Welcome. For those of you that have shown your support of sending Julie and me to Europe to be a part of what the Lord is doing over there, here is your portal to our journey.
June 30, 2013
France. What a blessing it has been to be able to spend time with our brothers and sisters in this beautiful country. The beauty is seen more through the faces of the Saints here more than the land.
Our first days in France were definitely opportunities to rely on you all to encourage us. It was a difficult day or two. As The Lord had planned, there were things for us to see, to depend on, to break through.
As a matter of fact, break through was something that was consistent here. We were looking for it, or receiving it from our Lord. He is good, isn’t He? So, thank you for your words, emails, texts, and overall encouragement and support. It was priceless in a time when we were in need. Thank you.
Do you need a breakthrough? It’s there. It’s waiting for you. I believe the breakthrough is Christ in your situation. What does He have for you? If He has shown you something that is truly for you, He is your breakthrough. Because He desires this for you. When you hear this and pursue what He has for you, your walls disappear. And you breakthrough. With Him.
That is what The Lord had for us through this. It was a wonderful discovery. Hopefully it is something for you also!
June 27, 2013
Our temporary city of residence…is an interesting one. And I think we have seen every inch of it. You see, today Julie and I went on an adventure together. We had a two-fold mission: buy train tickets and get a hotel room for our return to Geneva on the back end of this trip. Both of these items shared one basic property…
Internet access, also known as Wi-Fi, pronounced wee-fee in French.
We began our journey for wee-fee at 10am. We walked the main road a few times. We connected with a few new friends on the walk. The first came when we took a wrong turn. He drove us back to our correct street.
The next helper was a lady at a bar. We asked for wee-fee. She showed us that her phone had it and didn’t know why my phone didn’t have it. Hers was picking up a 3G data plan. But nonetheless, she offered her phone for us to use, which was sweet. But we weren’t going to use someone’s phone to buy tickets, so we pressed on!
Julie and I decided to top for lunch at a bench by the main road. It was a beautiful day. While we were eating, a young lady walked by, and we asked her where we could find free Wi-Fi. The word wee-fee came out again. She said there isn’t any in this town. But if we could find a McDonald’s, they would have Internet, and she was on her way. Great! No McDonald’s in this town…I know. Crazy, right?
After lunch, we walked back to the other side of town, found a park, and played a game of chess. I’ll let Julie tell you who won…
I needed some coffee. Besides, I’ve been in Europe for a couple weeks…it’s what you do.
We go into a cafe, ask for a coffee, and take a seat. While we are looking for free Wi-Fi on our tech machines, we hear a guy talking to someone on their phone in English. His name is Andrew. He was a super nice dude. He did an Internet search for us and found a place with Wi-Fi…on the other side of town. It is the only, and I repeat, only place with Free Wi-Fi in this entire town.
But with the help of Andrew, we found our way.
You see, Andrew had access to a source of a wealth of information…Google. And he shared it freely. He wouldn’t even let me buy him a drink! A freely shared path for our journey.
We found that wee-fee at 3:30, five and a half hours after we began our journey.
I think a big lesson The Lord showed us today was how to depend on each other a lot. Also, we were able to see the heart of Christ in these random folks around town. Everyone so desperately wanted to help us on our journey. They wanted to point us in the right direction. Some even pretended to know only putting us on a wild goose chase.
But we heard Andrew.
Then we saw him.
Then we approached him and began a relationship with him, no matter how temporary it was. We were able to go deep quickly because we knew and spoke the same language.
A secondary reason for finding Wi-Fi was communication. We desperately needed to communicate. The Lord desired for us to hear and communicate with Him today through His people. He showed us one more big thing today.
We need to be connected with people who speak the language of Christ, and also express Him.
Pointing. Pretending. Talking. Directing. Redirecting.
All of these things are good in their place. But sharing from the Source, now that is Life-giving. That changes things. That puts people in touch with the Christ we seek and seek to express.
How we Live, and from my perspective, how we share Christ through Living, will be a windfall of Love and Life for someone every moment we live from the Source inside us, Who is Christ.
May we live from Him today.
To catch you up on our day of flesh, we were able to lose the focus of flesh with the focus of Wi-Fi. After we discovered Wi-Fi, we we able to receive many encouragements from our brothers and sisters. Thank you. We will have more to share at a later time.
Friday we go to see Kevin again. We look forward to sharing Christ with Him. Dinner will be with a few of the Saints here in Paris. Perhaps, we will learn more about our King! I’m counting on it!
June 26, 2013
What a difference a train makes. The City of Lights does not disappoint. We arrived after a relatively quick train ride to Gare de Lyon train station in the middle of Paris, France. The train ride consisted of sitting the entire ride across from a monk.
That should have warned us…
What a blessing it was for Julie to see her host mom again. She met us at the train station and walked us cross the street where we were able to have a wonderful lunch and discussion and catch up…well, they did. I caught up on my taste buds!
She sent us back off onto the RER and we began the journey west to Marne La Vallee Chessy, also known as EuroDisney. About five stops in, we were asked to step off the train. We did. We waited for the next train. Got on. Three stops later, they asked us to get off the train again. We did. We got on the next train.
This was weird to me. But we pressed on. It didn’t seem to bother the locals, so we didn’t let it bother us. We finally made it to EuroDisney.
Let me tell you, it was GREAT to see Kevin and Laetitia! They welcomed us with warm arms. We were able to fellowship for about three and a half hours straight. It was beautiful! It even included a little free wifi from Starbucks!
We believe The Lord shared with us some very specific things we are going to be connecting with while we are here.
Then we continued our journey of unmet expectations…
We won’t go in to them here but let’s just say, it has been a challenging evening. To the point of wonder: Did we want to come here on our own? Did we make the right choice? Are we truly welcome? Did we offend someone?
All of this was, we believe, distractions. There is something going on here. We can’t put our finger on it. We know there is definitely something we have been asked to partake in. Tonight in our conversation on the day’s events, we were reminded that one of our sisters had spoken some words over us prior to our leaving. She said that we would have to depend on each other like we never have before in our relationship.
That has come to fruition.
Thursday is going to be a tough day for our flesh. Will you keep us on your mind, in your heart, and aware in your spirit. If you feel like sharing a word with us or want to share a word with the brothers and sisters in France, please email me at the following email address: markchampion777 at gmail dot com.
This is when we are needing your support in a very physical way. This is when we need you all to join in, stronger than ever. We ask that you intercede on behalf of us and with us, for Christ. We are truly desiring to help break some barriers and ceilings down for this group of people in France. There is something keeping them in a place of ease. We desire for their limits to be dashed and their Liberty to be expanded in Jesus Name. We ask The Lord to express His boldness.
More to come. Btw…Jamal is on his way home. Greet our brother, and if you so choose, greet him with a Swiss Embrace. That includes three kisses total, on alternating cheeks. But finish it off with a good ol’ American bro hug. He’ll enjoy both I’m sure! And Julie has a pretty nasty pinch in her neck. Peace and pain free travels are much desired for my “sensing” wife. But if not, how will The Lord use this for Him…we’ll see!
Mark and Julie
June 25, 2013
Our time in Switzerland is almost complete.
Yesterday was a physically difficult day due to the driving. We thoroughly enjoyed the views of the Swiss country side. It was a nice texture of the Swiss land. All the villages and cafe’s and people. And Loïc knows A LOT of people!
A yes, that is Loïc selling his sausages and cheeses. He is a good salesman. He is famous. He is a warrior!
Dinner last night with Gilbert and Pamela was AH. MAZING! We had three different crepes in one meal. Julie had a fourth… Just saying. I think she enjoyed her meal! And Gilbert put together some amazing flavors in those crepes. We will not soon forget that experience.
The amount of Life we shared with les Barrera’s was truly Life giving. Jamal was with us and we were able to reflect on what The Lord is doing in Switzerland with these Saints. Big things!
There is a speaker here who a lot of folks are into. I liken him to an anarchist. He is against the system of religion. He encourages people to get out. Currently, there is not another step except to get out. The Lord is up to something though. Those who have left the institution of religion here in Switzerland and south France, and perhaps all of Europe, will soon have a “next” step. I am thankful for the Work being established by The Lord here. It is beautiful!
After a wonderful dinner and when we got back home in the evening, we were able to spend some time with Matthieu and Priscilla, laughing and catching up on the day. It is getting more and more comfortable with them. More and more natural. More and more Life with les Bodet’s.
We leave for France tomorrow. Jamal leaves Switzerland for home in the States on Thursday. I do believe we will never be the same because of this second trip to this part of the world. I am beginning to wonder when we are coming back…
June 24, 2013
It’s been an eventful weekend! Saturday, we were able to spend time with Jamal in la Chaux-de-Fonds and have lunch in the city center…or late lunch. We had “lunch” around 3:00 pm. We had a huge serving of vegetables at a salad buffet. It was great for our digestive systems for sure. Lots of cheese and bread and meat. We needed to balance out our intake!
Saturday afternoon, Gilbert picked us up from ABC Café and took us to Pascal and Marisa’s home. What a lovely time of fellowship. We began in their garden. Pascal doesn’t speak much English. I don’t speak much French. But we both spoke a little “garden.” It was fun discovering names for vegetables we have in our garden.
They don’t get much sun here so their season is short. They also haven’t had much sun this season, so their plants haven’t grown so quickly. One of the funny things was their Swiss Chard. They don’t call it that. The have another name for it. I was funny for me to be calling it Swiss Chard in Switzerland. That would be like saying, “American Corn.”
In the garden I also got to speak with Gilbert about some business plans he has. Very exciting and hopeful! I offered to work with him to help him come up with a concept for his business. I hope my touts transfer over continents and languages… We believe that if it is of Christ, he is the language we speak. He is the only language we need.
After our time in the garden, or back yard, we went inside to have our meal. Raclette as on the menu. It was another great time of fellowship. Raclette is another cheese dish. You melt your cheese in an oven-like contraption while you cook bacon, mushrooms, peppers, etc. on top. In your bowl you have baked potatoes that you have mashed. Once the cheese is melted and the food is cooked, you put it all in a bowl and get to eatin’!
Lets just say, I was glad we had those veggies the night before!
Also at this meal was Enzo and Crystal and their daughter, Delise. Delise comes from the word delicios which means delicious. They named her this because their desire for her to be delicious to Christ. Wow!
Before we left, I was able to give the final video that some of you gave recordings for to Marisa. She watched the video over the night and the next morning. She is very good at English. She also understood the meaning of what everyone was saying. She prepared to share the video at the meeting the next day.
Sunday was rather tranquil. We spent time with Matthieu and Priscilla at the house we are staying. The meeting for the group of Saints here in la Chaux-de-Fonds was scheduled for 5:00 pm. At about 3:30 pm, The Lord asked me to create a presentation for the Saints. I had to create this presentation even while we we driving through the streets… I got a little car sick, to say the least. When I got to the home that was hosting, Enzo and Crystal, I had just a couple more things to conclude the presentation, but finished before we began the meeting. José, Corrine, and Felicia or some new Saints we got to meet. José and Corrine drive in from France, about an hour away one way. They are beautiful Saints.
The meeting was very similar to our meeting in Nashville. There was a bit of sharing from almost everyone in the group. It was very refreshing. The Lord has used Jamal to build these Saints up in Christ. I can see how The Lord has used him mightily for His purposes. Praise The Lord for the Work that Jamal has been used for!
The Saints were very encouraged by the brothers and sisters offering their portion through video. These three things were kind of the string that flowed through the video. Culture of Christ in your group. Time with each other grows us in Christ. And when life is taken away from Christ, focus back on Christ.
These things were timely for this group. I am thankful The Lord gave them these words through the brothers and sisters in Nashville.
Julie had a wonderful time sharing with Marisa, pictured above. She met her last trip, but this trip she was able to go a bit deeper because the time shared with her was intimate and special. Pascal is also pictured. He is my garden brother! A beautiful family for The Lord!
Today is a bit rainy. We are planning on meeting up with Jamal again and touring Neuchatél. We are having dinner with Gilbert and Pamela tonight, Enzo and Marisa on Tuesday. We then leave for Paris via the train on Wednesday morning. We have scheduled time with the Saints there through Sunday.
Bittersweet. We are sad to be leaving here so quickly, but excited to reunite with our brothers and sisters in France. Jamal leaves Switzerland on Thursday. He has grown in his love for Switzerland. The brothers and sisters here have welcomed him as family. It will be tough for him to leave, for sure. However, we are learning that it is most important to be in Family. Thankful for him that he will be welcomed home in Christ in Nashville.
I pray he is renewed in Christ, filled up by his Nashville family. I pray that the Nashville Saints pour heavily into his spirit the love of Christ. Jamal’s journey has been long. It has been trying. It has been worth it. The purposes of God have manifested here. I have seen the Body of Christ here with my own eyes. He is beautiful. He is love. Julie and I are thankful to have been able to see the fruit of Jamal’s time with the Saints here.
June 21, 2013
We enjoyed a low-key day. Really had fun sharing stories, laughing and sharing in The Lord during lunch, during coffee and during dinner.
We were able to share how we came to know Christ and now we came to meet each other. Julie did a wonderful job of telling our story in French! The story translates to the French language as well. God is good and has given us a humbling story that is a shadow of the Lord’s love for His Church. We are thankful it translates to those in Christ no matter the language.
It really is amazing what God can show you when you are able to step away from the rhythm of our lives and show us His Life. As we shared during lunch, Julie and I were able to be reminded of the judge, Deborah.
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.'” Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh. Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. The LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. (Judges 4:4-15 NASB)
You can read more if you like. The story is quite amazing. Julie and I were reminiscing about this story in Judges and the timing of our personal story. We discovered that the name Deborah means bee.
In our personal story, we truly believed The Lord was telling us to just be, not do anything. Just be together. Just be in Him. Just be. So Deborah’s name came alive even more! And to think that people came to her as she was sitting under a palm tree! Talk about being!
While we are sharing this story, Julie looks up to a flag waving in the wind. A storm was eminent, little did we know. However, the winds on the front edge of this storm brought our attention to the purposes and heart of Christ. When Julie looked up, she saw this picture:
A beautiful treasure from a portion of our journey. May we see Him everywhere we look. May we step out of our rhythm. To be. In His rhythm.
June 20, 2013
Yesterday was quite the journey. We were reunited with our brother Jamal again and we were able to meet up with Loic, Racquel, her daughter, Matthieu and Priscilla. We went to a local pool. The morning and noon time were spent sharing conversations, splashes and food with these Saints.
After lunch, Loic took us to a spot right on the Swiss-French border. It was quite a hike, but it was worth it. We were able to meet some new friends who manage a house that was built in 1731. It has stood there longer than the United States of America has been a country! Lucky for me, they knew a little English.
We were able to walk across the river and on to the French side. There were numerous stories we learned that made that house very interesting. They only charge 15 Euro to stay the night. Not bad. You just have to be ready to hike in!
Of course we were running late, so we had to speed off to our next event. Loic was the right driver to have. He just obtained an Audi Wagon. So we used it’s steering and maneuverability to our advantage to get to our next destination.
Bienne, Switzerland was our destination. The full day we were able to be with Loic, Matthieu and Priscilla. Wonderful Saints. We were all encouraged in The Lord together.
One story that sticks out from the day was Loic was diving 5 meters at the pool. He went in front of a few kids, talked to them, and then displayed quite the swan dive. I believe he was revealing to us a portion of Christ he possesses. It was beautiful! He has not met a stranger. He is able to connect with every person he meets. He provides movement and discovery to all of these people he meets. He then walks out his new discoveries with confidence and boldness as he deposits his discovery to others.
I was reminded of this over and over. Loic jumped into the border river with all of us looking on. He pulled over for a person he knew and fixed her lawn mower. He led our hikes with pace and determination and purpose. He met numerous people as we walked through the towns. Amazing gifts. An amazing person.
Today we spend time with Jamal in Le Chaux-de-Fonds at the ABC Cafe. Interesting place for a conversation about the beginning of our journey in Switzerland! We will be having dinner with Gilbert and Pamela this evening at their home. I am looking forward to sharing time and Life with them this evening. This family has been the people who have managed all of our details of our trawl in Switzerland. We are thankful for their gifts being shared as well.
We’ll keep you all updated as things develop!
June 18, 2013
We are very happy to be here. The flight took its toll. We are super tired. We got a little nap in and were able to fellowship with some of the Saints in Switzerland.
Julie feels she has forgotten her French. However, she looks forward to seeing how The Lord speaks through her during our time here.
I believe The Lord has already put in place some scenarios to just be. Just be with Saints here. What a great gift!
Our brother from Nashville, Jamal, came and picked us up with Loic, a brother from Switzerland. How great it was to see his face. It was true joy to be reunited with my brother. And I got to give him an extra long hug to send Brandie’s, his wife’s, love!
One thing you will want to remember if you ever travel to Switzerland. Greet with three kisses on the cheek. France is with two.
So tonight we try to catch up on sleep. Tomorrow we are going to fellowship with more Family.
Julie and I feel welcomed and at home. Matthieu and Priscilla have hosted us with open arms again. Such precious Saints. Their house is out home because of their love for us. They truly have given their house to be our house. Humble servants.
Gilbert came by and said hello. By the way, his wife, Pamela, is pregnant with their second daughter! Woohoo! Gilbert is the one who has set up hosting us in Switzerland. He truly has a revelation of Christ and desires to see His Body expressed in this region of the world. Beautiful vision.
Also, Racquel came by to share some time with us. We will see her more tomorrow. She is a super sweet sister who is drawn by the Spirit to fellowship with those who share Christ. I am expecting BIG things of Christ to be revealed to her. Christ-sized expectations.
Humble servant. Beautiful vision. Christ-sized expectations.
These are the pictures of Christ we have seen already. He is beautiful in the faces of these Saints. There are names above you can be praying for and with.
Christ is tres cool!
– June 11, 2013
We leave on Monday, June 17. We are flying in to Switzerland to be with the folks we know there. Click here for a little about our connection to the Swiss.
This is a picture of the Swiss/French border as the sun was setting. Very beautiful part of the world.
There is already one of our friends over there right now. We will be reuniting with him as he has been there for over a month already. He will be staying a total of 9 weeks. We have extremely missed him and it will be great to reunite with him on our journey.
He is staying mostly in Switzerland. Here are a couple of articles he has posted, the first from our first trip in September of 2012 called A Poisoned View At Notre Dame Cathedral – (A Grief Observed). The second article is from an experience he had while he has been experiencing Switzerland on this current trip. The article is called Partager La Vie…(And A Broken Promise).
I believe the Lord will have us travel back to the outskirts of Paris, France. We will be going about 30 minutes east of Paris to meet with some friends we connected with when we went to Europe in September of ’12. Read here for more info about the French.
This is a picture of a bit of the graffiti we were able to see while we were in Paris. Fitting considering the date and location while we were there!
This is the journey the Lord has for us this summer. We believe He is up to something with an eternal purpose. We want to connect to that purpose and believe, for now, it is through our Family in Nashville and our Family in Switzerland and France. Thank you for your support and for sending us on this journey.
We’ll be in touch as He moves us. Much love to you.
Here are a few posts that I wrote from our journey last year:
Letters: Lean In
Letters: Coup De Foudre
Letters: La Meme Chose
Letters: Lions and Tigers and…
Letters: Name Droppers
More to come…