As some of you know, we are now in France. If you didn’t know, you can go back and read the last update I wrote a couple of days ago. It’ll help clarify some things. Anyways, we are now in France, staying with a very nice family, only a 5 minutes walk from the school that Sarah is taking classes for the next 3 weeks. We are up the initial climb of a mountain known as le Salève, looking down into the valley where the little city of Geneva nestled at the tip of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). Summertime means green trees, green and golden fields, blue skies, yet 80° temperatures (28°C for our non-US friends), cool breezes, and joy. Houses with vibrantly-painted shutters stand gracefully, not as an reminiscent souvenir for the tourists, but as the normal home in the French countryside. The rugged Salève hangs over us like a stalwart of truth, its face looking on the numerous paragliders who drift lazily along its nearly 10 mile ridge of a “peak” on a given evening or weekend. Seeing old friends and catching up on their lives, making new friends, and sharing a very important place in my life with my wonderful wife just makes me realize how good God is. Years ago, when I spent a year at this same school, it was a time of tremendous growth for me, and reliving some of the experience just brings back some vibrancy and vigor to my spiritual life. God reminds me of His goodness daily.
It seems like every aspect of our being here is a miracle in and of itself. The school agreeing to minimize the costs for us, God arranging the ideal family to stay with, tickets, everything. His hand is so clearly seen here. Allow me to break out of my wonder enough to share some stories.
As part of our deal to come here, we agreed that I would spend time looking for a publisher to print and ship a large quantity of books to Chad. We are going to use them as textbooks, have our Bible workers carry and sell/give them away, distribute them when we land somewhere with the airplane (it always draws a crowd, why not profit by sharing the gospel with them?!) , make them available for local church members, and use them as resources for libraries we want to establish at the churches. We have the majority of funding in hand and are ready to move forward with a purchase, we just have to find a publisher who can give us a good price and ship to Chad. That was our plan. As we looked at pricing, we realized staying in the dorm would be more money than its worth to stay with American students, in a dorm. We asked around, and God provided the perfectly family for us: Alberto and Cecilia Feldkircher, with their 8 and 5 year olds Esther and Simon. They have welcomed us into their home as family, and immediately treated us as family. We eat meals together, we go to church and the lake, the kids come to give us hugs every morning before leaving for school, and every night before bed. We’ve never visited another family that makes us feel right at home like this one (besides our actual families, of course!) Not only are they an amazing family, but Cecilia runs the local campus bookstore. She has been able to help me find publishers, prices, and input that I never would have had otherwise.
Another advantage is the family, although they speak Brazilian Portuguese (him) and Swedish (her) with their kids, and English at church, they agreed to speak French when we’re around, to help Sarah to be fully immersed in the language. That, plus our usually-fairly strict policy to speak only French before 9 pm in the daytime (sunset’s like 9:30!) has been helping her to learn so much faster! There’s not a day where I don’t hear a lightbulb going off in her head with a new understanding of why they say this, how they say that, etc. I’m so proud of her dedication to learning the language, I’m seeing huge results already!
Our family took us to their church this last Sabbath, and we were greatly blessed to have a flowing church service, in English! (Sarah’s first service in 7 months where she understood everything), with people from all over the globe. We met several other new friends who we can help support with our prayers, and who can help us as well. A new friend runs radio stations all over North America and in this area, and is wanting to interview us for broadcasting on the networks. (He’s also looking for help raising $30,000 to get an Adventist radio station rolling in Denver, CO, which tugs on my heartstrings more than a little. If you want to help financially with that project—I believe in its need and mission so much I would give every penny I had if I had anything that was mine to give—please contact us, or visit www.radio74.net.) We also met a very mission-minded financial banker who is willing to sit down and help me plan some financial details of the project in Chad. Tomorrow we’re going to Gland, where a girl they’ve been studying with will get baptized! God is good.
In the meantime, I have been very busy. The first week we took some time to get settled, etc, and didn’t do a whole lot of work besides looking for tickets to get back to the US. We were having the hardest time finding tickets that got us where we wanted to go for reasonable prices, so we were thinking of all sorts of gymnastics to try to get the cost down. Finally, last Friday I prayed about it and set a time limit, and less than 10 minutes before time was up, we found and had purchased tickets with the perfect schedule (our schedule was pretty demanding), landing even closer to home than we thought possible, for about $500 less per person than what we were expecting to spend. How great God is!
Finally, looking for books and publishers has been producing a ton of work for me, and though we’re still getting the info all together before starting to make a decision, God is clearly leading it all. But I have truly been working the daylights out of this free internet at our home. Since Monday morning, I have sent about 45 emails, and received about 60, not counting personal emails. I have looked at I don’t know how many publishers’ and distributors’ websites, and looked for information from the GC, the White Estate, and a number of other entities. I know I have a lot more work to do too. But it’s all good, it’s actually really fun to discover the answer to this mystery of how we’ll get so many books for a reasonable price. In a week or so, if I can get an appointment set up, I plan on going to Paris to negotiate a book deal, and God has already provided a place to stay if I go. I’d love to take Sarah to see the city too, but prices are a bit high and she shouldn’t miss much school… All in good time, though, there’s still plenty of time left in our lives to see new parts of the world.
God has been blessing us incredibly, and we know that He will continue to bless us. It’s hard to believe we have been in this beautiful country for 12 days already! Our time in the States is going to fly by so quickly you’d think it was an SR-71! We know that the energy and momentum is going to swing into a huge kick-start when we return to Chad in September. We’re looking forward to it!
We love hearing from you, and now we can reply much more easily if you send us something! Please keep praying for Jonathan and Melody as they run the project in our absence, and for Mike and Chris, our NC directors, who will be moving out with us as we return, as well as Gary and Wendy and all the other missionaries in Chad and throughout the world as we accelerate the work of spreading the everlasting gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. Pray for unity among His people. And pray for our organizational meetings in August, that we can continue to increase and maximize every opportunity in our desire to bring many others to a saving knowledge of Jesus, so we can be together with Him in heaven.
God bless you all,
David & Sarah