The last two weeks were spring break for our region of France. That meant the Saldis got to do some traveling! We rented a vehicle and set out for two castles before our prime objective (more on that later-not vacation related).
The first was the castle at Valençay. The castle was built around 1540 (added on and changed a bit through the years) and was very nice. If you ever happen to plan a visit, it was about 13,00 euros for adults to attend but free for Ophelia. The castle had some very beautiful rooms, a small zoo, a playground and a maze that we all enjoyed (each section was locked off by a fence that required you to solve a puzzle to unlock, really cool).
The next place we went to see was the castle at Montpoupon. Montpoupon was originally built in the 1500’s as well but had been lived in until the early 1900’s. It featured a modern museum about hunting (a very popular pastime in the region). There were all sorts of animals (stags, wolves and pigs) that had been hunted in the area that were on display. There was also quite a bit of land for us to walk around (Ophelia made the entire kilometer walk thanks to some engaging signs and activities). This castle was 9,00 euros per adult and again free for Ophelia.
The castles were quite different so were enjoyable and hardly repetitive.
Next we were on to Loches. If you’ve been following us you will know Loches is where we will spend time meeting and working with our team AND training and gathering information at a Regional Training Center (hosted by the Evangelical Church of Loches). This will be an exciting time for us. For this trip we were blessed to stay in the guest house of the church which was just across a small path from the Castle walls of Loches. Beautiful but also centrally located.
Let’s talk a little about what I mean by ‘DNA’ of the church. The philosophy behind the church plant is heavy on discipleship, small groups, daily community, participation and redemption. The hope is to allow new believers to understand and grasp their gifts while at the same time preparing them for an active role. It is not a model that allows much lounging around! We are called to live in community with each other and the community around us. Remember that for many of the people in the region there is no real ‘Christian’ influence. We want to bring people up close to an ACTIVE God who desires love and equipping. This DNA is the same DNA that will be the foundation for the sister church in Descartes where we will emphasize daily living in community.
We were able to view Ophelia’s new school and potentially reserve an apartment for our family! These are exciting developments and also necessary steps we really needed to accomplish.
The big news is next, we visited the town of Descartes. Descartes is a town of about 5,000 people roughly 30 minutes away from Loches. It was chosen as a location of the church plant we will be working on because of it’s location and because of it’s size. In the small area around the town there are about 20,000. In this area there are no Evangelical churches (each town usually has a small Catholic Church). Imagine that, a town of 5,000 with more people in the area who lack a voice of God! In order to maximize our effectiveness in the town, it will be a necessity to eventually find a location for the church, work closely (and get permission from the Mayor) with regional officials to open the church and work with the Catholic church. The church in Descartes is another step toward fulfilling the vision of having churches centrally located throughout the region to reach the entire area for Christ.
The church plant is a future goal but we must continue to language learn and gather our team to determine our strengths and individual roles amongst each other. We have a long way to go but these two trips (the trip to Loches and to Descartes) were VERY helpful for the future of what we will be doing here in France.
Here are some prayer points and other needs you should be aware of:
-We are praying about finding more monthly partners to join our team. We are still looking to raise an additional $900 per month but need to have an additional $400 per month on going. This could include 8 families who are willing to pledge $50 per month for the next three years.
-We are trying to raise some funds for a car. We feel like with roughly $5,000-$7,000 dollars we can find a car that will suit our needs. Would you consider a one time gift to help toward that cost?
-We are hoping to find a tutor and language partners who will help us further grasp French when we move to Loches. This doesn’t need to be a Christian just someone who can help on that level. Pray we will find that person.
-The Church of Loches is moving soon. Please pray that the plans will be approved by Civic leaders and that the financing is available to make this move work. It is a crucial part of the vision of the Church.
-We are in a process of figuring out what it would take to have French healthcare. This will help in every day cases and will eventually help us to stay on the field longer and will be as healthy as possible. Pray that the correct route will be taken!
Thank you all VERY VERY much for your continued love and support. We love you too and miss you! If you are a church group or an individual who is interested in more information feel free to connect with us through this post so we can answer your questions clearly!