Welcome to our December Newsletter!
I can’t believe it is December already with Christmas fast approaching. This is by far Teresa’s favourite festive season and even she is struggling to comprehend how warm it is in the afternoons here. The warmer weather is a real blessing but unusual for us Brits who are normally sporting winter coats, scarves, gloves and sipping hot chocolates by cosy log fires by now.
We have just finished 3 days of excellent, intense, DCPI church planting training in Hossegor which was very broad and really encouraging. A brilliant tool for measuring each step of the church planting process. We ascertained we are in Phase 1, we have a God given vision which was documented 18 months ago, we have a mission statement, printed mission leaflets for sponsors and others which tells of our journey, social media, and website all in place. A sub culture within Bayonne and location have now been identified but ...WE NEED A TEAM!
We cannot and should not even begin to proceed further (apart from prayer) without a team otherwise we will not only burnout and fail but it is so imperative to have the insight and gifting of others on team not to mention an extra pairs of hands to share the load.
So this is the biggest prayer please!!! We firmly believed we were meant to come out to France when we did and knew in our hearts God will bring others onto the mission in His timing so we are stepping up the prayer and speaking the team into being. The Basque Country is classed as an unreached people group of the Gospel - we have a lot of work to do!
We will be praying around the identified area of St.Croix within Bayonne, which has a multi-cultural sub culture, 6,000 people live in an area with under privileged social housing and many needs. Another 1,500 flats are being built as we speak. After sharing with other church planters from Toulouse, who run an épicerie sociale ministry with a small church upstairs, we believe there could be a real need for this at St.Croix. Other Christians in Bayonne have prayed in this area also identifying the needs. It looks positive that these people will be happy to pray with us about this concept and to help us along this journey. The church in Toulouse have blessed us with their plans for their épicerie Sociale in the hope we can get moving quicker, the pastor is very keen to give us support and wisdom from his own experiences which will hopefully minimise some hoop jumping.
An epicerie sociale is similar to the Foodbank in the UK except items are charged for at a bare minimum per item. Fresh produce and bakery items are also for sale, not just tinned food, so balanced meals can be easily prepared. Food is more expensive in France compared to the UK, but also the French (so we have been told) would prefer to contribute something towards the costs rather than get it for free. We still have a lot of research to do but feel we have a plan and purpose for prayer which is both motivating and encouraging and a good starting point.
This week we went to this area and asked if we could sign up for a French language course for foreigners, we already do 4.5 hours a week elsewhere but really want to step this up. Miraculously they had spaces and we will be starting next week, another four hours per week right in the very centre of this area! Praise God! What better way to submerge into this community than to become one of the locals as it were, sharing similarities of being a non French speaking immigrant struggling like them to be accepted, with children at school who also struggle with integration and language barriers. Shepherds should know the smell of their sheep and so please pray for our protection as we immerse ourselves in this VERY multi-cultural, multi-faith area. Hallelujah!
Rhys and Scarlett have just had their end of trimestre 1 school reports. Scarlett, it would seem, is now able to understand more French than us, praise the Lord! She got 16.4/20 for French!! Rhys is finding it slightly harder but is happy and un-phased by it all and enjoys school, so what more can we ask for than happy kids who are trying their best.
As always a heartfelt thank you for all who are journeying with us on this mission, we do not take any of you for granted and pray for you often.
May God’s peace be with you all over the coming season, let us not forget why we celebrate Christmas and be thankful that we are not persecuted for doing so.
Bonne fête de Noël
Kevin & Teresa Pickup
Please stand in prayer with us this month on the following:
Read more Donate Now
Pray for protection and open doors at St.Croix area of Bayonne, God to soften hearts and open ears. Big Muslim faction there.
Pray for the right shop style building for the epicerie sociale, preferably at least 2 rooms so one room can become a private room for prayer and church. On top of this the required funding to set-up.
Pray for Kevin & Teresa as they embark on more French language courses in St.Croix.
Pray that God would gather and send a team to join in the work of this mission asap.
Pray for our Rhys and Scarlett as they experience their first Christmas in France, without extended family.
Pray for Izzi as she has joined us over Christmas between 17 Dec - 4 Jan.
Pray for more sponsors to stand with them on this mission to enable them to meet all the daily living costs and future missions costs.
2017 is going to be a big year for us - possibly bigger than 2016! Please pray for our protection and for Jesus to expand His territory in our community.