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Christmas in Chalet Altitude.
Christmas Eve – we headed downtown to the town square for the local carol singing in the town centre. Somehow I managed to end up on the choir which is not what you want! There are probably 200 people gathered to watch the parade, see Father Christmas and have a sing a long whilst drinking free hot chocolate or vin chaud. The Altitude crowd managed to boost the singing.
Then we played games, kids put out stockings and we tried to stay awake til midnight carols.
At 11.15pm we headed for the church for the first ever Meribel Christmas Eve midnight carols service. To be honest, I thought it would be 6 of us in the freezing cold but we went anyway to worship.
The doors opened, lights went on and people started streaming in. We had around 50 in all which was completely unexpected and humbling to realise God was blessing us.
The best part was the female choir – 10 drunken seasonnaires who sat up on the balcony and bellowed our the carols / descant and all. Totally out of tune but sung with such gusto and enthusiasm. Will probably be my highlight of the season.
Had lots of great chats afterwards and told them all about Chalet Altitude and Wednesday pizza and beer nights. Please pray for them.
Christmas morning was spent seeing if Father Christmas had been, having smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast and a ski before church at 5pm. Again, God humbles us with over 100 people coming to a fantastic service led by Julio. Then back to the chalet for a huge Christmas dinner for 27 of us followed by rowdy games of Avalon.
What a Christmas it had been. So many blessings. The kids have loved all the games and fellowship an the chalet has the most amazing atmosphere.
Boxing Day was a Wednesday evening and it was our turn to serve the seasonnaires. Instead of pizza and beer we offered a free full christmas dinner to workers in resort and 10 people came for turkey with all the trimmings. We cooked, served and washed up for them and they loved it.
Then Week 3 Sunday we amazingly had 58 people come to church. Many were invited by Julio the chaplain as he skis the slopes, 17 were from Altitude and we had all nationalities there. We will miss the numbers as we head into the quiet time of the season next weekend.
We have decided to ski pastor. Like the street pastors but on skis so on New Year’s Eve we head to the Folie Douce – a club on the slopes – to dance and be a presence whilst praying continually. It closes at 4.45pm and drunk skiers and boarders attempt to make their way home as the sun goes down. We said a quick prayer asking for God to show us who needed help and then hung around for the stragglers to make their way. It was very obvious who needed help. A snowboarder who had scared herself earlier in the slopes and then partied hard in the Folie was inching her way down on her board. It would have taken her over an hour and the sun was setting so we tried a variety of ways to get her down. First she tried walking – too icy. Then sitting on her board as a toboggan – too icy. So I tried her clinging her arms around my waist as I snowploughed slowly down. Again it was too icy. We were rescued by the ski patrol on a skidoo who popped her on the back and whizzed off. We met her at the bus stop so were able to have a good chat as we showed her where to go on the bus.
Then supper, games and heading out to the town centre for the midnight countdown and fireworks. After midnight we headed to the nightclub to see what we could do but it was too rammed and no chance of chatting so at 1am we were back in the chalet.
Julie doesn’t ski so in the daytime she takes the dogs and sits in a cafe and strikes up conversations with people and tells them about the church. Julio, the chaplain, spends his time skiing and chatting and often brings a crowd of people he’s met to the church.
Having decided to ski pastor after the Folie Douce on a Wednesday as this is the seasonnaires day off and it’s them that we are trying to reach, I decided to head off to dance and pray once again!
Everyone had to head back so it was just me left hanging around. Again, there was a family in danger. They had older teenagers and had headed off piste for some reason and it was too icy and they had fallen and got really scared. I watched as the 16yr old tried to climb back up the icy slope but couldn’t. There was masses of drunken shouting and blaming at each other but they couldnt climb up. The younger one slipped and fell 20m so I called over to show them how to get to the slope.
I could see they were all on the slopes safely with no idea which direction to go so I took them down the green run towards Méribel centre where they had booked a taxi. They were relieved and thankful to say the least!
Then Will heads to Ronnies to help people find their skis and climb the ice bank which they were all falling on having forgotten which their skis were.