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Entries in France (3)

Monday
Jun132011

Europe Trip 2011: A Visit to St. Paul

Marie Helén and her sister Bülle prepare to take us to the Medieval village of St. Paul. (Click to enlarge)Thunder showers continued off and on as Andrew completed his interview with Marie Helén. Afterward, she suggested that we go to the nearby village of St. Paul. We liked the sound of that, inasmuch as the village name refers to the Apostle to the Gentiles who wrote most of the revelation of God’s grace for us to discover and enjoy in Scripture. St. Paul, the village, was filled with reflections of God’s grace, to be sure.

First, St. Paul de Vence was a castle built in the 9th century. Only the dungeon remains. Then in the 9th Century it was rebuilt as a fortified medieval village with narrow winding streets and tall houses, alleys and passageways connecting at unpredictable angles. This charming 1200 year old lifestyle makes the village attractive for shops, restaurants, cafés, artists, and tourists.

Andrew snapped this picture of the village of St. Paul as we approached. (Click to enlarge)The village was full of intimate landscapes like this one. (Click to enlarge)

Jamie snapped this view of a passageway.
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David Hardesty captured this route.
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Bouganvillea proliferated overhead.
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A view of the valley below.
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Good location for a dress shop?
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Yours truly, hard at work. Yes, there will be a video report when we return. (Click to enlarge)

Andrew and Jamie in St. Paul. (Click to enlarge)Finally, it must be said about St. Paul de Vence, that no photograph can do it justice. Many times on our route we stopped to savor scenes with colors, shapes, grand vistas and intimate landscapes that defied the ability of any camera to fully capture. So it was up to us to simply drink it in and give praise to God. In the distance to the north our eyes could see the snow covered French Alps. Turning 180 degrees south, we could see the palm tree outlined Mediterranean Sea, where indeed, Paul the Apostle had sailed, and shipwrecked. At one point Andrew commented on the miracle of the human eye, and we quietly praised our Creator for allowing us to see such beauty.

Filed Wednesday, June 8, 2011 from Nice by AWM Media Manager, Stephen Bransford.

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.

Thursday
Jun092011

Europe Trip 2011: Andrew Visits Paris

A panorama of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, photo by CBC graduate, John Elshaw. (Click to enlarge)

You know you’ve arrived in the main city of Paris when half of the people are in the streets scurrying to and fro like swarming ants, and the other half are looking at them from street side bistros where they sit with legs crossed, smoking cigarettes and cigars, and sipping espresso or Perrier. People-watching is a national pastime for this city’s sophisticated residents. Andrew and his granddaughter Rhiannon decipher English subtitles on a French café menu. For fun, she wears the napkin on her head. (Click to enlarge)They love to lounge in cafés and discuss the human circus passing in front of them. To them, it’s far better than TV.

Having just arrived from Amsterdam by train, we were hungry and scurried through the human circus to a typical café near our hotel. The next indication that we were in Paris came in the form of sticker shock! Everything--- including a mediocre hamburger--- was WAY expensive! In the short time we spent here, it amazed us to see the amount of commerce flowing in this dynamic city as hundreds of thousands of tourists paid heavily for everything from taxis, to rooms, to dining on the River Seine, to tour busses, to tickets to the Eiffel Tower.

Later, in the lobby of our hotel, a businessman from Cleveland sat with his laptop open. I asked hopefully, “Free Wi-Fi?” Andrew preaches from the oldest stage in Paris. (Click to enlarge)He looked at me as if I had just dropped off of the turnip truck. “Nothing in Paris is free,” he assured me in a tone reserved for the uninitiated.

Our hotel sat a scant half block from the Theatre Dejazet. Mark McCain, a local American pastor and partner of Andrew’s ministry had booked the theatre for our service on the night following our arrival. Our first and most difficult task was finding the entrance. For the first 12 hours of speculation, we were sure that it was the unmarked black door between two cafés opposite the hotel. But it turned out to be on the other side of the first café. Who would have guessed? A growth of grape vines had literally overgrown the marquee so that it could not be read. In America this would have spelled attendance disaster, but in sophisticated Paris, Andrew prays for Parisiennes who have come seeking salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Click to enlarge)“…EVERYONE knows where the Theatre Dejazet is, Darling.”

In fact the Dejazet is the oldest theatre in Paris. This is where Mozart and bunch of other guys with French names you would never pronounce performed. Well, now this stage was about to hear the almost-too-good-to-be-true-news from the mouth of Andrew Wommack. The musty velour seats and curtains were soon to rustle to the sounds of praise and worship.

The painted ceiling of the Theatre Dejazet. Not the Sistine Chapel but… it is what it is. (Click to enlarge)It was nearly impossible to do photography in the old theatre. The lights were dim, or out, or otherwise not-working, or else glaring like open furnaces on the stage so that, by contrast, Andrew blazed in the picture like a candle flame. Hallelujah, none of this was an inhibitor for the Holy Spirit. We could see that He was still glad to show up anywhere two or more gather in His name. Even in musty old, expensive, urbane, sophisticated, Paris. Praise God!

Theatre photos courtesy of David Hardesty.

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