About an hour ago, a powerful thunderstorm went through Cognin. We could see it coming from a distance. It was impressive. The clouds were black and a curtain of rain was fast approaching. Within a few minutes, the wind was blowing and the rain was pouring down. Some trees broke down nearby and branches were scattered around. We observed from our windows, safely sheltered in our flat. What a great reminder than when we find refuge in our Lord, we are in a safe place, whatever storms blow around us. We have nothing to fear.
It’s not been long since our latest newsletter, but here are a few important prayer points for the coming days :
The main subject for this weekend (24th-25th july) is our church AGM on Sunday and the AGM of the student work on Saturday. We always find these meetings stressful and there is potential for tension. Pray for peaceful discussions.
The man angry with the elders for not accepting to baptise his friend has decided to resign. It is sad for us, but is also an answer to prayer. Pray for him. His wife is still a member. Pray for her also. Samuel is trying to make an appointment so that we may meet him.
Continue to pray for the discussions with the church landlord. Our last meeting went well, but we are still waiting to hear from him about some of the matters we raised.
We also have a school fair on Friday evening so it will be a long weekend. Pray for energy. I am looking forward to Monday to have a few days off.
Jean-Baptiste has an important oral exam on Friday morning. Pray he will find the right words. He will turn 18 on 21st July. We are grateful for him and pray that as he enters adulthood, he will be truly converted (if he is not already). He has found a job with our local town council for August. This was unexpected and he had lost hope he would find something. He is missing a few papers, but pray that these won't be an obstacle.
One last prayer matter for Jean-Baptiste: we have been told that he won't be able to board in the school for his final year. It means he will have to find some shared accommodation with his friends. It won't be the same budget for us. Our prayer is that there will be enough space in the school for him to board there.
We are looking forward to a much-needed holiday. Our first real break will be from 10th to 12th July for three day family trek in the Alps. It will be followed by a family conference from 24th to 29th July.
Emmanuel and Esther.
Setting the Scene
Emmanuel and Esther Durand are a Franco-Welsh couple. They work in France with UFM Worldwide. Esther was born in Bangor, in North Wales and Emmanuel was brought up in a small village above Chambéry, in the French Alps. They have 4 children: Jean-Baptiste (14), Maxime (11), Benjamin (8), and Clémence (5).
After several years in Cardiff, they moved to Guingamp, Brittany, in August 2010 to work in the context of a local church. In August 2014, they moved to Cognin, on the outskirts of Chambéry, in the French Alps.
Cognin is a small town of about 6000. There has been an evangelical witness in Cognin for the last 27 years. The church they attend is the church where Emmanuel grew up. It is also where Emmanuel and Esther met. Over the last few years, the church has grown, with about 30 members. 40 to 50 people attend on Sundays, including a few students from the local university. Emmanuel now leads the church as an elder.
He also teaches several courses in the Brussels Bible Institute. The Brussels Bible Institute celebrated 100 years in 2019. Its goal is to train faithful servants of the Gospel for the French-speaking world.
Emmanuel and Esther’s main burden is to make Christ known in France, but also to help French Christians to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.