Marc Mailloux's Blog


Summer 2016
August 16, 2016, 3:03 pm
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Anduze church farewell

Some of the faithful of the Anduze congregation

Chers amis,

Aline and I have just returned from our traditional summer ministry month in the Languedoc region of France in a town near where her ailing parents live. I preached a series of sermons on marriage borrowing from my favorite sources of inspiration, especially pastors T.Keller and R.Rayburn Jr. This controversial subject is all-the-more relevant in France where they have even invented a kind of “marriage lite” called a “PAC” (Pacte civile de solidarité) which applies to both hetero and homosexual unions. All of France is reeling following the horrendous diabolical Bastille Day attack in Nice. Some think it might be just the beginning. For an enlightening analysis of the situation, see the video “France’s recipe for endless terror” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6ePVxRL DM0.

Evangelicals represent less than 1% of the French population. The mainline “ERF” (Eglise Réformée de France) is largely “liberal” (“apostate” is perhaps more accurate). Its aging members have inherited residual protestant virtues if not saving grace, and have risen to the top of French society. Referred to as the HSP or “Haute société protestante,” they tend to be more industrious and ethical than most, though occasionally victims of their own success (cf. Dt.8:17). As Cotton Mather wrote: “Virtue hath begotten prosperity and the daughter hath devoured the mother…” On a more optimistic note, D. Broussard of
“Impact France” affirms that the evangelical population of France has doubled in the past ten years… We’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of the new evangelicals we meet are from Protestant backgrounds–a telltale sign of the Lord’s faithfulness to His covenant people. In July, our smaller “Eglise Réformée Evangélique” which disappointed many evangelicals twenty years ago by voting to ordain women pastors, broke with the “EPU” (Eglise Protestante Unie which includes the ERF) over the latter’s decision to bless a homosexual ‘marriage’ in the Anduze temple. It was a hopeful sign…

A high point of our time in France was Tuesday evening July 11 at a concert organized by the combined choirs of the tiny Reformed Evangelical congregations around the same town of Anduze (pop.3000) whose protestant temple is the largest in France and whose summer population swells to around 30,000 including many foreign-especially Dutch-campers. The musical offerings were both profound and joyful with rich theological content as real Christian music should be. The “conseil presbytéral” (session) asked me to prepare a brief evangelistic message for the occasion. The inspiring music made it easy. With the idea that there might be some unregenerate among the nearly 200 in attendance, I borrowed from Pascal’s Pensées reminding all that it behooves us to seek God as one’s eternal destiny is at stake, and finished with the always reliable E.E. diagnostic questions about one’s assurance of salvation. We offered French copies of D.J. Kennedy’s apologetic “Pourquoi je crois” which were quickly snatched-up. After the concert, Aline and I were delighted to see two men in attendance with whom we’d studied at the seminary in Aix-en-Provence in the 1970’s and had not seen in decades. Gérard F.(59), whose wife and mother of their three boys died suddenly nine years ago, is the former editor of the denominational magazine.Gérard has Parkinson’s disease, and recently suffered an incapacitating stroke. He now lives in a retirement home in Anduze.

Charles N. was a pastor in nearby town of Vauvert when he lost his wife to cancer some 15 years ago leaving him with four adolescent children. He’s now a chaplain serving the hospitals in the Alès region. Both Gérard and Charles are solidly anchored in the Faith
unlike some of our former seminary colleagues who’ve capitulated to the influence of theological liberalism, as Charles lamented. I suggested to him that when confronting theological liberals who would undercut the authority of Scripture while pretending to speak about God, simply ask them to tell you just one true thing about God and/or Jesus
and how they know it? That usually leaves them speechless…

We were pleased to spend much quality time–usually meals–with Aline’s extended family members and especially our son Calix who lives near Nimes (an hour from where we were staying). Save for her younger brother Pascal (a pastor in the tiny but evangelical French Methodist church), her mother, and a niece, none are walking in the Faith. Aline’s mom and dad, unable to climb stairs have now moved out of their old ‘mas’ (southern French farm-house) where we stayed for one last time. Our time with Calix included a trip to the annual Avignon theatre festival where we saw a rendition of our son’s favorite, Rostand’s sublime “Cyrano de Bergerac,” and Molière’s “Le Malade Imaginaire”–both pure theatrical delights. In addition to the preaching, there were many occasions to share the faith–usually around the table at the drawn-out meals for which the French are famous and which announce the eternal wedding banquet of the Lamb for whom we work to see that all His invitations are delivered. There will have to be some French there too. Who else would you want to do the cooking?

Blessings, Marc and Aline

“Selfie” at Anduze with Charles and Gerard                        Calix +Aline in Avignon

 

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May 2016
May 23, 2016, 5:51 pm
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“Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations…” Deut. 32:7

Dear friends,

It was stifling hot in Lomé, Togo, a small West African country (pop.5 million)  sandwiched between Ghana and Benin)  where I arrived on April 22 for the second part of a church history course we’d started last year and had to abandon at the 14th century for lack of time…

I stayed at the Wycliffe mission center again this year which is equipped with fans which do little more than agitate the humid air.  So even after the long flight (via N.Y. and Ghana), sleep eluded me, and I considered that insomnia might be God’s way of encouraging my otherwise tepid prayer life…

Fortunately, there was a weekend to recover before the start of the course at the ACDI (“Alliance Chrétienne pour le Développement Intérgral”) center on Monday with a group of 15 pastors who arrived mostly on motorbikes from various parts of the country.  These intrepid brothers slept on the hard tile floor on the balcony adjacent to the classroom as they do several times each year when they come to the capital for classes.  That’s motivation.

There’s an irony—not lost on these African students—about studying church history, with its early  center of action in western Europe where the Faith has all but disappeared in the 21st century.  The church was basically non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa until the 19th century and now the center of Christendom is probably closer to Nairobi than to London.  Go figure.

Still, Africans and others do well to learn from the 4th century Arian controversy with Athanasius’ heroic efforts to defend orthodoxy;  from the Pelagian heresy with its challenge to the quintessential doctrine of original sin; from the heroic efforts of the likes of Wycliffe, Hus and Tyandale to get the Bible into the hands of the people in their native language; from the struggles of Martin Luther and his rediscovery of the doctrines of grace leading to the Reformation;  and especially from the origin of so-called liberalism with its anti-supernatural presuppositions which disparage the verbal bridge across the chasm from the infinite God to finite man, then pretends to cross the gulf as if the bridge were still there! That’s more magic than theology. One can only pray that these lessons from the past might serve as a warning for our African brethren lest they repeat the same mistakes we’ve made in the West.

 

The way home from Togo included a two-hour stop in Niamey, Niger followed by a shivering  9 hour layover at the chilly CDG airport in Paris; then finally a 9.5 hour flight to Miami squeezed in between two “Sumo wrestlers” in a seat that would leave no extra room for an anorexic fashion model.  How I envy anyone who can sleep on a plane!

Back in S. Florida, we’re finishing-up the academic year with the Haitian Bible school and continuing our Sunday PM radio spots on the Haitian radio—a minimal effort yielding disproportionate returns in feedback from the listeners… Aline maintains that radio is the most cost-effective part of our ministry.  She’s probably right.

My wife’s unofficial counselling ministry continues to develop amongst her casual gym contacts usually leading to prolonged evangelistic meals chez Mailloux where the blood sugar runs high and the conversation runs deep… If we learned anything from Martin Luther (via Francis Schaeffer) it was never to underestimate the influence of gastronomy on the soul. How gracious of the Lord to allow us to combine the agreeable with the useful…

Our summer plans include a few sermons to prepare for our annual stint filling-in for a vacationing French pastor of the Eglise Réformée Evangélique of Anduze  (in the Languedoc region) which providentially allows us to interact with Aline’s family, our son Calix, and a host of friends and acquaintances including the small, mostly elderly group of believers in the church. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’ll have numerous French copies of Dr. Kennedy’s apologetic volume “Pourquoi je crois” to distribute.   May they serve to strengthen the feeble churches—tiny oases in Europe’s spiritual desert!

Aline’s aging parents are ailing and we probably won’t see her dad again which matters not so long as all are present and accounted for around the table of the Lamb at the Celestial Feast (Rev.19:9). It’s our most pressing concern—indeed the only imperative—that those we love and those elect whom Providence puts on our path be there on the Great Day.

Marc+Aline

 

Praise: 1-for the completion of another academic year with the local Haitian Bible school.                                         2-F our continued health and the Lord’s provision for our ministry.                                                                           3-For the encouraging receptiveness of our African and Haitian students.

Supplication: 1- For continued health and provision for our work.                                                                               2-For the spiritual welfare of our entire family, especially our sons.

3-For a blessed ministry in France (June 25-July 26).

 



Of servants and white cows
May 5, 2016, 2:29 pm
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Feb. Philly and Haiti photos 201Pastor Jean Paul with Marc and some of the Reformation Hope students

 

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15

Dear friends,

I’ve made two teaching trips to Haiti since our last letter including one in February (21-27) to the “Reformation Hope” center at “La Plaine”, a congested neighborhood just north of Port-au-Prince. With 22 eager Haitian students, we spent 6+ hours/day going through the so-called ‘historical books’ from Joshua to Esther. It was exhausting but a pleasure working with such obviously committed students.   It was my first visit to that mission started by Pastor Jean Jacob Paul, one of six surviving children of a family of twelve, who was adopted by a Christian couple from N.Y. when he was nine, became an engineer in San Diego before returning to Haiti where he works in difficult conditions. His ministry—in addition to preaching and teaching—includes a multitude of chores like counselling, as well as overseeing the various construction projects being sponsored by his mostly American supporters.   Jean Paul’s cell phone would ring incessantly each day as he drove me back to the hotel where I stayed.

It’s a similar situation with Esaie E. in Gonaives (110 miles north of PAP) where I taught from March 20-26 and for Dony  S. down in Jérémie in the southern part of the country where I taught last April. Both Dony and Esaie are busy with everything from school building projects to new church plants as well as the administration of existing works, visiting medical and construction teams etc.   A Haitian pastor must be a visionary as well as an administrator as it seems the whole community looks towards him for everything from spiritual counsel to financial aid and every other kind of help.  Heroic efforts are required of the aforementioned brothers.

Still, one must exercise prudence and discernment in ministry in Haiti where there are legions of unscrupulous predators seeking to take advantage of any naïve, comparatively wealthy American “vache blanche à traire” (white cow to milk).  It’s easy to foster a spirit of dependence where many survive on funds transferred by relatives in the U.S. and Canada.

Alas, ‘rugged individualism’—on the wane in our increasingly socialist country—has never existed in Haiti where both the unemployment and illiteracy rate hover around 75%.  The few who have full-time jobs earn only a pittance (less than $2./day).  Worse yet is the generally devalued work ethic, partly a result of the residual influence of slavery of which their ancestors were victims.  Ironically, there are thousands of de facto slave children (called ‘restaveks’) in Haiti who do much of the menial labor such as fetching firewood and  water and washing clothes in distant and often polluted streams.

[Unlike the sterile Palestinian desert which industrious Israelis have caused to flourish, Haiti is blessed with mostly fertile soil and a year-round growing season and was once incredibly prosperous with a GDP superior to that of the 13 American colonies at the end of the 18th century!  But the wealth (from sugar cane, coffee, indigo etc.) of this erstwhile “Pearle des Antilles” was shamefully produced on the backs of slaves.  What’s more, the French exacted crippling payments from the fledgling new Haitian Republic throughout the 19th century.]   Equally discouraging is the ubiquitous corruption which stifles economic initiative and which only a spiritual revival can eradicate. Even badly needed medical aid often doesn’t get into the country without the requisite bribes paid to customs officials…

Back from Haiti, I left the next day (March 28) for the annual “Twin Lakes” pastor’s conference near Jackson, Mississippi.  It was a refreshing time of fellowship with committed brethren and inspiring teaching.  This trip included brief visits to supporting churches in Tupelo and Louisville. [Speeding through the wide open Mississippi countryside on deserted four lane-highways, I was overwhelmed with the contrast from congested Haiti where even a short trip is arduous and takes forever over precarious unpaved donkey trails.   Equally contrasting is the residual Christian influence which still looms large in the form of subsisting southern graciousness which makes even driving in the South mostly agreeable when compared to cosmopolitan S. Florida which is more abrasive, like New York City—albeit with palm trees.

Meanwhile, back in the Sunshine State, Aline and I continue to plow through the reading and noting of some 56 masters’ dissertations from the course we taught under the auspices of IWU back in January.   One learns much reading the assignments on one of two questions: “Does respect for biblical economic principles guarantee the development of a country?” OR, “What are the major obstacles to the application of the biblical ‘cultural mandate’ in Haiti?” We’re encouraged to see the progress as some have come to understand the importance of sanctified individual initiative to improve the lot of their country. Others continue to accuse corrupt government for all their woes.  Sound familiar?  Perhaps we get the government we deserve?

 

Praise:                                                                                                                                                                                  For the aforementioned teaching experiences.

For our continued good health and travelling mercies.

For the manifest progress of our students whose minds are gradually transformed by the Word.

Pray:                                                                                                                                                                                    For my forthcoming teaching trip (church history, part 2) to Togo (April 21-31).

For the spiritual welfare of both our sons, Calix (in France) and Justin (in the Dominican Republic)

For the psychic energy and lucidity for both Aline and myself for fairly grading the dissertations and for Aline’s ever-active albeit informal counselling ministry.

 



Mailloux musings February 2016
March 3, 2016, 6:23 am
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Feb. Philly and Haiti photos 134“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and not of yourselves.  It is not by works lest any man should boast…”Ephesians 2:8-9

 

One of my closer “pétanque” buddies Herb D. died quite suddenly just before Christmas.  Herb was Jewish.  I’d spoken to him periodically about Yeshua over the ten years that I knew him but to no avail—apparently.

A personable fellow with an ebullient personality, he was admirably devoted to Paula—his wife of 63 years—and generous with all. But he was a sinner like all of us and in need of a Savior.  At the memorial service, the presiding rabbi—after reading the requisite ritual prayers (Psalm 15 etc.)—perfunctorily suggested that Herb was “gathered unto his people” like the patriarchs (Gen.25:8; 17; 35:29;49:33).  Funeral services without Jesus’ assurances [of resurrection] are disconcerting at best…

 

From Jan.18-30 Aline and I did some team teaching together in Haiti… for the Masters’ program of Indiana Wesleyan University.

These courses are held at the Baptist Haiti Mission at Fermathe, an inspiring, refreshingly cool venue at 1400m (ca.4200ft.) in the hills above Port-au-Prince. We had 56 eager, qualified, and appreciative students (including several doctors and lawyers) in the beautiful mountains.  Nice work if you can get it…

The first week Aline took them through the arcane complexities of a proper French dissertation.  The second week, I explained what a biblical worldview or Weltanschauung looks like, elaborating from Dr. Rich Ramsay’s “Christian World view” course.

Sitting-in on Aline’s classes during the first week, I was impressed to consider my diminutive wife’s imposing authority even, in front some of the best students in Haiti. She was well-respected. Now the ‘fun’ of reading and noting 56 theses begins…

 

Though Haitians tend to think more like Africans than Frenchmen, the educated minority with whom we’re  dealing has inherited—with the language—some of the French academic tradition.  Hence the challenge for visiting American professors to bridge the cultural communication gap, made all the more difficult when teaching through a translator.  That’s surely part of the reason for our vocation…

 

We’re encouraged by the academic progress of our students. More preoccupying was the semi-Pelagian theology of some of the students’ discourses on the question: “Les bonnes oeuvres contributent-elles au salut?” (Do good works contribute to one’s salvation?).   A little revision using the simple diagnostic questions from the “Evangelism Explosion” method goes far in correcting some non-biblical notions, even among the Haitian Christian intellectual elite.

 

The next teaching trip to Haiti (without Aline) is scheduled for Feb.21-27 near Port-au-Prince (at sea-level, alas) at the PCA’s “Reformation Hope” ministry with Haitian brother Jean Paul.  We pray that the political situation will be calm as Haiti will be without a duly elected President until at least April 24.

 

While we were in Haiti, a vacationing Franco-American brother (Alan B.) from a supporting church in Delaware did an excellent job filling-in for me, doing the daily radio meditations in Florida. This effort touches a significant section of the Haitian community around the country and beyond (including Haiti itself) as we learned via the on-line listeners who’ve phoned-in from places like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and even Dallas. It was good for the listeners to hear a different accent, and learn from someone else’s experience with the same Savior.  Merci Alan!

 

We had a visit from another member of the French-speaking ministry, Japanese brother Satochi K. (temporarily in the US) who we met in W. Africa ten years ago and who now ministers in the cooler climate  (both literally and spiritually) of Canada with my Quebecois “cousins.”

 

Finally, we cherish your prayers for all the “chance” encounters we’ll be making in our forthcoming travels.  Indeed, we consider any significantly lengthy tête-à- tête as a providentially arranged opportunity to share something of the good news. Pray that  our “speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt so that we may know how to answer each one” (Col.4:6).

A sincere word of thanks to all associated with us in this ministry.

In His service,

Marc + Aline

 

 

Prayer concerns:

Praise:

1-For continued good health; the Lord’s continued provision for our work.

2-For encouraging feedback from the radio ministry.

3-For our magnificent grand-daughter Elea (9 months), the finest (in a fallen world) of all possible babies!

 

Supplications:

1-For the Lord’s hand to be on us during forthcoming ministry trips to unstable Haiti (Feb.21-27; March 20-26) and to Togo (April 21-29) as well as on visits to supporting churches in the US (Feb.19-20, March 11-13, 27-30).

2-For the effective use of our radio ministry time.

3-For the spiritual welfare of our older son Calix in France.

4-For the Lord’s continued provision for our work including health and finances.

 



Mailloux Christmas musings
January 5, 2016, 3:00 am
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Mailloux family Christmas (2)

 

“The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”  Mat.13:33

 

Dear friends,

It’s December and Florida is overrun by the annual migration of the snow-birds.  Every winter millions (including more than 3 million Canadians last season) invade the Sunshine State for at least part—if not all—of the colder months.   That makes for a bit of congestion here as the highways are crowded, and the streets littered with all-kinds-of homeless folk fleeing the cold including the likes of James K., a Bible-toting vagrant from West Virginia I met recently—one of thousands who lost his job because of the current administration’s anti-coal policies.  He’s part of the reason for the church’s diaconal ministry.

There’s also a six-fold increase in the pool of Francophones with whom we would share the gospel including dozens of pétanque aficionados who have joined our weekly tournaments to whom we offer French devotional calendars each year, arguably our most ‘cost-effective’ evangelistic tool. Even some hardened sceptics we know habitually read the daily verse and brief meditation with their morning coffee… His Word is never without effect (Isaiah 55:11).

As for the Mailloux household; we’re overwhelmed with a friendly family invasion—including our two sons, Marc’s 91 year old dad, and six-month old granddaughter Elea—come to spend part of their Christmas holidays with us. It’s a loving, albeit exhausting, presence which we’ve been looking forward to: sweet fellowship around the table which is what heaven will be, minus the non-stop meal preparation!  But even that’s fun when done together.  Still, when it’s over, our motto—like that of Paris—might be fluctuat nec mergitur  (tossed but not sunk).

 

Little Elea’s disarming smile, a toothless metaphysical filibuster, leaves agape (pun intended) any sceptic who might debate God’s existence.  She could easily be included in the list of reasons the Lord gave Job (Job 38-40) for not doubting His grandiose benevolence.  “Where were you when I created Elea…?”  Of course that rhetorical question applies to all babies; but one’s own is ever so special!

 

Meanwhile, we continue our daily radio meditations on a Haitian station as well as a brief commentary from a biblical viewpoint on some aspect of the weekly news on a Sunday afternoon program on the same station.

On a recent broadcast, program host Lesly J. lamented the ‘magouilles’ (scheming) that accompanied the latest presidential elections in Haiti, and I, the biased reporting of most of the American press.  We agreed that people usually get the government they deserve—alas.  The Frenchman De Tocqueville prophetically warned us in the 19th century that America was great because she was good but would cease to be great when her virtue declined.  That’s why the restoration of America’s greatness requires a spiritual revival.

 

In addition to preparing courses for the local Haitian Bible school here, we’re gearing-up for the next ‘Christian World View’ courses in Haiti in January following Aline’s Composition course for teaching how to prepare a proper dissertation.  Though it all appears quite academic, the daily proximity with these pastor/students affords us numerous occasions to help reform the thinking of many who simply have not been exposed to some of the biblically insightful teaching one can find in the U.S.  It’s our vocation to translate and adapt the excellent instruction available in English.  In addition, January’s session will include a section on Islam which is making in-roads into Haiti (they’re building mosques there too!) and needs to be understood by all.  Until now, a mosque in Haiti looked about as out-of-place as a Presbyterian in hell, to paraphrase Mark Twain.  But we might be at the end-times when all kinds of aberrations come to pass…?

 

Finally, a word of gratitude for those who make this ministry possible:  We don’t often write of finances and we’re constantly amazed by the unexpected ways the Lord provides for our work.  Still, we would remind you that this is a team effort and we’re most grateful for those who are part of our team in this effort to advance His Kingdom in the French-speaking world.  May His richest blessings be with you in a special way at this season.

 

Prayer concerns:

Praise:

1-For a joyous annual family reunion.

2-For sustained health and joy in the ministry.

3-For the Lord’s continued provision for our work.

 

Supplication:

1-For health and energy for the coming year.

2-For discernment for the best use of our time and resources.

3-For the spiritual welfare of our children, especially sons Calix and Justin.

 

 



Sept.Oct. 2015
November 24, 2015, 8:39 pm
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Sept.OCT 2015 125.JPG

Aline, Ariana, Alan, Heidi, Susan, Fred; “tomates farcies” and “crêpes Suzettes” chez Mailloux

 

 

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God…” Heb.4:9

Dear friends,

After months of almost non-stop peregrinations to various teaching gigs in Africa, Haiti and France, I’ve gotten a break in the past few weeks with no overseas trips; just a few visits to supporting churches in Georgia  and  South Carolina to report on our work.  It’s been sweet waking-up mostly in my own bed—or at least in the same country—since September!

 

It’s normally the time of year we begin preparing our daily evangelistic radio commentaries aimed at the Quebecois ‘snow-birds’ [3 million Canadians came to Florida last winter] who have already begun arriving here.    However, the “Radio Floride” program  which included our “méditations chrétiennes” for 15 years no longer exists due to the retirement of host Gerald E.  Nevertheless, because of the importance of this medium in reaching the half-million Haitian radio listeners in S. Florida for whom oral communication trumps the written word, we’ve decided—finances permitting—to continue to buy air-time on the same (Haitian) radio station and maintain our broadcasts now aimed more exclusively at the Haitian community.

 

While awaiting the next overseas teaching gigs, we teach at the local Haitian Bible school where we currently have 16 eager students, which includes five pastors and others who aspire to ministry in the numerous Haitian assemblies in our area.  I’m currently teaching a course in homiletics with help of some excellent books on the subject, both in French and in English.  This is a “double-duty” affair as the preparation will be equally useful for future courses in Haiti and Africa.

 

We’ve discovered over the years that though the Haitians and Africans are generally poor readers, they tend to be good orators—perhaps a bi-product of their essentially oral culture.  So even as we help them improve the content of what they say, we learn from them something about public speaking for which many of them are remarkable.

 

Beyond the Haitian community, Aline and I continue to run into all kinds of searching souls here in S. Florida; me on the “Tri-Rail” (local commuter train) and  Aline’s at a local gym where she ministers to mostly foreign women she meets at her morning exercise classes and who invariably become dinner guests “chez Mailloux.” Never underestimate the influence of gastronomy on the soul.   Curiously, Aline’s contacts are mostly foreigners and mine include a disproportionate number of Jews.

 

My recumbent bicycle—a gift from a local pastor—which I take on the train affords me many opportunities to converse with other riders who are often intrigued to learn the theological component of “recumbence” which refers to a Christian’s  “resting in Christ”  for his salvation.  “Say what?”   Who would have thought that one would derive so many evangelistic opportunities from that bicycle!

 

Finally, Aline is looking for host families for her 19 year-old second cousin Fanny (from near Alès in southern France) who wants to learn English and will need a place to live anywhere in the U.S. from February until June, perhaps as an au pair girl.   We realize that five months is a long stretch so we’re hoping to find several families who could receive her in exchange for some baby-sitting or housekeeping services.  This is a great opportunity for cultural exchange and for exposing one from an essentially pagan country (France) to life in an American—preferably Christian—family.  Anyone interested should email Aline at Amailloux@comcast.net or phone 954/552-6019 for more details.

Thanks again to all of you whose prayers and giving make this all possible.         Marc+Aline

 

PRAISE:

-For the unsolicited gifts of two cars to replace one that ‘died’ (a 1997 model) and our 1992 model (also a gift) which—though still alive—was wheezing smoke in increasingly embarrassing quantities.

-For the Lord’s continued provision for our ministry.

PRAYER:  For a new roof for our house (58 years old).

For our sons’ (Calix+Justin) spiritual welfare.

For Aline’s growing number of counsel-seeking gym contacts.

For discernment for the best use of our ministry resources.



September 2015 (ministry in France in August)
September 13, 2015, 12:05 pm
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Salines d'Aigues-Mortes

Les salins [salt marshes] du Midi à Aigues-Mortes

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” Matthew 5:13

Dear friends,

Less than a week after returning from Africa, Aline and I left for the ‘old country’ (France) where, for a month each summer, we’ve been filling-in for a vacationing French pastor. This year, we were again in Anduze in the ‘Gard’, the “départment” (county) with the highest percentage (ca. 40%) of sociological protestants in France, (save for Alsace). We served the church which meets in the ‘temple’ (as protestant churches are called in the south of France) in which Aline and I were married back in 1978. The current pastor is Wouter Van V., a young (35) Dutch missionary with a particular burden for the land of Calvin. Likewise, I feel somewhat indebted to the ‘Gardois’ for having stolen one of their finer regional products and taken her away to the US.

For the second time, we stayed at Aline’s parents’ home in Alès, ten miles from Anduze, a town with a winter population of 3000 which swells to nearly 30,000 in July and August when the region is invaded by camper-tourists, including hordes of Parisians. The Anduze temple has probably the worst acoustics of any building on the planet–a preacher’s nightmare, but a great incentive for learning to speak slowly and articulately, while maintaining rigorous eye contact with the assembly so they can read your lips. On the positive side, we were encouraged by the likes of church elder Michel D. and his wife, and two elderly sisters (Anne and Soizik 86+87) with years of experience in the Faith and an everburning heart for the gospel. They’re the exceptions, alas, as the Salt of the earth has largely dissipated in the sea of indifference that is France leaving only an insipid taste of death as evidenced by the sterile intellectual discourses one often hears through the French media. And you thought the political pundits on NPR were lost…!

Indeed, it’s hard not to be discouraged by the overall lethargy of the aging church in France where—as in Alice’s “Wonderland”—only the smile subsists on the disappearing Cheshire cat. Likewise only the faintest residual effects of the Faith remain in what is an overwhelmingly pagan nation. Ironically, one comes to see the active opposition to the gospel in the U.S. as a blessing—indicative of an ongoing spiritual battle—compared to the spiritual stupor of France where the vast majority seems oblivious to their eternal destiny, ambling aimlessly though Vanity Fair even as the increasingly familiar foreboding sound of the Arabic ‘muezzin’ portends to the coming judgement. It’s scary–or it should be. Still, there’s hope as all the French copies the D.J. Kennedy apologetic volume (“Pourquoi je crois”) we brought were snatched-up from the church book table by visiting worshipers… And pastor Wouter is young and zealous. Pray he won’t become discouraged.

Some hope might be found through the plight of the growing number of French economic emigrants. Over 30,000 mostly entrepreneurial French families fled their country last year settling in more businessfriendly places such as England, Belgium, and even Australia and the U.S. where the likelihood of hearing the gospel is much greater. Might some eventually return to the motherland with the Word?

Incredulous France (less than 1% evangelical) provides a striking contrast to Haiti and French Africa where the faith is widespread (albeit thinly) and few, if any, would ever think of questioning God’s existence. The Haitians, like the Africans, lack only instruction in the Word. Meanwhile, ministry in France—as among the Quebecois— involves more apologetics and evangelism than discipleship. One needs to seize any propitious opportunities (especially during long sessions around the dinner table for which the French are famous) to share the good news. Fortunately, there were plenty of such occasions with friends and family in August… Aline and I both gained a few pounds. Other evangelical encounters were more serendipitous such as the exchange with the Air France agent at our early morning check-in at the Montpellier airport where our bags were overweight with French theological books for our Haitian students this side of the Atlantic. Her intrigue by one title “Comment Prêcher” (‘How to preach’) led to a brief testimony and gift of “l’évangile selon Luc” for the self-proclaimed non-believer agent who graciously overlooked our 2 kg. infraction. “Que le Dieu auquel vous ne croyez pas vous bénisse” (May the God in whom you do not believe bless you) I told her thankfully.

Overall, it was a blessed month for sowing. Thanks to all of you who make it possible.

Marc+Aline

Avec Calix 1

“Selfie” with son Calix near his apartment between Arles and Nimes