19 March 2021
I hope you are having a nice kickoff to 2021. Here in Paris we are in what is now our third lockdown (perhaps not the most exciting way to celebrate a year of pandemic life). While we are all feeling the fatigue of these circumstances, we cannot deny that God has taught us many things in this very strange year.
We began 2021 in high spirits after the blessing we all experienced with our EIC Around the World Christmas Eve service. In what was one of the most special experiences I have had in ministry, we welcomed back former pastors and members from all over the world to take part in an online Zoom Christmas celebration. We enjoyed hearing testimonies from pastors Scott Stearman, Brian Kirby, Norman Ellis, and Justin Hendricks. We were blessed by alumni being involved in all areas of the service, from music to scripture readings to fellowship in breakout groups. An idea for a service like this would not have happened had it not been for the Covid season, nor would a reunion of this magnitude been possible if we were trying to assemble everyone back together in Paris. It was an absolute joy to celebrate with what is truly a global family.
EIC Ternes has been meeting in their building for a couple of months, but up to this point in 2021 EIC Rueil has continued with services on Zoom. Nevertheless, we have been trying to be intentional about having some in person special events during this period. The men enjoyed a hike together in January that was really well attended. This event was a shared activity between EIC Rueil and EIC Ternes, and it was a great chance for men in both churches to spend time together in fellowship.
One event we had was to celebrate a special person who had been serving EIC. In early 2020, Ariadna Carrillo moved to Paris to serve as an intern and help out with the Ternes church plant. When Covid hit, Ariadna proved to be a most valuable asset, as she was willing to adjust her work, learn new skills, and stay focused during all of the changes that came. She was very engaged in the discipleship aspects of our church, leading many d-groups in both the Rueil and Ternes. The Lord knew very well what our needs would be and provided for us this exceptional servant. Ariadna’s time in Paris ended in February, and we at EIC are most thankful to the Lord for sending her to us.
We also had a church-wide reading group in February. This year we read the classic Christian testimony “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. We read the book together and then came to the church to watch a documentary of this remarkable story and digest it together. We were all inspired by the powerful example of thankfulness, endurance and forgiveness that we saw in the story of the Ten Boom family enduring the suffering of the holocaust.
Our discipleship programs have continued during this period. Our d-groups have seen increased participation this past year. D-Groups are small groups of 3-4 same sex members who meet for Bible study, prayer and accountability. They teach a reproduceable method for learning how to read your Bible while demonstrating the importance of reading in community. In addition to d-groups, our Wednesday night prayer meeting has seen increased attendance with our Zoom format. We meet every Wednesday night at 8 PM Paris time to give thanks and pray for the needs of our community.
We at EIC have also recently received some bittersweet news. The founding pastor of our church plant, KJ Pugh, has just accepted a call to return to his home church as Senior Pastor. It would be impossible to overstate how good God has been to us through the Pugh family. Through their dedicated service we have seen a new church planted. When they arrived EIC Ternes was nothing more than a plan we were praying through. Now, EIC Ternes will celebrate its third anniversary this Easter. They now have an established membership, recently appointed elders, and are exceeding their budget with their giving. They are reaching the lost and discipling believers. The Pugh’s have had a very fruitful ministry since arriving in Paris, and we are most thankful to have had them.
In this transition, God has also provided for EIC Ternes with the Helms family. Paul, Abby and their children have been in Paris for about a year and a half now serving as church planting residents at EIC Ternes. Paul will become the interim pastor when the Pugh’s leave, and we are so thankful to have such a capable minister waiting in the wings. Please remember Paul, Abby and their family as they step into this new role.
These past few months have had its ups and downs for my wife and I. We both got Covid in January. While my symptoms were not very serious, my wife had a very difficult time. The pregnancy added to the complications, and she was hospitalized for 19 days. It was a difficult time for both of us, but thanks be to God she recovered and there were no problems with the pregnancy. Our wonderful church once again showed us how special they are with the love, care and support that went beyond even our high expectations. Currently we are waiting for the birth of our daughter, which could come at any moment.
EIC Rueil and Ternes are both looking forward to Easter. Rueil is planning to go back to the building for Easter and then continue in the building each week after that. It is very exciting to be able to celebrate the resurrection together in person. Please pray that this will be a time of rejoicing in a risen Savior as we try to comply with all of the regulations around meeting.
Here are a few ways your can continue to pray for us at EIC :
- Pray for EIC as we transition back to services in our building. Pray that we can continue in unity and godliness as we try to manage the safety concerns and government protocol. As numbers are limited, pray for the dynamic of having to be divided with some in the building and some meeting on Zoom.
- Please pray for my wife and I as we approach the birth of our daughter. They are doing some special observation on her as they are learning about pregnant mothers who have gone through serious bouts with Covid. Pray that she has a safe birth and for the child to be born healthy
- Pray for the Pugh family as they transition back to pastor at Alberta Baptist Church. Pray that they have good farewells to their church here and for the logistics of moving back.
- Please pray for the Helms family as they transition into a new role of leadership at EIC Ternes. Pray for the Ternes elders as they provide leadership for this young church.