A heart for france


18 Jan 2013



This is what the French wish for each other at the beginning of each new year. They send out SMSs or electronic cards, some still send traditional cards by snail mail throughout January.

Most Christmas decorations were taken down after 6th January when they traditionally celebrate the visit of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus. There are several versions of the Galette des Rois (pastry or bready type round patisserie in honour of the 'Kings') and this is shared by families, at work places, through invitations to friends, etc.

It's surprising to note how many holidays are still connected to a religious celebration, and yet how ferociously the French want to keep out any religious references in public life ! But these are all occasions for our churches and believers everywhere to organise events which remind people of the original reason for these days. Our church did 2 Christmas play performances with 115 people in the public at each performance. Once of our best this time around. However, we didn't do anything for Galette des Rois. We'll have to get cracking to organise something appropriate for Easter, but not sure the energy levels will hold up.

I close in wishing each and everyone of you, dear readers, a blessed New Year in 2013. The Lord didn't return end 2012, nor did the world end, so God still has plans for us. May we be counted amongst the faithful this year, enjoying our special status of Child of God. May we be able to communicate the joy, the peace and the love this brings us. May we be a blessings to others.

Working together

29 Nov 2012

In the midst of a busy week (nothing new there - each week is busy!), I drive 2 hours to attend a committee meeting for the Women 2000 South Eastern region group. It even snowed lightly when I went over the 700m altitude mark!

I always stay the night after these meetings, so I enjoy getting to know my hostess and fellow committee member. This morning I left at 7am to return home. 2 hours drive and more snow at 700m!

My husband greeted me on my return with "Well, was it worth it?" My answer is "Yes and no". We didn't deal with anything particularly urgent or difficult. I probably could have stayed home and communicated by email. I am the Vice-President, so I guess I have a moral responsibility to participate 'live and in person'! But it was worth it, because we were all able to give such positive feedback on the conference we had organized in June. Each of us has heard other women say how much they appreciated the theme and the day and that the Lord has unplugged certain blockages in their lives as a result.

And it was worth it because we talked about the pleasure of working together - aware of being a part of the Body of Christ where each member has her own rôle to play; the harmonious side of working toward a common goal, discovering the richness of each person, realizing that the Spirit of God is well and truly present and active.

We talked also of our difficulties - and realized also that we were engaged in a spiritual combat.

We talked of giving others the opportunity to participate (we were preparing our Annual General Meeting) and the need to be conscious of mentoring, transmitting our know-how and accompanying others for part of the journey.

We shared a meal together simply and naturally.

It was just so good to be sisters in faith together. So yes, it was worth it.

Where does this road lead ?

21 Nov 2012

Today I went to visit Murielle to buy half a lamb (organic and locally grown!)


She gave me fairly precise directions to find her - she lives out in the country. But I forgot to ask how many metres, no, kilometres, before each section. My mobile phone stopped working. Here I was in a city car winding my way around unknown country!


I arrived at a field and saw another car parked there. Was it Murielle's car with a note on it ? I went to look... and heard someone calling out. I looked around and across the small valley saw three figures watching me. Obviously, it was their car and not Murielle's.


Nothing for it - I had to follow the dirt road and try and find her house. The road looked too rough for my car, so I pulled out the cooler and prepared to walk the next section. A smallish white-haired man was walking towards me "Can I help you ? I'm from the Forestry office."


I explained my mission. "I'm looking for the house called 'le Pouzat'." "You mean the hippy types ? It's another 800 metres from here, but you can't get to it by car - the road is too rough. You will see a grey car parked in a bay. Stop there and continue on foot another 800 m."


Mmm, I'm dubious about getting through. Already I have to turn around and the wheels skid on the wet grass. The other 2 men have joined us by now and push me out of the soggy ground. I turn the car then bump my way through the ruts and over tree roots, find the parking bay with the other car, lock up, grab the cooler and head down the last part of the unmade road. A four-wheel drive powers up toward me. Yay! it's Murielle. She has rung home and discovered I was on my way and has come to meet me. We get to her house in one piece and I get my lamb and a nice cup of coffee.


I'll go back there - not by the same route though. But Murielle wants another visit. She has chosen to live there with her companion and has raised 3 daughters. She is into alternative living. Lives off her pottery and vegetable garden. Her partner is the local pot grower and seller. I will go back, because Murielle is a new Christian and has this incredible thirst for the Word of God.

One month on ...

03 Nov 2012

I've been back in France for exactly a month after a 2 month Home Assignment. It's been a long landing : the time home was so intense and busy. The main thing I've noticed is how much I felt at home in Australia and how disconnected I felt at first in France. Even after 22 years in this country I have not lost my original Aussie background and identity or mentality. It's a reminder of the challenge of being a missionary in another country. You never really completely fit in.

I had to do a psychological profile for the mission and it was suggested I do one in English and one in French. Interesting result! No, I'm not schizophrenic, but different personality traits come through depending on which language I use! The psychologist can also see where there are conflicts between my natural self and what I think I need to be because of the host culture. This is where tension, fatigue and even low self-esteem or more abrasive character traits can be seen. So remember not only to pray for our ministry efforts, but for our personal well-being and balance. We are always on call mentally and emotionally. Pray we remember to depend on the Lord for understanding, help, energy, humility, and even opportunities to relax and to laugh. Missionaries don't negate who they are, but they are moulded by their experiences and surroundings.

4th October - back to work

19 Oct 2012

My first meeting after my return from Australia was to finish preparing our Combined Women's groups day 6th October.

 "Welcome Eternity in our lives" was the theme chosen for the day.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

My pastor-husband was named 'honorary member of the Women's Group of our Church' and had taken over coordinating the organisation whilst I was away. All I had to do was take over preparing the songs, introduce the speaker, make cakes for morning and afternoon tea and direct the proceedings during the day(!!)


Our symbolic action was to take a stone from the bowl and place it at the foot of the cross to reinforce the commitment we made to God to act on our understanding of how being already part of eternity will affect our way of living out our faith. The stones would then form an altar, a bit like the Israelites did in the Old Testament stories, when they made or renewed an alliance with God.

The painting reminds us that Christ is the light at the centre of all creation and each branch represents a season.



22 women came to this day - a first for our ladies' group. We had stimulating discussions, felt at ease to share, enjoyed a simple meal, time out from busy lives and this special moment when we sang a blessing to each other.


Thank the Lord for a great day!


06 Sep 2012

This is what I will be sharing on Saturday at the SIM World Day.

Home at last – but where is home ?

Where will I lay my head tonight ?

I know that God is on His throne,

But why do I feel that this part is such a fight ?


They've given me a whole 2 minutes to talk ;

to explain 2, 3 or 4 years of intense activity ;

to say in what ways God has accompanied this walk ;

(I hope I've done adequate photography.)


Children, do you remember this person … ?

Lord, have I prepared them well enough ?

What's the best school and how much will it cost ?

I have to trust the kids are made of sterner stuff.


What on earth is the Aussie word for …. ?

My goodness, they're all using these things now !

I've forgotten where you buy pencil sharpeners.

Do I look dowdy in this ? I feel like an old German Frau.


Now I've been to the office and I've seen the Treasurer,

The SMD and the LT and personnel ;

I filled in all the forms and checked I have the measure

of all the paperwork, admin and other torture from hell.


Folks, it's been such an exciting journey,

I hope you'll partner with us for the next three.

Look at all those photos on their missions board

I'm NOT in competition : God has called them, AND He has called me.


I am sooo happy to see this person again,

Grateful for the ease of our relationship.

But I cry as I leave, inspite of the promise of Heaven,

Mourning the potential of that special friendship.


The time is up ; it's the journey back.

The support's at a 100 and the commissioning's done.

Vaccinations, health checks, visas and all's packed.

Goodbyes at the airport – the next adventure is come.


Home at last – but where is home ?

('In my Father's house are many rooms' Jn 14:2)

Where will I lay my head tonight ?

('The Son of Man has no place to lay His head' Mt 8:20)

I know that God is on His throne,

('Your throne, O Lord, will last for ever and ever' Ps 45:6)

But why do I feel that this part is such a fight ?

('Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.' 1 Tim 6:12)

Somewhere in Australia ...

26 Aug 2012

Hi everybody !

Sorry about the long silence.

I arrived in Melbourne Airport last Friday and my uncle was picking me up. Suddenly he said "It's Friday and it's Melbourne!" I looked at him sideways wondering why he had said that and he replied - "Well, you have moved around so much, I thought you needed help remembering where you are and what day it is!"

Bless him ! he's right. In the last 3 months I've been to England, London, Paris, Lamastre (our home), Brisbane and Maleny (where my parents live), Sydney (SIM Home Office and my sister), Melbourne, now Hamilton (my home church) and Warrnambool in the Western District of Victoria. All this alone or in the company of various members of my family

.speaking at Hamilton Baptist

Yes, folks ! this is Home Assignment where missionaries try and contact as many of the partners in their work as possible and even have the privilege of meeting new people and introducing their ministry to these people.

I'm particularly busy because my time in Australia is limited to 2 months. It's very hard to make new contacts and start new relationships in that time, so I rely heavily on my family and friends here to help me, as well as the SIM home staff. But it's stimulating and can be encouraging. It makes me realize how passionate I am about what I'm doing in France and why we keep plodding on (with Pascal, my husband, in his 2 pastoral roles). We just love the French people and have such a heart to share the riches of our faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Praying for :

* that all the technical stuff works!

* that I can meet new people who would become partners in this ministry

* that our French churches grow in spiritual maturity, reaching out to their community and sharing the Gospel in the most appropriate ways. We are particularly praying for 14 new people in our Lamastre church.

* for my husband and 3 teens as they go on without me, especially for the first week of September which is the start of the new school year.

On the road again ...

14 Aug 2012

Sorry for the long silence, but I've been on the road - quite widely travelled this time!

In the first half of July, my daughter and I went to England to catch up with friends, but especially to see my parents singing in their excellent amateur choir as part of a European tour and competition in an Eisteddford. We also did lots of tourism in a spic and span London (after the Queen's Jubilee and before the Olympic Games).

Then my husband and our boys joined us in Paris, again to hear the choir, and to show them this legendary city. We were privileged to be there for 14th July celebrations as well.

Return to our home for 2 weeks well-earned rest for my parents, and preparation for my departure to Australia with them. I have 2 whole months away for home assignment.

I miss my family, but have been able to spend 3 weeks with my parents in Queensland. Will soon head for Sydney (19/8-24/8). My time will mainly be spent in Victoria 24/8-30/9). You can contact me via this blog if you want details and to catch up with me in person.

Have you heard about the Victorian SIM World Day ? Follow this link for more information. A vital day for information on missions as a supporter or a potential candidate. Follow this link : http://www.sim.org.au/news/n/put-this-date-in-your-diary-8-september-2012-120807/nc/General_News/pg/1

The following article will give you an idea of the background to my ministry in France.: http://www.religiontoday.com/blog/what-nobody-is-saying-about-france.html

femmes 2000 continued

25 Jun 2012

Thank you for praying.

It was a full and blessed day. 500 women were challenged to see the Spirit of God at work in a different way, using different words, and none were indifferent to the music, dance, theatre sketch, artists exhibitions, mission information and especially to our conference speaker. She helped us to see how letting the Spirit (the Breath of life) work in and through us is the key to renewing and improving our relationships.

Tatyana held her first public showing of her creations and we had to keep convincing her to sell them instead of giving them away! She had to at least cover her costs!

The symbolic gesture was designed to help the women note down the names of those with whom she would like to renew or restore the relationship. The post-it hearts were placed on the logo and then our committee prayed generally for those relationships and burned them afterwards to ensure privacy. It was a special moment.


Our mission even had a stand to promote SIM, our call to mission, to support missionaries, to experiment with short term commitments and to see missionaries like me !

Great weekend

28 May 2012

It wasn't quite like the film "4 Weddings and a Funeral"; but there were elements of that!

Saturday Pascal co-hosted a wedding blessing with the local Catholic priest in our church. It was a mixed marriage!

Saturday evening, I spoke to our Youth Group about Mission (am fairly well placed to speak on that subject!! ;) )

Sunday morning I replaced a man who has just become a father for the 4th time and took the teens' group for Bible Study. That was fun as well, because we are teaching them to use the Bible, indexes and concordances to find verses which explain and justify their faith. Very satisfying to see them becoming more and more familiar with the Word.

Sunday afternoon we went to be with one of our parishioners whose neighbour died after a long illness. The other neighbours and family had organised a get together to sprinkle his ashes on his beloved peony garden. We had never been able to meet this man, and we are pretty sure he died without accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour, so our friend was saddened not just by the loss, but by the lostness of his soul.

As her husband said (and he should have been challenged by all of this since he has been baptised as a believer, but has now given up on his faith), "Nous sommes peu de choses" - "We don't amount to anything much". Yes, and no. We are so insignificant in terms of the size of the world and the number of people in it, but we are infinitely precious in God's eyes - so precious that He sent His only Son to take our punishment so we may have abundant life.


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