Welcome to our April Newsletter!
Spring is in the air and we can’t honestly believe where the time has gone. It has been six weeks since we visited the UK in February and yet our children break up for Easter or Vacances de Pacques as it is called here, next Friday 14th April.
We have been very busy networking and forging new Christian relationships as well as working hard in our tent making jobs.
We were delighted to have connected with a fabulous couple who live in between Bilbao and Sans Sebastian. They were involved in planting a Spanish speaking church out of Kensington Temple many years ago when they lived in London. Great to be able to hook up with like-minded people who understand what we have been called to do here in Bayonne. In fact, they are called to reach the Basque people in their area of Spain and lead worship and intercession schools of ministry in churches in their area.
The Basque Country is spread over seven regions in France and Spain and has it’s own language. It is still taught today in the Ikastola bi-lingual schools. The Basque Country, like Catalonia is fighting for independence currently. The Basque Separist party have announced they are going to lay their arms down this month - please pray for the Basque Country and for peace.
Our small group that we run from our apartment is going well, we are currently taking the group through Freedom in Christ and seeing fruit from that, which is very encouraging. Sadly, we are losing one of the group, as she is going back to the UK in May as her time in France has now come to a close. We will really miss her but know the Lord has huge plans for her future in France. She is an innocent evangelist and has been able to talk to people at the schools she was on placement at about Jesus and our mission for God without even contemplating any comeback she could have received. Sometimes that innocent conversation is what we should all be having with people instead of worrying about the backlash that might occur, it has certainly stirred us.
The children have had more college reports and seem to be coping ok, albeit that most of the comments are regarding the language barrier and that they need to speak more French. We think they won’t have to re-take the year which is incredible! Please pray for Rhys and Scarlett as they need a metaphorical key to un-lock the language they have inside them, they both understand French brilliantly but are shy and need the confidence to just have a go.
Izzi - our daughter who lives in the UK is doing well at her college, she is nearing the end of her first year of A-levels and will have exams to sit in May. Izzi needs all our prayers as she is challenged with friendship groups, she does not have any Christian friends and constantly finds herself in the line of fire from others which is exhausting for her. One more year to go at college and then she will go to university so, this is just a period of time in which she needs to sit her A levels before she can escape and move on. Izzi has found herself a lovely new church, right on her doorstep! A church plant from West Swindon that is now in East Swindon. It planted with 100 people!! How awesome is that! It is just what she needs and is easy to get to. She has been assisting with the kids’ church too which will certainly grow her we are sure.
Rhys has now changed rugby clubs and now plays for Anglet - also one of the areas we feel called to plant in. This is a strategic move of God we feel. Rhys didn’t settle at Bayonne rugby club - it is very professional and as such only the best players get picked every week. For a 13 year old lad with little confidence in a foreign country, this didn’t help his self-esteem. We could slowly see Rhys getting more and more dejected, at this age, for us as a family, we feel it is about having a go, learning how to improve and be part of a team and most of all, having FUN! So, Anglet have promised all these things as this is their heart and everyone in the team gets played regardless of ability. In fact, Rhys is off to Sete, on the East coast of France (we live on the West coast) in May to a rugby tournament there for 3 days…without us! Good for him, he will have a ball, pardon the pun!
It’s such a relief to see his passion for the game return and to see him involved, making new friends and gain confidence. Crucial to a child’s development. We attended a fundraiser for this tournament at the Rugby club a few weeks ago, it was brilliant! Every family was asked to bring a bottle of wine, a savoury dish such as quiche or pizza and a dessert. We all tucked into the pizza not knowing that huge vats of Paella were going to be brought out for us all later on in the evening! Amazing! Followed by Tombola which lasted an hour, there were at least 30 prizes which was fun to watch. Despite Christian beliefs on tombolas etc, this was not a Christian event and the money went towards paying for the boys’ accommodation, transport costs and food for 3 days.
Scarlett is thriving at football and still enjoys playing for Bayonne U12 girls. She trains more than Rhys so between both children we have been given opportunities by the Lord to make connections in 2 out of the 3 areas we have been called to. He spelt out to us in 2015, Bayonne and Anglet. Biarritz is the other, we shall wait and see….
You may remember that we identified an area of Bayonne called St.Croix, sometime ago as an area with huge potential for Jesus? We have broken bread there every Monday morning before we start our French lessons there. We still feel very strongly about this and are now having conversations and prayer with other Christians in the Landes region who also have a heart for this area. Kevin feels very strongly that the Lord has given him the word ‘catalyst’. That we are to be the catalyst to propel others into action and assist them with their God visions and dreams and to have them realised. We live in France, we love France but we are not French and never will be. Therefore, how much more sense does it make, for us to assist the FRENCH to run things in their own country, together we can achieve so much more for the kingdom. We will not have the clout or language to approach local government with the plans and hopes we have for St.Croix but our friends will! We are not work shy and so rolling our sleeves up and just getting on with the task at hand delights us. It is not about whose name is on the door but whose banner reigns over the city of Bayonne….JESUS!!
Until next time, joyeuses Pâques!
Please stand in prayer with us this month on the following:
Pray for their home group, for multiplication, discipleship, growth, unity.
Pray for the children as they continue to settle in to the college and make friends.
Pray for open doors of opportunity in St.Croix, Bayonne.
Pray that God would gather and send a team to join in the work of this mission asap.
Pray for more sponsors to stand with on this mission to enable them to meet all the daily living costs and future missions costs
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Kevin & Teresa Pickup.