Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Home news

A couple of weeks ago we were so glad to finally get some gates up around the property to protect the littlest ones from straying onto the road this summer. Now we have large double gates at the main entrance as well as three smaller single gates at other points. The workers did a good job and it looks good.

Another "house improvement" is the double-glazed windows that we got installed in the three upstairs bedrooms, the kitchen and the dining room. They are very nicely done and keep the place a lot warmer (or cooler, in the summer!) and quieter. Now, the whole house is double-glazed, thank the Lord. The guest room has also been completely redone with new carpets and wallpaper. Clean and bright.

The 'farm', as the boys call it, is progressing with leaps and bounds and we are now at the point of getting around 35 eggs a day, which means that we have lots to give away. We're trying to find different ways to pickle or store them for the winter months too when production will be down. The two nanny goats had their babies a month ago so now the four of them are keeping the grass under control in the field.

Last year saw one of our long-time goals realized: the building of a wood-fired bread oven. We got the oven in a kit from Le Panyol, a company based in the south of France specializing in these ovens. If you'd like to see a picture report of the step-by-step installation of the oven behind our fireplace take a look here. (There are quite a few pictures, so be patient while it loads.) As you can see, it was quite a big job but what we have now is such a blessing!

You can always check out our family site (Neve-Family.com) to read and see our activities. The site gets updated in fits and starts so check back from time to time. By far the most important and enjoyable part it is the collection of literature we have been able to accumulate and put on line for the world to read. We know that God's word does not return to Him void, but it will accomplish what He has planned for it. One of our recent additions is A Needed Reformation, by A. W. Tozer. When you realize that this short little article, which could have been written yesterday, was in fact written fifty years ago it just shows you that this man heard from God and that, unfortunately, little action was taken to what he then had to say!

Fellowship

We just returned from the annual Paris conference which is usually held around Easter time for 3 days. We went just last year for the first time but were excited to be able to attend again this year. There were about 120 people like last time, from all over the country as well as some brothers from Switzerland, England & Spain. This year's theme was the "Believer's Growth in Life" and we were able to renew acquaintances we had met last year. We also had a bit of time to chat with Bill about plans for the different publications and projects and he told us that they are planning to print four new books this summer, including our "New Believers Series" that was last year's project, and "The Gospel of God." As always, the little ones were well taken care of with Bible studies and crafts and we had time for study and singing and fellowship. Afterward, Craig & Diane invited us all over to their home in Paris for lunch which was very kind.

At home, we have settled into a pattern of Friday evening meetings with Jean-Claude & Françoise coming over every week for singing, Bible study and a meal. One a month we meet on Sunday afternoon with Jerome & Josephine and Lucy & her children for fellowship and a snack and lots of singing.

A few months ago we ran across some videos by a fellow named Kent Hovind and downloaded them to watch on our computer. We enjoyed them so much we invited some friends over and make copies of them for others. Kent Hovind deals with creation science and just destroys the evolutionary fable in no time with a wonderful humorist touch. These videos cost a lot if you want them on VHS but are free to download (but they are BIG) so if you'd like a copy of this CD just let me know and I'd be glad to burn one for you.

Outreach

As some of you know, last weekend we decided to hit the local area and give them something to think about on Easter morning so we went out the night before and spent three hours sticking up bright, black-on-yellow posters announcing "Jesus Is Risen!" on all the hoardings and public areas we could find. We had so much fun that we want to do it again. This time we've ordered some saying "Jesus Is God!" so we'll let you know how they go down.

Some of you know of our idea to open a Christian bookshop in downtown Château du Loir. Well, it has been slow since there was a certain amount of paperwork to do but last week we just signed the lease. The "famous five" (Raphaël, Elisabeth, Camille, Jonathan, and Nathalie) formed an association which was the best way to handle the paperwork, we found out. We have a few ideas of books and tracts that we can "sell" but mostly we're going to have to get ideas as we go along. Mostly the project is done to be a witness and a testimony that here, in this town, there are people that care about the Lord enough to want to make His presence known. Praise the Lord!

For a past couple of years we've had a literature outreach through our web sites and in particular, our French one www.eglisedemaison.com (house church). If you don't know it yet, you can see it here. Want to brush up on your French? Won't find a better place to do it! The site is constantly being updated with translations from men of God like Tozer, Nee, and Austin-Sparks. Recently, due to the spiritual depth of the articles we have online, we have felt the need to expand into another area of outreach for those who are not even saved; those who need more basic teaching. So last month saw the launch of our new site www.connaitrelabible.org (Know the Bible) which is being completely handled by Raph, and as you'll see, is quite different in its approach. You can take a look at it by clicking here.

Microtec

This is our biggest 'baby' but one that is finally starting to pull his own weight. This is our 'tent-making' that puts bread on the table for the twelve of us, as well as paying all our bills.

We had our best year ever last year with a turnover of nearly half a million Euros and were able to invest a lot of money into building improvements creating two new offices, a meeting room, and the cyber-café.

We also used the results to upgrade everyone's equipment which needs to be done every couple of years in our business. The Lord truly blessed our work last year and we felt led to hire another programmer (our third, now) full time in January. Hiring is a big decision with far-reaching financial consequences in France so one needs to hear from the Lord about it.

There are now six of us employed here and the prospects look good as we keep our priorities right. We are now in our ninth year and God has given us wisdom in the management of the affair for which we must give Him thanks and all credit.

Next month is the mois gruyère (the Swiss-cheese month) as we call it here because of all the holidays in the month of May; the first (labor day), the eighth (VE day), and the last Thursday (Ascension) which all land on a Thursday this year meaning that many companies will 'make the bridge' and take the Friday off for some of them too!

As a family, we don't celebrate Ascension Day much but we sure are looking forward to the second ascension of the corporate Christ (otherwise known as the rapture) which is surely due before long!

Reading

Reading is always a big part of our lives and now we are working through the Collected Works of Watchman Nee (62-volume set) together in the morning. When we first got them we decided to start at the beginning and read through the complete set together. We are finishing Vol 3 right now which is starting studies on the book of Revelation. We're on the 80-page introduction to his Meditations on Revelation which is wonderfully rich.

In the evening we are doing a reading with simultaneous translation of Vol 15 Studies on Matthew which is a chapter by chapter, verse by verse commentary and study of the entire book. It is very slow and we only find we can do about two pages a day that way but it is great to be able to get a translation done at the same time. In the evening we sit around the dining room table and I do the reading while everyone gathers round and takes notes and looks up references.

Raph does the translation and types it in in French at the same time using his laptop while Nathalie has a copy of the Martin Bible that we use for all direct quotes in French. Elisabeth, Camille and Jonathan contribute to get the exact meaning of different phrases and words so it is a group effort.

As soon as we have finished a chapter, I print out a copy of it for Camille who is our final proof-reader. Once typos and spelling mistakes are corrected, I put it online at our site for the world to read. See it here. I then send out the chapter to a French-language discipleship list that I am part of for their feedback. It is slow work but very satisfying. We are currently preparing to finish chapter six. If you read French, check the site regularly and read along with us!

Among some of the many good English-language sites on the Internet proclaiming the gospel is the prophetic voice of Cutting Edge Ministries (Cutting Edge) which, if you don't know yet, is worth a visit. Be prepared to be shocked and motivated at their uncompromising position. I don't go along with everything they have to say and some of the graphics are a bit gaudy but there is a lot of good there, and a lot of biblical common sense. I particularly like their "Fellowship of the Unashamed" (based on reflections from Daniel 12:2). Here it is:

"I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed; my present makes sense; my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I no longer have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer."

This is surely a time for this world's few Christians to come out and take an uncompromising stand while we can. We only have today to come out from Babylon and make our life count for the Lord!