Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don and Jan are here

Just a note to tell you that Don K. Preston and his wife Jan (from Janis) are here with us now.

I went to pick them up at CDG with Becky along for the ride — after the trip to England, she's becoming my riding partner of choice! She loves the special times and so do I.

Well, the clocks went back last night so we got and extra hour of sleep and still got up at "5" (though it was now 4), planning to leave at "6" (really 5, get it?) and actually left at 5:30 am -- or 6:30 am for our poor mixed-up bodies. Josephine assured me it was a 3 hour trip so this would put us in at 8:30 — which sounded fine for an 8:40 arrival time, since they'd need a little time to clear baggage control and customs. I figured we'd have a good half hour wait till we could expect to see them.

Well, at 8:30 we were parked and walking around the terminal trying to get our bearings and find where AA arrivals were. As I was looking at the television screens trying to localize flight AA712 I suddenly heard someone call my name. Turning around on the second call I came face to face with Don!

When I asked him how long he'd been here ("about half an hour") and how on earth he could be here in the arrivals hall already he said something about a tailwind and "making good time." I looked up at the clock and saw that it was right now exactly 8:40 but it took me a little time to get things straight in my mind.

The arrival time given of 8:40 am was given as calculated without taking into account the changing back off of DST. Grrr.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Back to Paris tomorrow morning

Well, that was a nice lunch; boeuf aux carrottes prepared by our friend Hoo some time ago and faithfully frozen by Nat till today.

William is a very nice man and we both feel like we've known each other for a long time. He loves the Lord and is never happier than when singing or reading about Him. John was so tired this morning that he went back to the hotel after breakfast and told William not to come and get him for lunch. I need to talk to him later on because it's easy to see all is not well.

This afternoon I need to make sure my car tank is full and find out which terminal Don will be coming in at. I may bring mother with me which would be nice. I hadn't suggested it because I need to leave at 5 and that is not her best time of day. But she said at noon she'd like to come, so it will be good to have someone with me for the trip.

I got a quick note from Don early this morning asking for my cell phone number (which I gave him) but then our servers went down and have been down for hours now. Raph says it's a "known problem" and that he manages to hang them by updating the CLB site.

I bought some odds and ends for the studio since that's where I've decided to put Don and his wife -- I think they'll be better there, and more accessible. Last week I rolled over a hundred thousand kilometers on my car which is not quite two years old: fifty thousand a year is quite a bit, I guess.

Saturday morning

I've been nicely reminded that my news is read and appreciated so I'd like to tell you what's on my mind this morning.

Today we had another round of Raph's study on resurrection getting as far as John 8. William really enters into the spirit of it and seems to really enjoy it. John slept through most of it, I think, then went downstairs afterward to lay on the couch. He is not an early-riser. Michel & Lilly came in a little late but didn't miss much and Michel also seems to enjoy the times together.

Yesterday William and John worked down at the hotel, as they have all this week, cleaning and making preparations. Yesterday they cut all the new wood and brought it back to stock it in the woodshed at the bottom of the garden. I guess they made a big bonfire of small scrub brushwood down there and generally tidied things up outside.

We received Judas Maccabeus by Handel yesterday so I immediately ripped the two CDs and sent them up to mp3tunes for safe-keeping and easy access. (It's a good, free service you should check out if you don't know it.) We've got over seven thousand songs on line now -- or I should say "tracks" not "songs" since I have over four hundred sermons by Tozer as well as the whole Bible both in French and English.

This morning Raph is doing the finishing touches on the boutique part of our CLB web site ( and I'm going to help by scanning the covers and preparing blurbs and teasers for the books. Tomorrow morning I'm off nice and early to Paris to pick up Don and his wife at Charles de Gaulle; their plane is in at 8:40 am so I'm going to need an early start. I'd better get busy! Talk to you later.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Busy week ahead

Well, this is due to be a rather busy week coming up. We called Mario tonight and he said that due to his work load he thought he wouldn't be able to attend the conference after all. Laurent apparently called also to say that they'd be in Sunday afternoon, instead of tomorrow, since their children needed more time to finish their school work. This all is in our favour and gives us an extra day tomorrow to get caught up on preparations.

We had a great study Thursday morning. Raph led us in a study he'd prepared on the resurrection, chapter by chapter through the book of John. This morning we listened to a study by Bercot on reconciling Paul and James. It was well done and clear, as always. John tossed and turned a lot and didn't seem to be entering into the spirit of it, although I know he is in agreement with what was said. He seems to have a problem listening to anyone else, a recorded sermon or a chapter from a book. This may just be an over-reaction to things of his past but I think he needs to be careful not to cut himself off from the Lord speaking through others.

By the way, if you want to get yourself a copy of our new book by Ehrenpreis (see my note a couple of days ago) you can get it here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Here is our news

If I don't start trying to catch up on my news it's not going to be news much longer. We sure seem to live a busy life!

What I wanted to tell you was that last Friday we had the visit of René & Miriam and their 16-year-old daughter, Erin. They flew down in to Le Mans in a rented Beechcraft piloted by a member of the community of Darvell in England. We knew a little about their community, but we learned much more and it was a blessing to be able to compare experiences and share together. We have much we can learn from them!

He said there are about 300 of them living in community of goods in Kent from many different nationalities but one in the Lord, of course. René, despite his name, was raised in the States, as was his wife but they've been living in the UK for five years now and are hoping to get British citizenship very soon.

At any rate, it was a wonderful visit and we really were able to have good fellowship. I can't remember when I was able to converse with a brother on that level and besides being very encouraging to what we are doing he was also able to offer a little real brotherly advice. I only wish I'd been able to free up a little more time to talk to him alone.

Becky got along famously with Erin, as you'd expect. But she told me yesterday that it was the first time in her life that she was able to have a spiritual conversation with someone of her own age and she enjoyed that a lot. She said it wasn't like it often is (a "love at first sight" kind of friendship with a little silliness) but rather a serious more adult sort of contact that she liked a lot. At first she said she was wondering whether this was due to the fact that she is growing up or whether Erin was just so different from others she's known.

I thought it was probably the latter, myself.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rejoice with us!

We just received a parcel in the post this morning from Kenny Woolman at the Hutterian Brethren Book Centre. I couldn't believe it had arrived so fast! We had so wanted to get it before the conference but I was wondering if it would make it, but it did.

So here is the cover: Brotherly Community -- The Highest Command of Love, by Andreas Ehrenpreis, for the first time in French and the first time that a book we've translated has actually made it all the way to print edition -- despite multiple assurances and promises.

Kenny sent us a box of 60 and I don't think we're going to have any trouble distributing them! Raph is working on our webstore at his site (I'll post the link once it's finished) and got a lot done on it over the weekend so this will be one of our first boutiques to sell it. Please pray for all who will read it; it is most powerful!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The weakest link

"In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows 'unemployed' members to exist within it will perish because of them.

"It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Four days with Aunty

Well, it's been awhile since I last had opportunity to post a comment here; I've been pretty busy. Here I am in Portsmouth again at their Internet kiosk in the terminal building and since I have a little time before sailing, I thought I'd bring you up to date.

It's Thusday night and I ca;e over by myself last Sunday to try to help Aunty get sorted out since she was so distressed by events when I spoke to her on Saturday.

I spent all day Monday bringing furniture and pictures to the home and making her feel comforted. A big part of my visit was meeting Mrs Stevens on Tuesday morning which went a long way to calming her fears and apprehensions. Mrs Stevens was probably right in most of what she said, but she was trying to move Aunty far too rapidly.

Lat night I drove up to see Tony & Peggy who put me up for the night, God bless them, and I took them out for lunch today with Rosemary. They haven't changed a bit and together represent everything that is good, and that I most like, about the English.

There was so much to do: I had to try to arrange with BT to disconnect her old phone and tried to get a new one installed in her new room, I have some papers I have to give Tony for the sale of her car, I called Kevin, the neighbor, to sort out the issue of her old fence, I saw Frank about her keys and her mail. As soon as I return I need to contact my siblings and cousins to try to bring them up to date on happenings here.

Basically, Aunty is well, but has lost her mobility and is starting to confuse things in her short-term memory banks. Her arm still shows some infection but the doctor is starting her on another treatment of antibiotics that ought to help.

This is a long time to be away from home and business and I do not do well on my own in that I seem to be of a rather gregarious nature. Left to myself I ponder the "meaning of life" a lot. But tonight I am just tired and wanting to get home -- though Aunty would have had me stay longer if I could have.

I remember first proposing she live with us about twenty years ago. But at the time she had a dozen more pressing things to do and reasons why she couldn't. Over the years the offer was renewed but there were friends, art classes, and church that stood in her way. I decided a couple of years ago to drop the subject and see little use in reminding her of what could have been for her now; there's no point in her feeling regrets about anything in her life (as she is wont to do anyway) now that nothing can be done to change them anyway.

I lean heavily on Raph, his love and judgment and I'm always glad he is there to talk. Lilly has quite understandably been preoccupied lately with her own life and I've yet to see how Mrs Roess will fit into our community activities and decision-making. She has a good heart and I'm sure she will do well.

Well, that is a hodge-podge of news for you till this weekend. I'll try to write a little more once I get the essentials sorted out. May the Lord bless and keep us all.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How much is unity worth?

Sunday afternoon. We had lunch down at the island on a beautiful sunny day, but I'm no fun to be with,lately. I'm very preoccupied about events: Michel & Lilly's return tonight, their housing situation, Gérard and his children coming over tonight for supper, Debbie & Roo's upcoming marriage, the Fall conference coming up, William's arrival, meeting Don and his wife in Paris, John and his speech-ways, PowerPoint translations for the conference, Mario & Gina who'll be coming in here in a couple of weeks from Portugal, Laurent & Raphaella from Gap, the sewage problem at the hotel, Nat and Gérard and their situation ...

No point trying to enumerate everything here, but it keeps me busy.

Last night I started singing as the others ate the evening meal and that added a nice spirit to the evening. After several from the book we did a few of our favorite Psalms (133, 117, etc) which led me to end by saying, "And all the people said? Amen!"

To which John was noticable by his loud, "Yes". I would say it didn't bother me but the truth is I didn't want to say anything. Apparently Raph felt much the same since he did challenge him on it. I didn't hear the conversation but I know Raph and I imagine he has had about enough. I told him to read 1 Corinthians 1:10. It seems to me that sooner or later this issue will have to be resolved by unity.

John came in to talk for a few minutes this afternoon and brought up the subject. I reminded him that if we were both seeking unity and truth, God would lead us together. I said that, for my part, I think it might be best for him to keep these things for his private prayer life (to which no one is privy) and that he should consider forsaking it in public prayers and songs for the sake of unity. He said it would depend on how he felt his conviction about it. Well, of course; that's why I thought he might want to make an effort toward unity.

It's funny what some people hold to be important. Usually it's doctrine above all, in his case, it is practice. Everyone wants to "get it right" and I can't blame them for that. But unity and fellowship have a price and it is up to each one of us to determine how much we're willing to go to achieve it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday morning, everything is quiet

I'm in the office early. We've been busy this week without Michel and Lilly; it's starting to seem a little strange but I daresay they'll return this weekend since they were planning two weeks in Alsace as honeymoon.

Raph bought a load of apples yesterday and we're planning to process them tomorrow all together making our applesauce and preserved fruit for the year.

I talk to Aunty every couple of days, seldom less than twice a week. On Wednesday she was quite distressed because she felt that Mrs Stevens, to whom she has given her POA, was wanting to move too quickly and sell her house, get rid of her stuff and so on.

I tried to calm her down and told her I agreed with her. I said that if there were no urgent need to sell anything, she could leave things that way for months or years. Aunty is slow-moving and gets suspicious of quick changes to her program. I said to think it over and I'd call her back the next day.

So last night I talked to her again. It'll be nice when she gets into her new room and has a proper phone hooked up; the system she has at the moment is far from ideal. She was doing much better and said she talked to Mrs Stevens that morning who had reassured her that she didn't intend to sell the house yet.

Apparently she's having a friend with a truck come over on Monday and pick up the furniture Aunty wants in her new place. Mrs Stevens apparently doesn't think much of having Joy or myself as executors of Aunty's will since we are "out of the country". I said that, for me, it was a non-issue since I could be there within a few hours if needed. But after thinking it over I agreed with her and said that, with Mrs Stevens having her POA, what need was there for either myself or Joy? Why not just turn everything over to her and keep things simple.

It's fine with me and I told her I thought Joy was a great deal too busy and too far to bother much about it; I'm sure she'd agree. In any case, when Aunty starts talking about things like that you can be sure she's already made up her mind and merely wants approval. I told her to think about things and I'd call her next day -- today.

I am wondering if I should go over and see her for her birthday next week. She'll be 87 and it may well be the last one she'll have.