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.