Marc Mailloux's Blog


Summer in Languedoc
August 31, 2018, 2:58 am
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“The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong…” Ecc.9:11

Aline and I arrived in Languedoc on July 13, just in time to see the French win their second World Cup soccer trophy—an ephemeral joy for the whole country. We stayed with her newly widowed mother near Alès. I presided over five consecutive Sunday worship services at the “Eglise Réformée Evangélique” in Anduze, some ten miles away. We had more French and fewer Dutch visitors this summer as the latter now have an evening worship in their own language.

The “conseil presbytéral” (session) gave me carte blanche with regards to the preaching, so I dealt with a mixture of subjects including Christ’s resurrection as a prelude for the Aug.6 projection of the recently released film “Jésus, l’Enquête” (The French version of “The Case for Christ”): the story of an atheist Chicago journalist (Lee Strobel) who gradually comes to grips with the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. Over 100 people from diverse sociological backgrounds crowded into a small conference hall and watched attentively despite the stifling heat. We distributed dozens of copies of D. J. Kennedy’s “Pourquoi je crois” (Why I believe). It was the highlight of our summer evangelistic efforts, more successful by the turnout than our previous attempts when we expended more effort in advertising. Certainly prayer had something to do with it. Amongst the attendees was Mahela, a young lady from Moslem background who came to the faith a week before and was present at worship the following Sunday…Alleluia.

Other summer events included the wedding of Aline’s nephew Pierre (July 30); a significant affair in a country where marriage is on the wane due largely to the fact that the French government allocates financial advantages to couples living together out of wedlock. The notion of a covenant commitment has all but vanished in the West. Broken families are the norm in France alas, and the gospel is the only solution there or anywhere else.

In addition to the wedding feast, we spent much time around the table with Aline’s aunts, cousins, etc. where the subject of conversation runs the gamut from food (always a favorite topic of discourse in France) to “cabbages and kings” and eventually—with a little diplomatic effort on our part—to THE KING (and I’m not referring to the Bourbon monarchy!).

We got to spend some precious time with our older son who lives alone near Nimes, about 40 miles from Alès. We took in a couple theatre presentations with him at the annual Avignon festival including Molière’s “L’Ecole des femmes” and “Le Malade Imaginaire” (“The Hypochondriac”). Were he around today, Molière might have something to say about the overpriced American medical system. As for the French; they enjoy the best health care in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Of course French physicians aren’t in debt when they leave medical school, as the state pays for their education. Neither are they burdened by expensive malpractice insurance premiums, as the French legal system does not allow for frivolous law suits. Surely, tort reform would go far in correcting the situation in the U.S. Meanwhile, Aline’s niece Magali who is 49 and suffers from breast cancer gets daily round-trip ambulance service to the Montpellier medical center some 50 miles away for her radiation treatments. It doesn’t cost her a dime. Likewise, a nurse makes daily visits to Aline’s aging mother in her home— also covered by the state.
On a more ludic note; I was able to sneak in a few sessions of pétanque in the park in Anduze where the level of play is far superior to what one sees in the States. Indeed, in any southern French town there are at least a handful of “boulistes” who could easily beat anyone on the other side of the Atlantic.

Anduze petanque game

Pétanque game in the Parc des Cordeliers in Anduze

Bernard, a terrific player, particularly vociferous in his opposition to the Faith, trash-talked me, joking that we’d see if God was with me at the weekly tournament on Aug.3. The luck of the draw (two-player-teams drawn “à la mélée” i.e., at random) paired me up with a certain Marco F., a regional champion whose remarkable shooting skill left me speechless. He carried us to victory besting Bernard and his partner in the semi-finals. Bernard then reminded me that “la vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid” (vengeance is a dish one can eat cold). The following week, I was paired-up with Kiki—a terrific “pointer” (there’s “pointing” and “shooting” in pétanque). We skunked Bernard and his partner 13-0. Maybe next year Bernard?

Overall, our time in Western Europe contrasts with our ministry to the Africans and Haitians. The more sophisticated Europeans have largely abandoned the Faith. Many (50% in France?) claim to be atheists. The spiritual emptiness of their lives is pathetic. The hopelessness one senses at funerals like that of some victims of the Aug.12 bridge collapse in Genoa is gut-wrenching. Barring a major revival, the future looks bleak for Europe. On the other hand, the church in Africa is growing numerically. Africans are spiritually hungry and receptive, but the deeply-rooted paganism and the African resistance to systematic Bible reading hinders progress in the transformation of their societies.

My next African trip is to a country where 85% of the population is Moslem but the church continues to grow. Our contact there has written repeatedly telling of the students’ eager anticipation of the course. Pray they won’t be disappointed.

Blessings

Marc +Aline

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Au pays de nos aïeux
August 31, 2018, 2:35 am
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Andree+Dad at Maison Maillou in Quebec City

Sister Andree and Dad (93) in front of the “Maison Maillou” in Quebec city

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Ivory Coast adventure
August 31, 2018, 2:29 am
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Class photo with some of Man students

Ivoirien students at Man teaching center

Dear friends,

A couple of pastors from Ivory Coast whom I met in Liberia in March related the desperate need for basic biblical education in their French-speaking country of some 25 million (ca. 40% Moslems, 30% Christian, 30% animists) and pleaded with me to teach there. They promised to assemble a group eager for instruction in the Word. Though I’d taught twice in that country’s largest city of Abidjan, it was my first visit to their town of Man (pop. 200,000) about 360 miles to the northwest where the dominant tribal language (of the 75 spoken in that country) is “Yacouba” but everyone speaks or understands French–a residual benefit of European colonization.

Travelling can be stressful. Departure of my Air France flight from Miami to Paris (usually the best route to French West Africa) was delayed over three hours. So I landed at CDG after a sleepless transatlantic night and just barely made the connection for the flight to Ivory Coast. Seated in the last row of the giant double-decker Airbus A380, I was the last one in line behind more than 500 other passengers when we arrived at Abidjan customs and immigration at 20h. It was a long wait… Following a brief night at an airport motel, I caught an “Air Cote d’Ivoire” flight to Man via the town of Odienné. Seated next to me on the plane was a Christian woman (converted from Islam by the Lord’s provision of physical healing and a single Bible verse) who’d never flown and was nervous. She saw our encounter as providential.

The program in Man went well. A group of 37 students—most of them pastors—followed attentively as we considered some of the basic principles of biblical interpretation from a course by the late R.C. Sproul that I translated and adapted along with a book by a godly Swiss Bible-school professor. The classes—which met in the stifling heat under a corrugated tin roof structure—went from 8AM ‘til noon, and from 1 to 4 PM Monday through Friday—35 hours in all. By the time we finished each day, my clothes were drenched with perspiration and my throat sore, minor inconveniences compared to the sweet satisfaction that the Kingdom had been advanced among this appreciative group from towns of that region who in turn will be teaching others (cf. II Tim.2:2).

The organizing pastors, Michel G. and Patrice D., president of the union of evangelical free churches, hired a driver to take me back and forth from the teaching site each day while the students themselves stayed in place in the most rudimentary ‘lodgings,’ sleeping on dirt floors on strips of foam mattresses we bought for them and eating the simple starchy lunches prepared by six devoted women. [cf. photo]. As for me; though the hotel where I stayed was Spartan by any Western standards, it did have a French-trained cook (Olivier) whose succulent sauces—like love itself—covered a multitude of gastronomical sins. What a sweet, unexpected, providential provision to enjoy a good meal at the end of a hard day!

It’s amazing to see how the church is growing in Africa in spite of a dearth of biblically trained teachers, study-Bibles etc. The Spirit indeed “blows where He wishes.”

Authentic Christians but with little if any biblical instruction, these Ivory Coast brethren–like most Africans and Haitians–do not have well-honed theological beliefs. They seemed to ignore the meaning of the sacraments and were pleased to discover that, with regards to baptism and the Lord’s Supper, they were Calvinists like me. Still, there’s a danger of sectarianism along with divisions over issues of minor importance such as the celebration of Christmas, the charismatic controversies etc. A collective reading of Romans 14 went far to convict many… “Unity in the essentials, diversity in the rest, and charity in all things,” someone said. That’s good advice.

The “Ivoirien” brethren have asked me to return want to set up a Bible-training program in their area. In the wake of their overwhelming gratitude, I promised them I’d do what I could and refer them to some French-speaking colleagues who could teach. Meanwhile, they’re trying to raise funds to start a poultry production to create jobs for the many unemployed among them and finance the ministry as their assemblies are dirt poor. One pastor told me that the entire collection in his church the previous Sunday was the equivalent of $6. US.

The return trip home took 36 hours and included three flights and a couple of eight-hour waits at both the Abidjan and Paris airports. Finally, the last leg from Miami was with a French-speaking Haitian Uber driver from Catholic background. Ernst is searching and shared about his involvement in the Kabbalah, but is clearly ignorant of basic biblical teaching. We had an interesting discussion. Forty minutes later when he dropped me off, he asked if I would consider doing a conference for a Haitian group in Miami about the Bible. I’m awaiting confirmation of what seems like another providential opportunity.

Aline and I will be returning to France in July-August for our annual summer ministry in the town of Anduze in her home “départment” (county) called the “Gard” which boasts the highest percentage of sociologically Protestant folks in France–save for Alsace–but where the Word is muffled under the stifling influence of the surrounding secular culture. Western Europe is a whole other kettle of fish from Africa and Haiti. Still, the church in Anduze—a Meca for Dutch summer tourists—receives us warmly each summer and we’re grateful to be able to return and to serve in such diversified places and for those of you who make it all possible.

Blessings,

Marc+Aline



April 2018 The Lord’s Kingdom in West Africa
April 14, 2018, 1:06 pm
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Marc with Solange, Baha, Patrice, Michel in Liberia

Dear friends,

It was my first trip to an English-speaking African country. In March, I was invited by Pastor Chuck M. to accompany a group from ELI (Equipping Leaders International) on a teaching trip to Ganta, Liberia for sixty people (40 pastors and 20 of their wives). The reason for my participation was the anticipated presence of a few French-speaking men for the third ELI conference in Liberia. The ‘francophones’ were from bordering towns of neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast. It was obvious from the outset that they’re so hungry for any instruction in the faith that they had even attended the previous ELI conference in spite of the language barrier.

As soon as I met pastors Patrice and Michel (from Ivory Coast) and Haba (from Guinea, 83% Islamic) I understood why I was there. Though zealous in the Faith, they had no formal theological training. Haba lamented the absence of Bible schools in his country, the least evangelized of Sub-Saharan Africa. They asked basic questions about biblical interpretation that should be treated in any “Hermeneutics 101” course. Neither did any of them even own a study Bible. Still, Aslan’s on the move and the church continues to grow in Africa!

The pastor-students listened attentively as we went over the text of 1 Timothy with notes prepared for the conference. After our first session together, they pleaded with me to come to their respective countries for a more in-depth treatment of the subject. It’s the kind of request that’s hard to refuse.

Titus D., a Liberian who heads up the ELI work in West Africa, told me that the educational needs and opportunities in the French-speaking countries of sub-Saharan Africa were greater than in the English-speaking countries, but that there is little instruction available for the faithful in French (Perhaps another reason for some of you reading this to study the language of Molière?). I’m planning another teaching trip in June to the somewhat remote home town (pop.200,000) of Patrice and Michel in Ivory Coast where they told me to expect thirty eager pastors who minister to a growing number of new believers. It seems like a providential opportunity not to be passed up…

Liberia is rather different from the eight other African countries I’ve visited over the years. The modern republic was founded partly with the influx of some 13,000 former slaves from the U.S. in the 19th century who did not integrate well with the natives. At the present, its people are still hurting from their two recent civil wars (1989-96; 1999-2003) which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and forced a million more to emigrate. After the removal from power of Charles Taylor (convicted of war crimes), Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (a Harvard trained economist) was elected as Africa’s first female president (2006-18). Georges Weah, a former soccer star, was elected president in 2018. Even with the best intentions, leaders are impotent to eradicate the rampant corruption that plagues the country.

Though the land is potentially rich, a visit to a local market near Monrovia showed that there is little fruit available. Most people subsist on a starchy diet of rice and cassava with green plantains with a bit of fish. A discussion with an American agronomy professor (from Texas Tech.) we met at the Monrovia airport was enlightening. It seems Liberia’s development is stifled partly by a handful of Lebanese magnates who maintain control of much of the economy, which hinders individual initiative. The answer and only hope for Liberia (and everywhere else) is the life-transforming gospel.

Arriving home from Africa, I was greeted by daughter Anais and her husband Eric with their family of 2.5 daughters. They dropped off the little ones (Elea, 2½ and Heidi, 10 months) while leaving for a last week of R +R before the birth of daughter no.3 due in July.

Though the trips to Africa (via Europe) are exhausting for one who does not sleep on airplanes, it was nothing compared to the interaction with two little ones who, without their mother for the first time, ran us ragged–especially Aline–and made bedtime SOOOO appreciated! The only break my wife got all week from ten-month-old Heidi–who clung to Aline like a leech–was when I’d strap her in the stroller for long early morning walks during which time we’d listen to Mozart’s sublimely pacifying “Sull’aria” (from the Marriage of Figaro) played over and over again: the soothing effects were reminiscent of those of David’s harp music on tormented Saul. Meanwhile, Aline and I have new respect for grandparents who raise their grandchildren.

It was a blessed time nonetheless as the girls taught us much. Sinful human nature is the same everywhere. Still, one sees the profound difference in philosophy of child-rearing in the West as compared to what I’ve witnessed in Africa where large families are the rule, doting parents unknown, and a more laissez-faire attitude reigns. Haba and Solange, the 35 year old couple from Guinea who attended the Liberia conference have five children already. When I asked who was keeping them in their absence they replied: “The family and the village…”

It’s not surprising that African children (if they survive childhood in a land of Ebola virus, cholera, and mamba snakes) grow up quite independent and resistant to germs that would kill the most robust of Westerners. Overall, life is simpler, if not more precarious, on the Dark Continent.

Finally, I write this after verifying our MTW support account, pleased and grateful to find the funds to book the next trip to Africa, and praying for wisdom to prepare some teaching material that will make a difference in the lives of these spiritually hungry brethren. With continued appreciation for those who make it possible…

Blessings,                                                                                                                                                  Marc+Aline

 



“I am the Alpha and the Omega…” Rev.1:8 February 2018
February 28, 2018, 1:42 pm
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photo de famille Dec.2017.jpg“Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders and the judgments of His mouth…” Ps.105:5

Dear friends,

There have been several major events since our last newsletter in December, including the annual visit of our children and grandchildren— always the high point of our year as well as a reminder of the upcoming marriage feast of the Lamb where the Lord’s elect will be gathered around His table (rest assured the food will be French). Hasten the day! Meanwhile there’s much to do as many of us have concerns that loved ones would not be present at the only appointment and family gathering that really matters.

These include a number of acquaintances of our surfer son Justin in the Dominican Republic whom we visited Jan.12-15—a second major event. He arranged opportunities for us to explain the Word to some of his acquaintances: his buddy S., an Argentine expatriate; and a few North Americans, including R.M., a wealthy, generous Canadian woman (with her impressive entourage) to whom our son gives tennis lessons. The sumptuous meal at her palatial home included twenty other guests with some high-rollers blessed with many worldly things but in need of the Savior.

Aline and I were delighted to hear the aforementioned lady lavish praise on our boy for his general good disposition and consideration for others as he goes about his work and play—almost the same for him. Surely the Lord has heard the prayers of many on his behalf over the years.

Still, we’re concerned by the dearth of Christian fellowship and serious instruction in the Faith in his town (Cabrera) of 25,000 without a solid Bible-believing assembly! Pray that the Lord would inspire some Spanish-speakers to feed His sheep in the D.R. It’s a beautiful region with magnificent beaches and tropical fruit even if one has to put up with the annoyance of the underpaid Dominican police shaking down foreign tourists to extract small-change bribes. Our son sees this as a minor inconvenience and the price of doing business in that country.

Another significant event was my third teaching trip (Feb.3-14) to Burkina Faso. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the friendly folks in that poor, mostly barren land just south of the Sahara. On this visit the harmattan wind was blowing a thick cloud of dust over the area limiting visibility and causing many to wear face-masks to filter the hot desert air. I arrived in Ouagadougou (it was 95F) for the second part of a church history course (15th century to the present) started last year with 24 eager students. We reminded them that history is linear and has meaning as it is indeed “His-story,” the Alpha and the Omega. It’s important that one learns to understand the circumstances of the present in the light of His eternal Plan. There’s much to learn and emulate from the Lord’s people of the past such as Calvin’s inspired efforts at reforming and organizing the church in 16th century Geneva which John Knox called it the “greatest school of Christian discipleship since the Lord Jesus Himself walked the earth.”

On Jan. 29, we started a new semester at our local Ft. Lauderdale Haitian Bible school. Even after 20 years of existence, it’s still a fledgling affair, with major administrative problems, few committed students or teachers, and a shoestring budget.

The educational level among the Haitians (75% illiterate) is such that anything we can teach helps. Our students are receptive, but the blinding voodoo-superstition is well-ingrained alas, and it takes a generation or two before the transforming principles of the Bible are absorbed and the culture transformed. It’s a longterm effort…

Like the African’s, Haiti’s is an oral culture whose people simply don’t like to read—a habit they need to acquire. Can a people be transformed without the daily meditation of the Word? Think of how the printing press was so instrumental in the transformation of 16th century Europe. Both Haitians and Sub-Saharan Africans tend to be pre-Enlightenment in their thinking. Unlike our skeptical western naturalists, they are all too aware of the battle going on in the unseen spiritual realm.

Meanwhile, we’re convinced that the development of any country is directly proportional to the extent that its people apply the “directions for use” principles as revealed by our Maker in His Word (Deut.15). Our erstwhile Christian countries subsist on residual grace bequeathed to our ancestors. But our “cut-flower” societies are wilting fast and will perish unless we get re-rooted in the Faith and refreshed by the living water.

As usual, this Africa trip included a significant number of providential encounters with fellow travelers including Alice, a Marseille theatre worker seated next to me on the flight to Burkina Faso; Maela, a young French woman from Britany with whom I spoke as we waited in line for over three hours at the Ouagadougou airport; Joel, a “Burkinabé” man on the Ouaguadougou-Paris flight on the way home; and old George, a 77 year old Frenchman seated next to me on the Paris-Toronto flight. All were seekers (George was reading a French translation of an old C. Castaneda work!) and eagerly accepted French copies of D. J. Kennedy’s “Pourquoi je crois.” Thanks again to all who make this ministry possible.

Blessings,

Marc+Aline

P.S. We’re told to remind our supporters that the new address for donations to the ministry is: MTW donations PO Box 744165, Atlanta, GA 30374-4165.

justin-salsa-macho-pubSebastian and Justin with their billboard in the Dominican Republic

with Burkinabe students

With Burkina Faso students in Ouagadougou



Rwanda and Burundi December 2017
February 28, 2018, 1:24 pm
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Dear friends,

It was my first trip to Rwanda. Dr. John Barber invited me to teach an apologetics course for a group of 25 French-speaking Congolese students from the other side of the border at Lake Kivu in the Rwandan town of Kamembe, a half-hour flight from the capital Kigali.

First impressions of any country are usually the most accurate. Rwanda—site of the infamous 1994 genocide of the minority Tutsi (over 800,000 dead in 100 days, mostly butchered by machetes!) by the majority Hutu—is synonymous with horror for many. Still, the country impressed me. The streets are impeccably clean—not a piece of rubbish in sight. No derelicts either. Everyone seems busy doing something useful. It’s part of what they call “umuganda” (‘community work’) where all the Rwandans consecrate the last Saturday of each month to clean all public places. Also, there are policemen on every street corner. This has to be the cleanest and safest place in the world to stroll about. And stroll the Rwandans do—they walk everywhere. No problem of obesity here.

A former Belgian colony, many Rwandans still speak French, however English has become more prevalent in recent years, especially since the arrival in power of President Paul Kagame of whom everyone speaks well, according him much of the credit for leading the country from chaos to order. He runs a tight ship.

As for the classes in Kamembe, the students—many of whom come from Pentecostal backgrounds—were both polite and receptive in spite of the fact that we broached some delicate subjects including the influential “prosperity gospel”—an unfortunate distortion of the Faith, widespread in Africa. Nevertheless, the sessions went well and they were glad not to have to learn through a translator.

On Saturday, Nov.25, I flew back to Kigali where I had to wait 31 hours for my flight to Burundi. I took advantage of the layover to visit the genocide memorial in the company of my new friend Patrice 25, who escaped the slaughter but lost both his parents and his siblings when he was but a two year-old. He was raised by his uncle Théophile (one of the Kamembe students) who apparently did a fine job. A devout Christian, Patrice speaks fluent English and French, so we used the latter language which he wanted to practice. But at the genocide memorial, he asked that we revert to English as the French have bad press in Rwanda for their army’s role in facilitating the escape of some Hutu murderers at the end of the hostilities. Patrice insisted that though the racial tensions have subsided for the moment, the potential for another flareup subsists.

The memorial center in downtown Kigali includes a section on the German’s attempted genocide of the Nambians in 1904; the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians in 1915; the Nazi atrocities against the Jews; and the genocide attempt in former Yugoslavia in the 1980’s etc. It’s all a chilling reminder of what man is capable of. It seems so incongruous that the Rwanda people—whom I found gracious to a fault—could have sunk so low.  There but for the grace of God we go…

After a week of classes in Rwanda, it was off to Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, where I didn’t know what to expect. I had visited this country in 2014 when the pastor who’d invited me dragged me all over town for morning conferences and lunch-hour devotionals in all kinds of different venues. This time, I spent all my time as the guest of a fledgling three-year-old assembly whose young pastor Jérémie is a courageous soul. I taught in French but had to be translated into the local Kirundi langauge for the 30% who don’t know the dominant colonial language.

It’s clear to anyone who has worked with Africans or Haitians that, of the three means of grace—prayer, fellowship with other believers, and systematic Bible study—they most need help with the latter. Indeed, many African Christians gather together every night to pray and sing praises to the Savior, but most remain quite ignorant of the basic contents of the Bible. The problem is that most sub-Saharan Africans don’t like to read. This is where our more studious Presbyterian tradition fills a need.

In Bujumbura I taught every morning from 9 to 12:30 and evening from 18h30 ’til 20h for five days with particular attention to what the Bible says about marriage, the family and work—all fundamental parts of the “cultural mandate” from Genesis. The teaching was well-received and the church has invited me back. In fact, they asked me to start a Bible school in Bujumbura! I told them they would need someone with administrative gifts for such an enterprise. I’m afraid I’m not the man…

Both Rwandans and Burundians were gracious and hospitable and their societies seem in some ways less corrupted than our Western civilization; to wit, the idea of homosexual ‘marriage’ is still abhorrent to them. Both countries have a large percentage of believers. They need help only for acquiring a greater love for the written Word in order to benefit from its transforming effect on the culture. Still, one can predict that, should the Lord tarry, the future center of world domination might lie closer to Nairobi than to London.

I’ll be sending this letter off just before Christmas, even as Aline and I anticipate with relish the annual “invasion” by our three children and two granddaughters. I’ll wait until after the holidays to include family news… Surely, we’ll have recovered by then.

Meanwhile, may the richest blessings be with all our friends and their families.

May the Lord keep you close to Him, and not too far from us. Joyeux Noël!,

Marc+AlineCongolese students in RwandaCongolese students in Kamembe, Rwanda

 



From one hurricane to another
November 3, 2017, 1:59 am
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Walt, Aline, Lise, Andree

Brother-in-law Walt, Aline, sisters Lise and Andree in the Poconos at wedding celebration

 

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son” (Mat. 22:2).

Dear friends,

From August 21 through September 11 we were visited by two ”hurricanes.” The first was the arrival of our daughter with her two daughters, Eléa (2) and Heidi (2 months). To say that the presence of a strong-willed toddler and a nursing baby disrupts one’s life is a gross understatement. Hence the hurricane comparison. In fact, Eléa was a capable theological instructor for her spellbound grandparents helping us appreciate more how we are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).

For one thing, she’ll be fluent in at least two languages (her mother’s French and her dad’s English) and is exposed–via her California nursery school–to some Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. How amazing that the human brain can assimilate several different languages at one time. She automatically spoke to me in English—albeit in baby talk—and to Aline in French.

Our morning walks together were another lesson in childhood fascination as Eléa marvels at all the wonders of nature to which we more jaded adults are often oblivious. One evening as she and I sat in the back yard, she observed with delight the movements of airplanes in the S. Florida sky and heartily sang choruses of “Twinkle, twinkle little star…” as the night sky darkened. I will forever cherish those moments…

Heidi (three months) is still in the baby stage of breast- feeding and keeping her exhausted mother up at night. Fortunately, Anais had some precious help from Aline who changed a bunch of diapers and did a ton of laundry. It’s amazing to see how well some people—especially women—function with so little sleep! Still, Aline relishes her grandmother role.

The second hurricane was “Irma,” a humongous category 4 storm (sustained winds of between 130 and 156 mph) which devastated the Caribbean islands of Barbuda and St. Martin (where we had a teaching program for years) before battering the entire state of Florida on Sunday Sept.11 leaving us without electricity for 53 hours. It wasn’t as bad for us on the east coast as it was during 2005’s hurricane Wilma as Irma’s eye passed 100 miles to the west of us. Still, we had winds of around 80 mph for a long Sunday during which Aline and sat spellbound on our poorly protected, reconverted patio facing west observing Irma’s rage through a glass door. Fortunately, the prevailing winds were from the east. We felt a bit like Dorothy in the famous “Wizard of Oz” scene flying though space in her house, while watching from her bedroom window familiar people and objects passing by. We were praying that the roof would not be ripped off…

Providentially, we lost only a couple of trees and a fence. Beforehand, we had picked all the mangoes from our overstocked tree and did some ‘mango diplomacy’ distributing what we didn’t eat, dry, and freeze to our friends and neighbors during the power outage.

In other family news, Aline and I attended my niece Hae Linn’s wedding in the Poconos in N.E. Pennsylvania the weekend of Sept.22-23. Friends and relatives came from as far as S. Korea (family of the bride’s late father), and England. My younger sister Lise married a Liverpudlian (Walt, whom we’d not seen in 20 years) and came with their grown children, niece Kate (33) and nephew Luke (29) whom we hardly know. Luke came down to Florida to stay with us for a week after the wedding so we could finally get to know him a bit. The wedding celebration was a delightful occasion and surely one of the last family gatherings my dad (93) will ever attend here below.

Still, it’s a curious affair, a wedding for a couple who have been living together for over eight years. In lieu of a minister of the gospel, the ceremony was presided over by a new-age “spiritual counselor;” in lieu of vows, the happy couple exchanged a profusion of ebullient poetic praises of each other. Alas, without reference to the Word of God, how can anyone know the meaning of the divine institution of marriage? The reigning confusion of modern society over this issue bears testimony. Privately, we reminded my niece that the entire Bible could be thought of as a kind of wedding invitation which begins with God providing a bride for Adam and ends with the marriage supper of the Lamb–Jesus Christ, the groom, who has paid the highest dowry for His bride–His own blood. Meanwhile, the “dress code” requires that those in attendance be clothed in the robe of righteousness, provided by the bridegroom Himself! You can’t beat those conditions. Let the feast begin.

blessings,

Marc+Aline

Prayer concerns:
Praise: 1-For the delightful company of the world’s finest granddaughters (save for all the others).                                                                                                                                                       2-For minimal damage from Irma.                                                                                                 3-For continued health and provision for our ministry.

Supplications:                                                                                                                                           1-For MTW’s “Global Missions Conference” in Dallas (Nov.10-12).                                          2-For forthcoming trips speaking and teaching engagements at our Haitian Bible school’s graduation (Oct.1); in St. Vincent (Oct. 28-30); Rwanda, Burundi (Nov.17Dec.3); procurement of the requisite visas and course preparation.                                                     3-For a more studious attitude for our Haitian students here in S. Florida                               4-For our older son (37) in France, currently without a job, and our second son (35), struggling to make a living in the D.R. giving tennis and surfing lessons to tourists, and selling his homemade “Salsa Macho” (“sola para vallientes!”).