Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115: 3
Cognin, February 2019
Church life has ups and downs. Last summer, we mourned the death of one of our elders. He was 59. In December, we rejoiced with a young couple from our church who got married a few days before Christmas. A couple of weeks before the wedding, we had heard the news that a missionary couple our congregation supports had lost their first child at birth. And now, one of our members is losing her battle against cancer…
But in all this we trust God’s providence, « the almighty and ever present power of God by which God upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand. » (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 10, question 27)
Thank you for your prayers as we minister to the church in Cognin and to its members through the ups and downs of life. Pray for Jean-Pierre’s widow, Ani and their daughters. Pray for the young couple who got married in December. Uphold Joe and Karen as she prepares to enter eternity. Encouragements We were recently encouraged by the evangelism training day organised by Emmanuel. He had invited Raphaël, a pastor from Grenoble to speak to us on personal evangelism on Saturday 2nd February. Twelve people came in the morning and 10 stayed the whole day. It was a helpful day, full of encouragement. Thank God for this training day. Pray that people here will all have a renewed desire to share the Good News around them. Pray for conversions. We are now planning another day seminar early next year. Pray for us as we book a speaker. We would like to organise more days like this in order to bring church members together outside of the regular Sunday meeting.
Another encouragement was the men’s meeting a few months ago. Most of the men turned up and we had a good morning of fellowship and Bible study. The next men’s meeting is on 9th March. Pray that it will be a blessing to all. Some men think they don’t need fellowship with others. Pray that they will come anyway and come to see that they need others.
Christmas seems a long way, but we were encouraged by our Carol service on Sunday 16th December. We had several visitors. The service was followed by a lunch and it was a happy time. The place was full.
A group of students attends our Sunday service most weeks. It is good to see them and they are grateful for the welcome they receive. But few people invite them home afterwards. Pray that church members will come to realise the importance of hospitality. In November, Emmanuel spoke on the church in the weekly Bible Study of the Student Outreach Work. There was a good discussion afterwards, especially with a few Chinese students who attend the meetings on a regular basis.
Our church retreat will be on 11th-12th May near Grenoble. God willing, our preacher will be a Welsh missionary in Paris named Gethin Jones. Some of you may know him. He is a member of Heath Evangelical Church. Teaching Emmanuel finished his teaching sessions in Brussels on 14th December. He found it difficult this year. He had to juggle between added church responsibilities, chemotherapies, travelling to Brussels and teaching. But God gave him the strength to go through these busy months. We are grateful for all these opportunities to minister God’s Word, in Brussels and in Cognin. Emmanuel is going back to the Belgian Bible Institute in September for a new teaching session. He will teach 4 courses this year: Early Church History and Cults to the full time students as well as Early Church History and Ecclesiology over three Saturdays. Pray for Him as he reviews these courses over the coming months.
Pastoring As you know, Emmanuel is now the only elder. That means that he is the unofficial pastor of the church in Cognin. He preaches once a month, sometimes twice. He leads the fortnightly Bible studies and he has started a monthly Bible study in Aix les Bains, where Jean-Pierre lived and where some of our members live. Pray for him as he studies God’s Word. Pray for wisdom as he leads the church. Pray for unction as he preaches. Pray that his ministry will result in transformed lives. People
Some of you may remember Christian and Geraldine, members of the International Church of Christ who live in Cognin. We sometimes see them in town, but rarely have time to talk. Recently, Christian contacted Emmanuel and they had a meal together. Continue to pray for them. They need the gospel, but the International Church of Christ does not preach the true gospel. If you want to know more on this movement, There is a chapter on it in Dr Eryl Davies’ “Truth under attack” (Volume 1). We do not have recent news of François and Samantha, but we know that Samantha went back to hospital a few months ago. Remember this couple. We saw Damien and Carol a few days ago. They moved to the Southern Alps in August and it was good to catch up with them. They live in the small town of Digne les Bains. We know that there are christians in the area. Health and Family
Emmanuel finished his 6 months series of chemotherapies in the beginning of November. He saw the consultant on 11th January. Dr Pica was happy with the results of the chemotherapies. Emmanuel will see him again in July.
Esther and the children are fine. Esther still teaches English each week to some of our neighbours. Preparing is difficult but they are motivated which is a big help. Jean-Baptiste and Maxime are doing well in secondary school. They both enjoy rock climbing. Benjamin found school difficult in September and October but is now enjoying it and learning quickly. Clémence loves going to school everyday. She has grown a lot.
This week, the children are having ski lessons again. The four of them enjoy it. We drive everyday to the ski resort and Esther and Emmanuel spend time in the cafe when the children are having their lessons.