Friday, October 29, 2010

My French Adventure: A visit to Seattle, God willing... October 2010

A visit to the NW

I learned that I will need to see the doctor in Seattle in order to renew my Multiple Sclerosis(MS) treatment [or Sclérose en plaques(SEP) in French]. I plan to take advantage of this appointment by seeing my family during the holidays, including my niece Haley of whom I have only seen pictures because she was born not too long after I left. I hope to arrive just before Thanksgiving and stay until just after Christmas. I have already scheduled my doctor’s appointment for the 16th of December.

My prayer request is that my check-up goes well (I am feeling well). But I also need to ask for your prayers as I don’t yet have my plane ticket because of my resident card. I started to renew my resident card in May to have the process completed before it expired in July. However, it wasn’t done in July so I got a slip to go along with my old card. Just after my trip to Mont Blanc and the Normandy sites, my friend David and I went to the city of Dunkerque where I lost my wallet for the second time this year. I was able to replace all the important papers and cards, but I am still without my French identity. Without this I cannot leave the French border (my declaration of loss won’t do) without losing my reentry rights. I called the local office recently, and they said that the card is still in process. Please pray that my card is processed and delivered soon so that I can get my plane ticket and be at my appointment. The other times I have had it renewed, it did not take more than two months. It has almost been six months. I know this too is in God’s hands.

I am scheduled to speak in churches Sunday morning on November 28th, December 5th, and December 12th. I would love to see as many other people as possible. This will be my first time to be on North American soil in two and a half years. I look forward to seeing you in person and sharing what God has been up to. I also look forward to seeing the Cascade Mountains and the Space Needle.

This reminds me how Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” We Christians do not have our citizenship here on earth but just a temporary card that reminds us that we are just passing through. Wouldn’t it be funny if we had to renew our earthly resident card every year.

Vacation time

This year was one of the biggest vacations that I’ve had for a while. A friend of mine, David, came from Seattle and we did the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). It is a 10-day hike around the tallest peak in Europe. The day after I picked him up from the airport, we drove more than 8hrs to Les Houches, France, where we stayed the night and left the car before beginning our adventure the next morning. This was my first multi-day hike and my first time on such difficult terrain. We stayed in large refuges — only accessible by foot, helicopter, or mule — to avoid carrying tents and more gear.

My favorite part of the hike was two-fold. I loved the views; but what was more amazing was standing on one of God’s beautiful mountain passes, looking way off in the distance to another tiny spot, and being able to say, “I was there”. Wow! It was also extraordinary to cross the border from France to Italy and from Italy to Switzerland just by mountain passes.

Secondly, for those who know me even a little bit know that I am a people person, I had a great time talking to different people along the trail, which I describe as a moving international community. They were from all over France, Europe, and the world, but I didn’t see more than one or two Americans. I enjoyed speaking French and getting to know other hikers. I remember laughing and playing UNO with a nice French family at a mountain refuge until late.

The parts I had trouble with were not the steep climbs but the areas where the path was flat and only a foot (30cm) or less wide with one side that plummeted down several hundred feet. In the worst of these areas, I had to walk slowly behind Dave only looking and stepping were his feet stepped. I thank God the neither of us died on the trip. We didn’t even get hurt.

Then we drove eight hours to Caen, the big city near the D-Day landing beaches.

Print shop - BLF Europe

Here at the print shop we have been pretty busy. We have just finished 5,000 comic book Bibles (New and Old Testaments). That’s 768 full color pages printed, folded, collated, sewn, cover glued, shrink-wrapped and boxed. We are in the process of doing 5,000 of the New Testament and the Gospels.

I’ve been taking on more responsibilities. I have taken more page layout work to let our other designer focus on additional work. This is something I really enjoy. I think that French punctuation rules are a blast. I have also taken on the responsibility of leading the teams that come from the States while they work in the shop.

We have recently put out some great books:

In September we received the first shipment of the third volume of the Bible in manga form, Manga - Mutinerie (English title: Manga - Mutiny). They are drawn and printed in Japan, and we do the translating and editing of the French text. The first two volumes cover the Gospels and Acts. The newest one goes through Genesis and Exodus. They are all selling well, and there is even a plan in the works to use the Manga Messiah books as a way to teach Christianity in French private schools.

La guérison du guérisseur by Walter Vappiani (Healing of the Healer). Part of a new biographical series. This story is about Walter who met Jesus when he was a spiritual healer.

Décidé à tuer by Stephen Lungu (English title: Out of the Black Shadows). A great story about a leader of a rebellion in Africa who planned to kill Christians but God miraculously saved to reconcile those around him.

Praise God for these new books. Pray they would reach those seeking God and challenge Christians to grow in their faith. Also pray for Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, two great books that we are currently working on.

You may be wondering about the French going on strike. Well as your on-the-ground reporter, here is what I know of the French strikes without watching any news.

- The post office has gone on strike randomly.

- Buses and trains don’t seem to be reliable from day to day (I have a car).

- Gas deliveries were cut off for a little while until the government told them to deliver again. (We are close to Belgium so we can get gas there, but it was bad for those more inside of France).

- All the middle school and high school students walked around my town of 35,000 protesting the retirement thing. They blocked roads and blocked entrances to the schools and had police escorts. What was interesting was the adults who would look on the students and say, “Way to go, they are so right.”

I am not sure when it will stop, but it definitely keeps us on our toes. It made me think that we too often hope in our country. I was thinking that, when the intersection was blocked by cars honking for no apparent reason, my hope is in Christ and not in France or America.

Prayer & Praise

Please pray that my resident card would be renewed quickly.

Pray for safe travels.

Praise God that I didn’t fall to my death during my walk in the mountains.

Pray for our health and safety at the BLF Europe print shop.

Pray for the Christians in France that grow in faith and wisdom.

Pray for opportunities to share the reason for the joy that I have.