Friday, November 6, 2015

Marseilles - a different French experience

The trip to Marseilles was the first outreach event that we've participated in since our time in France in 2012. We were part of a team of over 100 participants from 7 different churches in the area. We passed out literature, hosted kid's clubs, and were part of teams doing street performances. Michelle and I got to lead the times of worship in the mornings and Emily got to be part of the mime team.

Overall, it was a taxing, hot, spiritually heavy, but ultimately rewarding experience. I am most thankful to know that we were able to build some great relationships with pastors in the area and there are plans in motion now for OM to return next year.

For some personal thoughts from Michelle about our Marseilles experience, you can click here to read her blog.

Michelle and Ted leading worship
Ted playing guitar at a kid's club event

Timothy and Ted's PSG group
Event at the Vieux-Port (Old Port)
At night

Michelle as part of the street performance team.
Ted sharing at our host church in St. Juste
Emily - the mime!
Ted and Jimmy at St. Juste

When we finished the week of outreach, we got the chance to meet with the Jones family and spend a few days together. We hadn't spent time together like this in almost 2 years!
Families that meet together, eat together

Judah's got a gun...

Family Life - updates on the Wallace Clan

Well, we survived the summer! We had a great time with family and saw a lot of new places around France. Here are some highlights:

We were so exited to have Ted's parents with us for a week!
Just hanging out on an old WWII tank

Life-long dream fulfilled - Normandy Beach

On the train to MTO
Emily and Daniel were able to go to a camp just for missionary teens, called MTO. They came back so excited, telling us about all the kids they met who have to learn multiple languages and have left behind family and friends to move overseas, just like them! God really spoke to both of them in unique ways, and they can't wait to go back again next year! 
They got to stay at a castle!

At Monet's garden in Giverny

We celebrated our 17th anniversary on June 20th!

Emily with some other OM ladies at a retreat
Emily is about to turn 16! It's amazing to watch how she's growing up. In addition to learning French in school, she is also learning German. She has had so many great opportunities to meet with other young ladies- in a local Bible study, friends she met this summer, even a new mentor she met at camp. Emily continues to develop her love of music, and recently wrote a worship song (maybe we can convince her to record it soon).

Daniel turned 13 in August! He has been drawing almost every day and loves creating characters for the epic story he's been working on for a few years now. Check out this amazing time-lapse video he created! He's doing better in school, working hard to learn more French. He is hilarious and asks the most profound questions about God and life. Also, we're pretty sure that he'll be taller than Emily any day now. 
The boys showing off their drawings/stories

Timothy is doing great. His tongue hardly bothers him at all, for those of you who've asked. He is taking Judo classes twice a week, so he'll probably be able to throw us on the ground soon. He's doing wonderfully in school, and can understand and speak French much better. He loves to draw, sing, ride his bike, and play with friends.

 Judah is becoming a little Frenchman. He can speak and understand a lot of French and daily tells us new phrases, songs, and games they play at school. He loves pretending to be superheroes and is a definite people-person like his dad!

Ted is adapting quite well in France. He even recently tried escargot (snails), although they admittedly weren't his favorite. He can speak fairly easily in French, and has been able to preach, pray, and lead worship in French with Michelle. He's also discovered a love for rugby, and is looking forward to getting to play the drums again soon!
The boys watching the Rugby World Cup

Michelle is doing better with French too. Speaking is getting easier, and she's able to read books in French and write fairly well. She's also discovered that music makes sense in any language! She's been learning to play guitar and had joined the worship team at church (great for language and courage).
With some of the singers at Hillsong Church in Paris

Overall, life in France is going pretty well. We're learning more about the language and culture every day, meeting local people, and settling into a new way of life. We're so thankful for the privilege to serve God in this country, and we can't wait to see what's around the corner!

Back to school

We loved hanging out with the Jones family this summer.

Lunch with our class at the language school
Cousins at the beach

A day off while training with OM in the Netherlands

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GO Conference - getting to know ourselves and our team

Welcomed to our cabin

Church de Nieuwe Blasiuskerk
One of the great opportunities that we had this summer was to join with over 230 other international "OMers" who were also beginning their field assignments. This 10-day conference was held at a camp near the town of Delden in the Netherlands. We were really thankful for the beautiful surroundings and for the opportunity to meet so many other people who have answered God's call to serve on the mission field.

We had prayer and worship times each day, personal reflections called, "Shhh time," and great opportunities to meet with other OM missionaries who have already been working in the field for years. It was a great time for us to learn about the culture of OM as an organization, but also to get to meet some of the people who lead it.
Although it was meant to be a kind of working retreat, we found it to be really stressful at times. Having been on the field for 8 months already and the thought of school looming ahead of us as soon as we got back home put us in a unique situation. We spent a lot of time talking about transition and what it means to move our family from one culture to another; why it seems so difficult to fit in even if you look the same on the outside; and how we can better prepare for some of the other transitions coming our way in the future.

As difficult as some of these days were, I can really say that at the end of it, we came away very thankful to be a part of OM. We are really encouraged by the leadership of our teams, in the US, in France, and internationally. I personally came away with a clearer vision for France and for what it will take to really reach the French people. Watching God use veteran missionaries to speak to us and encourage us one-on-one really means a lot. Knowing that there are other families out there who have already done or are in the process of doing what we're doing builds our faith.

I am truly excited to be part of a team that focuses so much on prayer, on worship, on the word, and on resourcing the people that they are working with. So here's my shameless plug, if you're considering missions in any way, please think of OM!

The Wallace Clan back together (Emily & Daniel had been at a summer camp).

Enjoying some delicious Stroopwaffles

Seriously, you've got to try these things...

Daniel, thrilled to be serving in the dining room.

Prayer Needs and the Future - what's on the horizon and how can you help

God is faithful in all of His promises! (Taken from our bedroom window)

Everything that we've already shared in this newsletter couldn't be possible without your help. Many of you have been praying for us and supporting us financially for years. For much of that time, we were not sure exactly how we would be serving the church in France, but we believe that there are some great developments on the horizon and we want to share them with you.

Ted & Jimmy in Marseilles

In addition to partnering with church planting projects, our family will also begin to connect with pastors who are looking for ways to develop their churches to reach out to their communities. This is really exciting because OM France has an existing network of churches throughout the country. We are going to be able to serve these pastors by assessing their needs and partnering with them for the vision that they have for their communities. Please be in prayer for us as God directs us in building these relationships and finding creative ways to resource these churches and pastors.

We will be moving from our apartment in Massy next summer. It seems like a long way off, but we will have to start looking for a new apartment beginning in January. Please pray for grace and favor, that we'll find the right place at the right price.

We are still in need of a vehicle. We have seen some 7-passenger vans for 5000-7000€. Please be in prayer with us and consider making a financial contribution towards this need.

Please pray for us to continue to make progress with the language. Each of us has had good days and bad days - the struggle of not being able to communicate can be quite a burden. All of us have made tremendous progress, but we still aren't where we'd like to be. We are going to remain in language school through next April (as we have said before this allows the kids to stay in school through the end of June), but we still need to raise a little over 3000€ that was not in our original budget for the cost of tuition.

We know God's promises are true, and we know that He has called us here. Together we are seeing the light of Christ shine. We are witnessing Him water some very dry ground in France. Let's work together to see Him finish what He has started!