Every year Communitas, our mission organization, has a special Giving Day to help us in our year-end fundraising efforts. This year, Giving Day is on Thursday 20th October!
For Giving Day, each year we ask you to pray with us to reach a specific goal. As you know, at Parfums de Vie there is a LOT happening and the NEEDS continue to grow as the number of children and families we are serving continues to grow. In addition, France, like the whole world, is being impacted by significant inflation. Our cleaning products here in France have increased by 40% in the past months, the same is true for many other essential items. We are doing our best to limit expenses, but as you know there are many costs required to keep all of our programs going.
We currently have needs in three distinct areas:
Our Parfums de Vie General Fund covers the ongoing operational costs to help ensure the daily running of the ministry, specifically our Homework Club, Youth Group, Kids Club and Camps. This includes any equipment, activities, salaries for teachers & staff, vehicles, rents, ministry center maintenance, insurance, utilities etc. Monthly committed giving does not cover monthly expenses and we are therefore highly dependent on one-time giving which comes predominantly at year-end.
Our specific prayer for Giving Day 2022 is to raise $20,000 towards our General Fund needs.
As you know, Parfums de Vie is sponsoring four of our students through University. We are so incredibly proud of Narjes, Laith, Simon and Mahdi and are so encouraged by their growing vision and maturity. We are committed to paying tuition, transport, food and lodgings for all four kids.
Our specific prayer for Giving Day 2022 is to raise $20,000 towards the Scholarships Fund.
In addition, we need to replace our big white 7 seater equipment van (see photos). Parfums de Vie purchased this van, second hand, in 2012; it was our first vehicle and it's now almost 20 years old!!!!! We use it every day and it's truly essential for the ministry. Although we have maintained it very well, it has broken down on several occasions in the past couple of years and is no longer reliable. We hope to sell it for $10,000, and the price of a new one is $51,400.
Our specific prayer for Giving Day 2022 is to raise $41,400 to secure the purchase of the new van.
ANY gift of ANY amount on Giving Day will be such a huge help and blessing for Parfums de Vie! If you would like for your Giving Day gift to be used specifically towards College Scholarships or the New Van, then please put a note with your donation. If more than enough funds are raised for those needs we will use the excess for general Parfums de Vie operations. Alternatively, it is also extremely helpful if you simply make a donation on Giving Day to the Parfums de Vie General Fund - then the funds can be used for Scholarships, the van, camps, homework club etc. With the guidance of our board, we will ensure that the funds are appropriately stewarded towards the specific ministries as needed.
If you would like to PLEDGE to give on Giving Day, you can do that TODAY by responding to this email! I will send an update and reminder before Giving Day.
We are so thankful for your love, friendship, prayers and generosity! Thanks to your partnership with us, many lives are being changed forever through Parfums de Vie!
Nicole & Vincent
How to give on GIVING DAY?
Online - just click the link
*****Please include a note saying "Giving Day", or if you would like to SPECIFICALLY designate your gift "College Scholarships" or "New Van"*****
Phone: 888-242-5930You can make donations over the phone if you prefer. Lynette in the office is amazing and super helpful. Stock donations are also possible, ask Lynette for more details!
Post: PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS
PO Box 60543
City of Industry, CA 91716-0543
You can email the Communitas office for any enquiries about setting up donations.
*****If you are donating by post or over the phone, please EMAIL us on Giving Day so we can count it toward the total and please remember to specify that your gift is for Parfums de Vie Côte d'Azur Project #70350*****
As you know, we work with our Parfums de Vie kids everyday. On Wednesdays, the Elementary age kids come all day (from 9am until 4pm) and we have plenty of time, not just for homework, but for games, crafts, food, prayer and time in the Word. One of the games that the kids LOVE is "Just Dance". I'm sure you know this game, basically, they just dance! Anyway, the kids were playing and dancing and having a ball, but Norane (pronounced Noor-anne) all of a sudden stopped dancing and asked Vincent for a Bible. He wondered why, as it wasn't time for the Bible story. She said that she wanted to read it, so he gave her the Sally Lloyd Jones Kids Story Book Bible which we read with them every week. She sat down in a corner all by herself and read for a while - she's in 3rd Grade. Then she came to Vincent and said, "Can I please read the Bible Story today? I have planned the story that I want us to read and talk about!"
Of course she was given permission and did a wonderful job reading the story she had chosen, "When Heaven Breaks Through", about John the Baptist - and then this spirited 8 year old initiated a discussion about how John came to tell the people that God was sending Jesus to rescue them! She wanted to encourage everyone to turn to Jesus for help! I wanted to share this story with you because on so many levels it is a beautiful illustration of how God is at work through Parfums de Vie. Not only has Norane become a confident reader (and on track to becoming a great student) but reading the Bible, learning about Jesus and teaching her peers to do the same has become part of Norane's "normal".
Norane has two older brothers and her parents are strict Muslims. Her family life and home circumstances aren't easy - that's why Norane loves the stories of Jesus, she is already far too familiar with being in scary places and loves knowing that she can find help from Jesus in the midst of it. She knows He is rescuing her too! Over the many years that we have known this family (since before Norane was born!) their Mother, Amena, has often literally cried in my arms, sharing the hardships of her life and the disappointments of her toxic marriage. Amena is an intelligent woman, but like so many of the Moms we know, she is uneducated and feels sad and frustrated that she didn't have an opportunity to get a High School education and now feels trapped in difficult circumstances. More than anything, she wants her beautiful, creative daughter to succeed!
Of course we can't know what God has in store for Norane's life, but we hope and pray that her effervescent curiosity for life and learning will pave the way for her to grow into an influential leader who will in turn, like John the Baptist, impact many others for the Kingdom.
Thank you so much for partnering with us and helping to provide a safe space for so many children and teens to grow and learn in the love and presence of Jesus.
Nicole and Vincent
First of all I want to say a huge thank you - for your prayers, words of encouragement, love and generosity! At the beginning of August I shared, in a bit of a panic, our unexpected discovery that the Communitas payroll taxes to the French government had been overlooked for over a year! The good news is that the outstanding bill has now been paid in full, without any penalties or fines (Praise God!) and everything is now properly set up so that the payments are being made each month.
September 1st was "La Rentrée" (Back to School) in France and we have more children and youth than ever who have signed up for the school year to participate in our various programs and activities. All of the kids who have been coming for years are back of course, plus many new kids and families. In fact we have so many children and teens that each of our groups (pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school) are full to capacity and we now have the longest waiting list we have ever had! We still have new families showing up EVERY DAY wanting to sign up their kids! Just yesterday I got a phone call from the mayor's office asking if the city could recommend our organization to kids in need, and we also have local teachers and principals who ask us for help with struggling kids. Having to turn children away is a huge and painful dilemma for us. We are so thankful for this incredible opportunity to openly share the love of Christ with so many children and families - all of them muslim - and yet, the reality is that we are limited because of a lack of adult help! If we take too many children, we cannot properly provide them with the support and care that they need. Each "Rentrée" is heart-breaking, having to figure out how to manage so many children, who all have significant needs, with too small a team. We do have three new volunteers which is a timely answer to prayer, and we also have a new intern, Elena, who will arrive in a month, but despite these wonderful new additions to our team, we still don't have enough staff and volunteers to take all of the children who want to come! Vincent and I are truly in a season of figuring out the future growth of the organisation. Please pray for us as we seek to grow our team with the right people. We need more full-time paid staff, more interns and more volunteers!
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Mathew 9 v 36-38
La Rentrée is also an important time of year for our University students! Please pray for Narjes, Laith, Simon and Mahdi. They have all been home, living with us, for the summer. This has been an important time of discipleship and mentoring for each of them. As you know, they all come from difficult backgrounds and carry some unresolved trauma. Narjes arrived home at the end of April, as she was so incredibly depressed she asked to finish the term at home. She was struggling so much that we realized she needed professional care. She began therapy at the beginning of May and has worked hard on unraveling some of her story and past trauma that has been hindering her from growing into the woman God intends her to be. Honestly, there were times this summer when Vincent and I were unsure if she would be able to return to Scotland, and in the depths of despair, she couldn't imagine herself going back. However, by God's grace, and thanks to her willingness to lean into the pain and the hard work of healing, we have seen an incredible transformation in her! I just got back from a quick trip to Scotland to help her get set up in her new room for this year, and the change in her is truly tangible. She is so excited about being back in Saint Andrews and she kept telling me how different she felt! All of the social anxiety she was struggling with was gone, and I even witnessed her openly sharing with her friends about the healing work that she has done this summer and how much it has helped and changed her! We are so proud of Narjes! Please continue to pray for her as she is now in "Junior Honors Neuroscience" - her 3rd year.
This healing journey with Narjes has helped Vincent and me to understand how much ongoing support all of our University students need, if they are going to succeed academically and continue to grow into the healthy leadership that we believe God is calling them to. As Laith, Simon and Mahdi have watched the process with Narjes, they too see their own need to heal some of the burdens they are carrying and have also asked for more intentional help! One of the things we have realized is that our Parfums de Vie kids are truly dealing with so much more than just the normal things that young people from more stable families deal with when they go off to university. I suppose this is why it's so difficult for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to actually graduate from University, not because they don't have the academic ability, but because they have so much to overcome. We have seen this past year that being in new and challenging circumstances has brought to the surface their unresolved issues. So for this school year, as well as staying connected with them, we are also figuring out how we can provide more intentional discipleship and even professional help when necessary. The encouraging part is that they are all truly so very open to the need to keep growing and learning and healing!
Finally, I wanted to share some news about our amazing young Etienne, who is now in 9th Grade - he turns 15 in January!!! He loves school and as well as working hard academically he is also on the school orienteering team and continues with theater, which he loves. He also really loves being involved with all of the Parfums de Vie children and teens and as he grows older, the natural generosity and openness he demonstrated as a young child remains very apparent. I may have previously shared that he wants to board at school, starting next September, just as Laith, Narjes and many of our Parfums de Vie kids have/do. He's watched them all do it and so of course he dreams to do the same thing! He will stay in the same school where he is currently, but will just not come home Monday - Friday. This will actually save him the long commutes and early early mornings and will give him more time to focus on studies. So this school year is his last year at home with us full-time and our prayer is to continue to help him grow in faith, maturity, vision and responsibility - so that he will be ready next year to handle it all without us!
with profound gratitude,
Nicole & Vincent
How to Give?
***We continue to raise support towards Tuition and Living Expenses for our four College Students. We also need additional support for our General Ministry Fund which covers the operative costs of running our Education & Literacy Center, Kids Clubs, Youth Groups and Camps. If you would like to support the ministry through regular or one-time giving, all the information is below. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information! Thank you so much!***
*****Please remember to specify if your gift is for: Parfums de Vie Côte d'Azur Project #70350 OR the DERIEUX family #40415*****
If you would SPECIFICALLY like to help our College Students - please designate the gift to Parfums de Vie with a note specifying "University Scholarship Fund"
Phone: 888-242-5930You can make donations over the phone if you prefer. Lynette in the office is amazing and super helpful. Stock donations are also possible, ask Lynette for more details!
Post: PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS
PO Box 60543
City of Industry, CA 91716-0543
You can email the Communitas office for any enquiries about setting up donations.
As you may remember, despite the wealth of incredible church buildings and majestic cathedrals, there are very few church communities here in France. In our town of 100,000 inhabitants, there is one catholic church, a beautiful cathedral in the town centre which dates to the 11th century. On Sunday morning there are usually about 20 - 30 people at mass. There is also a reformed protestant church, a Pentecostal church and a non-denominational evangelical church, each has about 80 - 100 members and approximately 40 - 50 people who worship on a Sunday. There are not many believers in our town!!
The protestant pastors occasionally meet together to pray (2 or 3 times each year) and Vincent and I join them when we can. Last month, Christian, the pastor of the reformed protestant church, invited us for a meal to meet the new priest, who is in charge of the greater Grasse parish and recently arrived to his post. Christian encouraged us to bring one or two people from our Parfums de Vie community, so we invited our friends Harry and Marjorie who serve as elders and ministry partners with us. We were invited to the chaplaincy of the Catholic Church where we were warmly welcomed by Father Francis-Regis and also Jean-Claude, one of his lay leaders (whom we all already knew well as he is a retired hairdresser and good friend of Harry, also a hairdresser). It turned out that Father FR is exactly the same age as Vincent (48!) and they went to the same middle school in Orange and High School in Avignon! All of Vincent's schooling was in catholic schools in France. Although they didn't remember each other, they talked about the teachers (all nuns and monks) whom they loved and were deeply impacted by!
It was just the 7 of us and a lovely and intimate evening of sharing our stories of faith (Father FR wanted to know all about Parfums de Vie) and he also shared about his childhood, family and his calling to the ministry. He expressed a deeply personal faith in Christ and both he and Christian share a vision for unity and a heart for reaching the youth. The four of us were warmly embraced and deeply encouraged by both Pastor Christian and Father FR.
The following day, Christian called me to invite us and our Parfums de Vie youth group to a joint youth event two weeks later! The catholic youth group meets once a month on a Friday evening, and the protestant group meets twice a month. The catholic group are currently working through the youth version of "The Alpha Course" and so we were all invited to participate in their next meeting, which was focused on the topic of "prayer". With our three groups together, there must have been 60 kids! We sat around tables and shared a pot-luck meal together and then had wonderful conversations about prayer. Vincent, Harry, Marjorie and I each sat at different tables and our Parfums kids mixed in with all the other kids. Afterwards we compared notes, and it was very interesting to observe that the kids from both church groups had shared that they didn't have much experience of prayer in a personal sense and that their experience was more in a formal liturgical setting. So they didn't feel sure about prayer, how to do it, if God was listening and very few had personal stories of answered prayer. On the contrary, our Parfums de Vie kids shared that they prayed together regularly as a group and individually every day, that they had a sense of God's presence in their hearts and faith that He was hearing and answering their prayers. The teens from both church groups were from privileged backgrounds with comfortable home lives, and all their parents were regular church goers. Many shared that they only went to youth group or church to keep their parents happy. Again, these stories were in stark contrast to our Parfums de Vie youth, who are from muslim backgrounds, live in very cramped and precarious circumstances, and yet all shared their deep convictions and personal faith in Christ. Vincent, Harry, Marjorie and myself all found this so encouraging to witness! Our Parfums de Vie kids also found this interesting! All of the kids we spoke to were so interested in learning about Parfums de Vie and amazed that we spent time together every day!
It was so encouraging for everyone. The pastor and the priest, who had been planning the event for some time, facilitated the table discussions together. The focus of both of them was unity, emphasizing the fact that we all share so much more than what separates us, and that our common faith in Christ was the most important thing, even if we all have different expressions of worship. They asked Vincent to do the closing address, he did an absolutely amazing job, and although we may be slightly biased, Harry, Marjorie and myself all felt that Vincent's words were the true highlight of the evening, because he was able to bring together his own experience of being raised in catholicism, how he found personal faith in Christ, and how God is at work trying to get our attention, in so many ways. He encouraged all of the kids not to ignore the flame of faith in their hearts, and instead to welcome it, cultivate it, pursue it and let it burn all the more brightly. It was perfect for a group of teens who despite their church background were lost and without a personal connection to Jesus. Who knows how God might use those words?!
At the end of January, the protestant youth group has invited Parfums de Vie and the Catholic Youth Group to a youth worship service that they are planning at the reformed church! We will be attending with the Parfums teens! I'll let you know how it goes. God is clearly at work in Grasse and we are encouraged to see this beautiful spirit of collaboration and unity from Father FR and Pastor Christian.
I've attached a few photos of the joint event - I hope they will inspire you to pray with us for the youth of Grasse, Father FR, Pastor Christian and the work of Parfums de Vie.
with love and thankfulness
Nicole & Vincent
We have just returned from a truly magical and miraculous 9 days of camp with our younger Parfums de Vie kids! As you will see from the photos I've attached, their joy is so tangible - it's amazing and encouraging to see the seeds of faith that are taking root and flourishing in their hearts! Vincent and I are so thankful for your partnership with us: many lives are literally being impacted for eternity thanks to your love and generosity!
There were many encouraging highlights for me personally. In particular it was truly wonderful to see our young leaders Walé and Aya (11th Grade) and Mara (10th grade) serving throughout the camp. They did an outstanding job: helping plan activities and teaching content, leading games, Bible studies and discussions and providing such a wonderful example through their love and patience for each of the children. Seeing their growth, motivation, commitment and joy as they serve in a leadership role gives me so much hope and faith for all of the younger kids of Parfums de Vie, and helps me to trust that soon, they too will become leaders for the next generation!
At camp, my favorite thing is always the conversations and prayer times that happen spontaneously in the "in between" - the discussions or tears or fears or stories that naturally come up for one reason or another. These precious moments cannot be planned or programmed, they occur while walking, playing or making s'mores around the fire, or washing dishes or at mealtimes or bed-time, but these meaningful moments are the fruit of the year-round work of Parfums de Vie in these kids' lives: the trust that has been built, the understanding that has been gleaned, and camp just provides the perfect soil for these conversations and prayer times to take place, and for the resulting growth in their lives. I am so thankful that our camps help to facilitate these opportunities for transformation and it's truly a privilege to see Christ at work in such miraculous ways within the sacred space that camp can so uniquely create!
There are many meaningful stories about every child who was at camp. To mention just a handful: Ryan (9) who shared his fears and questions about his Mum (Fatiha's) breast cancer with our wonderful intern Luke! Momo (11) who cried and talked more than ever before about his traumatic past and asked for help and prayer. Zaineb (11) who prayed that the seed God has planted in her heart will grow to maturity! Abdel (15) who sat down and cried, literally at the foot of the cross on one of our hikes, because he's so concerned about his future and then poured out his heart to Vincent. Fatma (9) who despite her very strict Muslim family openly expresses her faith and easily prays out loud for her friends and Idir (12) who is questioning the Islamic values taught by his parents and sincerely engaging with scripture.
We are so thankful! Please continue to pray with us for all the children and youth of Parfums de Vie.
Each year our Mission Organization Communitas International holds a special Giving Day Event. This year's Giving Day is Tuesday November 16th (just one week away!) and Vincent and I would like to invite you to consider a special one-time donation on this day to help support the ministry of Parfums de Vie.
We have three very specific needs that we hope to raise support for on this year's Giving Day.
1. For our personal support.
As you can imagine, raising personal support for our family is an ongoing necessity, and not something that we focus on very much. However, our personal support account is flagging and so we are praying to raise $15,000 on Giving Day towards our personal support account.
2. For our general Parfums de Vie ministry fund
Our monthly committed giving doesn't cover the ongoing operational costs. We are therefore very dependent on year-end one-time gifts to help ensure the running our camps, homework club, youth group, kids club and all of the necessary equipment and resources to facilitate our various programs (teachers & staff, vehicles, ministry center maintenance and utilities etc.) We hope to raise $20,000 towards our general ministry fund on Giving Day, which would really help tremendously towards next year's budget.
3. For our College/University Fund
Parfums de Vie is now sponsoring four College students (Narjes - 2nd year of neuroscience at St Andrews University in Scotland - now the #1 Uni in the UK! Laith - 1st year International Business at Rotterdam, Mahdi - 1st year Chemical Engineering in Rome and Simon - 1st year Design in Nice). All four of our College students are doing very well in their studies, enjoying getting settled in their new cities and also committed in student Bible study groups. Narjes found a job the first week of term, but the boys are all still finding their feet and have not yet managed to start part time jobs. They are all in regular contact with us - in fact pray for me as this actually adds several hours per week of extra time on the phone with each of them! The four of them regularly need to talk to either me or Vincent regarding the various issues they are facing as they navigate their new lives! We hope to raise $20,000 towards our University Fund on Giving Day.
Any gift of any amount on Giving Day will be such a huge help and blessing for our ministry! If you would like to pledge to give on Giving Day, you can do that TODAY by responding to this email! I will send an update and reminder before Giving Day with our pledge total.....and let you know where we're at towards reaching our goal! Thank you so much for your prayers, friendship and support!
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! All the giving info and links are below!
with love and thankfulness,
Nicole & Vincent
At the end of this month, Vincent and I will take a group of 20 kids to the Cevennes mountains for a week-long camp. We are very excited, because with the Covid restrictions now much reduced here, it means that we can FINALLY take the younger kids to camp again! This has been impossible since March 2020 (camp was only possible for the older teens!)
It will be a huge blessing for the younger kids of Parfums de Vie, who will benefit so much from getting away from their cramped and difficult home circumstances and being in the fresh air and the great outdoors. As I have mentioned in the past, violence and abuse is sadly far too common among many of the families that we work with here, and so every opportunity for children to experience God's love and grace, especially for extended periods, is so life-giving and life-changing.
For many of the kids, it will be their first ever camp with Parfums de Vie, and also their first time away from home without their parents. Vincent and I are always so humbled by the fact that so many muslim families entrust their children to us, knowing that they will spend a week at camp with a Christian organisation! We have always felt that one week of camp produces more fruit in kids' lives than a whole year of kids clubs and homework clubs. Both are truly essential, but so much happens in that short but beautifully intense and special space away from the normal stresses of their home lives. Having extended time in a safe place for life together and to engage more deeply with the stories of Jesus changes lives for eternity.
As well as lots of adventures, hikes, camp-fires, games and cooking, we will also look after two donkeys for the week! Caring for animals is very therapeutic for children, and we are thrilled about this opportunity!
Will you pray for our camp? Will you also pray for the provision we need to cover the costs? One week of camp for one child costs $500. Should you be in a position to sponsor one child (or partially sponsor or even sponsor several children) all of the giving information is below.
There's so much more news to share with you, here's just a few updates:
Finally, as I write, we have a team here from one of our supporting churches in Dallas, Texas who have come to bless, encourage and serve alongside us this week. It is always very encouraging for Vincent and me to have visitors and it's also a blessing for our Parfums de Vie community. Will you pray for them over the next few days as they pour into us, our team, the children, youth and families of Parfums de Vie. God is always at work here, but sometimes special breakthroughs happen in people's hearts and circumstances when we have people from the "outside" who come and speak God's love, life and presence into our community!
Vincent and I pray for you often, Dixie, and we are so thankful for your love, prayers, generosity and friendship.
Nicole & Vincent
PARFUMS DE VIE - URGENT PRAYERS FOR FATIHA WHO STARTS CHEMO NEXT WEEK
I have attached a couple of photographs of Fatiha dancing which were taken two years ago at our 20th wedding anniversary. When I first saw these photos, I was deeply moved, as they capture her beautiful spirit and the freedom and joy that she has received, embraced and pursued.
Fatiha is one of my dearest friends here in Grasse and she also happens to be married to my brother (and only sibling) Roddy. Will you please pray for her, my brother and their three young children, as she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer last week. She is only 38 years old. She will start chemotherapy treatment next week, initially every three weeks and then every week. After 6 months of treatment they will see if the chemo has been effective in reducing the four tumors in her left breast and evaluate whether or not she needs a mastectomy. It has all happened very fast and Fatiha is still reeling from the shock. However, in keeping with her incredible hopeful spirit, her amazing response was "I'm so thankful it's not an arm, or some other part that I actually need, I can easily live without a breast!"
Fatiha arrived in France from North Africa in 2009, fleeing the oppression of her religion, her family and her country. She used her entire life savings to pay for the arduous journey across the Mediterranean and almost drowned in the process, as she can't swim, but got thrown out of the boat (without a life jacket) hundreds of meters from shore! That she survived is a miracle in itself. That she stumbled upon Parfums de Vie in her very first days in France is an even greater miracle. She encountered Christian community, began reading scripture and then married my brother in May 2011. They now have three adorable children - Ryan (9) , Lydia (7) & Leana (3). My brother Roddy moved to Grasse to marry her after meeting her in our home when he was on vacation! He has learned to speak fluent French, has integrated into French life and has an excellent job as an engineer for a yacht company. They are happy and settled in Grasse, have recently purchased a home and they and their children continue to be very involved in our lives and in Parfums de Vie.
Over the past ten years I have formed a close friendship with Fatiha. As she has shared her story with us over the years and begun the process of healing and finding new life in Christ, I have always been very moved by the reality of the extreme desperation she felt as a young woman to take such huge risks to escape the oppression she faced in Algeria, where as a young university educated woman, she was not allowed to make her own choices, but was the property of her father, who had chosen a husband for her. She would then become the property of an older man she didn't know, love or respect.
Here in Grasse, she has continued to pursue growth and transformation, in fact her determination to disentangle herself from her strict Islamic background and integrate into European culture is remarkable. Not only do their kids go to a private Christian school, but Fatiha encourages them to learn about Jesus through Parfums de Vie and she has become an ambassador and defender of the values of Parfums de Vie within the Muslim community here and regularly speaks out for us when we are under criticism.
Several years ago, Fatiha became certified as a fitness coach. When she was a teenager, she had the opportunity to play sports at school and was so gifted at Volleyball that her coach wanted her on the team. When her parents found out, her father of course forbid her from playing any sports, because this did not fit the image of a respectable Muslim girl. Muslim women are raised to be ashamed of themselves and are taught to hide their bodies. Watching Fatiha learn to fully 'embody' herself as a liberated woman and fitness instructor has been a joy to behold and is a wonderful picture of the freedom and transformation that comes through Christ!
As you can imagine, the news of this diagnosis has come as a huge shock for everyone as she is very healthy, young and strong. I asked her permission to share this news with you to specifically ask for your prayers for her healing. She told me that it is her faith in God's goodness and love that is giving her the strength to face this new and difficult season and she is so incredibly thankful for your prayers.
On a personal note, Roddy and Fatiha's friendship is a huge blessing to Vincent and me. They are not just family, but intimate friends and their commitment to us and the ministry of Parfums de Vie is such a personal encouragement. It was a gift to have them serve alongside us at our most recent camp in July.
Please pray with us for Fatiha's healing, for strength and endurance to go through the treatment, and that God will somehow use the struggle and pain to bring even deeper abundant life, blessing and freedom for their whole family. We trust in His goodness.
Nicole & Vincent
Thank you so much for praying for Laith's baptism. He's thrilled for me to share these photos with you, although can I remind you not to post the photos or the story anywhere online? It was a very special time for him, and so very encouraging and inspiring for all of us! We are so pleased to see all of the ways he is growing in maturity in Christ and vision as a young leader!
Simon turned 18 this week and has also been preparing for baptism, he will get baptized next week while we are at camp! Mahdi too is preparing for baptism, and while we haven't yet decided on a date, it's great to see these three young men mutually encouraging each other in their faith journey!
This week Laith, Simon and Mahdi also got their Baccalaureate results (High School Diploma) and graduated from High School! I've attached a photo of them in their gowns! They all did very well and Mahdi, who was elected Valedictorian, gave his speech in Italian (he obtained the French and Italian Baccalaureates simultaneously, both with outstanding grades - less than 5000 students obtain this "ESABAC" each year in France!) We are deeply encouraged and filled with hope as we launch these young men into their future studies and continue to walk alongside them in their leadership development.
At Parfums de Vie we have a very busy summer ahead and we have several prayer requests for the coming weeks:
Summer Youth Adventure Camp 11-25 July
Mission Trip Tunisia 28 July - 8th August
Getting Laith to The Netherlands
Getting Narjes to Scotland
Finding Accommodation for Simon in Nice
Our Ministry Center
Thanks to the generosity of some of our donors, for a number of years we have been in a position to purchase our ministry center, and while the owner does want to sell, we still haven't been able to agree on a price as his asking price is double the market value - which we are not willing to pay. The owner is in his eighties, not in good health and has significant debts. We have enlisted the help of an attorney to negotiate the sale, but so far, the owner hasn't responded to any of the letters the attorney has sent since March this year! Will you pray for a miraculous breakthrough for him to be willing to negotiate a better price that we would be willing to pay and for the sale to go through by the end of 2021? Vincent and I remain sure that this really is the right place for our ministry center......
Will you continue to pray with us for the ongoing support of the ministry? In addition to ongoing funding for our various programs with the children and youth, sponsoring four kids through University is obviously quite a commitment and we also continue to raise support towards the University Fund. We truly believe that investing in their further education is investing in the future of Parfums de Vie and the kingdom in France.
Luke Parker - Intern for 2021-2022
Finally, can I ask you to pray for Luke Parker. He is a young graduate from Spokane, Washington and plans to intern with us for a year starting September 2021. We really need the extra help and are very excited about having him join our team here for the coming school year. Specifically, he is working on his visa application which is of course essential for him to come. Will you pray that God opens the doors for the visa in a timely manner so that he can travel as planned to join us in early September?
Vincent and I are so encouraged by your love, friendship, prayers and generosity. The academic success AND the faith commitments of our four young University students truly inspires my prayers for the many younger children that we are working with at Parfums de Vie. Continue to pray with us that they too will not only succeed in their schooling but grow into young leaders with Christ centered values. May it be so!
with love & deep gratitude,
Nicole & Vincent
Can you believe it's already been a year since Vincent's mother, Simone, went to her eternal home, on April 29th 2020? A few weeks ago we were able to take a small group of our Parfums de Vie teens to spend the week with Vincent's Dad, Jacques. He needed some help on his property to chop down some trees that had become too tall and potentially dangerous should they fall. He also needed some company as he faced the first anniversary of Simone's passing. It was a very special time of discipleship and blessing, both with Vincent's dad and with our teens. For the first time, Vincent's Dad participated in our Bible study every evening after dinner. He didn't just listen, he engaged, sharing his point of view with the kids. Simone was always very vocal about her faith and Jacques always claimed not to be interested, not to believe, I think partly to try and keep her off his case! So, it was very lovely and encouraging to hear his heart and to see his openness to the scriptures and his willingness to participate in this important time with the kids. Please continue to pray for Jacques, he is still really missing Simone and struggling to adjust...
For the teens, it was also a very special time. Vincent's Dad lives in the heart of the Provençale countryside, surrounded by vineyards, lavender fields and olive groves and far removed from the cramped urban environment of our kids' homes, so as well as the hard work of chopping down trees and splitting timber (and homework of course) we also had time for riding bikes, cooking, baking, building fires and spending many long hours outdoors. So although our April Camp was officially cancelled (for the second year in a row!) because of Covid restrictions, we got to do an "unofficial" camp with Jacques!
This special time away from home in a different context is so important in the healing and transformation of our kids whose family backgrounds are extremely complicated, and where neglect and abuse are far more present than we'd care to admit. Our week at Jacques' home was during Ramadan, the Muslim month of prayer and fasting. Ramadan is always a very difficult time for all of the children and teens of Parfums de Vie, who are under great pressure from their families to observe the tradition of the strict fast from all food and liquid from sunrise until sunset. Muslim children are taught that Ramadan is compulsory for gaining points for Heaven and salvation, and they are encouraged (obliged) to participate from a very young age. Children as young as 8 years old share with us their fears that they will go to Hell if they eat or drink during the fast. (Even accidentally swallowing water when brushing your teeth or taking a shower is considered breaking the fast!) Every year at Parfums de Vie we have to sensitively help kids and teens navigate this complicated season with their families. Many of the kids and teens of Parfums de Vie believe that Jesus has already paid the price for them, they know that they cannot "earn" salvation, but this truth is incompatible with the values and priorities of their families. Many kids and teens also feel that they "need" to eat and drink to get through their long school days, participate in sports, exams and their normal life activities. It's important that they have a safe place to express their questions and concerns, and it requires a lot of wisdom, courage and faith to help kids through this. This year, one of the teens told her mother that she was a Christian, not a Muslim, and would therefore not be observing the fast.....as you can imagine, this news wasn't welcomed by the family, who have continued to put immense pressure on her. This pressure, which is expressed in a harsh manner, only causes kids to feel more distance with the traditions of their parents and to draw closer to the love and grace that they experience in Christ through Parfums de Vie.
We know that God is faithful and at work through all of it, but it's definitely one of the most challenging seasons for our ministry. It's painful to witness the hardships that the kids must endure with their families and we are always thankful and relieved when Ramadan comes to an end.
We truly appreciate your prayers, love and support.
with love & thankfulness,
Nicole, Vincent, Etienne and all of us at Parfums de Vie
Thank you so much for praying for our Winter Study Camp for our older teens. It was truly an amazing two weeks in the mountains with our fantastic group of teens. It actually moves me deeply to see how much these kids have really begun to embrace and live out the values and faith that we have sought to impart to them since they were young children, we are amazed and thankful!
17 year old Baptiste (pronounced "Ba-teest" in French!) came to Parfums de Vie through his friendship with Laith, they've spent the past three years together in the dorms at the CIV High School. Baptiste is a typical French kid: despite his "christian" name which is the French for "baptist" as in "John the Baptist", his parents are completely secular/atheist and until meeting Laith, Baptiste had literally never seen or held a Bible, much less heard anything about its teachings! The beauty in this story is that Baptiste, the French secular/atheist kid is finding faith in Jesus through his Muslim background friend Laith! Through their friendship and Laith's witness, Baptiste was open to learning more about the Bible with Parfums de Vie and he started coming home with Laith on the weekends to participate in Parfums de Vie.
At camp, we spent time in scripture everyday, reading and discussing the story of Joseph. Baptiste not only participated, but he engaged very seriously and expressed clearly his desire to know more and to go deeper. Baptiste had a lot of questions and told us that he wanted to continue reading scripture on his own after the camp, so we gave him a Bible of his own. We all wrote an encouraging note inside the Bible, but it's worth translating from French the words of 17 year old Laith: "This is the book that saved me! It brings me encouragement in hard times and I hope with all my heart that it will help you as much as it has helped me."
Will you pray with us for Baptiste? May he follow in Laith's footsteps...
While prayer and reading scripture have always been central to our activities and camps with the children and youth, it was interesting to note that our group of older teens are truly moving into a new season, towards adulting. When they were younger teens, for some years it would often feel like everyone was enduring the Bible Studies and serious conversations - especially in larger groups. Sometimes we would feel discouraged as so often there would be limited participation from the kids. Everyone was happy to play but would roll their eyes when it was time for the Bible Story. But now a few years older, these kids WANT to have serious adult conversations about life, faith, God, scripture, purpose and relationships and they're not afraid to express it! In fact, they are full of questions and it's very obvious that they are listening! It makes me very thankful that we persevered and it reminds me that the younger teens ARE listening even when they're rolling their eyes and it FEELS like they couldn't care less!
Parfums de Vie, and our camps in particular, are really meeting a significant need for these kids who are truly hungry for meaningful community and guidance as they seek to find purpose and direction for their lives. For most of our kids, neither home nor school is a safe place where their questions, struggles and fears can be broached. In fact home and school are a source of discouragement, pain and frustration. For many, home is a stressful (sometimes abusive) place where strict Islamic rules take precedence over relationships. On the other hand school is also unsafe: one of the recurring talking points was the prejudice and lack of expectation that they experience from several of their teachers at school. Laith, Simon and Mahdi have all been advised by their guidance counselors to apply for trade apprenticeships instead of University, despite the fact that many of their French classmates with lesser grades are being encouraged to pursue their College applications!
Despite the reality of our broken world where it would be easy for these kids to feel rejected by French society, it's truly exciting to see them wrestle through what it means to have a healthy sense of identity, learn to believe in themselves, break through the glass ceilings and pursue their dreams. It's also inspiring for the other kids who are just one or two years behind - to see that despite any prejudice or lack of expectation that society might have, these young men who are developing healthy values grounded in scripture are succeeding in school and are en route for University Education! Their academic commitment and their desire to grow in faith and healing provides such a healthy example for the other kids!
At our camp the Bible Study time is essential and formative, but it's the cooking and eating together, the experiencing of challenging and fun outdoor activities together, the late-night chats around the fire-pit that really help to create a unique, special and safe space for this deep, hopeful and healing conversation to happen, far away from the stresses of home and school, the distractions of technology and surrounded by the majestic beauty of nature. Camp is the perfect soil for discipleship.
I became a Christian in High School, and when I was at university I joined a student group where I was discipled by the couple who lead it, Marilyn & Karl (who remain dear friends to this day). They deliberately lived with their young family on campus because they wanted students to have safe space to drop by if they wanted or needed it, and I for one, took them up on that open invitation regularly. I loved showing up to their home, hanging out with their family, watching them parent their kids: they lived a life of faith that I hadn't known in my own home and I remember being so drawn into their loving home and being so full of questions about their lives of faith. They made a choice to live in this missional way: making their lives and their home available and accessible to others based on their belief that "more is caught than taught". In other words they knew that young people learn from Bible studies, but that they learn or "catch" more from experiencing real life and real faith in real community, and they had the courage to live that out with their young family on a noisy university campus when their peers were moving to the suburbs and making very different lifestyle choices.
When I see the hunger for purpose, relationship and community in our 17 and 18 year old students at Parfums de Vie - how they want to hang out with me and Vincent - help with cooking, gardening or whatever, ask questions, listen to what we have to say, and just be around, it reminds me so much of the relationship that I had with Marilyn and Karl when I was a student. I am so incredibly thankful for the choices that they made - to help me and others "catch" a life of purpose and faith.
Thinking back to my own discipleship journey which began in my teens fills me with so much hope for everything that God is accomplishing through Parfums de Vie and our efforts to provide opportunities for children and youth to "catch", experience and embody the Gospel. Our friends Marilyn and Karl had no idea how (or if) Vincent and I would take all that was taught and caught through their student group and run with it. What began at Glasgow University in 1993 eventually found its way to Grasse...and now beyond....Narjes is now at St Andrews' Uni in Scotland. Laith has been accepted to the best business school in The Netherlands. Mahdi hopes to be accepted to University in Italy. Simon and Baptiste hope to study in Nice. And there's many more following close behind! These remarkable teens are future leaders for the Kingdom, and NONE of this would even be possible without YOUR love and partnership with us! Thank you for making it possible for us to serve Christ and raise up the next generation of leaders through the ministry of Parfums de Vie.
with love & thankfulness,
Nicole & Vincent
How to Give?
***If you would like to support the ministry through regular or one-time giving, all the information is below. We continue to raise support towards our General Ministry Fund which covers the operative costs of running our Education & Literacy Center, Kids Clubs, Youth Groups and Camps. We also continue to raise support for our University Fund. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information! Thank you so much!***
*****Please remember to specify if your gift is for: Parfums de Vie Cote d'Azur Project #70350 OR the DERIEUX family #40415'*****
Phone: 888-242-5930You can make donations over the phone if you prefer. Lynette in the office is amazing and super helpful. Stock donations are also possible, ask Lynette for more details
PO Box 438
Lewiston, ME 04243 - 0438
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgYou can email the Communitas office for any enquiries about setting up donations.