Guest Post – “I am nobody”

I really love helping out at the “sans logis” (literally: for those without lodging).  Around the time I got there, in the matter of a week or so we doubled the amount of people coming through for “petit déjeuner”.  Most people simply want cafe au lait (half coffee, half milk) with some bread and jam.  The breakdown of the people that show up:

  • 20-30 regulars
  • 20 new faces
  • 20 irregulars

People have started to express an interest in me as they see that: a) I’m sticking around for awhile b) I am always making an effort to smile c) happy to chat!  On Wednesday, I asked a few of the regulars their names.  Many introduced themselves to me and I to them.  One of the regulars didn’t offer his name so I politely asked his.  “Personne” (literally: “person”) he replied.  “Person” I thought to myself, that’s weird to call yourself even as a joke.  His friends quickly pointed out it wasn’t his actual name.  Later, as I was on the train coming home I realized the second possible interpretation for the same word.. “nobody”.  He introduced himself to me as “nobody”.  My heart sank.

Some of the regulars

Our seating.. it’s not a big place

This center also takes in second hand clothing and has a morning each week where people can come in and choose some clothes.  I was helping them sort through some of the clothing that was coming in.  It was pretty horrible stuff: old bras, lots of pants for gigantic men, blazers and sports jackets.  Really?  Who’s going to want this stuff.  So I’ll put it out there to you people:

How can we get these homeless people better clothes? 

  • Calling up corporate (Nike, Adidas, etc) for the different firms for donations?  What would be in it for them?
  • Getting hooked up with more Parisian churches for donations?  City halls of small towns around Paris?
  • …??

Plus a great picture of us hanging out Paris on the many “bank holidays”.  Made EXTRA LARGE for your viewing pleasure:

Taken by our new friend and team member: Sarah from Memphis!

(Except for the mosquitos) Charming and Quaint Ottawa Valley

The Black Church near Athens, Ontario

Many Americans have never thought of visiting Canada unless it might be to fish in one of its remote, wilderness lakes or perhaps take a ski vacation at Banff or Whistler in the Canadian Rockies. They generally think in one of two ways – Canada either seems rustic where they must hire a dog team and live in a wigwam or, on the other hand, a first class holiday resort. They never get acquainted with the REAL Canada.

For instance, we live in South Carolina, near Charlotte, NC,  a “driveable” 921 miles from the beautiful capitol city of Canada (NO! not Toronto or Vancouver, which are often guessed as the capitol city) but Ottawa, nestled into the fork of the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers.

Ottawa, a city of one million, is situated about two hours northwest of Montreal and four hours northeast of Toronto. Between the months of May and October, Ottawa is one of the best visits you can have without going abroad. January and February are also a wonderful time to visit if you like ice carnivals and skating on the twelve-mile-long Rideau Canal that winds north to south through the city. Great food, shops, museums, and on and on it goes.  Within reach are  the two other major Canadian cities, Montreal and Toronto. Montreal is primarily French speaking and one would have to fly to France for a similar cultural, food, and architectural experience.

The Flour Mill at Delta, Ontario

Still, without the drive to another city, the countryside around Ottawa is dotted with charming Irish and Scottish influenced hamlets dating back to the 1600’s. Driving through the rolling hills you will come around a bend to see a placid lake or perhaps a farmstead with log or stone home, red frame or log barns. I recommend it all as a relaxing way to spend some time and it is, as they say, right next door.

The Jesus March in Milano

I have worked thirteen years in Italy to see this day when Christians fearlessly take to the streets with a collective proclamation the Lordship of Jesus. Unless you have been there, you cannot imagine what a miraculous breakthrough this is. We are putting an end to the bastion mentality. Thanks, Aldo, Mariela, Francesco, Alessia and Gruppo Cristiano Latino Americano in Parma!

Ho lavorato tredici anni in Italia per vedere questo giorno in cui i cristiani senza paura per le strade con una proclamazione collettiva la Signoria di Gesù. A meno che non ci sono stato, non si può immaginare che cosa una svolta miracolosa questo è. Stiamo mettendo fine alla mentalità bastione. Grazie, Aldo, Mariela, Francesco, Alessia e Cristiano Gruppo Latino Americano a Parma!

Jeanne gets her kick at the proverbial can…

and does a terrific job!

Jeanne holding forth

We had quite a big group for Chapel Ridge this morning when Jeanne spoke on the subject of “Godly Motherhood.” We like to joke by saying it was SRO (Standing Room Only) but it wasn’t.

As most of you know, I am the oral communicator and Jeanne admits to preferring to write her thoughts in her devotionals (jeannehedrick.wordpress) to pulpiteering.  She just doesn’t consider herself an effective public speaker, but she has decided to take faith in hand and when asked, she will do her best. Today no one was disappointed as she presented a warm and honest message on the trials and perseverance in being  a Godly Mother.  Her message was full of windows into her own journey bolstered by sound scriptural tools that all of us can benefit from – dads and moms.

When she asked how it went, I couldn’t add a pinch of helpful instruction on how to improve except to perhaps do it more and expect that she’ll have no shortage of opportunity in the future. I was blessed. We were all blessed. In a few days you should be a able to view this message by video. Just Google “Chapel Ridge Free Methodist Church Video.”

Thanks to Pastor Ken Roth for inviting her to speak. You are always our brother and friend and have been for some thirty or more years.

Guest post – Le sucre avec votre café?

Thanks for all of your encouragement on our last post.  We are quite settled in and enjoying our evening walks.

Jevin — I’ve spent two mornings at the “sans logis” (soup kitchen + extra services). They serve two meals. Once for the “petit déjeuner ” at 9:30 in the morning, and and dinner around 5pm and 6pm. On my first day there, I wasn’t really sure how I would plug in. As I was waiting to report in, I saw three employees hovering around a computer. They looking really frustrated. I gathered up some courage: “je suis l’ingénieur informatique. Puis je t’aider?” (I work with computers, can I help you out? “.. “oui oui! Servez vous! ” (please! Have at it). Try were trying to get a printer on their network connected to the computer. Took me about 20 minutes and they were thrilled. Nice! I’m useful within the first 5 minutes! After that, I went to work in the kitchen, cleaning dishes and prepping for the dinner meal, just getting used to the place.

Ashley — it seems that teaching Français is going to be harder than we thought. It’s a 1.5 hour train ride each way. With Savannah and no help it will be tough. The team is trying to come up with stuff in the office and around town to help out.

She is very passionate to really get an advanced handle on the French language. She is doing weekly one on one French tutoring via Skype with a French national. She is loving this.

Savannah — she is awake almost all day and is still up a lot during the night. The baby is generally happy, so that makes us happy. As expected, she keeps Ashley busy.

If you are praying, ask God to guide us. It’s important to us that we are effective while we are here.

Guest Post – Jevin and Ashley in France

Ashley (my wife), Savannah (our 4 month old) and I  have taken 3 months off during Ashley’s parental leave to come over to France and serve here however we can.  Ashley and I really appreciate Tony’s missionary heart and welcomed us to post on his blog.  We hope our travel stories will encourage even young families to try out missions.

Amazingly, Savannah slept for the entire plane ride which is a miracle in itself.  We arrived a week ago and have settled in to the OM house/office quite well.  There are 8 people who work out of this office and 3 of us live here on site.

France is holiday crazy!  Within 3 weeks of being here, we will have experienced 3 national holidays.

We are still trying to figure out how we’ll be applying ourselves but the team here really gets that we want to help wherever we can.  Stick around for updates, neat stories about missions life, French life and stories about the people we meet.

Coming Soon! Fred and Joel Williams & North Street Band

Ottawa Valley Friends

Help us promote this FUND Raising Concert by telling your friends. This is going to be a terrific night of listening to great music and reuniting with old friends. Forward to your contacts the link and let them know.