What's on

Church Ministries

465 rue de Verdun
76600 Le Havre

E-Mail: a.kitt@orange.fr

December 2011

Dear Friends,

Almost three months have passed since we moved from Villefranche to Le Havre. If you have difficulty saying that, just call it LH (ell'aitch)! Settling into a new place always takes time, but here the process has been easier since we lived in LH from 1986 to 2000. We didn't live in the same area, certainly. Our home now is right at the edge of the city, nearly 4 miles from where we used to live. But when we go to the city centre we nearly always come across someone we know.

Our flat is very comfortable, but the view from our windows isn't exactly picturesque. We overlook marshalling yards (Allan doesn't mind that, he's a train enthusiast) and beyond that container ship terminals (he also likes ships!). From upstairs we can see flames from the oil refineries a few mles inland lighting up the sky. When there's an east wind we get the smell too! Just as well the dominant winds are from the west, although they tend to bring rain. But we do enjoy living here. People are mostly very friendly, and some of the neighbours remember us from before 2000. Fatima, an Algerian Moslem lady, often invites Anne in for a cup of tea and a blether.

The church building, with our flat upstairs

The church building, with our flat upstairs

The church has made us very welcome. If you've been receiving our news during the year, you'll know it's very small. For several years, the leadership has been bravely assumed by two men. Both of them have, or have recently had, serious health problems, either personally or in their close family They are the only two couples, apart from ourselves, with a united commitment to church fellowship and witness. Other Christians who attend do not have the full support of their families. For the church to have a future, it has to grow! A definite challenge for us, one we can only take on in the Lord's strength.

Our main emphasis so far, apart from Bible teaching for adults and children, has been to get alongside our brothers and sisters to try and encourage them in their Christian growth and witness. Our experience in Villefranche convinced us of the value of involving Christians in small discipleship groups, where people are encouraged to read the Bible regularly and systematically, to pray for one another and to witness to their own circle of family, friends and colleagues. Several Christians in Villefranche found this very helpful, and we'd like to develop similar groups here.

And how do we go about meeting people who don't come to church? We're getting to know some of the neighbours, and take part in some activities apart from the church, both for our own enjoyment and to meet other people. Last week we started delivering cards offering a free gospel calendar. Other church members are doing the same where they live. Pray that we'll get some reponse from this. We'll have a special Christmas outreach service on 18th December. Last year's was on the day of some of the heaviest snow of the winter, and only 3 people were present! Pray that this year's will be better attended.

We were able to spend the whole of June in Scotland, and were made very welcome in the various churches we visited. There was also time, of course, to catch up with family and friends.

Our last few months in Villefranche were encouraging, with three baptisms not long before we left. Our last service at Villefranche was on September 11th, and our whole family was able to share it with us.

It was also a “commissioning” service, as the Christians there have taken on our work in LH as part of their missionary interest. They regularly pray for us, and we're frequently in touch by phone and e-mail. We look forward to some of them coming to visit us. Stephen, Héléna and their 3 children still live in that area. Between visits to them and editorial meetings in the Lyons area forAllan's calendar work, we hope to be back in Villefranche now and again.

Three generations

Three generations

Rachel and Eddy are encouraged in their student ministry in Lille. They plan to move next summer for similar work in Besançon, eastern France. After finishing his studies, Jonathan is enjoying his work at a research laboratory in Lille.

Anne's mother continues to enjoy good health. Allan's stepfather died in August, and his mother needs more care than in her present home in North Wales. She no longer has family there, and as soon soon as a vacancy occurs she will move to a nursing home in Newcastle-upon- Tyne, where Allan's brother and his wife live.

Thanks for your friendship and support. We wish you all a happy Christmas and every blessing for the New Year.

Allan and Anne