Greg Hardee, John Dudeck, Adam Short, and Caleb Gagnon went to France in October, 2005, to meet with Alain Soudrain. We went to discuss the current situation of La Clef and to talk about possible future music ministry trips in France.
We arrived in Paris on Monday morning, October 16th, and were met at the airport by Charles Cross of Greater Europe Mission. We had a continental breakfast at the airport Sheraton. Charles is a person with whom we have kept in contact, and we wanted to bring him up to date on our current projects.After a couple of hours with Charles, we went to our hotel.
That evening we visited the family of Guillaume and Baptiste M., two former exchange students that have stayed with the Hardees in years past.
On Tuesday, October 17th, we took the TGV train to Orange, in the south of France, to the home of Alain and Christiane Soudrain. Alain is the director for SIM France, and has been our principal channel of contact to the churches of France. Alain had prepared a series of visits for us over the next two days. We left early the next morning and drove about 300 km to the small town of Ussel, in the Massif Central, about 75 km west of Clermont-Ferrand.
In Ussel there is a small church that is led by a Swiss named Jean-Pierre Schmid. He distributes a Christian periodical called Voix dans le Désert (Voice in the Desert) from his home, which also serves as the meeting place for the church. We had a nice lunch with Jean-Pierre and his wife, Suzanne.
Jean-Pierre took us to a retreat center called Les Chaumettes. If we bring a group to Ussel, this may be a possible place for us to stay.
Caleb, Alain, Jean-Pierre, Greg.
It's a calm, rustic place a few km. outside of the town of Ussel.
After Ussel we drove about 150 km south-west to the town of Gramat, also in the Massif Central. In this town is another small church of about 60 members, founded by the same person as the church in Ussel many years ago. This building holds the church rooms, the pastor's home, and extra sleeping accomodations.
The pastor is Eric Larribau. We had dinner with him and his wife, Elizabeth, and spent the night here.
The next morning, October 18th, we drove about 200 km to the town of Latresne, which is a suburb on the east side of Bordeaux. Here we met a third pastor, Marc Stephanini. He pastors a small church. Latresne is just far enough outside of Bordeaux that the church doesn't draw people from the city.
Marc invited us to his home for a lovely meal with him and his wife, Sylvie. Marc told us how much he was encouraged by our interest in the small out-of-the-way places.
In each place we went, we shared our vision for using music and the arts to create interest and develop contacts with people in the local towns, to open up opportunities to share the love of Christ and the gospel.
After Latresne we drove to Castelnaudary, another 270 km, where we met with the leaders of the churches we worked with on our 2004 tour. First we saw the new location of the Castelnaudary church.
Greg, Clive, Jean, and Alain.
Then we went to the home of Jean and Yvette Koning, where we enjoyed a dinner with them and with Clive and Christiane. Clive is pastoring the church in Castelnaudary, and Jean is pastoring the new church in Carcassonne. We were very encouraged to learn that the church in Carcassonne was now firmly established and growing. This is the group that was planning to open a church in Trèbes, but was unable to find a place to meet in Trèbes, but found a place in Carcassonne.
We had a fine meal and a good time of discussion.
Christiane, Yvette, Jean, Clive, Adam.
Clive, Alain, Greg, Jean.
Greg, Yvette, Jean.
From here we drove another 270 km back to Orange. The next morning Greg, Adam, and Caleb went to Paris and on to Montréal, and John went to Switzerland.