Lifeline 4 Binche January 2022

December was another really busy time for us. God never fails to surprise us and carry us through.

Craft sessions were excellent moments of mixing friends with members of Binche church, but the sanitary situation and too much going on meant that we limited these to just two sessions. However, as a group we created nearly 300 bookmarks to give to residents of two homes. We hope to hold similar activities another time. They were good moments!

The English 'sing-song' was nearly cancelled due to being the worst ever weather. Having said it would be outside whatever, we changed plans and, as there were just ten of us, we were able to social-distance inside. An informal discussion about the gospel at one point included most of the group. Mince pies were a big hit!

Choir practices were good social occasions but participation was very low for all sorts of valid reasons. As always it came together on the day. We were allowed to visit one home and sing for them which was very touching as they hadn’t had a choir since our last visit two years ago.

We still did not have a room for the Christmas event on the previous Sunday but a quick change of plan was inspired. We requested use of the local school gymnasium and permission (through the Catholic Church) was granted very quickly. This was a bigger room. We planned for 20 to 30 and never researched regulations for gatherings of over 50. Sitting listening to the sermon, we did a quick headcount… 52 or 53… Oops! We did have plenty of space though and we served participants (now less than 50!) hot chocolate and a sweet Christmas bread called 'cougnole', while seated at decorated tables. It was a good time!

Hannah and DJ would have brought numbers to 55 but a mix up with test results meant that they had to stay in quarantine at our home. Sim and Cyrielle and Zoe were with us. (These two families managed to reach Belgium before France closed its borders to UK travellers.) Luke and family meanwhile attended a wedding in the UK before driving north to Newcastle and taking an overnight ferry to Amsterdam! These changes to travel plans were all incredibly stressful but we did it. The de Roemer clan was together for two days! Thank you so much to those who prayed for this – your support was tangible.

Following this we were expecting to host an African family needing accommodation but an apartment came up at the last minute so our home was not required and we have been able to rest and clean in preparation for a heavy academic term. We have also been reading our Christmas post. Thank you for keeping in touch.

On 12 January, Frances and a team of four others have prepared a prayer workshop for Christians across the whole region. This also coincides with the start of her postgrad course (run by Dallas International University) on Art and Trauma Therapy. She is already excited by the reading material so there are new challenges ahead!

Many thanks for your tenacious support!

Charles and Frances

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