Childhood aside, it began in 2007 when our church sent out a church plant to Amsterdam. We decided if they ever looked at doing a church plant in France, we’d consider it. They never did.
Fast-forward seven years. Our church had just hosted a conference on healing and decided to join meet up at the North Market area in Columbus to pray for people on the streets. I enjoy meeting people and helping people heal in whatever way the Holy Spirit allows, so I decided to go.
After praying for a number of different people who wanted prayer, we headed back to the Market. I found myself sitting between my Missions pastor and his daughter, who was a member of the Amsterdam church planting team. I told her about our joke, and her dad overheard.
One week later, we found ourselves sitting in his office learning about what he knew about what was happening with our church association—The Vineyard—in France. Soon after, Rob—being a 6 on the Enneagram*—did what he does best and began researching French Vineyards. He discovered two, one in Nice in the south of France, and one in Alsace, the Northeast region of France on the German—Swiss borders.
He contacted both. We never heard back from the Vineyard pastors in Nice, though we met his wife at a conference our church would put on about 9 months later. We didn’t hear back from the pastor in Alsace, but we did hear back from a Vineyard pastor in Virginia, who is affiliated with that Alsatian Vineyard.
We spoke with the Virginia Vineyard pastor, Don, on the phone soon after. I remember him hearing of our interest in learning about the Vineyard Movement in France, and he said something like, “You are the couple we’ve been praying for!” Rob and I looked at each other with wide eyes. I think I might have even held out a hand to say, “No, wait. We just want to know more about what’s going on. We’re not talking about moving there.”
Rob stayed in touch with Don. In the meantime, he connected with Didier, the Alsatian pastor, and an acquaintanceship was born. We planned on going to France the following August and September for our 10th anniversary to celebrate. But I also was curious to see, hear, and feel Holy Spirit God while we were there.
Our church had a Vineyard Family Global Conference at our church that summer in July. We were able to connect in person with Don and Didier. We also had a chance to meet Sandy, the wife of the Vineyard pastoral couple in Nice we’d been unable to connect with until then.
We’d already planned on going to the South of France and to Alsace, so it was really cool that we had the chance to get to know the pastors a bit before we arrived.
*"The contemporary Enneagram of Personality illustrates the nine ways we get lost, but also the nine ways we can come home to our True Self. Put another way, it exposes nine ways we lie to ourselves about who we think we are, nine ways we can come clean about those illusions, and nine ways we can find our way back to God." ~Christopher L. Heuertz in The Sacred Enneagram.