Our Visit to France

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Twenty-one students attended the week long sessions of the French Bible Institute, hosted by the headquarters church in Melun, France, where Missionary John Nowacki [far right] is pastor. Brother Nowacki and his wife, Anne [next to Brother Nowacki], founded the work of the United Pentecostal Church International in France in 1977 with four people in attendance. Today Brother Nowacki is president of the UPCI in France, with twenty churches. The headquarters church has two services each Sunday morning, with an average attendance of 600.

On Friday, August 17, 2018, Susan and I arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Missionary John Nowacki picked us up and drove us to Melun, where we were scheduled to be in the two Sunday services at the headquarters church.

We had heard before our trip that Brother and Sister Nowacki (John and Anne) were excellent hosts, and we discovered that to be true. Two days before we arrived, they had just returned from a trip to Canada, and they were still dealing with jet lag. Nevertheless, they served us a delicious breakfast in their beautiful home, then Brother Nowacki drove us to our hotel, located near the church.

Later in the evening, the four of us shared dinner at a lovely restaurant. It is customary in Europe to eat later in the day. Restaurants typically open at about 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, we traveled to the Chateau de Fontainebleau, one of the largest French royal chateaux, dating from the 12th century, where French rulers, including Napoleon, lived for more than 8 centuries.

On Sunday, I preached in each service. Brother Nowacki translated. Susan and I enjoyed the lively worship and the excellent music and singing provided by the Spirit-filled youth. My subject was “The Miraculous Good News” [the gospel] with I Corinthians 15 and Psalm 45 as my texts. One person was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and three were water baptized in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I take no credit for this, of course.


I taught about four hours each day, Monday through Friday. Brother Nowacki translated for me in the beginning session on Monday, with Missionary Marcos Brainos and Associate Missionary Mike Long assisting throughout the week. My topic was “The Messiah in the Psalms.” The students listened carefully. Their questions at the end of the week revealed keen curiosity and insight. Susan, who attended each session, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is such a rich blessing to have Susan as my wife. She says she would rather hear me teach than go shopping!


We were treated to excellent food each day and evening. After all, we were in France! But on Friday night Mike Long picked us up for a special surprise. He said we were going to “Justin’s,” which I assumed was a French restaurant. It turned out to be the home of Justin Ward, a professional chef, and his wife, Caroline [from left, Caroline, Justin, and Mike]. Their hospitality was warm, and the four course meal Justin had prepared was delightful. We had heard that, for the French, an evening meal was a relaxed event with plenty of time for conversation between courses. That is what it turned out to be. We began eating just after 8 p.m. and our visit drew to a close at about 11 p.m. Conversation ranged from Bible quizzing (Caroline is the Bible Quiz Master for France) to cuisine (Justin has a degree in baking and teaches tourists from around the world how too bake) to our upcoming week in Paris (Mike Long has written a guidebook titled “Paris … 3 Days … No stress,” which is available on Amazon.com) to the fascination Justin and I share concerning Hammond B-3 organs and Leslie speakers (Justin plays various instruments, including the organ, and is leader of the music program at the headquarter’s church).


Kiran was one of the students at the French Bible Institute. He is also an Uber driver, and on Saturday he drove us carefully and safely from our hotel in Melun to our hotel in Paris for our stay of nearly one week. Kiran is married, with a one year old daughter. He speaks French, English, and Malagasy.

In a following post, I will tell you about our time  in Paris. Keep in mind that Susan and I have been married almost 5 years. At this time, Paris is the place to be!