Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mixed Time

The past days have been well spent with a good mix between playing with the kids and preparing for the Bible Study.  With the kids we have played Badmitton, went on a hike, played ball, and several indoor games as well.  I got tickled at Andrew while we were hiking, he just loved running down the hill.  He would throw his arms out and run as fast as his little legs would carry him.  He was full of joy.  He had found a magazine on the side of the road and he carried it with him the entire time.  Caleb and Micah were content marking all the rocks with an arrow in case we got lost.  Yesterday I also got the yard mowed.  It looks a lot better now.  Angie took the kids to the park this morning while I had my language session with Eric.  We found out that I was mispronouncing words with "ui" like "cuisine".  I was pronouncing it more like "oui".  Slight difference, but noticeable.  I just got a call from the lady I met at the market last week, she is coming to the Bible study this evening.  We will be studying about Easter.  Enjoy some pictures that we took during the day yesterday. God bless, JASON

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stand up

This could almost be a blog in pictures.  The Easter weekend went real well.  We enjoyed the services in Carcassonne and listening to the services in Hillsboro as well.  We started two weeks with the kids at home.  They started two weeks of spring break.  It rained most of Saturday.  Monday, Lilia rocked Arianna to sleep twice.  Arianna also pulled herself up to the standing position by herself, for the first time.  She had found one of the kids chairs and pushed it on her knees all the way to me, and when it stopped against my legs, she stood up. Later Monday evening, a neat line of storms blowed in from the east.  It was very pretty to watch over the hills.  So the attached pictures are of, Lilia with Arianna sleeping in her lap and Arianna standing up, rain clouds moving in, and the Easter egg hunt.  One other funny quote from Caleb.  He came in while I was cutting up some carrots.  I asked him what he would do if I cut off my finger and blood was squirting everywhere.  He said, "I would go outside."  God bless, JASON 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Change in the Weather

Those strawberries are the reddest I have ever seen.

Tree in front of Andrew's school.
The Bible study went well last night.  We had a lesson on salvation, but there was a lot of good discussion concerning different topics.  There were six that came.  Angie had a lesson with the kids during most of the Bible study.  They really enjoyed it as well and could not wait to show me what they had done.  The market was good this morning, there was only four people who stopped by the stand. One lady was very excited to hear about our work. She was baptized by a baptist church in the north of France and she eagerly took my card and said that she would call and was interested in the Bible Study as well as the prospects for a church in Limoux.  Angie went and watched Andrew go swimming with his class.  He really enjoys it and is not scarred to get into the water.  She had a nice conversation with another mother while they waited.  She stopped back the market and we went and picked up a few items (pictured).  This has been one of the warmest Aprils on record here in France.   We have also not had much rain, but there are still penty of flowers.  The weather is changing as there has been a strong wind blowing these last couple of days and heavy rain is in the forcast for tonight and tommorrow.  Arianna has a tooth clearly showing now.  She slept good last night, after waking up every two hours the night before.  Hope that you enjoy your Easter weekend.  Historically in France you eat a Egg and Asperagus omelet on Easter. We might give that a try.  Also remember Angie and her family in your prayers, one of her uncles passed away this week.  God bless, JASON 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Arianna crawling

Several people have asked recently about Arianna.  Last night we did a couple of videos of her crawling.  She is cute.  She crawled faster to Angie that to me, but I credit that to the fact that there was a toy in her way.  After we made the videos last night we laughed long and hard about the fact that Arianna slapped both of us after we picked her up.  Other than that, I have a good language session my my helper.  We discovered a particular error that I was doing.  In some words ending in "a", I tend to made a slight guttural sound that could sound like a french "r" when there is not one, that could make a big difference in the meaning of a word or phrase. Looking forward to the Bible study this evening.  We are going to be looking at the week before Easter in the life of Jesus.  The weather has been nice but windy.  The wind has been blowing and gusting and changing directions.  We tried to play badminton last night but it didn't work at all.  We ended up hitting to ourselves several times.  God bless, JASON 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting a French Driver's license

These are a few pictures from the "Toques et Clocher" festival.  Caleb, Micah, and I went.  It was quite crowded and I can not imagine seeing more cars parked.  They were packed in every spot.  I did enjoy seeing some antique cars and some wooden models of the churches that have been repaired.  Sunday went well.  We received word that one of Angie's uncles had passed away.  He had been sick for a while, but it is still sad to hear about it, and not be able to be with the family.  We enjoyed the services in Carcassonne and also listening to the morning services of our sending church.  Today I dropped of the paperwork for our drivers license exchange.  If you do not remember the history of our driver's license issues, let me summarize.  We found out that getting a french driver's license the french way is very expensive.  We also found out that there were several states that had a exchange agreement with France.  Colorado was one of these states, and also one that did not require proof of residence.  It was actually cheaper for us to fly to Colorado and exchange our Texas driver's license than to go through the process here (classes, driving lessons, exams).  Thankfully I have a aunt that lives in the Denver area that hosted us for our trips.  When we arrived and received our Colorado driver's license we tried to exchange them, but because our visa (carte de sejour) was issued before our driver's license we could not.  We did found out that we could drive with a US license the entire time that we were students.  So we had some time to spare.  After language school we returned to the states to get our visa changed to non-students.  We arrived back in France, and received our visas (thankfully before 1 year was up, because you can only drive for one year in France with a US permit if you are not students).  All the paperwork we needed was a couple of photos, proof of residence in France, marraige license (for Angie to show her maiden name), official translation of the Colorado license, stamped and addressed envelopes, copes of our visas and driver's license.  I got that all turned in this morning and ours should arrive soon.  I didn't even have to pay, excluding the cost of the translation.  I think this could be the smoothest paperwork trail that we have done since being in France.  I will let you know for sure when we have the French "permis de conduire" in hand.  God bless, JASON   

Friday, April 15, 2011

Toques et Clochers

An aerial view of Limoux

Notre Dame de Marseilles is
 the church that will be restored.
We have had a good week.  We managed to survive the ten hours of French on Sunday.  I'm still having some French phrases slipping out when I am speaking English.  We have started the process to get our American Drivers Licenses exchanged for French ones.  So far it seems that this might be a smooth process.  Bible study went real well last night, we had four people including my langauge helper.  My stand at the market went well this morning as well. There were about 10 people who stopped by.  One reason was because there was a lot of people out because "Toques et Clochers" starts today. . . okay that might need some more explanation.  Toques (the hat chefs wear) et Clochers (bell tower) is a festival unique to this region of France.  It celebrates French cuisine and wine.  There are activities all weekend long and proceeds are used to repair one of the church bell towers in the area.  They are expecting a crowd of 50,000 people (about 5 times to population of Limoux). They have 120 police, 60 other security personell, 20 red cross volunteers and a helicopter standing by to help if someone is injured.  The main events are the concerts, meals, and wine tasting.  They have already closed many streets in Limoux.  I might stop by tommorrow afternoon to see what's going on.  I have been advised by several people, that it is not good for young children. I am a little saddened by the fact that they cancelled basketball practice.  I am looking forward to the weekend.  God bless, JASON  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pétanque and Le Cross

Micah is on the far right.

The crowd approaches.

Lilia in the purple.

Caleb in the blue with the hat.

Lilia, purple shirt, helped registering students.
Wow, we are just finishing a busy weekend.  Let me catch you up from the last blog point.  (For your information if you see a highlighted work, it is a link, meaning that if you click on it it will open another window with more information related to the highlighted word.)  Tuesday was spent studying and preparing for lessons.  Wednesday afternoon, I had a lesson for Lilia and another teenager in Magrie. Thursday morning after my language session, we walking to the Magrie Mayors office and picked up Angie's visa.  An answer to prayer, just to have it in hand.  Thursday night we had two for the Bible Study.  Friday morning at the maket  I talked with several regulars and also met a lady from a village about 20 minutes from Limoux, she was already Christian and we knew some of the same people.  We talked for a while and she seemed interested in the prospects of having a work in Limoux.  Friday afternoon, my counseling sessions went well and the week finished with basketball practice.  Thus began the busy weekend.  Saturday morning there was the "cross des mille enfants", it was a long distance race with over 1300 children from schools in the area.  Micah, Lilia, and Caleb participated.  I had a choice of either serving as one of the volunteer crosswalk guards, or getting pulled into racing along with the kids.  That's right, I chose being the crosswalk guard.  I attached several pictures of the event.  After that finished we grabed lunch and prepared for having some guests over for an "apéritif" (snack before the evening meal).  We had a great visit with them, I play basketball with the husband and there kids go to school with ours.  Sunday we left immediately for a BBQ (french style) put on by the basketball coach for celebrating their last game of the season.  We arrived just as everyone else did and had a great time.  I during the afternoon, everyone asked about why I was here and what my work entailed.  In typical french fashion, it took about three hours before all the eating was done.  Afterwards, we played a game of  Pétanque, briefly explained a French game kind of a mix between horseshoes and bowling.  My team won. By the time the BBQ was over it was almost seven.  We ate a quick supper and helped the kids get the homework finished before calling it a day.  It was a great weekend.  We had the chance to build some great relationships. I also want to attach a music video.  I try to help you get a glimpse into French culture.  This music video won two awards.  The artist is Ben l'Oncle Soul and he won two awards for this song entitled Soul Man.  I was surprised by the style of music.  There is an English Version and also a version with French subtitles if you want to cheat.  (see youtube) Below is the original.  God bless, JASON

Monday, April 4, 2011

Going backwards

I made a lot of forward progess this week, except where blogging was concerned.  The past week was good.  Basketball went well as did my time with my language partner.  We cancelled Bible Study as several were unable to attend due to various reasons.  Friday the weather was perfect and I enjoyed the Bible Stand at the market.  We had several stop by and there was a crowd there.  Friday afternoon I had a conseilling session with a young lady that went well.  She has even asked to have a Bible Study on Wednesdays.  Saturday we got a garden planted.  The boys planted one and I planted another.  Neither one of them may grow anything, but it was fun.  We planted lettuce, squash, melons, parsley, tomatoes, and one other thing that I can't remember at the moment.  Services were good Sunday.  We had  visitors on Sunday afternoon.  A family that we met online after reading their blog came over for a couple of hours.  They are British but have lived in several countries all over the world working with a non-profit organization.  Today, I just sent out the monthly report and am trying to clear my inbox.  Arianna has been doing much better.  One day this past week, she was just happy and playing on the floor when Angie remarked, "She is happy. . .I don't know what to do."  She has started crawling, but goes better backwards than forwards.  I hope that you have a good Monday and a good week, and that you make a lot of forward progess as well.  God bless, JASON