Bonjour

The many happenings of a family living in the Paris Suburbs

AlphaGisors1

29/03/2012
by Jerry Moyer
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God comes through . . . again

The first Alpha course wore them out.  Alpha is a series of 13 evenings meals once a week where people can come and talk about the meaning of life.  The first set was a test, now they were ready for the main one.  With few people to help, few funds to draw on, no room to meet in and few contacts to invite the project looked imposing.  They even wondered whether they should cancel.  Then God comes through . . . again!  The local priest heard of their project and offered them a meeting place belonging to the parish.  A group of people who meet for prayer and bible study heard of the project and offered help.  Some friends from other parts of the world heard of the project and started sponsoring meals.  A woman they found to prepare fifty meals for each of the evenings decided to make a gift of her time for the first evening.  A journalist heard of the project and has prepared an article to run in the local paper to get the word out.  The first Alpha evening is this Friday night.  Continue Reading →

28/03/2012
by Jerry Moyer
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Walking through New York

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There is an energy in New York that you just won’t find in Paris. In Paris on a nice spring day it seems like everyone is out for a stroll. Sidewalk tables at the cafés are full if people who seem like they have nothing more important to do then to lean close and share some juicy bit of gossip. In New York the sidewalks fill with people who all look like they are going someplace. In Washington Square you find people sitting on park benches but you get the impression that it is a temporary pause, that soon they will be up and on their way. Carolyn and I spent the 19th walking around Manhattan. I have been gone almost every year on our anniversary or her birthday. This year, once again, I was to be gone. So she came along. I think I would like living in the city.

14/03/2012
by Jerry Moyer
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Just one thing

“You are field director for World Team in France. If your larger team in France had to focus on one new thing this year, what would it be?” I am at a conference center to the north of Paris with the field directors from all over Europe. We have been commenting on each others strategic plan. Most of us have way to much planned. So there was the question, if you could only do one thing, what would it be.

I looked at my strategic plan. What could I throw out? We need it all. My eyes fell on one of our objectives and I knew what I was going to say: mobilize three new workers for World Team France. Jesus said that there is a big harvest out there and just not enough people to bring it all in. You are out there and you realize that it is just not going to get done. So send word up the line. Ask the “lord of the harvest” to send more workers. That is our biggest need today and tomorrow.

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11/08/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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No individual success

I stopped in to visit an old acquaintance from my childhood in Guadeloupe.  She used to go to the church where my dad was pastor.  She’s older now, lives in an apartment and doesn’t drive.  She doesn’t often go to church because there are no Protestant churches in her town of 18,000.  Everywhere you look in France it is the same; tens of thousands of towns with no Protestant church.  Even when there is a church it is often small.  There are so many projects and so few workers.

in a few hours we get on the plane and fly back to France to start our 15th year!  The past few weeks have been filled with cousins, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews.  It has been a broken arm for Sam (five weeks in a cast), working at a church camp for Peter, teaching vacation Bible school, preaching, reporting to supporters.  It has been four glorious days to just rest, read and pray.  It has been a trip to Philadelphia and to New York.  “Are you ready to go back?” people ask.  Yes! We are.  We go back to a community.  Let me explain.

France VIE is the expression of World Team’s vision in France.  It is a community of people passionate about multiplying disciples and multiplying communities of believers.  I say a community because the edges are “stretchy”.  It is of course the missionaries sent from World Team sending countries. But it is also French, German and Swiss missionaries.  Some are full time, some are not.  It is also a growing number of people who have been reached by the ministry of France VIE and who now want to contribute as volunteers.  Its a couple who would like to see a church started in their neighborhood and are willing to give what time they can to the project.  It is the retired missionary who said he would go up and help them.  It is the young seminary student who offered to come help in our office once a week.  They don’t get paid but their passion is no less.  In all they are 35 people.  As Field Director, these are the people I serve.  It is the combination of all they do that France VIE is all about.  Each member of the community is concerned by the success of every other member.  For what we want to accomplish there is no individual success.

20/07/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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Serving the vision

A friend and mentor once gave me a very good piece of advice, “If you are in a situation where you think you can serve by leading, DO IT.”  A year ago the World Team asked me to be field director for France.  Carolyn and I accepted with the promise that we would lead by serving: serving the vision of World Team in France, serving the missionary community in France, serving developing leaders in France.

Serving the Vision of World Team in France
World Team’s purpose is not unique. Many missions exist to establish reproducing churches amongst the least reached peoples of the world. What is exciting to me is World Team’s special vision of how we are going to do that: innovative teams multiplying disciples and communities of believers.

A year ago we met with Rob and Nichole.  They are from Indiana but lately have been residents of “rue de Buci” in downtown Paris.  Paris, they said, has several churches but very few young professionals ever attend.  They were an unreached people.  Was there an innovative way to reach them?  A young French woman, Claire, had contacted us a few years back.  She was having success with holding Bible studies at Starbucks.  Suzy, one of our World Team missionaries, offered to help.  It turned out they had a study almost across the street from Rob and Nichole.  The question we asked as I sat Rob and Nichole and a leader from their mission was, can we all work together?  The innovation was to combine a few Christians, some skeptics and the Bible in a neutral location.  The objective was to turn these skeptics into disciples and the disciples into community.  The dream was to see small groups spread across the city.  We agreed to work together.  Suzy moves to downtown Paris this summer.  Bible studies are already under way and leaders are being trained for more.

As field director, Carolyn and I promote and encourage these kinds of projects.  We continue to be active in our church in Magny Les Hameaux.  We continue to build bridges to friends and neighbors who don’t know Christ.  We are still church planters.  We are just trying to put our experience at the service of others.

14/04/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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Paris Prayer Conference

Tomorrow we are going to have 40 people in our back yard for a barbecue. It is the closing day of the tenth annual Paris Prayer Conference. Marius was one of the people we asked to come give his testimony. He lives in a town that is 70 percent muslim. Yet the Lord is at work. Marius helps people set up their computer and internet system. People pay him with cloths or food or whatever they can give. Every thing he receive gets passed on to others. Doors have opened for him over and over to tell of God’s truth. Here is a man who know how serve both in word and in act. And yet tears came to his eyes as the people from the Paris Prayer Conference prayed for him and gathered around him asking questions. Later he called to thank me for inviting him. “I was so moved to be surrounded by so much care for the work I do.” Payer doesn’t seem like work to us but it is work of the best kind.

09/04/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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Open door Sunday

“Come discover the faith that can change your life.” We gave out thousands of invitations this week to an open door Sunday at the Magny Church. And people came. Not many but some. One young man showed up at the church door with the flyer in his hand. “I’ve come to find the faith that can change my life. My girlfriend wanted to come but was afraid. I guess you could say I am here to check you out.” I guess we “checked out” because last night he also came to a home bible study in his neighborhood. The unexpected result of this open door Sunday was the way it created enthusiasm in our community. Several spoke of friends and neighbors they would like to invite the next time.

28/03/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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Books Books Books

I used to love books. I am not talking about the content as much as the physical feel of a book in your hand especially those old hard covered volumes. In the digital world I hardly use real books anymore. It is practical to always have a book or two on my cell phone or iPad. But I miss running my fingers along a line of books randomly picking up this one or that. So I was happy to be invited this year to the seventh annual (and last) France Challenge Book Sale at the Grace Church in Harrisburg. Tables just piled with thousands upon thousands of used books. Grace church has done this every year for seven years as a way to raise money to help young french pastors get training and launch into the ministry. Thanks to all the people at Grace Church for their hard work.

02/03/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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What is your passion?

What is your passion?  What do you feel is the one thing you can really contribute to our team?  What is your place in the community?  Missionaries don’t often ask each other these questions.  There is so much to do and so few to do it and after a while you can’t remember when you really felt like you were able to do what you were passionate about.

Two weeks ago we had our annual France Field Retreat.  25 of our 35 partners in church planting were there and these were the very questions we asked each other.  I have been France field director for six months now.  There are three things that I am passionate about as field leader: that we each work out of our giftedness, that we work as a community, and that we give ourselves first and foremost to multiplying disciples and multiplying communities of believers.

The exciting thing at this retreat was that there were eight first timers, that means eight people who have joined the France team since our retreat the same time last year:  the Alexanders are a retired couple who are going to give their vast experience to a brand new church project, the Plasters are missionaries in Paris without a team and we have agreed to travel together for a while, the Shorbs have just arrived from one of our supporting churches in Pennsylvania and are in language school, the Le Leviers are a French/German couple who are also in a brand new church project.

We are grateful for the Lord sending such richly talented new people to us and pray that we will have the wisdom to serve them well.

27/01/2011
by Jerry Moyer
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Emergency Room

Two years ago Carolyn and I went to Rome to celebrate twenty years of marriage. The city was filled with wonders but curiously it was a sculpture by an artist we had never heard of that was one of the highlights. The realism was intense. Jump forward two years. We are getting to know Eric and Ann Sylvie. They have helped us out by hosting some college students. One thing led to another and we were invited over to their house. “One of my passions” she said “is a sculpture named Burnini.” As she described his work Carolyn and I looked at each other. It was our sculpture from Rome. Excited to find some other enthusiasts she put together a power point lecture on Burnini’s life and work. I must tell you that though the two are atheists, like so many of our friends, they also have a deep interest in, well let’s say, the religious phenomena. Ann Sylvie is remarkably well informed when it comes to where science and religion meet. Saturday we had a wonderful French meal with them and an informative and interesting lecture on Burnini. By Sunday morning Carolyn was feeling sick enough to stay in bed all day. I was not feeling much better. Ann Sylvie, if you read this, it had nothing to do with your cooking. That was excellent. By Sunday night we were dying or felt like it. At around eleven o’clock I was awoken by a crash in the toilet. I jumped out of bed to find Carolyn passed out on the floor with a pool of blood around her head. She had fainted and hit her forehead on the floor. I was too sick to drive but a telephone call and the Watkins came to the rescue rushing Carolyn and me to the emergency room. Carolyn got a few stitches. We are both better now. Carolyn and I talked about it yesterday. Is God trying to tell us something? I mean Carolyn is never sick and she has been out several times in the past few months. Are we over extending ourselves? But where could we possibly cut. We can’t stop taking time to get together with people like Ann Sylvie and Eric. The responsibilities of field director add a lot. We can’t stop training and developing people for ministry. Carolyn teaches English but that is what keeps us from having to raise more support. We would never want to start opening our home less to visitors. Finally peace came to me. God is not trying to tell us anything. People get sick from time to time. People get tired. People should remain faithful to the tasks they have been given and trust God for strength. In any case, thanks Ann Sylvie for a very nice evening before a very eventful weekend.