France Mission Update #5

July 6, 2016

 

Hello family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

I missed home yesterday.  Jeff would probably tell you I never get homesick while in France, which is usually true, but July 4th is a red, white, and blue day, not a blue, white, and red day.  (For those of you that don’t get that, France’s flag has the same colors as ours, but they are said in the order of blue, white, and red, instead of our red, white, and blue.)  I am proud of and thankful for my American citizenship and the godly upbringing that my parents gave me, and it was a little sad to have July 4th be just another day.

 

Everyone here is excited as France is on its way to the semi-finals of the soccer EuroCup.  Even the Eiffel Tower was celebrating, all lit up in a special way Sunday evening as France beat Iceland 5-2 at their famous Stade de France right outside of Paris.  France will be playing Germany next.

 

Last week when Gaston and Mauricette’s granddaughter returned home, she took an eight-hour train ride to get back home.  On the way home, someone threw himself in front of the train and so the train had to stop and an investigation had to take place.  She ended up getting home about three hours later than scheduled.  Unfortunately, I am told that this is a relatively common form of suicide here and that people are known to end their lives this way.  It is so very sad that some people feel there is nothing to live for.  Oh, how the people of France really need Jesus.

 

Friday evening the Mayor of Saint-Raphael had a garden party.  It was truly a privilege to get to see many of the people I had met last year.  There were quite a few people who knew me but I didn’t know them.  They remembered me from the meeting that I spoke at last year.  Gaston and Mauricette told me that many people from last year’s meeting still remember me and ask often about how I am doing.  It was good to have people remember me.  It is a help in making more connections and spreading my ministry.  I did see one lady who is in the choir at the mayor’s party, so it gave me an opportunity to get to know her better and now we have more in common to speak of when we see one another at choir practice.  She sings Soprano II.  The mayor’s big announcement of the night was that he is stepping down from his job as mayor and representative at the National Assembly in Paris to allow younger people to take over.  Guillaume, whom I have mentioned before, will be running in June 2017 for representative in the National Assembly legislature and a gentleman I met on Friday evening, who is at this time the mayor’s right-hand man, will be running for Mayor of Saint-Raphael.  The man who will be running for mayor is looking for a exchange program in the United States for his 16 year-old daughter. He and his wife were hoping that I could help.  I am familiar with three exchange programs in the triangle area and so who knows what God has in mind? I am going to see what I can do to help them when I get home.

 

The mayor’s office has been helpful on the counseling end.  Nouvelle Olympe, the organization I worked with last summer that supports women going through domestic violence was closed due to low funding.  I was aware of a possibility but was never told for sure.  The mayor’s office has been helpful to both me and to domestic violence victims.  One of the secretaries is making appointments for those in need with me and I in turn am counseling the victims.  I have a certain number of appointments per week and the rest of my time is spent on relationship evangelism and trying to make more connections that will lead to more ministry opportunities.

 

Last night Mauricette and I went to an organ concert and I saw another lady from the choir that I have been talking to a good bit recently.  She came to the concert alone so she sat with us during the concert.  I will see her tomorrow evening at choir practice and hope that she will meet me for some one-on-one time so we can have a spiritual discussion.

 

I had lunch again today with my friend who is an atheist and has the little boy who is having problems.  He saw the doctor yesterday and the doctor is 100% sure there is nothing neurologically wrong with her son, so the doctors keep leaning more towards autism.  This doctor would like to see the little boy once a month but is so overloaded with so many children that their next appointment is in November.  I am praying that an appointment will open up sooner for them, as this is discouraging for my friend.  We also had a wonderful spiritual discussion today over lunch.  I really feel like we are digging deep into the heart of spiritual matters and I am excited about what God is going to do with this.  Please pray for her, that she will come to know Jesus and pray for me, that God will give me wisdom when I talk to her.

 

One last praise report: I have a French friend who lives in Raleigh and she just gave birth to a baby girl named Mila.  I met my French friend Olivia in one of the French-speaking groups that I organize in the Triangle.  Olivia and I went to the same university in Nancy, France, but we never met each other until she moved here to the states.  I am so thankful for God’s blessings on Olivia in giving her a healthy, beautiful baby.

 

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.  I couldn’t do this without you.

Ilene

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