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Friday
Jun102011

Europe Trip 2011: A Stop in the French Riviera

Nice on the French Riviera, halfway between Cannes and Monaco. Part of the view from the balcony in David Hardesty’s hotel room. (Click to enlarge)Our itinerary indicated that we were flying from Paris to Nice, on the French Côte d’Azur (Aquamarine Coast) named for the stunning color of the Mediterranean waters in that region. English speaking people call this area the French Riviera. It is perhaps the number one playground in the world for the extremely rich and famous. So why was this place on our list of destinations? Incredibly, because the partners of Andrew Wommack Ministries support an outreach in this land of spiritual need. I’ll explain.

Another view from David’s balcony. (Click to enlarge)We arrived in Nice just before a thunder storm. In fact, we had flown from Paris over the roughest air turbulence of our trip. Our passenger jet dodged billowing thunderheads on all sides. Lightning stabbed the darkened earth below us. Our TV ground crew from Holland, and our book table crew from UK, had no choice but to drive right through the storm, dodging downed trees and power lines in the highway, and bursts of icy hail. But everyone arrived safely and the air in Nice was filled with that fresh after-storm perfume that makes you want to open all the windows, Marie Helene at home with her sister Bülle (b-you-ell) and dogs. (Click to enlarge)and take a long walk along the rocky Mediterranean shore.

What had brought us to Nice? Relationship. A long relationship between Marie Helén, and Andrew and Jamie Wommack. We joked that Marie is a modern day circuit riding preacher on the French Riviera because she shepherds four widely scattered congregations, visiting them weekly one by one, teaching the gospel of unconditional love and grace. “She’s like a circuit rider,” Andrew agrees, “but she’s also a bit like Annie Oakley.” He went on to tell the story of Marie visiting his home in the Rocky Mountains and begging to shoot his .357 magnum pistol. “Don’t underestimate her,” Andrew warned, “she really is a shooter.” “Yes,” she replied proudly, in her lilting French accent, “Remember? I kill two cans with one ‘pow’.” Stephen prepares an interview between Andrew and Helén to be shown on a future Gospel Truth program.
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Andrew remembered. Her sister Bülle now wants to come to Colorado and give the .357 a try. This part of France was visited often by Buffalo Bill Cody before he died. The locals have never forgotten him. Cowboy lore remains big in their imaginations and Andrew’s boots and Texas twang add to his appeal here.

Marie began her ministry in Monaco, which is a tiny country that does not extend true religious freedom. Under the monarchy, this government remains staunchly Catholic. Much persecution was constantly leveled at Marie for renting Hotel ballrooms for her Charismatic meetings. One time, her car was even firebombed. After some tough years, and a good measure of success, Marie Helén translates Andrew into French at the evening meeting.
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she felt that she could reach more people outside of Monaco and now enjoys complete freedom in ministry.

The Gospel Truth Seminar Marie Helén arranged for Andrew took place in a ballroom at the Boscolo Hotel Park on Avenue de Suede, Nice. There were two meetings, one in the evening and the final meeting at 10 a.m. the next day. That night as Andrew prayed for those who came forward, an elderly Jewish woman pulled up her sleeve to reveal the tattoo she had received from the Nazis in one of the death camps. She had not only survived the Holocaust, Teun, our Dutch TV crew leader adjusts the close up camera on Andrew and Marie Helén in the ballroom of the Boscolo Hotel. (Click to enlarge)but now was reaching out for eternal life, and the freedom that only comes from knowing God through Jesus Christ. Thank you partners of Andrew Wommack Ministries for keeping a light shining on the Côte d’Azur.

 

Filed Tuesday, June 7, 2011 from Nice by AWM Media Manager, Stephen Bransford.