Our home town of Livarot is known mostly for its cheese. Camembert was invented 5km away, and is still made here, along with Camembert and Pont L’Eveque. The town has a population of just 2,500, and has decreased consistently over the past 40 years. There used to be a train station, but that went in the ‘70′s. A new bypass in the ‘90′s helps a lot with traffic, but has made a visit to Livarot even less likely for most people. Businesses have closed, as have High Street shops.
And yet we have heard God promise blessings on this town, and we are seeing evidence of them.
We have an outstanding Priest, Père Zacharie. A former architect from Benin, Zacharie has been in Livarot for almost twenty years. He has 35 churches to look after and has shown a relentless determination to find the joy in them all! He is loved and respected in the town, and has made faith attractive even to those who left the church a long time ago.
We have a headmistress, Beatrice, in the local Catholic primary school, who is on an extraordinary journey of faith and is now asking us if Bless students might be available to go into the school during break times and work with the children.
We prayed a while back for a cafe / bookshop / community space to open in the town, and hey presto, one has. It isn’t run by people of faith at all, yet many of our church have been able to volunteer to be involved, and there is a growing network of discussion and relationship around it.
We have a number of local people who are experimenting with attending our gatherings and so far they don’t seem to have found them off-putting….
All of this is teaching us to look for the new life and honour God when we find it. Revival doesn’t come in some huge wave so colossal that all the papers want to talk about it. It comes in small steps; individual decisions; a slow welcoming of the Spirit. It grows every time the creator is invited to be king once more on his planet… And it is happening in Livarot. Thankfully, we have precedent for such an occurrence. We were told in no uncertain terms that nothing good could come from Nazareth, but that town did alright in the end, didn’t it?
If you’re of the praying disposition, do us a favour, would you? Stick the name Livarot on your prayer list. We’ll be glad to let you know, in the months ahead, what comes of it…