We are excited for what God is doing in lives across Europe. The New Divide will be returning this summer to continue coming alongside local churches to share the great hope that we have – but today, we want to put your attention and prayers on something we are very excited about!
The Stewart’s are a Kingdom-minded family from Astoria Oregon traveling as a family to France for the entire month. (You may recall seeing Jeff’s name last year as Rick Morgan and I traveled alongside him to Bordeaux and Paris.) Jeff & Sonja are exploring France with their kids, serving the local church, and living on purpose in the community in which they are staying.
I will say no more – and just leave you with an excerpt from their most recent blog. We are in full support of their undertakings and are eager to see how God continues to use them as they equip the found and find the lost. Please take a moment to read about their journey, then send them a message of support to let them know you are praying for them.
“Ok, so what’s France like? Well. It’s kind of interesting right now. We have come on one of the rainiest seasons they have ever had. Add to that, the terror attacks on a family of police members in a town right near us, the union strikers that are destroying hospitals and attacking police officers, the fact that France is hosting the Eurocup (it’s a super big deal,) and the flooding Seine…the people of France are, well, uneasy. You see, right now, because of all the rain, the French are depressed. Seriously. They are taking this rain hard. Even our host’s typically upbeat 15 year old son said, in French, “It makes me so sad.” They expect this time of year to be eating outside, and talking in cafes. It’s a huge part of their culture.
When we first got here, everyone was scared from the floods. Then they were anxious and frustrated from the strikes. Then the attack happened on the police couple and it was devastating to the morale of the police force, who is already over-worked from the Eurocup and the strikes. Now the rain continues. And continues. And continues. I laugh because everyday they say next week will be better and we can go see the Eiffel Tower, but next week never comes. Only the rain. And it’s beating down a culture that desperately desires some levity in the middle of all this turmoil.
Our interactions with people have been amazing. Honestly. Not one negative story. We are expanding our French, and people in this little town already recognize us and say hello. The people at the craft store know us and ask us how it’s going when they run into us. Yeah, that was a crazy story. You think you know your french until you’re attempting to locate and purchase felt for a kid’s craft for church. The word for felt in french? Feutre. Je rien.
Everyone in this town knows why we’re here. We’re the “Protestants” that go to “temple” in a Jews for Jesus building. I feel so exotic! Last night we were finally able to have dinner with our host family. Denis and his wife Katrine are in the film industry here in France. It’s pretty surreal to be across the world and share stories about our time in Los Angeles. We met their friend Sarah, also an actress, who spends half of her time in L.A. We talked about everything you shouldn’t: religion, politics, money…and it was wonderful. We absolutely love this family. Denis is Jewish and Katrine is Catholic. We got to talk about traditions and fear and Denis commented how people are turning to religion for answers because they are so scared. We are praying continually for the opportunity to “show and tell” as Jeff calls it. He tells the kids, “We show Jesus before we tell.” That’s what we’re doing with Denis and his family, hopefully.”