We are in France, and it is so exciting! Our language school is absolutely wonderful, and the girls are really enjoying their schools as well. We are looking forward to using this medium, our blog, to keep you informed on our activities in France, to pass onto you the interesting things we learn about all things French, and to encourage your walk in the faith as well.
While you can look forward to these posts to start flowing your way, we want to start with highlighting how it is possible that we can even be here in France. There are so many people that make this possible. While so many people have helped us in truly diverse, and sometimes unique, ways, there is no replacement for our financial partners. Paul is so grateful to the Philippian church in his letter for their support, and he makes it clear that they are actual partners in his ministry. This is exactly how we feel about those who are supporting us on a continual basis.
Currently our needs are being met by two distinct groups which split pretty evenly into two categories. In one category there are around 40 families who have decided to make FCM a part of their monthly giving. We know that a family’s budget is precious, and that there are so many opportunities to give to valuable ministries. As such, it truly touches our heart to know that these families are as committed to reach the French as much as we are.
Then there are ten churches who constitute about 50% of our support as well. We are excited to recognize these churches for their commitment to our ministry. They are listed in alphabetical order:
1. Booker Christian Church, Booker, TX
2. Broadway Christian Church, Lexington, KY
3. Crossroads Christian Church, West Lafayette, IN
4. First Church of Christ, Bluffton, IN
5. Jonesville Christian Church, Jonesville, IN
6. Markle Church of Christ, Markle, IN
7. Park Christian Church, Dennison, OH
8. Rush Church, Rushsylvania, OH
9. Unity Christian Church, Marion, IN
10. Western Hills Church of Christ, Cincinnati, OH
Honestly, I could spend a couple thousand words telling you stories about each church and something about how they are special to us, but I will only take the time here to focus on two churches.
First is the Western Hills Church of Christ. Back in 2012 we moved to Cincinnati so that I could pursue my MDiv, but we eventually found out that we were also moving to a very special church family as well. Even though I was not on staff, I was given so many opportunities (some of them quite unique) to serve and grow as a minister of the Lord. The leadership of the church has been so encouraging to us, and we have lifelong friendships with more than a few people there.
Perhaps more important than all of that is how this church is serving us this month. Through the month of January, the church is putting a special focus on praying for France. I cannot even fathom how those prayers are going to shape the future of our ministry and the lives of people here in France, and we are so grateful for their faithfulness in putting this country in the hand of the Creator-God.
The Markle Church of Christ (MCC) is also so special to us. Not only are they our premier financial partner, but they have been a source of true encouragement to us. In July of 2016 we moved from Cincinnati to Bluffton, IN to live with my parents so that we could focus on preparing to leave for France. This move held with it many advantages, but it also held the downside of leaving a city we really liked and a church family we truly loved. From the first week we felt so welcome at MCC and truly appreciate the relationships we were able to form over our six months there. They also have been too kind to us. If it were possible (and it's not) I think that some people at that church might be more excited for our mission than we are. As a final anecdote, my parents had the unenviable task of driving us to Chicago to catch our plane. With seven of us in the vehicle along with 13 suitcases, we had a logistical problem at hand. Thankfully, the leadership at MCC allowed us to borrow their church van, which made a somewhat difficult day a bit less so.
As we work our way through our second week in France, it is so clear to us that we are where God desires us to be. Thank you so much to the individuals, families, and churches who have made this possible.