Moving into a new town is a bit like discovering a spider’s web of connections in several ways:
1) Firstly, physically, the town centre of Brive was built around the Collégiale Saint Martin. This is a catholic church built in the honour of Saint Martin of Spain, who was martyred in the 5th century after destroying pagan altars in his zeal for reaching the locals for Christ! The small narrow medieval streets reach out in concentric circles, much like a well-designed web! (Let us know if you’re interested in that sort of thing!).
2) Although the town is fairly large (town and surrounding population of 100,000+), we’ve rapidly discovered that it is pretty easy to bump into the same families at the different activities (music, sport, family activities in the town…)
3) School connections: you sometimes get that “Aha!” moment. David was randomly chatting to a Dad outside the school gates, intrigued by his ‘Union Jack’ (or Union Flag!) T-shirt: recent events made it a good conversational starter. It turns out he loves all things English, and we had a great chat. Later on, I saw him greet some friends that we had recently spent a Saturday evening with, and also another lady that we already knew: ‘Aha, you’re her husband’!
4) From a church perspective: during a conversation with another Christian, he mentioned a small church that had been planted by a swiss missionary (that is no longer meeting). WeI had heard about this missionary at a national church-planting convention in Lyon!
So from all this, we are learning a lessons:
1) God has long been at work in this town, going before us, and His Spirit has been actively preparing many to receive the good news of Jesus; we are encouraged (and amazed!) at some of the conversations we are having with people who are genuinely seeking meaning and hope.
2) Just like when you unravel a garment by pulling the threads, there are key ‘threads’: people who are connected in all sorts of ways to many people. As and when they encounter Jesus, we know that they will have a large impact around them.
3) God does beautiful things, in His own time! We are part of the ‘web’ of His body here in the Corrèze region, and look forward to what He revealing, and will continue to reveal, to us: the unravelling of the Kingdom of God!
So thank-you for praying for God to lead us to those He wants to touch (for all 5 of us!), for those little connections that turn out to be life-transforming, and for those who seem to be caught-up in a web of despair, to be set free in Christ.
David & Claire-Lise, Joshua, Ben and Samuel