Blog – Monday 10 November
We now have less than two weeks to go at language school together. Gill is considering continuing her studies at a place near the city centre someone told her about where you can do conversation classes.
We have a new record time for cycling to college – 10 minutes! Cycling is definitely the way forward. I was reading an article at college last week showing that in Paris, cycling is the quickest means of transport for up to about 3 km.
We also have a new record for unintentional distance cycled, or rather, Gill does! We were cycling separately from Gordon and Kerry’s house to William and Hannah’s on Wednesday evening to enjoy Hannah’s crepes. Gill left first and I followed ten minutes later thinking if I really pushed it I might even overtake her on the steep and long hill up to Meudon. I arrived to find Gill not there which surprised me. I was sure I had not overtaken her but wondered whether I had been going so fast that I might have passed her as a blur. After a further ten minutes she rang to say she was lost somewhere in Clamart which was quite a few miles away! William whipped out his A-Z equivalent and we established her location and gave some instructions. We went out to find her and eventually arrived chez Hannah et William.
In fact, I calculated that Gill must have cycled 55 miles that evening.
On Thursday evening Gordon and I travelled by Eurostar to Ebbsfleet for the France team meeting and returned on Saturday evening. We had a good time as ever with the other guys. We only have seven churches in France at present. There is a very long way to go to say the least, and we were asking the Lord to stretch out his hand to perform signs and wonders and to draw people to himself.
On the train for the whole journey I was engaged in a conversation with a young Tunisian woman living in Paris from a moslem background who grilled me with questions about my faith. It reminded me of 1 Peter 3:15 (always be ready to give an answer...). She did give me one break for five minutes while she did her nails! I have invited her to come one Sunday.
We probably have around 40 people who would consider themselves part of the church right now and seem to be receiving visitors each week which is encouraging. I preached a week ago on the power of the Holy Spirit coming on us to give us power to be his witnesses. We prayed for a few people at the end which was great and one, Nathalie, gave a wonderful testimony yesterday as to what God had done for her.
We have David Pike from Cardiff with us this coming Sunday which we’re looking forward to. He led the first French speaking evangelism team I went on (in 1996 I think it was) to Perpignan.
We had an entertaining evening yesterday. We had arranged with Jubilee Church Coventry to set up a skype link with them during their prayer meeting when they would be praying for us etc. As we still do not have a telephone line or permanent internet at home we had decided to go to the nearest McDonalds to make use, once again, of their free wifi internet service. We had agreed with Andrew to do a test at 7.00pm; so, before the appointed hour, we set off on the bikes for Denfert Rochereau, found the Mcds easily and entered. After setting up the computer and Gill getting in the queue for a fanta the wifi stopped working and despite all our efforts 7.00pm came and went without success. Plan B was to go to a friend’s apartment not far from there. I rang her only to be told she had no internet, but that there was another McDs at Alesia a mile or so away and a Starbucks. We set off in haste for Plan C (putting back on the fluorescent vests, bike lights and helmets). We found Starbucks quickly and entered. Gill went straight to the back to set up the computer and I went to pay for the internet. I had to wait ages for a French couple to decide whether to order English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey and then, on the verge of paying, a new member of staff appeared and announced the wifi wasn’t working. I recovered my money, ran to the back, grabbed Gill and we ran out of the cafe to unlock our bikes from the nearby railings and put on yet again our fluorescent vests, bike lights and helmets! We set off for the next Mcds and arrived ten minutes later only to find that, in fact, it was opposite Starbucks and we could simply have crossed the road! Never mind, we found another set of railings and ran into Mcds and straight up the stairs only to find it noisy and absolutely packed. No good for a skype conversation. The time was now getting rather late anyway. We found a little table after a while and tried to log on. Failure. No connection. Couldn’t believe it. Asked some people opposite. They had a connection. Not fair. Considered throwing computer through the window. Didn’t. Good thing too as Gill who had got out her French books anticipating being in there some time, was suddenly asked by a lady whether she was reading the Bible (it was, in fact, her old schoolgirl dictionary!). That led to a ten minute conversation with the lady and her daughter as to why we were in Paris and ended up with one of them wanting to visit our church. Amazing. But we were now very late. Plan D: go home. We rushed home to find we had an intermittent internet connection. We managed to get about 5 seconds of visual before that packed up and, in the end, praise God, we did manage to have a sensible conversation which hopefully provided some material for the church to pray about. God works in mysterious ways...