The weekend was going to be rainy. Who cares !
Saturday morning saw the visit of our friends from near Aix-en-Provence. They work in a sensitive area so I can't name them, but as he's a Westminster PhD I find it simultaneously very reassuring and extremely humbling that we get on very well and spark each other off for animated discussions. This Saturday morning it was the relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology and the search for Biblical Theology's Grand Unifying Theme. Then a nice lunch of pizzas and buttery almond cake for the 11 of us (they're a big family !)
The afternoon was spent in preparation, then preaching for the Chinese group in the evening. Andy said that my messages are short, so I thought, "OK" - and gave myself a bit more free rein than normal. A young man professed faith during the discussion and prayer time following. I had chatted with him before the meeting and he seems a fine young chap.
There are often conversions during the Chinese meetings, which is a cause of great rejoicing. Pray for wisdom, though, as the group is always about 20 - 25 people. What happens to the new converts ? How come the group isn't getting huge ?
Another little issue to ponder and pray over is the question of integration into French churches. At present one of the Pentecostal churches in Bordeaux is popular with the Chinese students. However they ask me to baptise them, because they don't know anyone at the big church. Pray for wisdom as we discuss this through.
Sunday morning I was up bright and early and the morning service was from Philippians 1:27. I'd asked a brother to lead the service, but he was delayed arriving so we started without him. Our elder who was scheduled to lead the communion had a nosebleed so couldn't... Oh well, man proposes and God disposes.
After the service we were 22 for lunch, chilli and rice with salads and lots of different desserts. We discussed the associative framework for our friends' ministry and the youngsters played Uno and other games.
Then off to church for the English Service. A nice gentle time beginning our quick series in Mark, but tinged with bitter-sweet feelings as we say goodbye to Brittni. It's funny thinking back to the beginning of the year when the students arrived and checked us out. Some you think will not stay, but they do. Some you know will settle - and sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Some become really part of how things work and develop.
By the evening I was pretty used up.