Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Times

Let me catch you up on a few highlights from the last few weeks.  Let's see...

Friday the 13th, I went with our french class to have lunch together in Carcassonne and also tour the War museum there.  They were having an exposition about the time between the two world wars.  I had a great time visiting over lunch and touring the museum.  The exposition was real good and I learned a lot of History as well as insights to that generation.
 The 7th, we were invitied to attend a Pantomine in English.  This is a play with interaction with the crowd (a british thing).  We had a good time, the kids really enjoyed it.  Above they went up on the stage to help the crowd learn a song.

Friday the 14th, we had a Christmas dinner with the church in Carcassonne.  We invited a family from Limoux to come.  We had a great time of food and fellowship.  And some heard the Christmas story for the first time. Pictured above is the kids singing a Christmas special. The following Sunday afternoon we attended the kids basketball tournament.  That evening for our English worship service we had guests, a British couple visited in our English services, as they had in our French services the Monday before.
 The following Tuesday, the 17th, was Caleb's 11th birthday.  He had a small party Wednesday with two of his friends.

By this time, Christmas was in full swing.  I was busy helping a friend move out of a house he just sold.  It was a lot of work because the house was an hour away up in the moutnains and we were working in snow and ice.  He really appreciated the help and I was also able to give him spiritual counsel.  The kids last day was Friday, but I had an all weekend training sessions for Coaches.  It was long, but I enjoyed it, and was able to renew some contacts made with the basketball outreach last June.

The Sunday night before Christmas we got together at Laurens for a special English Christmas service and pizza.  Lauren shared a book about the Christmas story, and we also made some crafts that Lauren's parents had sent for the kids. 

Monday before Christmas, everyone was occupied for the adult Bible study, but Lauren had a lesson with our kids, they decorated cookies as well. 

 Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Lauren came over for a Christmas Eve dinner of chicken and dressing. 
For Christmas day, the kids made it to 7:00 before Christmas started.  They opened the first wave of toys with just us.  Then Lauren came over and brought the second wave of toys that she had brought for them..Then came the third wave of toys that Lauren's parents, and some members of their church had sent.  The kids were spoiled as usual.  Arianna is sporting her Princess outfit.

 Just woke up and ready to go.
The annual in front of the tree picture.  God bless, JASON

Monday, December 9, 2013


Let me try and summarize the last two weeks.  Thanksgiving! One of my favorite times of the year.  We were going all out this year with 40 people invited to our Thanksgiving meal.  Monday morning, I prepared the Bible Study, and the quiz that I would be handing out for Thanksgiving.  Monday afternoon we had our weekly meeting with Lauren to plan things out for the future.  We finallized athe plans for Thanksgiving, discussed the English services Sunday night to see how we could improve them, and planned for a group coming in June.  Monday night, after running Angie to her palates class, Lilia to swimming, Bible study went well.  Lauren is continuing to teach the kids on Monday night and it is going well.  Tuesday morning, I met with out French class, Angie did some shopping.  Tuesday afternoon, I had my computer class which went well.  There were a few new students and we talked about connections (VGA, HDMI, USB, WIFI, Bluetooth, 4G, etc.).  Pictured below is the class from Friday evening.
 Tuesday evening at Basketball practice,while confirming the presence of my teammates, I realized that everyone had planned on bringing their children (surprise), meaning in a room for 40 people we would have about 60.  Thus began the scrammble to add the those we already had avlaible to watch our kids so that we could provide babysitters for those who did not have any and wanted some. Wednesday, the cooking began.  Thankfully we had Lauren to help divide the workload with.We were responsable for the rolls, sweet potatos (just the baking), String bean casserole, devilled eggs, cheesecake, cranberry sauce, ice tea, and wassail.   I do not think I have ever seen such large pots so full. . .

 Wednesday afternoon's basketball practice went well.  Getting the kids ready for another tournament mid-december.   Wednesday night, Angie and Lilia had practice.  We took team pictures at practice because the club is planning to have calenders printed to sell.  That seems to be a popular thing to do. Several times a week we have people knocking on the door selling calenders.  Thursday morning I met with my language helper as usual, we went over the Bible study text and also the quiz to make sure everything was well written.  I usually make errors when writting with the grammaire still, and occasionnally I write a word how it sounds orally but not how it should be written.  Thursday morning and afternoon, I continued to help Angie cook, we took a break the afternoon to go pick up the keys for the room we have rented.  This room is provided by the mayors office for 100 euros.  It was nice and clean.  Someone had reserved it on Friday night and it was ours all day saturday (foreshadow).  Thursday evening, Lauren invited us to have a more personnal, relaxed thanksgiving meal with her.  Pictured below.  Very nice and appreciated.

 Friday Morning, Angie and I had a meeting to renew our visa's.  The process goes well, we have the routine down.  Thankfully next year we will be able to apply for a ten year visa, and stop having to go every year ( and pay every year) to renew.  We also pickud up a few things from the store and borrowed some tables and chairs from the church in Carcassonne.  Friday afternoon, cooking again.  Friday evening I had my other computer class.  Lilia went with me because right afterwards we had a Trophy ceremonie for all the sports clubs.  Our basketball team was awarded for getting second place and Lilia was awarded for getting third with her school swimming team (pictured below).
 Saturday was the big day. Caleb and I went first thing in the morning to get the heat turned on in the room, only to find out that the place was covered with red mud and dirt. We spent the better part of an hour sweeping and mopping.  I took plenty of pictures to show later and complain.  After we stopped by the store, we took Angie's place so they could go set up the decorations. Lauren planned out the decorations and did a good job.  

 We got everything cooked up.  Our friends who do the turkey for us every year brought it over, cooked, sliced and ready to serve (what a blessing!). We made our way over, several trips in both cars, and around 7 started welcoming our guests.  We sat and started eating around 8:30.  It went wonderfully.  Inbetween courses I would go over teh quiz, or talk about the history of Thanksgiving, or lead in a prayer.  Everyone enjoyed most of the food.  We had more that enough.  There ended up being right at 40 and only 7 kids.  Before the dessert, I had everyone change places to get to know more people.  Everything was finished up around 11.  We made it back to the babysitters around 11:30.  Stayed and visited with them and other parents until about midnight. Angie crashed on the couch right away.  I stayed up until 1:30 putting things away and getting ready for Sunday. 
  Sunday we had a meal after church services, which helped to get rid of leftovers.  The English services went well Sunday night.  Monday morning I worked on the Bible study.  Monday afternoon we met with Lauren and worked a lot on details for the trip in June, and sharing about how Thanksgiving went and how we could improve it next year.  Monday night, Bible study was semi-cancelled. Lauren still did the kids lesson, but everyone cancelled except a young British lady who called a quarter after and wanted to come.  We had a good visit with her.  She teaches English at the High School in Limoux three days a week.  Tuesday we had our French class in the morning, and computer class in the afternoon.  Wednesday was basketball day.  Thursday, met with Eric.  Friday, went to the market, had some good contacts, in spite of the cold.  Friday nights computer class went well, we talked about word processors.  Saturday we had a christmas lunch with the AVF.  We had a good visit with those seated at our table.  We had to leave a little early because Angie had youth meeting. Lilia was gone attending her regional swim competition.  She did well finishing 38th out of fifty.  She knocked another second off her best time.  Not bad considering those who finished inthe top spots were several years older than her.  AFter the youth group, we went to a Pantomime in English that our friends from Carcassonne invited us to.  It was real nice.  The kids really enjoyed it, even Arianna.  We got home late, but had a lot of fun.  Sunday after church we were invited to eat with a teammate of mine.  We had a real good visit with them about our work and what we believe. Sunday night services went well again, Arianna fell asleep before the songs we over.  Below is the basketball calender.  God bless, JASON 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rain, Rain

The biggest news from the last two weeks would be the rain.  We have had rainful almost constantly it seems.  For 8 days straight we had rain, and for at least 3 of those days it was non-stop. 
I don't know if you can see in the above picture, the rocks peeking up out of the water on the far side.  That marks the edge of what is usually a parking lot.  Currently the weather has gotten colder, and we are getting sleet mixed with rain.  Things are going well with the AVF, we had a meeting last week and I was voted to be vice-president.  I am enjoying the computer class, each time we meet, it seems there are new students.  I think there are about 15 now.  We had a dinner with the AVF yesterday.  I had a great time meeting everyone, and had some good conversations about religion and our church planting efforts.  There were about 70 present.  Sunday, the boys had their first basketball tournament of the season.  They played three games, lost the first one 0-2, and won the next two 2-0 and 14-1.  They had a good time playing and everyone scored.  I hope that reflects my coaching skills. 
Bible study is going well.  Along with Lauren we have some things planned for the future.  We will soon have a kids Bible study time during the adult Bible study.  We are also looking at the possiblilty of having English courses, and maybe some groups coming. 

A friend gave us a couple of Courges that were enormous.  With the weather like it is, I think soup is on the menu.  God bless, JASON

Monday, November 11, 2013

Basketball Games

The 31st, we had our first home game, and being on a Thursday, I was able to attend.  We had a good game we won by 14.  I played well, scoring 16 points.  There were a good amount of fans present, and Angie and the kids enjoyed visiting with everyone during the game.
Early Friday morning, Angie and Lilia left for weekend with the youth at a camp north of Toulouse.  They had a wonderful time, and praised the music, the sermons, the activities, pretty much everything. Lilia is picture below, with two youth from Carcassonne.
Meanwhile, I hung out with the other kids here at home. Friday was a holiday, and we just chilled out at home and played outside.  Saturday, I wanted to build a cat toy with the kids.  We went and bought the stuff we needed and had a good time working on it with the kids. They did most of the work, I was only there for the heavy lifting.  I even made the boys do all the math.  So here is what came out of a couple of outdoor rugs and some scrap wood we had laying around. 
Sunday services went well, we stayed and ate, which went well, in spite of the absence of Angie.  They made it back late Sunday afternoon.  Monday, my computer started acting up, which started a week long process.  I was able boot it up and back it up slowly and by rebooting multiple times, before it stopped loading windows at all.  Then, after trying restores and repairs without any change, I was forced to restore it to the factory default, and start the process of putting all the free software back on.  Thankfully I was able to back everything up.  Bible study went well Sunday night, we are continuing the study of John and enjoying good discussion.  Tuesday morning, Angie and I had our AVF French class, and Thursday afternoon, I had my AVF computer class, which went real well.  Our subject was computer security and there were five new students.  Several of which talked with me afterwards, asking why I was in France, which I gladly explained.  Tuesday evening we had basketball practice.  Wednesday, I worked on the computer more and had a visit that afternoon and had basketball practice with the kids, getting ready for our first tournament soon. Thursday morning I got the computer up and running and started loading software. Thursday afternoon, I gave the guitar lessons. Thursday after getting the kids from school, I had meet the teacher night with Caleb.  It went well even though we only were able to see two teachers because of long lines, but I did get to visit some with other parents.  Below is the main building for Caleb and Lilia's school. 
  We left the teacher meeting and I headed to basketball practice.  Friday morning the market went well.  Lauren stopped by and I was able to introduce her to a few people.  Lauren is doing good well with the language.  She has some private lessons by several different people in Limoux and does not have to travel to Carcassonne everyday.  She had no electricity over last weekend because we didn't get all the information that needed and so they eventually cut it off instead of contacting someone.  She stayed in a Hotel since the weather had turned cold.  Friday afternoon I met with Lauren planning out the future.  Angie left for a scrapbooking meeting, and I took Lauren to work with Sophie, which gave me the time to finish getting the computer restored.  Friday night I had my second computer class time, we had two more new students.  It went well, I had to leave a few minutes early to head to our adult basketball game in a village north of Carcassonne. It was a hard game and we ended up loosing by six points. I scored only 11.  The good part was getting to renew the contact with the people we had met in June with the american team, as this was the team that had taken us out the eat.  Saturday, I slept in a little, and woke up to head over and help a couple of hours with one of our bible study people moving into a new apartment.  Saturday afternoon, Angie and Lilia headed to the youth meeting.  Sunday services went well.  Today is a national Holiday (army/veterans).  I took the chance to give Lauren some driving lessons.  She had never driven and stick shift, but picked it up quickly.  Bible study will be in a little bit.  So I will sign off.  Blessings, JASON

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In 15 days

It has been two weeks since I posted, in French they would say 15 days.  Don't bother adding it up.  The kids have been out of school for most of this time.  They have two weeks off from school, called All-saints Vacation.  All-saints day is Friday, a day where the French typically place flowers on the graves of loved ones. My missions treasorer passed away yesterday morning, John Richard served France Missions for the past 6 and a half years. I am thankful for his support for us and for his service in this area.  As I mentioned before the kids get two weeks off from school every six weeks.  Angie asked each of the kids what they wanted to do during the vacation.  Many responses were heard, among them, making cookies . . .

 Lilia has been consumed recently by a desire to make self-portraits for her facebook page.  She took over 150 these past few weeks.  I don't complain at all, because it's not a bad pastime, and she is very pretty. 
 One day we adopted a cat.  Angie walked in the door after dropping Lauren off with a cat in her arms.  I am not a cat person per-say, but this is a well behaved cat.  Evidently she had been living on the street for some time.  She is calm, doesn't jump on stuff, is good with the kids, and seems to really enjoy being fed regularly.  Also she is house trained, which is a big plus. 
 Sunday I led the services at Carcassonne.  I volunteered on short notice because the man who normally was assigned to do it was traveling to see family.  The services went well, I enjoy leading occasionaly without reading my notes.  Even though I make more grammaire mistakes that way, it still feels more natural.  There was a tense moment while I was bringing the devotional before preaching, when a large 8 feet mirror came unglued from the wall of the meeting room and leaned/fell onto the people sitting next too it.  Thankfully no one was injured besides a bump on the head and thankfully the  mirror did not shatter.   The church in Carcassonne just sold their old meeting place and is looking for a new one.  The dance hall they currently rent is expensive and now there is a problem with falling mirrors.  Sunday after church we took advantage of the presence of Lauren to try and take some family portraits.  Always a stressful time for the family, as getting 7 people to sit still and small seems to big a large challenge.   It did result in some good candid shots. 

 The girls did manage to get a good shot out of the event. 
In other news, all of our classes are on hold for the most part, during the vacation.  Angie still meet with the AVF last week, and I attended this week with Andrew and Arianna.  The meeting was just a informal conversation time at the coffee shop.  I still have basketball practice and last Thursday, Angie came to practice with the mens team.  She did well, though she noticed that it was a little more fast paced that the ladies practice usually is.  We are making plans for Thanksgiving and hope to invite most of the basketball team this year.  We have our first home game tomorrow night.  Some other highlights, rapid fire . . .Caleb spent the night with a friend and had the friend spent the afternoon with us (a good contact - this is the friend that Caleb led to the Lord), Lilia and possibly Angie and going to a youth camp this weekend put on by a church in Toulouse,  we have been taking walks of going to the park with the kids almost every day (not only to meet people, but to let the boys and Arianna burn off some energy), thankfully the weather has been nice with highs in the low 70's.  I went and helped out in the office of the AVF one afternoon.  The market Bible stand has been going well.  One time I had a long conversation with two Jehovah Witnessess.  Last night I filled in for the pastor in Carcassonne in their home Bible study.  Lauren is doing well.  She found someone to give her private lessons in French.  She did have her Electricity cut off,  because they did not recieve all the information they needed for her account, we got it all straightened out and it should be back on in a couple of days.  Monthly report is finished and sent out.  We have been requesting special offerings since the end of summer to recover from the expenses accumulated during the summer months (basketball team, Romania trip, Missionary Retreat).  I'm sure that God will supply our needs, but it may mean making adjustments to future plans.  The vacation is going well, but I am ready to get back to the regular schedule, mainly my computer class.  Hopefully I will update again before 15 days is up.  God bless, JASON

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Associations and Arm injuries

Let me think. . . the last week went well.  We are finally getting into a routine.  Though last week was a little different because Lilia had sprained her ankle and did not go to her swimming class.  Friday evening I had my fist computer course. Four students were present, and on Tuesday afternoon, four more came.  Looks like it will be a good class, they shared a lot of things that they would like to learn.  Friday night, I camped out with the boys in the back yard.  They had a great time, except for the fact that it got down to around 40 degrees, so by morning only Caleb and I were left in the tent, freezing.  For breakfast, I cooked eggs for them inside a grapefruit.  We also made chinese yo-yos, made with a large button and string. 

 Angie took the boys one day to get some new shoes, they got a little distracted as you can tell.
 Monday Arianna, went on a field trip to pick apples with her class.  Angie went along and helped out.  They had a good time and Angie even had the opportunity to talk to the class about saying things in English. 
 Saturday the girls went to Arianna's baby gymn class. Arianna really enjoys all the activities.  And we are enjoying meeting the parents.  I coached the Jr High class at basketball last Wednesday because the usual guy was absent.  The boys have got a lot of energy. 
I am considering a position with the AVF, I'll go into more detail later, but pray for us, because it would take a dedicated amount of time each week.  But the good side, is it would put me in a position to get to know the 250 members. 
Sunday afternoon we took Lauren out to eat at McDonalds, her first time in France.  During the meal, Arianna was brought in from the playplace by her brother crying, actually it was more of a laugh than cry.  I have a cut video of it, everytime she would try to move her arm she would start this laugh cry.  It was kind of cute.  Sunday, the doctors offices are closed, so we drove her to the Fire Departement, who didn't notice anything serious but suggested we take her to the emergency room in Carcassonne all the same.  So we took the family to the Emergency Room, and over two hours later left.  She had disclocated her elbow, but it ended up getting back into place between the x-ray and the doctor coming to examine it.  God bless, JASON

Monday, October 7, 2013

Two Birthday parties

Let me catch you up on the highlights of this past week.  Thursday the 26th was Angie's birthday. 

 I made he a baked potato cake.  You would have to know how much she likes potatos to understand.

Saturday,  we celebrated Micah's birthday party.  He had four friends over and they had a real good time playing together.  He likes fansy cakes.  So we made him a castle cake this year. 

 Services went well Sunday followed by a busy week.  Lilia sprained her ankle on the stairs at school Wednesday.  We had to see the doctor to get her a note to be excused from sports class at school.  The kids have been saying the cutest things lately.  Andrew said, "There was a girl in my class who was 9 years old, but then she got sick and turned 2 years old."  Arianna said once, "Everything I know, I know, I know, I know."  We had a good Bible study last night, 5 people came, and we had some real good discussion, and prayer time after the Bible study.  I hope for an equally good time tonight.  Guitar classes are going well, I am proud of my students, hopefully this is a result of a good teacher :) I will start the computer class this week.  Angie will soon be starting a ladies Bible study again.  We also have the possibility of helping start an association to help the poor, keep that in your prayers.  Hope you have a blessed week as well.  JASON

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Lauren is getting settled in.  She is doing well in language school and is making better progress that I did after one week in.  Angie has enjoyed taking her shopping everywhere to help furnish her apartment.  Pictured above are some dishes that someone passed on for free. We have got her water turned on, and should soon have the electicity in her name.  She has her home phone and internet that should arrive soon.  Lilia started swimming last week.  Caleb is doing well in school, and so are Micah and Andrew.  Andrew is excited because he goes twice a week to swim during school hours.  Arianna is doing well also.  Yesterday she fell and hit her head on the playground, nothing serious, but the teachers were trying to understand what she was saying.  They said that she speaks to them real quietly and they have trouble understanding.  Her teacher invited Angie to come and speak to the class about America.  What a great opportunity!  Micah Celebrated his 9th birthday Friday night.  Just our family and Lauren were present.  His party will be this saturday.  Angie made a cake for him to take to school to share with his classmates.  I decorated it with his name. 
"The moose"

This week looks like it will be as busy as last week.  Monday morning, I spent in the office.  Monday afternoon, we went and registered for the AVF, ( accueil des villes francaises) the club that Angie attended french classes in last year, and we both have been attending this year.  I also volunteered  to teach a computer class, which they were VERY excited about.  This club is supposed to be all done by volunteers, but there was such a demand for someone to teach a computer class that last year they paid someone to teach briefly.  So they were happy to hear that I would be willing to do it for free, and in English and French.  Those classes will be Tuesday afternoon, and Friday evening.  Monday night, Bible study was cancelled because I had a basketball meeting to attend.  Our coach couldn't make it, so I went in his place.  It was nice because it followed Sunday nights game where France beat Lithuania for the European Basketball Championship.  Tuesday morning, Angie and I went to our AVF classes.  We are discussing the Cathares, a religious group that settled in this area during the 12 century, that was wiped out by the Catholics.  Tuesday afternoon, I worked in the office, while Angie and Lauren went shopping.  I picked the kids up and then went to a Doctors appointment for their physicals for sports.  Angie and Laurent got back in time for me to leave for basketball practice.  Today, I am working on this update, need to go check on the garden (we are still getting plenty of figs, I passed out 10 jars of fig preserves at basketball practice).  This afternoon, we are getting a visit from the pastor in Carcassonne who wanted to catch up with us, and with Lauren, that will be followed by basketball practice, and then Angie and Lilia's practice.  We need to find a time to go pick up a couch that Lauren bought.  So, I'd better finish this up and go check on the garden.  God bless, JASON