Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Plan Unfolds

Sometimes God's plans are so much bigger than my own. I like to think of my self as a risk-taking, adventure seeking dreamer. But right now this risk-taking, adventure-seeking, dream-cherishing girl is SHAKING in her boots! By the way, I say that with a smile on my face. I like to live on the edge.

Some background: David and I were commissioned by GEM to be "Church Planters" in France. Yet, as we shared our calling with friends and supporters, we always said something like, "We actually don't want to plant one church in France. What we would really like to do is help facilitate a church planting movement." We said this with conviction, because it was clearly the burden that God had placed on our hearts. At the same time, we had no idea of how that could be done. I mean, there are goals, like "We want to plant a church in France;" and there are big, hairy, audacious goals, like "We want to help facilitate a church planting movement." We knew that our goal was beyond our capacity, that our vision was bigger that our abilities, and that our hope was outside the realm of possibility. We knew that we had been called to something that we could not accomplish on our own.

Fast forward to today: We have spent this first year on the field learning French and praying. We conjugate verbs in one breath, and we seek the Lord's direction in the next. Both tasks are rather laborious! Slowly, the language has been coming. The direction, on the other hand, has tarried. Our year was half over, and we still had no idea what we were going to do once we finished language school. Where would we live? Who should we serve? How could we serve them? With so many unknowns, we focused our energy on the one thing that we DID know: the fact that our boys needed an education. We asked the Lord to lead.

And now, we are starting to see the unfolding of His amazing plans.

Back in February, while searching on the Internet for schools in France, we found a bilingual international school in a small village called Loches. It looked like it might be a good school for our boys, but we had no idea what we would possibly do there. In March we talked to our field directors, explaining that we felt like we needed to prioritize the boys schooling situation, and we proposed the idea of moving to Loches. They were stunned, and went on to inform us of an incredible opportunity in that very village. But let me back up.

There is a young French pastor named Raphael who is highly connected in the CNEF, which is the umbrella organization for all protestant churches in France. Raphael, with the full support of the CNEF, has a goal to plant 4000 churches all across France. With 4000 new churches, there would be one church for every 10,000 people in France. (The current ratio is one church for every 40,000.) In order to reach this goal, he has a vision to create Church Planting Training Centers in 10 different regions of France. His plan is for every Training Center to BE a church plant first. This way, as pastors and leaders come for training, they will be given opportunities for practical experience. When these pastors are sent out to plant churches they will be required to stay within a 45 minute radius of one of the 10 Training Centers so that they can receive on-going encouragement and support.

Raphael began his efforts 8 months ago by planting a church in a small village of 7000 people. This brand new church plant is the only existing protestant church in that village. This church plant is also the very first of the ten Church Planting Training Centers. This church/Church Planting Training Center is in Loches.

Last Wednesday, after touring a school for our boys, our family spent the entire afternoon with Raphael, his wife, and their four children. We got know each other and shared our hopes and dreams,  and then we began to formulate a plan.

Raphael has invited us to join him and his team in Loches for the next three years. During that time we would be his interns, learning not only how to plant a church, but how to plant the next Regional Training Center in France. We would join in his work in Loches for now, but with the full intention of being sent out.

After three years, we would be required to take our one year furlough in the States; but, upon our return to this country, David and I would move to an entirely different region of France, and plant a church AND a Regional Training Center. We would then train and equip church planters! We would be helping to facilitate a church planting movement--just like we said. How amazing is that? Still, this plan is so much BIGGER than us. Thus, I am shaking in my boots.

There are many details to be worked out. We will go back to Loches in June to spend a long weekend with Raphael and his team. We will talk about specifics and clarify expectations. Between now and then, we are seeking confirmation from the Lord that this is, indeed, His plan for our family. Will you pray with us?


  1. How exciting!!! I will pray and watch with joy as God's plan unfolds before our very eyes :-)

  2. This was a very interesting topic that you never hear about anymore. Or you do but people are hesitant to really dive into the core fabric of it and be upfront in detail.

  3. you are invited to follow my blog

  4. So excited for you four. God has, again, done exceedingly abundant beyond your wildest dreams! God bless.

  5. hey. What your doing is awesome. Right at the coal face, throwing yourself at a community in service.

    Total and utter respect. Keep up the good work - the great work: the countless small works, done in love...

    I will follow your story with some excitement.