my ankle wasn't broken but sprained. I could no longer was cars :( . The next few days I stayed at the house and hopped about on crutches. I would read, occasionally help cut veggies at the house and I made certificates for those that scored the highest during the week for the games along the street.

There were articles in two papers about our project "Tendons leur la main" (roughly translated Reaching out to lend a hand"). One was the regional paper and the other was the paper for the city of Douai. The final day after two weeks of games, music and cleaner cars we had a big show with live music, skits, more unicycles and juggling for the people from Douai to enjoy. We served drinks and snacks to those who came and there was a gospel message at towards the end. Saturday we all went to the beach and everyone else in the region had the same idea so the freeway was packed. It was fun but I don't recommend crutches with sandy beaches. Sunday we had a good church service, then lunch. A friend was able to drop me off in Maubeuge as I didn't have my car and I couldn't drive anyway.

Coming back home was weird and too quiet after two weeks of being around people and lots of activities. I am very thankful to have an elevator in my building to go to my apartment on the 4th floor. Even doing the simplest of things are difficult with one foot. I am also thankful for the help from others the other day my neighbor saw me struggling to take the garbage down to its receptacle and she took all my bags for me and my friends from the shop did some shopping for me. God is good and he still provides for all of my needs. Thank you all for your prayers as I recover.

Sunday the 23rd two weeks after the crack I had friends come over after church. One of them brought the meal. We had a great time eating fondue. To accommodate four adults and three kids we moved the table into the living room. It was fun to have people over after a whole week that was way to calm. Now I am back to work after three weeks off. Its nice to be back at the print shop but annoying that I can't do much.

I will post some pictures soon. I hope you enjoyed reading about my vacation as I did living it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New French Resident card

Today I didn't do much again because of my ankle. I did do some reading eating and chatting. I also managed to do some laundry. Praise God I have my own washer. I also got a phone call from the office that said my new French resident card was ready. So after getting ready I hopped outside where it was 32°C (89°F). What is normally a 2 min walk was close to seven. I forgot one of the papers so I got the chance to make the trip twice on crutches. I got the card so I can continue to live and serve in France. Have you heard the song Every move I make that goes:

Every step I take I take in You
You are my way Jesus
Every breath I take I breathe in You

After asthma problems and a sprained ankle during the same two week stay I am realizing that all I do is through Christ my Lord.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hoping around

During time off from work I am at a two week long evangelization event While playing soccer (we call it football here) I heard a CRACK when my left ankle found itself in between the legs of another player. Falling down in agony I decided to take a break (a long break) as soon as my friends could get me off the field. The next day I was off to the hospital which lead to an X-ray. That's where we found that I have very nice bones in my foot and ankle. It's amazing I use my feet all the time but I've never seen my feet bones. With everything intact they gave me a nice ankle brace. I'll be off it for at least a couple weeks. I have been using crutches (béquilles pronounced bekiy) and also hopping about to get around.
Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So far this year.

Hello from Maubeuge, France! I want to thank everyone for their prayers and financial partnership as I serve in France. It has been one year since I came back to France, and God is good! I stay busy at the print shop with varying tasks. I am learning a lot of French both in and out of class. It is also a joy to get to know my neighbors better.
At the shop, Manga Messiah is still selling well; and the second volume, Manga Métamorphose, covering the book of Acts, will be coming out in September along with our third shipment of Manga Messiah. We have just finished the illustrated Bible. It’s 254 pages of full color illustrations that we produce for the Bible League. I made more than sixteen plates for the press. We also just released the French version of The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper. I recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t yet read it.

Art expo
I’ve always loved to draw. In college I developed a style where I just draw with lines. For several years I have taken my sketch book with me everywhere. I have taken a few of my drawing and made paintings from them. I was inspired to do even more this spring when I was invited to display some art at the third annual Found Object Art Festival in a nearby town, Louvroil. I produced fifteen pieces to put on display using various materials on which to paint. I used a cupboard door, a piece of a desk, and scraps of wood from around the print shop. I have enjoyed doing more art, and it’s great to meet other local artists.

French class
In March I started French classes at a center within walking distance from my apartment. I could communicate before, but now with my classes, I am more confident with my pronunciation, reading, and writing. Most of the other students are women from Morocco, Algeria, and Senegal so I have tried to pick up a few Arabic words on the side. I will begin classes again in the fall, but this time on a more challenging level, working more on my pronunciation and writing.
Visitors from my home church
I love to have visitors. In May, Dan and Joan, from my home church in Seattle, took the time to see me after a cruise around the United Kingdom. They were able to see the sights here where I live. Taking a walk in town, we stumbled across the annual International Horse Jumping competition, which we enjoyed. We took the evening to visit Val Joly, which literally means “Jolly Valley”. Sunday was my first time translating a church service for anyone. I found it challenging. That afternoon we visited Fort de Leveau near my church. There were people dressed up as WWI soldiers, and there is a memorial to Captain Patton who crashed and sank into a marshy area in a nearby town during WWII. In 2001 he and his plane were found well preserved.
Monday and Tuesday, Dan and Joan relaxed while I was at school. Then they helped out at the shop. After their stay at my apartment, they took a bus to see my sister in Germany. It was fun to show friends how I live here in France. If you too would like to see how I live and minister in France, come on over!

The Logos Hope Trip
A friend Jeremie joined the crew of the Operation Mobilisation (OM) ship Logos Hope on two-year commitment, working in the engine room. The Logos Hope is staffed with volunteers from fifty different countries to provide literature, humanitarian aide, and evangelization. For more information, go to They have sailed around Northern Europe and the U.K., and later they will sail to the Caribbean. I also know a couple from France, Ruben and Elizabeth (he is French, she is American), who are also on the ship. Elizabeth works in at the welcome center, and Ruben does video production for the ship. When they came to a port in January only four hours away, David, a French friend, and I took a trip to the Netherlands to see our friends. We stayed on board two nights as guests. We got to see all around the ship including the engine room as well as the town of Harlingen, Netherlands. It was great to see friends and how OM operates and serves the world around them. One of the coolest parts for me was seeing all the different cultures together in one spot.

No big rigs on Sunday
On our drive to the Netherlands, I didn’t see a single semi-truck on the freeway, which I found odd for a four-hour drive. David told me that in most European countries, semi-trucks are to be parked from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday. I find that to be funny and strange.

New words
au cas où
(oh ka oo): just in case. This phrase can be very useful.
bagnole (banyol): car. This word for car is only used in the north of France.
chapelure (shaplur): bread crumbs for recipes. I made the mistake of asking for the ‘miettes de pain’ (the literal translation) for the cordon bleu I was making, but the clerk didn’t understand. I ended up smashing some dried bread. Next time I have a recipe that calls for bread crumbs, which isn’t often, I will know the word.

Prayer & Praise
* Praise God for how much I have learned in my classes.

* Praise God, my support level is at 96%.

* Praise God for all the people I’ve been able to meet from French class and art expositions. Pray that I would be a light to everyone I meet.

* Pray that my resident card renewal goes well. It should be ready in the middle of September.
* Please pray for the people who receive our books and tracts, and that God would be glorified in all we do.
Thank you all for your prayers, cards, emails, notes on Facebook, and financial support.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sharing the Good News in French class

Today I had my appointment to renew my resident card. Everything is in order and it will be ready sometime before September 17th.

Last night I took seriously where God has placed me and began to pray for my classmates and neighbors. Earlier today in my French class which is mostly Muslim women from Algeria and Morocco. Today, I am not sure why, the teacher brought up religion. She is Catholic and after finding out that everyone besides her and I are Muslims she asked me to explain what Christianity is. Wow what an opportunity! It was challenging because even though Jesus is mentioned in the Qur'an they don't know who Jesus is. So I started of 'Jesus was a Jew...'. The teacher said we could continue talking about the subject tomorrow. Wow! Please pray for my Muslim classmates and my teacher, who has a Catholic background believes that pretty much all gods are the same with different names. Pray for me that as I speak that God would work and change lives.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I am so tired, wiped out, but I had a pretty good day. I just got back from a great study on 1 Thessalonians at the chuch which followed the message from Sunday. Earlier I made the 4 final plates for the mailing when we mail out thousands of tracts to those who have subscribed. I have also started scanning illustrations from The Pigrim's Progress so we can reprint it in a different format in the near future.
Hello from Maubeuge, France!

Since my last letter, I have watched the dollar go up and down versus the Euro, I have heard about the collapse of major banks, and I have watched America usher in our 44th president. It is interesting to see the U.S. go through changes while I am here in France. Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support even during a financial crunch. I wouldn't be here serving at BLF if it wasn't for you. It's in times like these that we can know our hope is inChrist alone and not in money.

Manga Frenzy
Our most popular book at the moment are the Gospels in a Japanese comic format called Manga, le Messie. The English title is Manga Messiah. The word Manga means ''quick sketch'' in Japanese. The book was edited and translated here at BLF Europe and printed in Japan. We have already ordered a second shipment because we've sold over 6,000 copies of the 10,000 we received in November. This is exciting because Manga le Messie has found its way into Catholic and secular bookstores in France.

We have also recently published French editions of The Treasure Principle and The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn.

My R19
I am very thankful for the car that Nico, our press operator, gave me when I got here. It is a bronze 1989 Renault R19. One morning, I went down to my car and found my passenger window smashed out. During the night someone broke my window and took the nice CD player/radio. This type of thing isn't covered by my insurance so I was glad that a repair place could put in a new window quickly and for only 100 euros. A month later I came home to see a car, parked three spaces from mine, completely burnt. There were police, firemen, and a crowd watching as the fire was put out. I am glad it was only my radio that was taken!

Sophie Kapitaniuk
October 11th, we celebrated the 80th birthday of Bill Kapitaniuk, my director's dad and the founder of BLF Europe. Peope came from all over to thank Bill and his wife, Sophie, for their years of service to our Lord. It was only a month later, November 11th, that we gathered again to remember Sophie Kapitaniuk. After several years of poor health she went home to be with the Lord. We know she is glad to be in Heaven with Jesus, but she left a big hole no one can fill.

Prayer & Praise
- My church just started a new series on 1 Thessalonians. Please pray for us as we study together.
- I have been running weekly but I haven't been sleeping well.
- Praise God, my support level is at 96%.
- Praise God that I am able to speak French as well as I can! I will be taking classes this Spring to fix my mistakes. This will also be a great way to meet people outside the print shop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Today at work I did 4 or so plates for the offset press to print these tracts.

Tonight I stuck a pizza in the oven (goat cheese and ham and I added spicy sausage tomato and more cheese) with 15 minutes. Then I went for a jog. I don't recomend  this. It ended up kinda burnt.