I left France 12 years ago next month. Within the 7 years before that, I'd lived in Nice, Paris, and Rixheim (Alsace) after having toured all around during a summer study abroad in 2000. Other than a couple of quick visits during my years in Germany and chaperoning a very tourist-y trip in 2015, I hadn't been back on French soil…until a couple of weeks ago.
|Chateau at La Porte Ouverte|
It's a really long story with a lot of twists, detours, and a misunderstanding; but I arrived in a small town in Burgundy called Lux at the Porte Ouverte (P.O. for short, translated Open Door) late on a Saturday evening after a train, 7.5 hour-bus ride, another train, and shuttle. After a good night's sleep, I attended the church service on site, shared a meal with some girls, took a nice walk to the Saone River, and celebrated Veteran's Day that evening with a group from P.O.
|Veteran's Day (Armistice) is widely celebrated in France|
So strange yet so good to be back in this country that I love so very much. I can't explain it, but the love I have for France is surely from the Lord. It's certainly not the weather (though I was spoiled the first couple of days) or the atmosphere which is so heavy and dark or even the mentality which can seem fatalistic to an American (though the believers shine as they have a more hopeful outlook). Even the food was hard for me to get used to the first time I lived here, though now I'm fully converted and agree that the French have the best cuisine in the world. :)
Each day was a gift, and I was so blessed by those I was able to get to know and spend time with throughout the week. I was even able to hear a Canadian evangelist who visited Wednesday night. Before I left Friday to head for Alsace (north-east France), I felt like I was only beginning to understand the vision and purpose of this Christian center that hosts retreats and missionaries but hopes to be a place of discipleship training in the future. To give a little plug, they really need help maintaining the property and restoring the chateaux. I offered to publicize their needs in my newsletters, so stay tuned in case you want to be a part of this venture!
|Anita Pearce spoke Wednesday night|
Then off to Rixheim where I lived for 3 months in 2006. The weekend was quite busy reuniting with friends, sightseeing, and a series of workshops at the local church. I was so encouraged by this event where the church promoted different missions agencies, showcased various Christian artists, and invited a French missionary to Cambodia to speak Saturday night and Sunday morning. His messages were so powerful and moving that people continued to reference them throughout the week. Praise God!
|Evangelical Church of Rixheim who hosed the workshops and event|
|This artist painted this as a worship song was playing in the background.|
|Timothee Paton, the guest speaker, was being interviewed before his first talk.|
The next week went by quickly. I was able to attend a prayer meeting at this church and also meet with a group of pastors who are involved in evangelism. We exchanged contact info and will keep in touch. Stay tuned for more info about them as well in my upcoming newsletters.
|Two of the three "French" pastors are Brazilian. This gives you an idea of the need for |
workers and pastors in France, which was something they shared.
Please, please pray for France and the French-speaking countries of Europe. Within the last couple of weeks, we (European office of EE) received a request from Belgium as well. There definitely seems to be interest, but our greatest need is to translate the materials and also find workers.
Now back in Zurich in time to meet some of our Albanian team who's in town this weekend. :)