A very happy Christmas and new year to all and sorry it has been a whole month since we last posted on this blog!
We had a very enjoyable week or so in the UK over Christmas managing to see almost all our closest relatives in various places. My parents were kind enough to lend me their car and 750 miles and a week later we returned it in one piece, but totally covered in mud (more of that later).
Our Paris church plant, CVV, (Le Chemin, la Verite et la Vie) continued well during December and it was a privilege to preach on The Unsearchable Riches of Grace on 14 Dec to a group which included that morning 4 people who were not Christians (one Mexican, one French, one American and one Russian) all of whom were separately involved in deep discussions over our lunch together. We are eagerly awaiting our first convert to Christ. I am sure that will not be long now.
Julian Adams was with us on 21 Dec and, as I had to rush off for the Eurostar before the end and while he was in full prophesying flow, I have yet to hear all he shared, but in preaching he encouraged us strongly to ensure that the power of God is in the very foundations of the church.
Gill has started a new course at Alliance Francaise until the end of January and then hopes to do a further course run by the local town hall not far from where we live.
One of my main prayers, at present, is asking God for guidance and clear direction regarding the use of my time. One option might be to find a part time job locally and be supported by the church part time too.
Financially, we are very encouraged by our first two monthly offerings as a church (we don't pass the plate round each Sunday). Many many French churches are seriously hindered by lack of resources. We pray that we may have the grace to set an entirely different example right from the beginning.
Another prayer is for God's help in searching for somewhere new to meet on Sundays as we are, of course, getting too big for Gordon and Kerry's house.
Some very good news indeed is that, at very long last, we received an offer on the sale of our house and, after a little negotiation, we have a deal!!! Praise God. We still, of course, need to pray that it all goes through smoothly and it is hoped to exchange contracts in February.
As well as seeing our respective parents and most of our siblings and some of their families over Christmas we stayed in Michael's house in Bramley, Leeds which Sarah had warned us in advance would be seriously cold and she had wanted us to "implore" him to clean it! In fact, it was not too cold and it was clear that he had definitely cleaned some of it. It was lovely to spend a few days with all our three children, likely to be the last Christmas with just the five of us as Sarah is getting married in July.
Speaking of marriages, we had an enjoyable day meeting Gabriel's family at their farm cottage in the middle of nowhere: in fact it is an old farm cottage on the Castle Howard estate in North Yorkshire. Really quite the opposite of a 5th floor apartment in Paris! No other habitation anywhere in sight, no tarmac on any nearby road and, of course, mud everywhere. There is, in fact, less mud there now as much of it attached itself to my parents' car as we skidded down and then later up the farm track. We had a walk around the estate, a wonderful meal, we all prayed together and finished with a game of scrabble.
Back in Paris it is extremely cold and the lake in the park is frozen over. It snowed this morning and there's a beautiful winter-wonderland view from our balcony.
It is, however, the transforming by the Holy Spirit of the Parisian spiritual and social landscape that we will take even more delight in and we pray that we will see more evidence of that throughout this coming year.