Back in France
Dear Friends and supporters,
We just returned from our three month journey in the States... On July 31st... we were in the train in Lille on our way to Paris to take the plane to Atlanta when we got a text message from my brother saying that mom was on her way to the hospital. When we got to London, for our layover, we got another message that she was in ICU. Her sodium and potassium levels were dangerously low.
For over a year, we had been praying for the right solution for mom's future, as she is getting older and should no longer be living alone. There we were, arriving in Atlanta for our first three weeks and were to help her find a rehab then an assisted living place. The timing could not have been better planned, and the Lord did it! Praise Him.
We had had what seemed like a great idea: buy a old RV motor home for our State side ministry. Well, our "camping car" (what they call a RV motor home in French) adventure had just begun. When we bought it, we knew there was a fuel pump problem which my brother's son-in-law was able to fix, as well as changing the starter and a few other problems. We had to change a big battery that powers the cabin. As well as a problem with the toilet.
We thought we had fixed the mechanical problems and felt confident that we were ready. We left for Mooresville, NC, taking GA 20 to avoid the Atlanta traffic. When we got into some hills, it started cutting out as we began to climb them. If I let up on the accelerator, it would come back. Then there was another problem: when the motor was hot, it would not re-start. So when we were about 5 miles before Cumming, GA, it died on a hill. I had to stop in the middle passing lane. A gentleman stopped. He works at a Napa store and sold me a bigger battery. It did not work, so he called a tire store where he knew someone who said they would look at it in the morning. We had a tow truck take us there and we slept in our camping car.
The next morning, at 9AM when they opened, I explained our situation and was promptly told by the young man that they do not work on RVs. They did give us a jump and it started, so off we went for Mooresville. As we got closer, there were more and more hills and on many of them, it would start to cut out, I would baby the gas peddle and get it to re-engage. About 46 miles before our goal, it quit. But the Lord provided a spot where there was a larger shoulder than usual, (and some shade!), and we were safely out of the highway. An answer to prayer.
We called Jeff, the deacon of the church that was to meet us and he drove to help us. He led us a different way, so as to have less steep hills. We were able to get in on the end of a baptismal service of the church and share with some of those there.
Monday, Jeff helped us find a mechanic that would work on it (hard to find someone willing to work on a 1989 RV with a Chevy 454 under the hood). He could not get to it until the next day. Well, it was Thursday before we were able to continue on our trip.
The fuel tank was filled with rust and other crud, it blocked the fuel pumps, etc. It would have taken much work to remove it, clean it and clear out the fuel lines... Also the mechanic said there were many problems waiting to happen... So we left it there, and in a rented car, we visited friends in VA, PA and OH, then on to Kansas where we spent about two weeks with Judy's family and visited friends as well as churches. From there, Judy's nephew, Jonathan, graciously loaned us a van for the remaindner of our trips. And the pastor from one of our supporting churches in Kansas flew to Atlanta to drive the van back to Kansas. Thank you both Jonathan and pastor Tom and Fairview Baptist Church!
So leaving Kansas, we headed for Texas, visiting faithful friends south of Dallas, then churches in Pharr and San Antonio. Then we were off to Florida in October where we visited 6 churches, including a missionary conference in one of them. We arrived back in Georgia for a few days before flying back to France on October 31st.
In all we drove over 6000 miles, visited 17 churches and slept in 22 different beds. We praise the Lord for His protection and provisions. By the way, the mechanic sold our RV right before we returned to France. Praise the Lord!
While we were in the States, we asked prayer for another of Judy's nephews, David, who was dying of bone cancer. He lost the battle on November 7th. We praise the Lord that several different people had meaningful conversations with him during his final weeks. Do please pray for his brother and sisters, as well as others who knew him well.
Our daughter, Rebecca, is expecting our next grandbaby any day now. Judy flew down to Toulouse to help from the 13th to 20th of November. Pray that all goes well.
The church people here in Lille faired well during our 3-month absence (praise God!), but were happy to have us back. We've now started the Christmas program preparations. The children's play and church choir practices have already begun. Several of the ladies in the church had already chosen the material as previously planned. Pray that our lost friends will come and be touched by the gospel message. It will take place on December 23rd.
As for my prostate cancer, I will have another MRI at the end of the year.
We want to thank each one who welcomed us during our visit to the States and are thankful for the part you play in our ministry here in France.
May the Lord bless,
Greg and Judy Sirmons