Hello! This is Brian Patterson writing to you from Grenoble, France. We spent the day at the Camp of the Peaks - mission camp located in the French Alps. The goal of the camp is to provide respite for French men, women, and children from the day-to-day routines of life. The staff provided an encouraging anecdote regarding the impact the camp has on the lives of those that stay here. They told a story of a well respected physician who regularly stayed at the camp with his wife and kids. At home he was always serious and consumed with his job. However, when he stayed at the camp, the pressures of life were lifted and he was able to focus on his family. His demeanor would change from serious to silly. He played with his kids. His wife made the comment: "Here at the camp is the only time of the year when I get to see the man I married."
It was a powerful story.
We began to see the camp as a place of refuge where people of all walks of life can find a place of solitude. A place without cynicism or judgement. A place where people can open up and be themselves. It's at this place where the walls come down and the people - even the French who gravitate towards staunch atheism - become receptive to God's word.
Our time here involved both service and reflection.
We spent time splitting logs and clearing brush. It was an opportunity to channel our energy and get in touch with the more primal aspects of our personalities. The women especially were particularly adept with the axes and saws.
Our remaining time was spent in quiet reflection as we prepare for the next stage of our journey - communicating the love of Christ to North African refugees in Grenoble.
Please continue to pray that our work here will bear fruit. In a country where atheism dominates (for example, only 4,000 Christians live in Lyon, a French city of 500,000), it is easy to become discouraged with the slow pace of progress. Also, please pray for the health and continued safety of our team.
A cross in the French Alps:
Clearing brush at Camp of the Peaks:
Roy showing us proper wood axe technique: