Summer is in full swing here in Biarritz and the town has more than quadrupled in size as holiday goers from all over Europe have stormed in to SW France.
At the start of July, as a base, we had the pleasure of hosting multiple YWAM teams consisting of over 100 people from around the globe, for 2 weeks of outreach here in Biarritz. (Our family was able to welcome 2 of them into our home for their stay and it was so wonderful to get to know this mother and her 4 year old son). So many amazing stories came out of that outreach from the dozens of people giving their life to the Lord as well as physical healing for many others. Hundreds of people came to this beach town to escape and to forget life with the help of alcohol and drugs but instead, found life in Christ through the love and witness of these YWAM teams!
Toward the end of the outreach weeks our trusty family vehicle (SuperVan, a 2006 Sienna that is about to hit 200k miles!) arrived from Florida, packed with all of the personal belongings that we were able to cram inside. Caleb took a train to the port city of Marseille (where the van was delivered) and drove the 7 hours cross country back to Biarritz the following day. It was truly like Christmas in our home. We all were excited to discover things that were special to each of us, but had kind of forgotten about in our move overseas. For Mimi, it was the boys books and homeschool supplies, Caleb was stoked at the arrival of his surfboards, for Banyan it was his lightsaber and he quickly re-familiarized himself with the way of the Jedi, Sebastian was over the moon for his Buzz lightyear action figure….and Sailor was pretty much excited for everything!
Having the freedom of a vehicle is no small blessing and we are so thankful for SuperVan. Instead of a two hour roundtrip bus ride to get groceries, its now a relaxing 15-20 minutes with the windows down and the 116 Crew cranked to full volume! It has also been hilarious to see people’e reactions to our Florida license plate. They really don’t know what to make of it and the running joke when asked how we got our car here is that we were driving south and took a wrong turn at Key West! SuperVan will also be making French history as the first ever Toyota Sienna to be registered in the country of France! Its a fun fact but hasn’t made the process of registering this car very easy. It has been much cheaper to ship our vehicle here than it would have been for us to buy something in country, but we would appreciate your prayers for this longer than normal registration process.
Two weeks ago we traveled to Bordeaux, France for our mandatory visa medical appointments. We were able to save on train tickets for the family and load up in SuperVan with our dear friend KT. KT is on staff here and the boys have really taken a liking to her, she rode along to help out with them while we were in the medical offices. In two more weeks (mid August) we will again load up in SuperVan and trek over to Lyon, France for the YWAM France National Conference. We are so excited to meet the rest of the people that make up YWAM France, hear stories from each base and strategize together with the Lord about the future of YWAM France.
YWAM Refugee Circle - YRC
Like we mentioned in our last update, Caleb has taken the reigns of Communications Coordinator for the YRC. Right out of the gate there were so many things for him to get started on. Currently he is working on redesigning the YRC website with the help of one of the base volunteers, Tobias. The goal of the new website is to create a platform to connect volunteers around the globe to the different YWAM locations that are part of the YRC. There are YRC locations all over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East…with plans to extend to Asia and the Americas as well. Along with the website, Caleb and Tobias will also be working on filming short stories with each location. These short films (no more than 5 minutes each) will highlight the work that is being done among refugees and areas where people might be able to plug in to help. Stories have had such an instrumental place in the history of YWAM in casting vision and igniting passion; we would like to do the same for YRC and the people who hope to serve within the refugee population.
Years ago we made the commitment to do ministry as a family as much as possible. We knew and still know that a family serving the Lord together is such a powerful weapon. This was evident with all of the amazing families that walked with us over the years in Safe Families for Children as well as the families that we trained with in our Family DTS in Kona. It is our heart to model ministry and missions for our boys and with our boys and we are excited to continue doing this while living abroad.
Early October is looking like it’s lining up to be the perfect time to visit three YRC sites in Greece. (Lesvos, Athens and Thessaloniki). Caleb will be evaluating the current needs of the base, their capacity for volunteers and assisting Tobias in shooting the footage needed for the YRC stories.
Since we are committed to doing ministry with our boys, our goal is to do these YRC trips together, learning and growing as a family. Unless things change… the plan, (to keep costs low and have transportation in country) is to once again load up in SuperVan and make the 33 hour haul to Greece…. crossing through Italy and hoping on a ferry in the process. It can be very cheap to fly places as an individual (or even as a couple) throughout Europe, however the amount quickly increases when you add young children and the subsequent baggage that they require into the mix. We told Tobias that we could meet him in Athens, but he said that he couldn’t be more stoked to go on a road trip with the family…we’ll see how he feels after the initial 33 hours. Haha! Tobias is a really neat individual who we are so grateful to get to know, you can check out one of his films below!
As of now we don’t have the finances to cover travel to Greece or the other YRC locations. We would appreciate your prayers for personal travel expenses for these ministry trips as well as an operating budget for YRC. Over the past 3 years, thousands of people have served with YRC and it’s vital that we keep that flow of people connected to the bases that need them the most.
Life Group and Community
This community of YWAM Biarritz is truly an amazing group of people that we are so thankful for and we have grown so close to in such a short amount of time.
We are some of the older people on the base (outnumbering most by at least a decade!) and one of three families. We always feel younger than we are but in this season the Lord has been showing us what it looks like to be a spiritual “mom and dad” to a younger generation. Without solicitation, this has been validated to us by a few of the younger staff and volunteers here. It’s humbling and means so much to us to be in that position of mentorship.
Mimi has taken on the role of leading our weekly Life Group. This flows so well with her desire to use our home for ministry and hospitality. (Last week she blessed us all with fresh peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream….amazing!!!) At the end of the meeting there is always a pile of dishes in the sink (we eat dinner as a group together as well). After the first night she said, “I love doing these dishes for the people in our life group, as I wash each plate I get an opportunity to pray for each of them and the things that they shared tonight.” I (Caleb) was challenged and blessed by her outlook on a messy kitchen and her sensitivity to an opportunity that the Lord gave her to intercede for our group. (Our group consists of people from Switzerland, Germany, England, The Netherlands and the USA!)
We miss you all so much and we are serious when we say that we want you to come for a visit! Not only is Biarritz an awesome home base to explore other parts of Europe but you will most certainly get to enjoy your obligatory evening baguette each night during your stay!
*(Avoid August 24-26, 2019 as Biarritz is hosting the G7 Summit and the city will be on lockdown)
Thank you for your love, prayers, finances and support, we are humbled by you all!
Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian and Sailor