Why We Won’t Be Going To FRANCE

Dear friends, family, and supporters,

We are writing this note to you all today to update you on the major change in our lives this past 2 months. Please forgive us for the lack of information, for not being in touch, and for keeping you all in the dark. We have been trying to gather all the needed information and had many weeks of waiting to know exactly what we should share.
As of the end of April we are no longer missionaries with World Missions Ministries in any context. This decision was not ours and we are told there is nothing we did to incur this result. In fact the April giving statement was our highest ever and many others had recently made commitments to give. Despite this, we were informed that WMM was no longer interested in us as missionaries for the following 3 reasons:
**There was no assignment for us in Paris at this time
**The size of our family made our budget unfeasible
**The Appalachian Conference was not able to support our budget
Again, we unfortunately had no say in the decision and we must confess that we disagree with the reasons given. We requested to make a short term trip to Paris as our status with WMM was “Short Term Missionaries” but our request was denied. We were not given reasons for this decision.
Obviously this is a major shift for us. We are “all in” kind of people and when God says “Go” we said “YES!” We continue to carry a burden for France in our hearts, we continue to say “Lord, here am I, send me” and we continue to trust that what He has called us to, He alone will fulfill in His perfect timing. He alone is able to fulfill His promises to the extent of YES and AMEN. We will always declare that He is GOOD and He is FAITHFUL! We do not have hard feelings towards WMM and we know that God is able to redeem everything that has been lost.
Finally, we want to express our extreme gratitude to all of you. Our hearts are full towards bursting because of the love you all have shown us not only this past year but some of you for many, many years. We are forever grateful to the many churches within the IPHC who welcomed us in with open arms, who prayed with us, gave to us sacrificially, and loved on us in so many ways. Thank you, especially to the Pastors who allowed us to speak from your pulpits, pray and minister to your people, and who faithfully prayed and encouraged us in the Lord. Please know, dear churches, that you have made this season a true blessing beyond measure and that this is not your faults either.
A very special thanks goes to John and Millie Jenkins of Austinville PH Church in Austinville, VA whose congregation have given above and beyond, have housed us, have allowed us as a family to serve the community along side them, and have become family to us. We are so thankful to be walking away with such a treasure of friends! We will miss you all so very much.
Lastly, we want to give praise to our awesome and worthy God who takes care of all our need! We are so very pleased to announce that Peter has accepted a General Managers position in Beaufort, South Carolina and that we are in the process of moving to our new home. Beaufort is a small coastal community and has already been very welcoming and warm to us. The children are excited about becoming islanders!
So what about France? You might be asking this. And this is exactly what we are asking God as well. We don’t know. He knows we are willing. We do believe that His plans for us in France are not over but we are committed to allowing our children to experience a level of stability that they have never known. We will be stateside for the foreseeable future. We ask that you pray for us during this time of extreme transition. And will you join us in continuing to pray for France?
Due to these changes, we will closing out the Journey International FB page and website. We invite you to “friend” us on our regular page. We would love to stay in touch.

Peter and Emily Fowler

Julianna, Owen, Ava, Ethan, Elijah

Behold! I am doing a NEW thing!

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19

This verse in Isaiah says so much about God, doesn’t it?  He is always ready to do a “new thing” in our lives.  He is always asking us to look and partake, to become aware of His goodness, even now.  He invites us to see Him at work in the miraculous.  Do you have an uncrossable wilderness? He can and IS making a way for you.  Are you dying spiritually in a dry desert season of your life? He brings forth rivers of living water to nourish our souls, even now.  This verse encompasses God’s ability to operate in two verb tenses.  He is going to do a new thing; and it is already happening.  All we need to do is look and perceive it!

We are often asked “When are you going to France?” or “Are you there now?” and we always so desperately want to say “SOON!” and “YES!” But God’s timing is perfect timing and for now we are still waiting on the doors to be opened for us to go.  More on that in a minute…

In the meantime, we must declare to you all the goodness of the Lord!  I (Emily) was pondering that scripture the other day.  The one that says, “I will see the Goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.”  I was struck with the reality that His Goodness (the Hebrew word here denotes literal good things; it’s not an abstract idea about God)  is available, tangible and lived out now, as we live, not just when we go on to Glory.  Of course we should yearn for the day when we are face to face with our Father, but what He offers to us is heaven on earth, now.  He is always extending a welcoming hand, beckoning us to go from glory to glory with Him, so that He may show us unspeakable wonders.   In this season we have been amazed at His over-the-top provision of ‘goodness’ in our lives.

In October, after a difficult season of extensive travel and having to clear out our house in September, we found ourselves needing to secure different housing for the remainder of our time fundraising in this part of Virginia and West Virginia.  We talked through some possibilities, knowing that God would supply the right place at the right time.  And of course He did!  A lovely church in SW Virginia offered us their parsonage to live in through the winter.  So, of course it’s not just a house, it’s a house that meets all of our needs, because our God is a GOOD, GOOD Father!  The wood burning stove keeps us toasty warm, especially today as I’m writing this and the snow is falling!  There is more than enough space for us and our 5 children.  We were able to move in just in time to decorate for Christmas and even get a tree!  We had a wonderful, restful Christmas and New Years and are filled with hope and expectation of what God is going to do (and is already doing!) in this New Year!

Praise God with us for all that He has done in our lives since we left our job and our extended family and our home in July.  Though we were filled with sadness at what has in some ways felt like loss, He has consistently encouraged us to look to Him, to see His goodness and provision and to feel His love in our lives, often through the tangible love of the many believers that have treated us like family, that have housed us and been friends to us.  Our good Father provides for EVERY need!

So…back to “when are you going to France?”  The answer to that question is up to God and up to you, our supporters.  Many of you have expressed a desire to support us financially and that is literally what puts feet on this ministry.  It can not happen without our financial partners.  If you have committed to support us financially we are asking that you begin that support right away if you haven’t already started sending it in.  We can not be sent if the funds are not actively coming in.  We believe that the Lord has already begun a “new thing” in our journey to France and that doors have been opened and will be revealed to us in His perfect timing.  Continue to pray with us for spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see, what the Lord is doing in this season.  Though this journey we are on has been long, it is one that has been filled with His “Yes and Amen!” and we stand on those promises as we walk in obedience to His calling.

PARTNER

Here are all the details on how to give to our ministry today:

IPHC members–you can give directly into your local church’s offering!  It’s easy and will give your congregation credit within the conference and denomination for supporting foreign missions.  All you need to do is note directly on your check our names and our support account number: #31041S.

For all other partners, giving is quick, secure and easy online.  You can give a one time gift or set up monthly giving here: http://donations.iphc.org/missionaries/fowler-peter-emily-support-account

CONNECT

Here’s how you can connect with us for daily, weekly and monthly updates:

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And via email:

journeyinternational@icloud.com

A Little Goes a LONG Way

Dear Supporters and Friends and Family,

 

This past month we have faced one of the busiest times of our itinerating ministry thus far.  We had before us the daunting task of ridding ourselves of all of our “thinimg_0992gs” and freeing ourselves up for the coming transitions.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes it is just hard to let go?  We’ve always said we would have no problem walking away from our things.  There is no item that we own (or owned) that has more value than the souls of the people of France that God has called us to.  We walk away from it all with joy and yet a deep increased sense of urgency.  Now that we are free from the fetters of our things, we are even more passionate about fulfilling that which God has called us to.  We believe now more than ever before that this is the season He has appointed for us to go from being “called” to being “sent.”

 

We can’t do it without you though.  If everyone on our mailing list began THIS month supporting us at $40 a month we would be ready to GO!!!  Can you believe that?  A lot of people walking in faithfulness at even a small amount, gets the job done.  Will you pray about beginning your support this month?  Most importantly, will you make a monthly commitment to continue that support? 

 

We are finding that “being faithful in the small things” is a bit of a theme for us this past 5 weeks.  We have been abundantly blessed through many congregations, lunches, meetings, worship moments, conveimg_1048rsations and even in the task of cleaning out our house.  It is these moments and memories with you in the Body of Christ that literally gives us the strength to keep going.  A thousand “thank you” to those of you who helped us clean out our house, came and boxed up our things and gave our things a new loving home, gave our 2 cats a new home (!!!!), prayed over us, gave to us financially, gave us a BIG VAN (!!!!!), helped us finish up home renovations, spoke countless words of encouragement over us, listened to us as we gushed about France, shared your pulpits and airwaves with us, housed us and fed us.  The list could literally go on and on.  We are so humbled by it all and when we have feelings of doubt or feel alone in this task, we think on these things and give God all the thanks and praise for you all.

 

We are thrilled that our team leaders who will be overseeing the opening of the ministry coimg_1094ffee house and art gallery are now officially on the ground in Paris.  We can’t wait to get to Paris to help in this enormous and powerful task.

So many of you have done so much for us and with us and now we are asking that you would go the second mile with us!  Monthly donations can be set
up quickly, securely and easily online:

Donations.iphc.org/fowler-peter-emily-support-account

Or checks can be mailed directly to our sending organization:

IPHC

PO Box 12609

Oklahoma City, OK 73157-2609

(please note our names and support account #: 31041S)

 

Please continue to pray with us for:

*supernatural provision

*open doors

*vision and endurance

 

With much love!

Peter and Emily and family

August Revelations

Last month we shared a vision of God’s love for the people of France and a prayer that He would reveal Himself as their strong tower.  That night, after we sent out our newsletter, a terrorist drove a truck through a crowd of people who were celebrating Fete National (Bastille Day), killing 84 people.  We were, yet again, shocked and saddened by what the nation of France and the French people were having to shoulder.  Will you continue to join with us in prayer for this hurting country?

People have asked us how we feel about moving to a country that is in active war with terrorism.  It’s a legitimate question because it is a legitimate reality.  So we wanted to share our thoughts on that in this newsletter with you all, as well.  First of all, safety is an illusion.  It is the grace of God alone that we all walk through our days in any amount of “safety.”  Secondly, we are called to trust God with our lives.  He alone knows the number of our days, so we can receive each day from His hand as the gift that it truly is.  Thirdly, when faced with something like terrorism, we all have 2 options: we can respond in fear and hate OR we can respond in love and faith.

Last week we had the honor of joining in on a Bible Study at one of the churches here (thank you Pastor Hutton!) on the book of Jonah.  We were all tempted to criticize Jonah’s many mistakes but then as we sat around discussing Jonah’s difficult situation we began to have a bit more empathy.  What if God was asking you to go to proclaim the purposes of God to militant ISIS?  Would you go?  Would you respond in love when God didn’t follow through with destroying them?  Jonah was faced with all these same realities.  Nineveh was to Israel in Jonah’s time as ISIS is to us now.  The lesson learned is that regardless of what we view as God’s justice, we must grab hold of the heart of God for people!

This passage came to mind recently:

“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying: 

‘You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 

And have made us kings and priests to our God;

And we shall reign on the earth.’

—Revelation 5:8

Wow.  This ministered to us so much this week.  His heart is for the nations.  He has redeemed us by His blood and didn’t stop there, but made us kings and priests to our God!!  And don’t you just love the part about the bowls of incense?  It is the prayers of the saints.  Praise God for His goodness, for His grand plan to save the multitudes from every tongue and tribe and nation and people!  He alone can fulfill this.  So what about us?  Well, we can move forward in the obedience and dedication of a priest and in the power and authority of a king because He has declared it as so.

Be encouraged friends, we have been promised “troubles” on this earth but the promises of God for our lives are “yes and amen!”  He is for you and He has an amazing plan for each of us.

We want to quickly share too about how God has encouraged our hearts through the hospitality and generosity and love of His people.  Y’all.  We have traveled to several churches over the past weeks and each week we are blown away by the people of God and how they surround us with love and encouragement.  These churches (you know who you are!!! <3) have prayed over us, listened to us, given financially to us, fed us and laughed with us and it has just meant THE  world to us!  So…THANK YOU to the precious congregations in Virginia and West Virginia that have hosted us.

Last month we shared some prayer requests with you all so here are the updates on all the ways God has answered those prayers!

*It was hard work but we left Knoxville and had the privilege of visiting with family in GA and then got quickly settled in to the campgrounds in Virginia (we are in a building, not a tent! )

*The kids immediately got to participate in a boys weekend and then the next week, a girls weekend!  They had SO much fun and made new friends.

*We have had wonderful favor among the very missions minded churches here and have booked up almost every single Sunday morning and are now filling up our Wednesday and Sunday nights.

*We have had new monthly supporters added!

*When I wrote the last newsletter God had provided short term renters.  By the time we left Knoxville, He had provided long term renters as well!!  Our new renters are ministers and desired to be closer to the area that they have heart for!

Thank you God for all of these beautiful and amazing gifts!!  Thank you friends and family for praying for these things!

Upcoming prayer points:

*Pray for continued favor in churches and for more monthly supporters (monthly support is THE key to us going to France quickly!)

*Pray for living arrangements for the dates of October 11-22.  We would like to stay in the VA, WV, PA area if possible.

*Pray for wisdom for us as we operate on a day to day basis.  (Can we admit that it’s weird not having a “plan” of where we will live etc., beyond a few weeks?? lol)

Peter and Emily Fowler

Journey International

Follow us online!

www.facebook.com/fowlers2france.go

journeyinternational.org

journeyinternational@icloud.com

Donate your monthly gifts online or by mail to the following addresses:

http://donations.iphc.org/fowler-peter-emily-support-account

or

PO Box 12609 Oklahoma City, OK 73157-2609

Support Account #: 31041S

July Newsletter with some BIG NEWS!!!!!!!

July Newsletter
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Dear Family and Friends,
We have some really awesome news to share with you all about what God is doing with us in this next season as we prepare to make a permanent move to France.  But first we want to share what we feel God is speaking to us about France and how we have been encouraged.
In November of last year we all watched as Paris was under attack from terrorists.  Our hearts ached with our French friends as they had to carry the weight of grief and as they faced the complex task of making their homes safe again.  That night 130 people died, it was the biggest attack on Paris since WWII.  The urgency to go to France and minister there was fueled all the more.  Since these attacks, we have heard from different ministries in France that God is using this tragedy to speak to the hearts of the people.  People are hungry for what God has to offer: eternal, come as you are, Love.
Last month Peter and I and the kids had the privilege of spending some time in Oklahoma City with fellow missionaries and a host of people they had there to minister to us through prayer and the Word of God and fellowship, fun and encouragement.  It was such an excellent time!  At one of the sessions we had a time of anointed prayer and during that time I saw a quick vision.  I think it is important to share so you all can join with us in praying into this.
I saw the streets of Paris filled with a dark smoke.  It permeated everything and you could see nothing of this beautiful city.  The Eiffel Tower had a search light and it was going back and forth over the city.  I knew in my heart that the Eiffel was like the eyes of God that searches to and fro for all those who are committed to Him and His purposes.  I knew that the light was searching for the army of God.  And then suddenly I could hear them, the army was marching!  This was not an army of worldly war.  This was an army bearing the love of God as it’s standard.  I saw their feet as they marched through the streets of Paris and in their hands were branches of hyssop.  They were using the hyssop to sweep away the darkness on either side!!  Biblically, hyssop is a symbol of the cleansing Blood of Jesus!  Praise God that we can see the heart of God for the nations all through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation!  Praise God that His desire is for the evil that has spread through the City of Lights to be vanquished by an army of God’s people who hold grace as their weapon and love as their standard!
This morning we woke up to La Fete Nationale, or Bastille Day.  France is celebrating it’s independence from an oppressive monarchy.  I was struck by the spiritual significance and symbolism of this day.  On this day in 1789, angry and destitute mobs stormed a symbol of tyranny, the Bastille.  Today, God desires to deliver the people of France from a spiritual tyranny, one of hopelessness and despair.  On that day the mobs shed the blood of many, but on this day God offers the blood of His Son, shed for us all.  On that day the mobs tore down the walls of that political prison and freed the prisoners within, and on this day God wants to tear down the walls of fear, anger and hatred in their hearts and give them everlasting freedom.
Will you join with us this Fete National to pray for the nation of France and stand with us believing that God has a plan that is full of His Goodness!!!
Ok so now the BIG news!  We have been feeling for quite a long time that we as a family needed to commit ourselves to full-time fundraising to propel us forward to France.  This is a huge step of faith for us because Peter is leaving a good job and we are leaving a house that we love.  But God is ever faithful and we know that our place is in France.  He gave us our house as an inheritance for our children and leaving it is not abandoning it.  God provided temporary renters the same day that Peter turned in his 2 week notice.  He provided exit favor at his job.  We will be relocating for several weeks to Dublin, VA to our conference headquarters, where God has provided housing for us!
So we are asking that if you have committed to support us monthly that you begin that support as soon as you are able.  This will help us to know how close we are to going!  We are asking that if you are a pastor that you would consider inviting us to speak at your church to give the people of God an opportunity to support what God is doing in France.  If you are a friend or family member we invite you to pray for us and consider becoming a monthly supporter.
We are available to speak at churches, small groups, Bible studies, youth groups and missions nights!
Join us in prayer over the following points:
*Continued exit favor as we leave Knoxville July 28th.
*For financial provision and favor through Emily’s Mary Kay business and freelance journalism
*For connections with pastors and open doors to speak
*For protection as we travel
*For continued favor and open doors!
*For faithful monthly supporters
*For a continued passion for sharing the Love of God with the French
We thank God for you all and we look forward to seeing many of you on our journeys!
Peter and Emily Fowler
Journey International
Follow us online!
www.facebook.com/fowlers2france.go
journeyinternational.org
journeyinternational@icloud.com
Donate your monthly gifts online or by mail to the following addresses:
http://donations.iphc.org/fowler-peter-emily-support-account
or
PO Box 12609 Oklahoma City, OK 73157-2609
Support Account #: 31041S

It’s GO Time!!!!!

SO.  We’ve had a lot of changes.  Which in a lot of ways is kind of the theme of our journey so far.  Change.  And we are learning to be okay with that.  Because we can stand on the Promises of God always.  We know we have been called to France.  We feel the burning love for that country and for it’s people in our hearts and even after years of delays and changes, it hasn’t wavered.  We know it hasn’t wavered in God’s heart either.  So our only option is to keep going forward despite changes.

 Keep going forward.

We remain confident that God is good, that He is faithful.  That all His promises are “yes” and “amen”.  We trust that He will work all things together for our good as we love Him and follow Him regardless of changes in our plan.  We know and believe that He is for us, not against us; that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.  And we know that He is far more concerned with our heart than our mission.  And so in the midst of all the change, the ups and downs of following hard after this calling that has stretched into years, we labor to enter into rest; we work hard to keep our hearts open and receptive to Him and His ways.

What has this most recent change brought our way?

 Time.

Let me tell you how.

 

At the beginning of April we got some difficult news that we didn’t want to hear.  News that for a brief moment took the wind out of our sails.  We learned after weeks of waiting and after years of working, that the school in France reversed their previous acceptance decision and rejected our request for Peter to earn his masters degree in 2016.  With this particular school this was the final year available for us to apply.   This avenue, this plan, this potentially open door, was officially over and closed.

And we were crushed.  For about 7 minutes.  Why only 7 minutes??  After so much work, so much effort, so many prayers and nail biting interviews and after suffering through the GMAT twice, how could we only be crushed for 7 measly minutes????

Well, I’ll tell you something we have learned over all these years.  It’s a not so secret, secret and it can be hard to put into practice sometimes, but if you do, it is just so so good.  God’s faithfulness and goodness brings us to  a place of constant joy and excitement about what He is doing.  If going to school this year in France isn’t THE way, then what is?  What in the world does God have up His sleeve on this one??  And we are so excited to find out!!!!  Remember, as we already stated, change has forced us to focus and rely on His promises.  And His promises are YES and AMEN and for our good and not to harm us!  His Word says that He is passionate about the nations coming to know of His deep and endless Love for them!  And we get to go and tell France and we are so grateful and so passionate about walking the path that is set before us, no matter how many changes we encounter along the way.  If the school is a “no” then God has something better.

Want to hear something cool?   We have been working to get into this school for over 2 years.  When we started we didn’t have a sending organization.  Unknown to us, our future organization was working to assemble a team to plant a coffee house and art center ministry in the heart of Paris.  We found WMM and joined and they got behind us to move over to Paris and go to school and remain in a business/school format of ministry.  And we were kind of sad to not have more time to help with the ministry plant in Paris.  But now school is off the table!  So what do we have??

FREEDOM and TIME!!  Now we have time to help with the ministry plant!

 

Ok.  So where do you come into play with all this?  Well, essentially, we can GO as soon as the funds are in place.  So the only thing standing between us and Paris is our budget.  And it’s just so easy for it to move from NO to GO!

We are specifically asking that if you have committed to us to give monthly that you would go ahead and begin that monthly commitment.  If you have given a one time gift, thank you so very much!  It’s a BIG deal to us that you have chosen to sow into this move of God in France!  If you have been planning on making a one time gift or a monthly commitment, we ask that you do that today.  The sooner our account is filled up, the sooner we will be on our way!  Click HERE to go directly to our donation page with WMM and you can specify your giving level and frequency.  Your giving is tax deductible!

Thank you!!!  We are believing BIG things for this year and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

For details about our time frame, upcoming travel plans, family news and prayer requests, go to the Prayer Request page and check in on our ministry Facebook page often as well as subscribe to this website.

How do we stay focused??

EDITED: I’ve added photos from our visit to Madame Paulette’s from 2012!!

This week Peter and I have been sharing our love for France and our mission to go there with pastors and missions directors within the IPHC denomination all over Virginia and West Virginia.  Sometimes Peter shares and sometimes I (Emily) share.  I wanted to repost a story that I wrote in 2012.  It is the story I have been sharing with the pastors as I answer  the question: How do we stay focused on the goal after so many years of trying and failing to answer the call to France?  This story is my “why” and my “how”:

 

“A while back, when we were still in the States I bought a Latte at Starbucks.  A venti.  It was pricey for sure.  But then I pulled out of the parking lot with my extra big coffee and it tumbled out of my cup holder and spilled all over the floor of my van.  Nice.  I had nothing with me to mop it up and we were on our way to a doctors appointment.  I just had to leave it and deal with it later.  And deal with it I did.  After a day of running around the nice aromatics of coffee began to shift and we were now all suffering the aromatics of soured milk.   A long story short (is it already too late for that?) we had to have the van detailed…twice, to try to get the smell out.  I then joked that it was the most expensive coffee I never got to drink.  But last weekend bumped this coffee story to second place.

How much would you pay to impact one single person with the Love of Jesus?  How much of your money?  your time?  your stress?  I am a believer in being smart and strategic in a mission.  So which is smarter?  More strategic?  To share God’s love to as many people as quickly as possible?  Sure.  Sometimes.  There certainly are times that you think big and lo and behold, God is thinking 10 times bigger and you just hold on for the ride!  Sometimes.  Then there are those times that you leave the 99 and go for the 1.  It seems so so backwards, like bad missional strategy, doesn’t it?  Think of how those 99 could then turn around and impact even more for the Kingdom?!

But just like God’s Kingdom economy is upside down in our eyes so is His strategy for reaching the lost with His love.  How do we come into play?  Availability.  Willingness.  Release.  We make ourselves available to move ourselves, to open our eyes to what He is doing; to love someone.  We become willing, taking care to remove and keep down the hedges that distance us from others.  We release the notion of “OURS.”  Our money.  Our time.  Our peace.  No.  We release all that.  It is His to do with as He pleases.

This past weekend we took a journey as a family to the most rural place in France I think.  It was beautiful but the process of getting there was horrendous.  We knew it was important Kingdom work because the enemy was working overtime to thwart us, to discourage us, even to steal from us: our peace, our love, our luggage.  We have learned to do battle in those moments: we give God praise and we demand of the enemy restoration of all things stolen!

We were blessed to have a weekend of refreshing in the beautiful countryside.  The children played with sheep and hens and newborn lambs; they romped through green grass and picked flowers.  We sat in the sunshine under blue skies and listened to nothing but the sound of the children laughing and the birds singing.  It was just lovely.  We had a wonderful time encouraging and being encouraged with fellow believers.  There are no churches in any direction closer than an hour by car.  Are you hearing me?!  NO churches!     There is the Catholic church but even in this area of France there was 1 priest for 35 churches.  It is probably the most neglected and abandoned area in Christendom.

But back to the coffee.  On Sunday, after a little prayer and singing with our new friends, we were invited over for coffee by their neighbor, Madame Paulette.  She had seen the children playing and I had spoken to her briefly the day before.  It is a bit rare to be invited into a French person’s home if they dont know you.  So we quickly accepted the invitation.  We went and she served cake and coffee and juice for the kids.  The kids played with her dog.  We were only there for about a half hour.  But before we left we asked if we could pray for her and over her home.  She didnt really respond, but she didnt say “no” so we went for it.  We held hands all around and prayed in English and a bit in French and asked for blessing to cover over her and her house.  It was pretty simple.  We said our goodbyes but as we left she was crying and begging us to pray for her husband too.  He is in hospital in another city.  We assured her we would.  In my broken French I told her that Jesus saw her, that He loved her and that He saw her as His special daughter.  And she cried.  And we knew.  Knew that though the rest in the countryside was lovely it was only an added blessing.  We were there for Madame Paulette.

We surely could have taken the money and the time we spent in going there for more strategic ministry work.  But that is what Judas accused Jesus of too, being wasteful for the sake of one.

May we always be available and willing to lavish our love on Him and His love on others.

Please keep us and France in your prayers.  This country needs Jesus so much.  They are so hungry for it.  There are many many “Madame Paulettes” all over France.  How will they know if no one will come for a cup of coffee?

PS.  If you are curious, Madame Paulette’s story is not over.  I have her address and will be writing to her every so often, sending pictures of the children and a devotional book in French.  She is ours to care for, a precious gift from the Lord.”

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It is now 2016 and it has been 4 long years since we have had contact with Madame Paulette, but we still think of her often and pray for her.  Join us in praying for her and for the many others in France who are lonely and have no hope.  Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send us quickly into the harvest.  As you already know, God always uses people to do His work and so you know that it takes “senders” for “goers” to be sent out!  Please visit our partnership page to sow into our ministry directly either monthly or with a one time gift.

Tides

Life’s journey reminds me of the ocean’s tide.  When it comes in the water rushes and the waves splash furiously on the shore.  The excitement and joy and intensity can be seen bubbling on the surface.  But inevitably the tide will go out and then there is an absent feeling.  A sense of calm emptiness is felt and everything under the surface is exposed.

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These past few years have been like that for us.  The excitement, the forward movement in our journey to France seemed to be at a constant low tide.  Not much was happening.  All we could see was uncovered sand.  In many ways, it felt empty and a bit lost.

But God is faithful and after every season of low tide there is the sureness of the high tide.  The refreshing waters swoop back in high and heavy, splashing their joy waves all over our feet and right up to our knees.  And finally our tide is coming back in and we can see France in our future.

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Peter has been accepted to the ESSEC business school in Paris to get his International Masters degree in Luxury Hospitality Management.  We will be officially moving to Paris in August of this year to pursue the next season in our journey.

In addition we are beyond excited to be officially accepted as short term missionaries with IPHC World Missions!  

Can we be so bold to ask for your support through PRAYER, friendship and financial partnership?  So many of you have walked this journey with us and have been THE reason that we have kept going.  Your encouraging words, prayers and sheer faithfulness and belief in us have meant SO much to us!  Thank you!  

Will you stand with us as this new exciting tide of change comes rushing at us?  We are beyond exciting and are so happy to share this with you all!

Sowing=Reaping

This is a really comforting truth.  Have you ever thought about that?  I guess it could be a frightening truth as well.  But for us in this season it has been comforting.  We have put everything on hold and brought everything we hold dear (our children!) to this strange land called France.  We have spent a ridiculous amount of money in a short amount of time on things like taxes and visas and train travel, airfare and the like.  A few years ago spending this kind of money would have been stressful to us because we considered the money “ours”; something we needed to “protect” and hold on to.  Sometimes we convinced ourselves we were being frugal, responsible or thrifty.  More often than not, really, we were being stingy.  Thankfully God began to teach us about His economy and it is SO upside down!!!  When I give into the Kingdom, the money (or time or resources etc) does not just disappear into circulation.  It is sown.  When you sow something you are essentially investing into a bigger return.  When a farmer plants a seed he is trusting that the seed will grow and produce many more seeds for more sowing and more harvest.  Now in the natural, sure, the seed very well could fail the farmer.  But in God’s kingdom He backs up His economy with His promises!!  He never fails.  Never.  And His Word says   when you sow, you reap.

That has made pouring money into France, not a burden, but a joy.  We have declared every dollar spent here, a kingdom dollar.  A dollar sown into a future harvest.  We have asked for it to be multiplied seven fold in harvest.  We dont begrudge the expense of living here.  We are blessed to be a blessing.  That is our family motto.  We want God to pour out blessing on France.  We want France to be wooed by His goodness, His love.  And so we sow into France and sow into a dynamic Kingdom advance in France.

 

The Most Expensive Coffee I’ve Ever Had: a lesson in Kingdom strategy

A while back, when we were still in the States I bought a Latte at Starbucks.  A venti.  It was pricey for sure.  But then I pulled out of the parking lot with my extra big coffee and it tumbled out of my cup holder and spilled all over the floor of my van.  Nice.  I had nothing with me to mop it up and we were on our way to a doctors appointment.  I just had to leave it and deal with it later.  And deal with it I did.  After a day of running around the nice aromatics of coffee began to shift and we were now all suffering the aromatics of soured milk.   A long story short (is it already too late for that?) we had to have the van detailed…twice, to try to get the smell out.  I then joked that it was the most expensive coffee I never got to drink.  But last weekend bumped this coffee story to second place.

How much would you pay to impact one single person with the Love of Jesus?  How much of your money?  your time?  your stress?  I am a believer in being smart and strategic in a mission.  So which is smarter?  More strategic?  To share God’s love to as many people as quickly as possible?  Sure.  Sometimes.  There certainly are times that you think big and lo and behold, God is thinking 10 times bigger and you just hold on for the ride!  Sometimes.  Then there are those times that you leave the 99 and go for the 1.  It seems so so backwards, like bad missional strategy, doesn’t it?  Think of how those 99 could then turn around and impact even more for the Kingdom?!

But just like God’s Kingdom economy is upside down in our eyes so is His strategy for reaching the lost with His love.  How do we come into play?  Availability.  Willingness.  Release.  We make ourselves available to move ourselves, to open our eyes to what He is doing; to love someone.  We become willing, taking care to remove and keep down the hedges that distance us from others.  We release the notion of “OURS.”  Our money.  Our time.  Our peace.  No.  We release all that.  It is His to do with as He pleases.

This past weekend we took a journey as a family to the most rural place in France I think.  It was beautiful but the process of getting there was horrendous.  We knew it was important Kingdom work because the enemy was working overtime to thwart us, to discourage us, even to steal from us: our peace, our love, our luggage.  We have learned to do battle in those moments: we give God praise and we demand of the enemy restoration of all things stolen!

We were blessed to have a weekend of refreshing in the beautiful countryside.  The children played with sheep and hens and newborn lambs; they romped through green grass and picked flowers.  We sat in the sunshine under blue skies and listened to nothing but the sound of the children laughing and the birds singing.  It was just lovely.  We had a wonderful time encouraging and being encouraged with fellow believers.  There are no churches in any direction closer than an hour by car.  Are you hearing me?!  NO churches!     There is the Catholic church but even in this area of France there was 1 priest for 35 churches.  It is probably the most neglected and abandoned area in Christendom.

But back to the coffee.  On Sunday, after a little prayer and singing with our new friends, we were invited over for coffee by their neighbor, Madame Paulette.  She had seen the children playing and I had spoken to her briefly the day before.  It is a bit rare to be invited into a French person’s home if they dont know you.  So we quickly accepted the invitation.  We went and she served cake and coffee and juice for the kids.  The kids played with her dog.  We were only there for about a half hour.  But before we left we asked if we could pray for her and over her home.  She didnt really respond, but she didnt say “no” so we went for it.  We held hands all around and prayed in English and a bit in French and asked for blessing to cover over her and her house.  It was pretty simple.  We said our goodbyes but as we left she was crying and begging us to pray for her husband too.  He is in hospital in another city.  We assured her we would.  In my broken French I told her that Jesus saw her, that He loved her and that He saw her as His special daughter.  And she cried.  And we knew.  Knew that though the rest in the countryside was lovely it was only an added blessing.  We were there for Madame Paulette.

We surely could have taken the money and the time we spent in going there for more strategic ministry work.  But that is what Judas accused Jesus of too, being wasteful for the sake of one.

May we always be available and willing to lavish our love on Him and His love on others.

Please keep us and France in your prayers.  This country needs Jesus so much.  They are so hungry for it.  There are many many “Madame Paulettes” all over France.  How will they know if no one will come for a cup of coffee?

PS.  If you are curious, Madame Paulette’s story is not over.  I have her address and will be writing to her every so often, sending pictures of the children and a devotional book in French.  She is ours to care for, a precious gift from the Lord.

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