Love God + Love Skiing = Altitude Mission

Friend Jumps On Plane To The Rescue

We’ve had a really quiet week in the chalet which was exactly what we needed due to the fact that I was cooking!
We said goodbye to Gordon and Pete who were booked onto the same transfer minibus to the airport. In true Gordon style, he invited the transfer driver to next weeks Pizza and Beer. Pete managed to get on an earlier flight so they flew back to the uk together which was great as Pete was in considerable discomfort so had Gordon to pray with!

Then the same transfer driver picked up the next chaplain; Martyn Layzell arrived with his 2 brothers and brother in law. A Godly morning for him!

Roger’s lot who were in meribel for the week had swapped out three girls for three guys and they all came to the Tav for beers and then ours for dinner as they knew Martyn from Htb. It was a very male supper with only 2 of us girls and 16 guys! I love the fact we can open up the chalet to everyone who’s around and everyone is great at pitching in with the washing up which is helped considerably with our commercial dishwasher that takes 3 minutes to do a load! Well worth getting one fitted at home!

Friday fellowship night was great with all the boys and all 4 of our local regulars. Martyn led the Bible Study which was on the story of the paralysed man coming down through the roof to be healed. One of our new Christians came and took part which was lovely. She’s hungry to know more and loves the studying aspect of it.

We didn’t know how long Pete would be away for so on the Friday I sent an SOS to my friends on the Isle of Wight and Fiona Headington gallantly answered the call and jumped on a plane to arrive the next day. Phew! We are hugely thankful for her cooking skills and unflappability in the kitchen.

And loads and loads of snow has fallen so the days have been great for skiing fresh powder.

Before Gordon left we had an incredible morning with one of the Richmond staff. We skied the Jerusalem run through 2 feet of fresh powder on the run. Perfect for my rubbish powder skills and I managed to put some turns together before plopping over into waist deep powder as I headed off piste in the fog by mistake. That’s the second time Gordon’s been blessed by an incredible Jerusalem run on his last days skiing.

Sammy had a football tournament on Sunday in Le Praz. We were first there and it was rather surreal making a path through 2 foot of snow to the door of a sports hall at the bottom of some Olympic training ski jumps. Sammy played goalkeeper for Bozel and they won the whole tournament after a penalty shoot out to decide the final. This was an instant way for Sammy to make lots of friends as they all fought together to get the trophy. It was really different to watching an English tournament. The French kids are much more skilled and controlled on the ball and very good at passing. Says a lot that the French won the World Cup and there were quite a few mini-Pogbas there.

We headed straight to church which seemed colder than usual after 4 hours in a sports hall. It’s the chaplains job to clear a path to the church door so Martyn had to get the shovel out. We had a keyboard, guitar and an enthusiastic Sammy on the cajon. It’s hard to enthuse an 11 yr old to go to a cold church with no children’s work so Sammy gets the job of cajon player whilst dealing with the words on the screen and he loved being part of the boys worship team.

5 of the Richmond workers came over from Les Menuires so Fiona was instantly thrown in the deep end with my ‘5 more for supper please’ last minute requests. The service was great and was on the subject of ‘Jesus the Challenger’. No one hung around afterwards as we wanted to get back in the warmth and everyone came to supper. We had a good evening playing ‘spoons’ before their hour long drive home. We are really appreciative to Richmond Holidays for letting them come to church and giving them the van to drive over in. They love coming and we certainly love having them.

We took Martyn and co to experience the Folie Douce but it was relatively quiet with only a handful of tables being danced on so no vicars on the table today. 

I had seasonaires ski lessons this week with some of the seasonaires from my last lessons a month ago. It was really good to hook up with them again as we shoot around the mountain! It’s been a great way to build up relationships and we had a good time in Ronnies at the end of the lesson where I bumped in to JP from a previous lesson.

He brought 3 to pizza and beer that night. We had 12 extras in total which was fantastic. Jake, the transfer man, did come which was good and we had a tableful and fiona did a great job churning out pizzas whilst we chatted away.
So it’s been a brilliant week and the Layzell clan have just left – taken to the airport by Jake no less!
We have a quiet couple of nights before we get crazy busy as I’ve totally overbooked next week! Will is sourcing extra mattresses and duvets and who knows where everyone will sit at meals because I’d forgotten we’d actually need more chairs! It’s going to be fun.

La Taverne – seasonnairres pub Meribel

Lara Sussman Altitude Mission
Lara Sussman Altitude Mission

La Taverne – seasonnairres pub Meribel

We started a new Apres Social this week on a Thursday in La Taverne (the Tav) which is very much a seasonnairres pub. It’s a good place for seasonnairres to meet with us if they need and for us to be with the dogs. The owner has given us a “chaplains seasonaires card” for discounted drinks which we can pass from chaplain to chaplain. It also cover Ronnies and Sully’s, the night club, so Julio will no doubt get great use of it 😀.

We’ve had a really quiet week which is exactly what we needed as our new chef is not very well and needs to go home for a few days to get checked out. I did the weekly shop down at the cash and carry with Eva and my Harry which was an experience! It had dumped with snow the night before so was stunning all the way down the valley.

Sunday was the service over at Courchevel. Some of us went by car and some by 4 different bubble cars and telecabines just hoping that the wind wouldn’t pick up any more until after we got home as we had to get up and over the mountain.
We didn’t have many turn up but it was a really powerful time. Gordon had written out 18 different scriptures which took us on a journey from trauma and disaster to hope for the future. Sammy and his friend were in charge of sound and did a great job turning it up and down whilst we read the scriptures or reflected on them. Every single visitor committed to putting Jesus in the centre of their lives from now on which was absolutely lovely to witness.
Then it was back through the falling snow to Méribel for a quick turn around before the Sunday service at 6pm. As it is now snowing, the temperature in the church was actually warmer than usual! I had to walk as I missed the lift and arrived completely covered but with all my ski wear on and a trusty blanket, i was warming while I dropped everywhere. We had Roger Kelly amd his friends lead the worship with backing tracks and loud singing so that was great. We know Roger from Harry’s Special Olympics skiing and it was great of them to step in last minute. We repaid them with a good meal afterwards. Gordon spoke on “Jesus – the non conformist” which was great.

The week has sped past in a blur of fresh powered, sunshine, cash and carry shopping and attempting to cook! We hope to get cover in for when Pete is away and we pray he won’t be long as he is a very popular member of out chalet.

We are collecting lodgers! Rueben, Becky next doors boyfriend, moved in for the season as he starts a new job in Meribel.
We were also contacted by a girl who needed help and somewhere to stay. Gordon stepped in with his pastoral skills and we got a bedroom ready. It’s great to be able to offer this when needed. Having Gordon staying in the chalet has meant that he’s right on the scene for people to speak with him. We seem to be collecting girls that are struggling and putting them together. Clever old God.

Today is swap the vicar day so we say goodbye to Gordon Hickson and hello to Martyn Layzell. It’s been an incredible 2 weeks and so very productive and Gordon has been exactly the right chaplain for the job.

We wait and see what the next week holds and pray for a chef replacement as Pete heads home today. He will be sorely missed.

Lara and Will.

Heart Break & Blessings

Altitude Mission Wipeout!

Heart Break & Blessings

Altitude Mission Wipeout!

What a week it has been. Disaster and blessings.

Gordon Hickson is our new chaplain and led a really interesting Bible study on Friday about the church – what is it, why don’t people flock to it, what did Jesus model etc. What does it mean that the church can repair the broken hearted? Our two non-christian guests came and joined in.

We said goodbye to our chef today which was sad. He’s off to a new job in La Plagne and we wish him well.

New guests arrived on Saturday – a couple from the Isle of Wight and an old friend. It’s a very quiet week – God obviously knew that we would be doing the cooking!

Saturday night brought tragedy in Courchevel. A large chalet providing accommodation to seasonnairres was burned down. Two lost their lives and at least 60 are homeless with nothing. Many were French or from the Comoro Island.
We offered the empty Chalet Altitude beds to those affected but we are in the wrong valley to really be of help. But it did lead to a lot of positive comments on Facebook which was good, although we also had the normal ‘back off and keep religion out of it’ comment that we get intermittently. Others sprang to our defence. But what we could do effectively is pray and offer Gordon’s help.

Sunday night brought a miracle. A young seasonnairre in Courchevel woke up in the night, unable to sleep, realising that she was really struggling and feeling lost. She even wrote “a letter to the angels” asking for help. Early Monday morning I posted on Courchevel seasonnairres that we had a chaplain and that he was going to base himself at the fire incident centre if anyone needed someone to talk to. Gordon also woke with an urge to drive over to Courchevel. So all 3 combined together and Sophie met with Gordon and willingly accepted Jesus into her life. It all suddenly made sense to her.

They prayed together and the next day she received a job offer in a game park in South Africa with a friend which she took. God was already showing her the path He wanted for her.

So the week was spent with Gordon at the fire centre for a couple of days and the authorities over there have let us run a time of prayer and reflection this Sunday in the main hall.

Monday brought our new chef, Pete, which is fantastic.
Sophie drove over for supper on Tuesday and it was lovely to meet and pray with her before she started a long drive to Spain and then a flight to South Africa. She was completely changed – an enormous weight had been lifted from her shoulders as she relaxed and let God take control. We will continue to pray for her.

Wednesday was our sons 11th birthday so we celebrated with a mountain burger from Chez Bif – the best value and delicious burgers in town. He put candles on it which was great. Sammys best friend here spent the day with us and went to Sammy’s football practise in Bozel.

Wednesday night was pizza and beer night and we had 5 seasonnairres come. It’s gradually building momentum as word gets out that we aren’t some weird cult and that it’s ok to come and eat free pizza with us! With fewer numbers in the chalet it meant that we could really chat and get to know them. One of them liked it so much he came the next night too. The great thing is that we are able to provide a family home with a home from home feel that they are very welcome to come in to. The atmosphere in the chalet is great and people really feel that. They find it a welcome relief to the rat race of a ski season and at this stage of the season they are tired and worn out and love getting a meal cooked for them.

Keep praying for us – Lara + Will.

Gods Creation Is Truly Wonderful

Gods Creation Is Truly Wonderful

The snow has arrived and what a welcome sign it is. Some great days skiing deep powder – Gods creation is truly wonderful.

Andrew Corke took over as vicar and decided with his friends to move from the chaplains apartment Into Chalet Altitude so that they could be more involved.

We had Friday night bible study on Jesus the Healer and we looked at emotional healing which was very pertinent to some in the group and we pray for continued healing for them. A seasonnairre came and stayed for supper which was great.

We love Friday night suppers as we gather Christians in resort but we often open up Chalet Latitude to anyone who’d like a meal and home from home. It’s the perfect role for Will and I who love to gather people but aren’t any good at the cooking side of things! I was born to wash up which suits me fine.

We had 28 at church which is a miracle at this time of year. It so helps bringing a crowd from Altitude and we thank God for that. Another couple of workers from Richmond in Les Menuires drove the hour around the mountain to come to church and supper. We always lay extra places at meals for extras.

We’ve had a couple of unexpected extra guests this week which we’ve loved. One of Meribel Ski Chalets staff invited a couple of friends to stay without telling them they were going to be in a christian chalet. They were shocked when they arrived (you can imagine their texts home to friends) but we’ve just loved welcoming them in all states of sobriety as they eat with us in the evenings after hours in the Apres ski bars. They even came in from the bars to Pizza and Beer before heading out again. They have been totally amazed by what we are doing and happily eat with us while worship music plays and the conversations dip in and out of God. We pray that their hearts have been opened.
Our lovely seasonnairres next door pop in for supper on their nights off.

This week we say goodbye to Darren our chef as he moves on to a new job in Le Plagne. It’s been great to have him in the chalet and we pray he brings God to Le Plagne – our second church plant maybe!

I joined another seasonnairres ski class yesterday and when I say I work with the church everyone assumes its the name of a nightclub so I have to explain that it’s ‘church – you know, the God type of church!’ Certainly starts some conversations and shuts others up very quickly.

Today there’s more powder and blue skies so we are skiing en masse with our guests and some seasonnairres. Gordon Hickson, the new chaplain, has a good day in which to warm up his ski legs.

Blessings – Lara + Will.

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