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Team Testimony: Russ and Mary Ann Miller

Russ and Mary Ann MillerNo Volcano Interruptions
June 17 – 28, 2010
(3 couples made up this team)

This time both flights carrying IT members arrived at Brussels airport almost on schedule. All of us were sleepy, but very glad to be there together.

We had a busy week at the shop in Marpent, then Thursday afternoon we drove to Douai to visit the coffee shop there and learn about that ministry. It was interesting to see the table games, hear the piano being played, taste an ice cream sundae and learn how they interest people in learning about Christianity. Then we traveled on to Lille to learn about the ministry at FEU, but shortly before we got there, the van stopped running. We called a towing service and had to wait over an hour along the side of the highway for the truck to come, then took the van to the Peugeot garage in Lille. The alternator would have to be replaced, but it was closing time, so two Peugeot salesmen took us to the metro in their own vehicles out of the kindness of their hearts. The entire country was on strike that day and trains were not running, so we took a bus to Valenciennes where Philip met us in his van and took us on to the apartment where Debbie had a delicious dinner of cordon bleu waiting for us. We ate at 10:30 p.m.

A great adventure! Kevin was going to Lille to pick up the van after it was repaired, and planned to give those two salesmen each a book or two to show our gratitude, with the hope of sparking their interest in the Lord.

Our tours included Bruges, downtown Brussels, the castle at Bouillon, and Dinant in Belgium, Arras, Vimy Ridge, Douai and Lille in France. The

team worked very well together both at the shop and at the apartment and met each challenge with enthusiasm. It was great to hear their comments about their experiences and how they saw the Lord working through our team. Both couples are already hoping to take a team from their respective churches to BLF France in the next year or two. We also are praying about a team from our church in FL.

Russ and Mary Ann Miller, Team Leaders

Team Testimony: Millers and McGees

Millers and McGees
From McGees: (couple in the center of pix)

This was our first mission trip. It was great to experience how God is working in the French speaking world and be an active part of the BLF ministry. There are 3 things we learned that stand out as strong impressions from our trip.

1.Going on a mission trip gives one a larger view of God. Although we realize God is sovereign over all the earth he created, too often one’s view of God is limited to our Sunday morning church experience. It was neat to see the hand of God working through the printed word put out by BLF. The wonderful demand for more Manga books is an indication that God is using the creative talents of many along with the gospel message to reach people’s hearts.

2.God is good at forming teams to do His work. We enjoyed the fellowship and team work as we discovered that the talents and abilities of the Millers, Carlsons and ourselves all fit together well. Having a devotional and prayer each morning helped us to have the right spirit as we served the Lord together.

3.God’s church and purpose is the same-world wide. By worshiping together with French speaking believers, we experienced the universality of God’s church, and a small preview of what heaven will be like. God will always work through His written Word to draw people into His Kingdom. The fact that BLF puts out a wide variety of materials with God’s Word along with Bibles, is helping more people to be drawn to the Gospel message. Is. 55:11 “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” We will continue to keep the BLF ministry in our prayers.

Thanks,
Tom & Emily McGee

Team Testimony: Millers and Carlsons

From Carlsons: (couple on the left of pix)

I don't know where to start as far as what this trip meant to Carol and me . Food, friends, France and fellowship were fantastic, but they were just icing on the cake. What a blessing to see how God is working through the people at BLF to spread the Good News! Working with the guys in the print shop was such a great example of how the body of Christ works. Each person doing his own individual task to contribute to the finished product. If any one person fails to complete his job, it effects the whole "body". I feel our team did a good job of working together with the guidance of the guys at the shop to complete what we needed to get done. Any time you work hard to complete a project as worthy as that, you come away more blessed than you ever expected.

This was my third trip with BLF and Carol's second and we pray that it will not be our last. If I were to have any criticism at all it would be that I felt we could have done more than we did. I realize equipment failure was part of the problem, but at times we did more standing around waiting for our next instructions. All in all though we had a very positive and rewarding experience. We are in the process of talking to some friends to put a team together for possibly returning in 2012. Also thanks again to Debbie and Kevin for making our stay such a memorable time!!

Bill and Carol Carlson

Team Testimony: Russ and Mary Ann Miller

The Volcano Cancels IT Trip April 15 - 26, 2010

This will not be a "regular" team report because a volcano in Iceland erupted shortly before it was time for the team to fly overseas. Their flights could not take off because all the airports in Europe were closed. We had gone a week early in order to spend a few days with our son and his wife in Italy. The night before we were to fly to Belgium, we got the news that all RyanAir planes were grounded. Instead of 1 1/2 hours by plane, we travelled for two long days on seven trains through northern Italy, Switzerland, western Germany and finally into Belgium. Then we found out that our team wouldn’t be able to come at all.

We were there, and so we did our best to do at least some of the projects they had hoped our team would accomplish. Kevin will be writing the list of our accomplishments. While we were there, we learned that the June team had cancelled, so the staff asked if we’d be able to bring our team in June. We changed the dates to June 17 – 28. Two of the couples are able to come then. The other couple can’t come, but there is another couple from their church who is considering to come in their place.

In order to accomplish more at BLF, and also because we are already familiar with the work of France for Christ, having worked with several of the missionaries with other teams, we decided to spend the entire week at BLF. After gluing on the covers of 1125 copies of “Vivre pour l’essentiel,” trimming them and shrinkwrapping them, we were able to do the entire mailing to bookstores. The volunteers who usually come to do this mailing each month didn’t show up this time.

The Manga books are going over very well in France. This year they won the prize for the best in the category of Christian comic books at Angouleme. Olivier designed an attractive round sticker to put on the front covers of the Manga books, to say that they had won the prize for 2010. They were putting on the stickers as they filled orders, but wanted to put stickers on a quantity of them in advance. Mary Ann worked on this every chance she got. She set up a table and chair, with a roll of stickers and knife for opening boxes, also a roll of tape to close the boxes again. On Wednesday, the buyer for the Catholic bookstores called to say that the 25,000 books he had ordered two weeks before were all gone and he wanted to order 6,000 more of each title. Nicolas and Nathan worked fast along with Mary Ann to complete stickering about 1000 of each title, but the other 5,000 they had to send without stickers. We praise the Lord that the Life of Christ and the story of the early Church are being read by the youth in France, and we pray the Lord would use this means to bring many French young people to receive Christ as Savior.

Russ, with some help from Kevin, was able to get the kitchen in working order. First, they had to build out one end of the wall, as it wasn’t square. They attached the cupboards to the wall, installed the counter tops, cut holes in the one for the sink and stove, installed both, hooked up the plumbing, electricity and gas, so everything was working when we left. Russ didn’t have time to lay the tile above the counter. The faucet in the men’s room had rusted and the handle had fallen off, so they got a new one and installed it as well.

We hope that our team in June will be able to accomplish the rest of the projects that were scheduled for April.

Team Testimony: Russ and Mary Ann Miller

Impression Team Report April 3 - 14, 2008 Richard & Elaine Wischmeier Bob & Renee James Russ & Mary Ann Miller, team leaders Leaving for Chad and France

Praise the Lord with us for a wonderful visit with friends and supporters in Oklahoma; also for the Missions Conference in Belleville IL, a special blessing to us. We got to meet and talk with so many individuals who are really excited about missions. We shared about the various ministries of BLF, which most of them had never heard of. They were surprised that France is such a needy mission field! We expect to see one or more teams going to France from this church.

Wednesday, Ocotber 7, at 12:06 we will fly out of Tampa for New York, Paris and on to N’Djamena, Chad, arriving at 9:05 p.m. on Thursday. Scott plans to meet us, and drive us to Am Timan where the Downing family lives and ministers. We are excited! It seems that both he and Susan are doing better physically, but still need help. They say that Scott has a lengthy list of projects for Russ to do. Mary Ann will help to home school the three girls, prepare meals, and do everything possible to allow Susan time to rest and recover from Hepatitis.

If you want to contact us while we’re in Chad, write to ssdowning@uuplus.com and put our name in the subject line. We’ll probably fly with MAF back to the capital in order to leave near midnight on November 5, and arrive in Brussels at 9:00 a.m. on November 6. We plan to spend the weekend with friends from our church in Brussels. That church supports us and we look forward to spending this time with them. On Monday, the 9th, Kevin will bring the last BLF team of the year to the airport to return to the US, and he’ll take us back to BLF in France.

Mary Ann will work with the staff at BLF to set up the Literature Sponsorship Program again (sending free literature to Africans in ministry). Many letters requesting literature have come during the past three years, so we’ll answer as many of those as possible with the funds that are available.

Russ is to dig up the floor in the BLF warehouse (the part that used to be a bus barn) and pour a new concrete floor. This will be hard work for a man of his age, and he is looking for other men to come and help. Several are interested, but each one has a problem that may keep him from coming. There are other smaller projects as well. We will get home in the evening of December 1.

Please pray: -- that all we do and say will honor the Lord. -- that one or more men will come and help Russ, and for safety on the job. -- that all our luggage will arrive with us. -- that we’ll stay in good health and energy the entire time. -- that both Susan and Scott will rest and recover from their health problems; that if Scott goes for an MRI, he’ll go and return while we’re there with the family. -- that we’ll be of help and encouragement to the whole family. -- that Andree’s broken arm will heal well and that she’ll be able to keep LSP going in the future. -- that the Lord will use us to show His love to all we meet. -- that we will serve the Lord with gladness and in His power.

Look for our report and pictures in December. Thank you for praying. Russ and Mary Ann

Team Testimony: Russ and Mary Ann Miller

At the end of on uneventful flight to Brussels we were met by Philip Kapitaniuk, who explained our itinerary and gave us a brief history of BLF.

After breakfast on Saturday, we left for Drulingen (headquarters of France Pour Christ). We stopped at the Chateau de Bouillon, the fortress that belonged to Sigmund Godefroid, leader of the first crusade, who sold the castle to pay for the crusade. On arrival at Drulingen, we were greeted by Alain and Martine Stamp, who gave us a tour of the offices and after dinner, told us about France Pour Christ.

Sunday morning we attended church in Weislingen. The people were friendly and many came to talk with us after the service. In the afternoon, Abby Greth took us to see the towns of Bouxwiller and Saverne, also the Chateau Haut-Barr.

Monday: After Abby's husband, Jean-Pierre, explained the areas that needed to be painted, we cleared those areas of furniture and things on the walls and began to tape. It took until noon to finish taping, then we painted all afternoon and into the evening. We painted ceilings and walls in the small entry way, the large entry area, two long halls, the stairwell going to the 2nd floor, also the stairwell going up to the 3rd floor. Sandrine from the office worked on the small entry-way.

Tuesday we finished the painting and began removing the tape and doing touch-ups. After supper, we worked on the small hallway on the 3rd floor and the stairway.

Mealtimes and tea breaks were great social times. We sat around the table with Jean-Piere and Abby and sometimes Sandrine or Barbara (FFC staff) and talked and laughed, asked questions, told stories, and voiced our appreciation. The Greth’s are perfect as hosts of the FFC house. We all enjoyed and appreciated them.

Wednesday morning we finished the painting and removing of tape and doing touch-ups, finishing by noon. At the end of the meal, Abby presented each couple with a plate with a scene from the traditional life of Alsace, a gift from the President of the Board of FFC to show appreciation for our work. We were touched by his thoughtfulness and generosity. As we left, Abby and Sandrine led us to a shop where we could buy souvenirs of Alsace, followed by supper with Debbie at a pizzeria in Mons.

Thursday we worked at BLF in the bindery--some on the collating machine to collate the New Testament in comic form, some in putting together the three parts of the whole Bible, and others helped on stitching. Russ and Kevin worked on shelves in the warehouse, while Debbie revived our energies with a good dinner.

Friday we worked in the bindery again. They thoughtfully let us stop a bit early in the afternoon and go shopping at the market and store in Erlequinnes.

Saturday we left early for Keukenhof (Netherlands) to see the tulips and other spring flowers. The weather has been cool this year, so the flowers outdoors weren't as far along as usual, but there were plenty in bloom and beautiful flower beds everywhere. The weather was sunny and warmish, making for a wonderful day.

Sunday morning we were able to sleep a bit later, then went downstairs to church. They are studying "the New Testament Church" and applying what they learned to their own church. Several of the members gave personal testimonies, revealing both honesty and struggles. It was a good service, followed by a potluck lunch. Later, we went to Strepy-Thieu in Belgium, then enjoyed a meal of raclette and good fellowship at the home of Heidi and Philip Kapitaniuk. We also saw the new BLF video and each of us received a copy to take with us.

Monday morning we grabbed breakfast and left about 8:00 a.m. for the Brussels airport to begin the trip back home. Hugs and good-byes were heartfelt because of all we had shared.

Russ & Mary Ann Miller Spring Hill, FL

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