“ ...but I focus on this one thing forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race
and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Jesus Christ
is calling us.” Phil. 3.13b,14
THE HALLS' NEWSLETTER
“He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less”. John 3.30 (NLT)
Hello and Kiaora Friends,
It is high time that you heard from us. COVID 19 has impacted us all but those of us who know Christ know that our security is not in this world but that “underneath are the everlasting arms” of our Lord.
Lots have changed for us since, we last sent news. It is true that “Man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps”. Firstly the Brazilian family Patricio did not start working with us in March as planned for 2 reasons; not only COVID restrictions but also during this whole period they have not had their visa renewed and it is a waiting game until the visa department makes a decision. Please PRAY that they get this visa. We need a miracle. We really need younger, trained leadership here in Angouleme The family is visiting us next week and are still keen to join us. Obviously we have not sold our house as the plan was to find a joint property near Angouleme.
Looking back to 1st March this year; we returned to our house from New Zealand, after a last minute rebooking of our flight which was originally to have passed through China. Instead, we endured a long voyage though Sydney, Abu Dhabi and onto Paris.
The following weekend, glory to God, we were able to have the the outreach we had planned previously in tandem with Zerah Ministries. We again welcomed the Church/Bible College team (Kingdom Life) from England. We experienced 4 days of wonderful meetings and outreach, with new contacts made.
Less than one week later, we in France were officially in isolation and then confinement. At present we can meet in our houses etc with up to 10 people. It is high summer now with temperatures in the 30's. Blessedly dropping to the late 20's sometimes too. European and therefore French borders are still largely closed but it is possible to cross into Spain etc. during the current 2 month school holiday. According to the news many people are not holidaying. We really feel for those families cooped up in the heat in tiny apartments in large towns. Most churches are still closed save for groups of ten. Before the holidays schools had reopened but many parents kept their children at home.
For us though hampered by COVID, we have been able to continue ministering all the while. How? By the armchair pastoring method we put into practice in Marseille(s) when we had the logistical problems with transport: i.e. by telephoning, receiving calls, counselling and praying with folks. Thank you, too, to those of you who contacted us to see if we were okay.
We, like others have profited from a time of more leisure, which has been great. We have caught up on outstanding chores and watched some movies IN ENGLISH - a good relax. We have reclassified ministry notes, work notes, photos etc etc. Many waste paper baskets were filled!
Another benefit has been extra time to seek the Lord. It has been a real blessing. We have simply praised and asked the Lord “What now?” We decided not to plan much and for oldie Christians you may remember Bob Mumford's words on guidance from the Lord which were “if in doubt – wait”. Well that is what we have done.
We have felt it unwise to recommence street evangelism but from the end of May onwards we did restart helping people in difficulty (les gens en difficulte). It is only with those who have come to us. We concentrate on hygiene with throw away cups etc. France still has a good social security system and quite a few people have received help with housing etc over this virus-time.
Elias an acquaintance met last year, gave his heart to the Lord with us in late June. (Thanks Lord). He intends to enter a hospital for a “cure” from alcohol, as the French call it, on his doctor's advice and after our urging, He is sees the doctor this week about entry. A cure is just medical but we will support him through the process and into A.A. (by God's grace).
You may remember Thierry. He passed away as a result of a heart attack but we know he is in the Lord's hands. He suffered difficult living circumstances but he was regularly in church and had started on his way with Jesus. We saw quite a change in his behaviour too. So we can only believe that God, in his mercy, took him home. We continue to have input into Jacques and with Jonathan-recently arriving back in Confolens after time in Cognac, his home town. Having confessed Christ, it takes time for such as these with substance abuse problems to move forward and it is exasperatingly slow but we know God can make the changes.
We have had a some wee catch-up meetings at the centre – e.g. 1) with Christian deNoel from Ivory Coast who now works in Bordeaux and who asked to revisit us. We previously prayed for him for employment and he has a really good IT job there. E.g. 2) with a younger friend who is having a legal battle over his work situation and who is not working in the meantime.
After seeking the Lord, to our delight we have had a mature French couple join us. They were previously part of a small group that we helped start in a town near Confolens. Many years ago, Joel, the husband, came to Christ in Nelson during a a tour He and his wife love N.Z. She spent 3 months in Wellington last year so we have things in common. We have had another four people join us too. The amazing thing is that we now have six French people in our group that have travelled and speak amazing English. This helps with good communication. One, person, Natalie spent 10 years in Texas with Teen Challenge. Sue spent 3 years in Texas. A point in common. Although Sue was there a generation prior! Please pray for us all for unity and clarity as a group about God's specific leading. For now, we have a regular meeting of 9 core people at Mieux Vivre. This has been for worship, prayer, seeking direction and Bible exhortation.
Recently as a result of our prayer, God has put 3 “new”areas on our hearts.
1 . Champ de Manoeuvre
When it is cooler we shall walk over these huge government housing areas just to pray and intercede. This is pre-evangelistic. We have begun to research the history of these areas. (Some call it spiritual mapping). This is so that we can pray in the Spirit and with understanding.
Last weekend we had another Mieux Vivre meeting and a gentleman who others know because he runs a local Bible study group, visited us for the 2nd time and as a result of having been prayed for, received a wonderful touch from the Holy Spirit which he said was an answer to his heart's cry over the past decade. Isn't God faithful?
On 2 August we have arranged a fellowship picnic at a large park for both Mieux Vivre and Church family and friends. A great idea chatting IN PERSON.
- For new people joining us.
- For God's closeness as we negotiate our way through the COVID period
- For Elias
- For Y.W.A.M. France. There is no national conference this year and it is
not an easy time for young people away from home. Plus the enemy has tried to shut down certain aspects of Y.W.A.M. ministry here on many occasions. We all value your prayers whether serving on a base or pioneering.
- For needs mentioned in the body of this letter.
Bye for now and with our warmest regards,
John and Sue HALLS - YOUTH WITH A MISSION
(sent out by SOUTHSIDE VINEYARD CHURCH)