21 July 2021
As I read back over the last newsletter it was a reminder for me about how many things have happened in the last three months. At the last newsletter we were still adjusting to heavy Covid sanctions and getting ready to restart services in our building. Today, our in-person services are going strong as we are starting to feel an increasing normalcy with each passing day. In France, people are back in the café’s and parks and enjoying their summer. EIC has been gaining ground each week too, as we are experiencing the joy of having church in person with the community we have been connected to online for the past year.
As a spiritual focus, EIC has been going through a sermon series on Nehemiah. This important book in the Old Testament served as a great metaphor for the “return to church” questions we have been asking around Covid. We cannot deny that God has taught us many important lessons during this Covid season. We have seen the importance of being intentional about relationships within the church, the usefulness in praying for each other while communicating our prayer needs, and the value in having spiritual discussions with our brothers and sisters. Yet, as in Nehemiah, there was much that needed to be rebuilt. All of our ministries needed a fresh look at the vision as they restarted. Nehemiah has helped us to explore what it means to “Rebuild Together.”
Our first Sunday back was Easter Sunday. I can’t think of a more fitting celebration as we come back to our building that a celebration of the resurrection. It was an encouraging Sunday where many were able to reconnect as we turned our hearts towards the hope of a risen Savior. We were privileged to have Pastor Paul Helms from Ternes preach for us, as I was in the hospital with the birth of our baby girl imminent.
Speaking of that, Kyrah and I are so proud to announce the birth of our baby girl! Lily Amber Windle who was born on April 11, and we are so thankful for all your prayers. Kyrah had gone through a difficult time when she got Covid while being 6-months pregnant, and we have seen the Lord’s faithfulness to us during these past months. Lily is healthy and growing each day thanks to the Lord’s continued blessings.
In addition to our Sunday gatherings, our ministries have been getting back going. Our men’s ministry had a Saturday teaching day going through a new study on challenges that men face. Our ladies group were encouraged through a walk together on the nearby Mont Valerian. Our youth group has been meeting more and more, and our Discipleship Groups have continued to grow.
There have also been a few unique celebrations in our church family. We have had the privilege of celebrating two weddings in the past three months. Pirachanth Pirathaban and Reema Biswas celebrated their wedding on May 15th, and John McCarthy and Cathy Chan celebrated theirs on July 3rd. Both couples had to go through the challenges of planning and executing a wedding with complications around Covid, but the Lord brought great blessings in both situations. Praise God for these beautiful couples and their commitment to spend their lives together.
EIC also celebrated a very unique service on June 27th. Coming out of Covid, we had two celebrations we needed to have that could not have been done on Zoom – Baby Dedications and Baptisms. Both EIC Rueil and EIC Ternes had candidates for both, so we planned a joint service for this date. This was the first time I had ever combined these two events in the same service, but this dynamic created a very positive theological reflection. Often, these two ideas can get confused in churches, and this service helped us to define was was being accomplished with both. In baby dedication, we see the importance of our children being part of the covenant community in the way we commit as parents and as a church to raise them in godliness. We do this in the hope that one day they will make the decision to do what happened in the second half of the service – the decision to follow the Lord in baptism.
The baby dedication was exciting, as we have had a few children born during this Covid season (including my own daughter). We dedicated Jon Luke Almendra, Romero Lawal, Eva Clichet, Alaina Savery and Lily Amber Windle. It was a great blessing to see God growing our church in this way.
For Baptisms, we were so excited to have three follow the Lord in this way. Heeran Nair, Cassandra Tan, and Daria Mozheiko were all baptized from the two churches. Each candidate started coming to our church during the Covid Zoom meetings, and we have been encouraged by their growth in the faith and contributions to our church community. June 27th was truly a joyful day at EIC.
Another significant event for our church was our recent Euroventure celebration. Euroventure is the International Baptist Convention (IBC) youth camp that happens on a yearly basis in Switzerland. Last year it had to be canceled, and we were still not able to have an in person camp this July. We are most thankful, however, for the initiative from the youth team at the IBC to organize an online version of the camp. Jaime and Anabel our youth workers, organized our youth celebration in a camping weekend around the online events. They put up tents and camped at Myra Chan’s home while having the spiritual emphasis of Euroventure. They attended the online sessions together as a group while enjoying fun activities and group bonding time. This was a big grace from the Lord for the youth as they reconnected with each other and with Jesus as they transition out of Covid. We were so excited to have 13 youth participate!
Here are a few ways your can continue to pray for us at EIC :
- Thank God for all of His faithfulness in the past three months. After what has been a difficult year, we have had so many reasons to celebrate together. Marriages, babies, baptisms and renewed community have all been a big boost to everyone’s faith
- The Tate Family -. John Hugh and Linda Tate (with their three kids) have been approved as Church Planters from the IBC and will be working with EIC as part of our family. They have been struggling to get to France with all of the Covid complications, as they were supposed to have arrived in July 2020. More than a year later, it finally seems like they will arrive to join us in August. Please pray for their transition and visa appointments as they make the move as a family to Paris.
- Summer can be a downtime in Paris, but there is some important planning that needs to take place. September is a time when we often welcome new people, so we have much preparations to do as we continue to reflect on how the church is different after a year of Covid. We are discussing new leadership structures and how we can operate more efficiently and biblically as well as reflecting on our ministries and how we can be more united in our vision together as each ministry flourishes.
- Resources – Another big point of thankfulness is how God has provided for our church financially during this past year. The giving has been good and the expenses has been down. Please pray that this trend can continue as we get back to normal expenses in the coming months.