Monday, 15 June 2009

House sale

Good news indeed. We have today exchanged contracts on the sale of our house in Coventry! Yippee! Praise God. It went on the market at the end of Feb 2008 so it has been a long time. The completion date is next Tuesday!!

Another interesting development is with our application to be included on the French social security system. We first applied an extremely long time ago (January 2004 we think, it's so difficult to remember now!). We managed a number of visits to the local offices which resulted last time in their taking lots of photocopies of our passports, birth certificates etc and saying that they would need to send them off to a different office as our application was "irregular". Anyway they promised this other office would phone us. They didn't of course, but, on Friday we had a letter from them. That's the good news. The slightly less good news is that they are asking us to reply to a few simple questions (we should be OK with that) and asking for more photocopies of documents they already have (our conclusion from this request is that, perhaps as a result of the world economic crisis, the French civil service has sold all its stock of photocopiers).

Church wise, our Sundays in the last month or so have been extremely quiet, largely due to the fact that most weekends at this time of year there is a French public holiday and most people use these weekends to go away. We only had 20 people in the meeting a couple of weeks ago!

A week ago Gill and I had our first trip on the famous TGV train when we went to Nimes where I was teaching on "Pastoral Ministry" to the Newfrontiers South region leaders and wives (in fact there were folk there from 6 other churches too which was great). We stayed with Joel and Cathy Trefcon. I preached at the Marguerittes church on the Sunday and then we spent some time with Jenny Fancett, formerly of Jubilee Church Coventry and in the process of moving to the Paris region this summer. It will be great to have her here as part of the church.

Gill has been enjoying her conversation group held in a very posh part of central Paris. She goes for a couple of hours as many afternoons as she can each week. She is making friends very fast and describes herself as "having a ball" at the moment.

We enjoyed the Fete des Voisins (neighbours party) on 26 May, which is now here an annual event. Although it was a cold evening, we had a great time over glasses of champagne and delicious finger foods. Then after a couple of hours we were invited in by folk on the third floor and we spent more time talking with them and another couple.

We have one of the 40 members of L'Academie Francaise living in our block. He is lovely old man of 94. The members of the Academy are the official guardians of the French language which is quite ironic when you hear some of our attempts to master it!

We are off to the UK on Wednesday as I have a training day near London on Thursday. Then we go to the Together at Envision event on Friday (near Bromsgrove) with all the Newfrontiers churches in the western Midlands. I have the privilege of speaking at the opening meeting on Friday night. In English!!!

Then on Sunday we drive to Bishop's Stortford to celebrate with my parents their 60th wedding anniversary! Then back to Paris on Monday.

Our next trip to the UK is to get me to the Brighton conference on 6 July where I am helping with a seminar on church planting on the Thursday. Gill will be taking the train to Leeds to spend the week with Sarah before her big day with Gabriel on 11 July.

Last thing for now: we are buying a car! Not sure where we'll park it. Bit of a nightmare finding anywhere here for it, but we're told that there's lots of space in Belgium. Well, we'll see.