Love God + Love Skiing = Altitude Mission

It’s totally non-judgemental. I’ve been there!

We’ve had a much quieter week which was definitely needed. The sun has gone and been replaced with snow, rain and low clouds.
Our new chaplain and his family arrived – Nick and Pam Jackson from Love Church Bournemouth and their grown up kids and partners.

Our bible study on Friday had a really international feel as the Dutch, Brits and Americans all contributed. The bible passage was read in Dutch and I find it so incredible that everyone from all nations and speaking many different languages are worshipping the One God. How incredible that Jesus has had such a profound effect on so many lives in so many countries and that He is worshipped in so many tongues. And here we are in Chalet Altitude all coming together for a fantastic week all because of our love for Him (and skiing!).

I had my birthday this week and the guests were all fantastic and clubbed together to give me a snowmobile ride one evening after the slopes have shut. How brilliant – Will and I will be one one big machine (who will drive!?) as we zoom around the mountain. We are going to wait for a sunny evening before we do it.

Ashley ticked off something on her bucket list and did a tandem parapente and literally skied off the edge of the mountain with her parachute and instructor. It was great to see her just float off as we raced down the mountain to be there for when she landed. She has a loud scream so was easy to track!

Saturday was changeover day and the weeks here are all so different and all so unique. We said goodbye to the Dutch and hello to our over 50’s week. What a contrast! The noise levels halved and the cups of tea doubled but the great thing is they both provide God with many opportunities to work.

Sunday church was relatively warm (we nearly didn’t need the blankets!) and Will Jackson led worship. A young French girl was passing and felt the need to come in. She was really moved as she had never realised that God loved her. Reckless Love was our last song and we could feel the Holy Spirit move as several were in tears. Great to see God moving in her. And as our chalet does so well, someone scooped her up and got her details, showed her love and we hope to see her again. The perfect person at the perfect time.

A generous guest had donated €50 to the Richmond Chalet workers which meant that they could afford to drive round the mountain for church and supper. The guest had seen the need and filled it. How I love this Chalet. 3 of the boys came for church and then up to the chalet for a Beef Bourguignon and fellowship. Cat, the chef, does a great job of getting things ready and in the oven so that she can come to church. We often have to zoom her back to rescue Dauphinoise if the service is longer than expected!

It’s been a quiet week on and off the slopes which has been exactly what we needed as we scooped up a seasonaire with a broken heart after a split from her boyfriend. She’s left her job and needed somewhere to recuperate and of course our chalet is the perfect place. What a privilege to watch as the other 4 single girls staying long term in the chalet rallied round with coffee, cake and love. It’s a place where you can cry, hibernate, and be loved and looked after. No one minds tears at the supper table, or a quick exit as it gets too overwhelming. And we get a small opportunity to show God’s love with prayer, if wanted (which it was). Becky next door was able to come and sleep for a few nights in a spare bed as her room mate has the flu. She was so grateful as she slept so deeply being in a room by herself and not squashed in with a sick room mate.

We haven’t been to Rond Point much this week as the weather hasn’t been good but we did manage a Folie Douce ski pastoring session. The Saturday afternoons are a time of incredible drunkenness as the French come for the weekend. I have never seen anyone so drunk as this guy who was trying to stand up on his skies and failing! He hadn’t done his boots up ( and he magically produced a bottle of champagne from his boots!), his helmet was balance somehow on his head and he was standing in the middle of everyone having a wee. Heath managed to do up his helmet and fortunately persuaded his group of friends that they needed the green run not the steep mogul red run. He headed off with them to show them the way. One of the group fell and broke her wrist and a skidoo arrived with the ski pisteurs who gave them a lift down on the back of it.

Meanwhile I was covering the red slope. Ski sticks abandoned half way down and various bodies everywhere with skies off after falling. It can look a bit like a war zone. One snowboarder was walking back up after having been wiped out by a skier. I helped Chris and his friends David and Emily. Once your skies have come off it’s almost impossible to put them back on again whilst trying to stand on the steep slope (actually after a skinful, it’s almost impossible to just stand up, let alone balance on one leg to get the ski on!). So I always hold the ski flat while they hang on for balance and click their ski in. And it’s such an easy and accessible way to strike up conversation. “. Hi, I’m from the Meribel Chaplaincy team, and I’m here to help keep you safe and help you down the mountain”. We have nothing but positive responses from people absolutely thrilled to have our help. They are always so so grateful. Chris clicked his ski on, zoomed off, managed a couple of corners and wiped out again. So I just repeat the whole process of getting his ski on, while laughing with him – it’s totally non-judgemental. I’ve been there, done that in my youth so completely understand! And conversations start that they won’t remember the next day, but they will have a vague recollection that someone, that had something to do with God, helped them down the slope.

Pizza and beer was a quiet affair this week as it was Valley Rally Day where seasonaires are off having a party. But we did have one lady turn up who’s been before, and come to church so it was good just to sit and chat with her. I love the friendships that are building here and look forward to when we will have a small group of younger people who are based here all season. They will provide a much needed continuity and presence in the bars.

So a quieter Week 12 and a chance to recharge our batteries. I can’t believe there are only 6 weeks left which is sad but they are an exciting 6 weeks to have ahead of us.


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