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 logoshope.com. 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.