Final Words—L’espoir et l’espèrance

Monday, 5 December-Friday, 9 December: a week with two finals and the arrival of the one and only Jeffrey Pond (a dear friend of mine and Spencer’s roommate for the last two years). He was studying abroad in Jordan and finished earlier than I did, so he was able to visit for several days and stay with me and my host family.

Saturday, 10 December-Sunday, 11 December: Saturday—St. Malo with Jeffrey, Caitlin, and Zoe. It was absolutely gorgeous, even if a little chilly. We ended the day with the arrival of all five grandsons who stayed until Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I got sick with a cold Saturday night. Sunday—the first half of the day was spent corralling (and playing with) the boys. The second half I spent at church rehearsing (and then performing) our Christmas spectacle. Dominique and Patrick came, along with Jeffrey, of course, and three of the grandsons. It was a lovely evening, and Dominique and Patrick both commented multiple times that they loved the sermon (which is a victory since neither professes to be Christian!).

Monday, 12 December-Friday, 16 December: finals week, including seven more finals and a final paper. Jeffrey left on Monday morning, and then the week of lasts and goodbyes began. Friday night I took the train to Paris and stayed in a hotel with a friend from the program.

Saturday, 17 December: I woke up at 5:30am to get to my flight. 17 hours later I will land in San Jose, where Spencer and my family will welcome me home.

My heart has been rather torn this past week. There were many times during the semester when I just wanted to go home, to see Spencer, to be back in the atmosphere of Wheaton. I longed for Christmas to come more than I care to admit. But when the time came to say my goodbyes, I truly realized how much I will miss everyone and everything that I encountered in Rennes. I could go on and on about individuals or places or activities, but I think what is really important is treasuring my experiences in my heart and letting them change me for the better.

Because of my time in France, I am a more mature woman. Our program director suggested several methods of processing our time and sharing it with others, and one of the more silly options was a six-word story (inspired by Hemingway). Mine was: Gained weight, confidence, and good friends. (Literary device everyone should know: zeugma—the use of one verb for two or more complements which change the sense of the verb) As light-hearted as the exercise is, each part encompasses an important aspect of my study abroad experience. The weight I gained is due to the famous French food, but behind that stereotype there is a real culture around shared meals, time spent together without the worry of other obligations. I was plunged into this new environment, and I learned how to soak in without judgment, how to reconcile two cultures within me. The second element is confidence. Although an expected consequence of living in a foreign country without family or friends (until I found them, of course), I think I am going to be surprised in the next few months at the difference in myself. The third, I hope, is evident from the stories I have told on this blog, the pictures I have posted on Facebook. I have made friendships that will last beyond my college experience and memories that will last a lifetime.

Now, what you all have been waiting for: the explanation of the title of this blog!
In the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, there is a passage which describes the two Elvish words for “hope.” When I read this in my Christianity and Fantasy class last semester, I immediately looked up the two words for “hope” in French, only to find that the definitions matched those of the Elvish! L’espoir means hope in material things. I have espoir that I succeeded in my classes and that I will make it safely back to my family. L’espèrance, however, is the hope in something eternal, in something outside this world, who works things out for good. It is this hope that allows me to have peace, in the midst of hard goodbyes and nervousness about the transitions to come.

I praise God for His faithfulness to me these four months, and I thank you for your prayers. I hope to see all of you soon.

Many blessings,
Rachel

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, 21 November-Friday, 25 November: a normal week, plus a Thanksgiving dinner with our program and other Americans on Thursday night at a “New Yorkais” restaurant. It wasn’t home, but we left full.

Saturday, 26 November-Sunday, 27 November: went to the Christmas market, met Meg Cabot, got a lot of homework done–overall, a fairly relaxing weekend

Monday, 28 November-Friday, 2 December: a normal week, including the Christmas market again, an artists’ market, a birthday party, making dinner with Chris for Dominique and Patrick

Saturday, 3 December-Sunday, 4 December: On Saturday, I went to an elementary school Christmas market with Dominique, Patrick, and the youngest grandson (2 years old) to hear two of the other grandsons (4 and 9 years old) sing. We took galettes saucisses to go and drove an hour to check on the progress of Dominique’s beach house. On Sunday, I went to a different grandson’s birthday party with them (he’s turning 6 years old)–we were there for at least five hours (Did you know that lunch could take so long?).

 

The lights are up all around Rennes! The city has come alive with Christmas spirit–there are at least three times as many people wandering around at any given time, even in the middle of a weekday. There are three Christmas markets (maybe four? I’ll let you know), one of which set up an ice rink. On top of all the Christmas joy, Rennes held their annual musical festival this weekend; it’s called the Transmusicales, and it draws quite a crowd. Many up-and-coming musicians from all over the world got their start at this particular festival. All this to say that I was not surprised on Saturday when a transportation employee had to ride a Segway in front of the bus to clear a path in the crowds.

I am participating (singing and dancing) in a “Christmas spectacle” at my church next Sunday, but bizarrely, we are performing nothing that has to do with Christmas. The gospel will be presented very clearly, though, and I am inviting Dominique and Patrick and some of my American friends, so prayers would be appreciated.

With the arrival of Christmas season comes finals season. I will be studying for tests and writing papers during the next two weeks, but the stress is much less than at Wheaton, so I will have time to reflect on these last four months and how I have grown and changed. I am also preparing to do a lot of wedding planning over Christmas break.

The final thing occupying my thoughts/time is figuring schedules out for next semester. I will be taking Christian Thought, Lyrical Poetry, a half-semester Hughes/Hurston class, and senior seminars for English and French. I am also considering auditing a German class to continue improving after the class I had here. I will be choreographing for Confessions, returning to work at the bookstore, and taking over a DSG (discipleship small group) for a coach who is studying abroad in the spring. I will be a Wheatie in full swing, that’s for sure!

 

Prayer requests:

  • that God’s truth would shine through us at the Christmas spectacle and touch the hearts of the non-Christians there
  • that we would be able to finish everything we need to do over Christmas break concerning the wedding
  • that God would smooth out the transition back home and then back to Wheaton

Thank you all for staying faithful to praying for me. It means a lot.

Feeling the Aftershock from across the Ocean

Monday, 7 November-Thursday, 10 November: Highlights include Monday–cooking workshop to learn how to make breton food (delicious), Wednesday–breakfast at IFA (see below)

Friday, 11 November-Sunday, 13 November: Friday was a holiday (Armistice Day/Veterans Day), so it was a long and relaxing weekend, full of good food and good friends

Monday, 14 November-Friday, 18 November: normal week, including cooking dinner with Dani and Chris on Thursday night and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Friday night (we opted for English with French subtitles because it would be too weird to see our beloved British fairytale world dubbed)

Saturday, 19 November-Sunday, 20 November: On Saturday was the last CIEE excursion, this time to the nearby city of Nantes. It was also Patrick’s birthday, so we hosted a lively gathering to surprise him! I got to talk to a lot of strangers in French, but I had to go upstairs at 12:30am, when guests had been telling me for an hour that I looked “dead” (I was falling asleep on my feet).

 

Now for the hot subject of the month (and, consequently, of the next four years): the election.

I woke up at 6am on the morning of Wednesday, November 9, and I opened BBC News on my phone immediately, before even turning on the light. I texted Spencer to try to figure out if Trump’s lead was going to hold, if there was any chance that Hillary would overtake him.

After a few minutes, I got up, got dressed, and took a bus to the Franco-American Institute, where there was a breakfast to watch the results come in in real time. I met a couple of friends there, and we collected our coffee and croissants and went to sit in a crowded auditorium where CNN was streaming. A man who works at the American consulate had a microphone and was making occasional comments in English and French, either to explain to the French people how the American electoral system works or to ask the Americans how they were feeling.

They passed the microphone around for testimonies when the verdict was basically certain, and several American high school students (in France through a program called School Year Abroad) burst into tears and couldn’t finish what they were saying.

The air in the auditorium was heavy. When they asked for a Trump supporter to defend his candidate, no one responded, even after the election was called. A little more than half of America is scared, but all of France is scared. It is an election season for the French, too, and they are worried that there is a silent majority who will rise up in support of their extreme right candidate–Marine Le Pen. She has unashamedly supported Trump from the beginning, and she expressed her delight at his victory on national television that Wednesday night.

I am now used to the fact that I will never get to stop talking about the election. My conversations with strangers inevitably go something like this:
“Hello. Where are you from?”
“The United States.”
“How long is your stay in France?”
“I got here in August, and I leave in December.”
“Are you liking it?”
“Yeah, it’s great for my French.”
“How do you feel about the election results?”
I have perfected my I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it facial expression.

In this blog post, I’m trying my best to present my experience as an American overseas, and to avoid overemphasizing my personal political opinion. I wrote a post on Facebook if you are curious to know how I’m feeling more explicitly (spoilers: I quote Martin Luther King, jr. AND C.S. Lewis!).

Sidenote: I wrote a blog post for the CIEE Rennes official blog, which you can find here.

 

Prayer requests:

  • Continued prayers for focus and wisdom with my time
  • For motivation to still work hard outside of class on my French (by speaking with my American friends in French, going to French events, staying involved in my church, etc.)
  • That I wouldn’t feel too ready to leave too soon. I still have four weeks, and who knows what God can do in four weeks?!

Amsterdam Adventures

Saturday, 22 October-Sunday, 23 October: A weekend in Caen with Sarah, visiting free museums in the chateau built by William the Conquerer

Monday, 24 October-Sunday, 30 October: A week in Amsterdam with Sarah!

Monday, 31 October-Friday, 4 November: A normal week, including a Halloween party on Monday night with some of the Americans and Tuesday off of class because of All Saints’ Day (now THAT’s something America doesn’t do!)

Saturday, 5 November-Sunday, 6 November: A relaxing weekend, including coffee with my northern Irish friend from church, a late night with Danielle and Zoe beginning the new Netflix series The Crown (highly recommend), and a church potluck (where I got reluctantly recruited to participate in a singing/dancing spectacle)

 

Amsterdam is a lovely city, filled with spiderwebbing canals reflecting the fiery hues of autumn. We rented bikes and rode them around for hours, just appreciating the city’s beauty and exploring. Of course we visited the Anne Frank House, which was worth the two hour wait in the cold, windy evening; the Rijksmuseum, a huge art museum with paintings from all over the world, but most notably those of Dutch painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer; and the Van Gogh Museum, which of course had many paintings and letters by Van Gogh, but there was also an exhibit comparing Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh that I found fascinating. A less well-known museum that I highly recommend if you are ever in Amsterdam is the National Maritime Museum. You can climb around in a replica of the Amsterdam which is sitting in the harbor attached to the museum, and there are very attractive exhibits about navigation and the Golden Age of the Netherlands and whales and all sorts of ship-related things.

Besides these main attractions, we organized our days around which traditional Dutch food we wanted that day. We succeeded in eating (and enjoying): herring sandwiches (from a food cart in a market), stroopwafels (sugary waffles, usually with toppings like chocolate or Nutella), savory pancakes (in between a crepe and a pancake with savory fillings and toppings), kibbeling (a sort of fried fish like you would find in fish and chips with a particular sauce), pea soup, bitter balls (fried and breaded balls of cheese and meat whipped into a soft filling), croquette sandwiches (like bitter balls but a different shape and inside a soft bun), and Dutch fries (which you eat with a fork and your choice of sauce).

To be perfectly honest, it was hard to be in another place for so long, outside of the patterns and structure I have developed for my life in Rennes. Traveling made me long for my family, with whom I have had adventures in many different countries. Speaking English all week made my brain feel like I should be back in California, getting ready to celebrate Christmas. The homesickness that I can avoid pondering too much in the busyness of the quotidian is unavoidable when I have so much leisure time. So Amsterdam was an adventure in more ways than one, but still well worth it.

 

Prayer requests:

  • For peace. I’m very torn between disappointment that my time in France is passing so quickly and impatience to return home. I like my life here, but I also miss home dreadfully at times.
  • For focus and wisdom with my time. I have found that, with less homework for my classes, it is easier to spend my free time lazily, watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook, but for my soul, I need to take time to write poetry, to read, to spend longer than normal in prayer, etc.

 

Thank you sincerely for all of your prayers. Much love!

Voting From Abroad

Saturday, 8 October-Sunday, 9 October: Weekend in Rennes. A friend (Zoe) and I went to a movie at the cinema which ended up being in English and the Museum of the History of Bretagne.

Monday, 10 October-Friday 14 October: Normal week including one test. On Friday, Danielle, Chris, and I cooked deep dish pizza for Dominique and Patrick, and Danielle spent the night. They all got along really well, and there was much laughter.

Saturday, 15 October-Sunday, 16 October: Excursion with CIEE to Normandy. It was a very heavy weekend, including visits to the Caen WWII Memorial, the D-Day beaches, and the American Soldier Cemetery. I am going to write a separate blog post about this later on the CIEE official blog.

Monday, 17 October-Friday, 21 October: Normal week with four tests. I didn’t get much sleep, but I think all of them went well. Wednesday night there was a Fest-Noz on campus, a traditional breton dance party where we learned the traditional dances–lots of fun!

Next week: BREAK! I am going to Amsterdam with Sarah (best friend from back home who is also studying in France this semester) for five days. Chris will be with us for the first couple days, too.

 

Firstly, I should mention that I have been more politically aware than ever before while in France. My American friends discuss the election with me; French media has been covering it daily; and French people WON’T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. My host family, my French friends, my professors, my classmates, even strangers on the bus have asked me about this election. Multiple times. And French people don’t talk to strangers on the bus. I have not only been expected to be aware of the newest headlines but also to express my own beliefs with confidence and to represent/explain every other American’s views. Now moving onto the process of actually voting.

I registered online more than a month ago as an overseas voter, and my county in California emailed me the ballot. The two options for sending it back to them were via mail or via fax. I couldn’t find the prepaid envelope that they claimed was included in the PDF, and I waited long enough to actually fill out the ballot that mailing it was no longer an option. So I had to fax it.

I went to a print shop (like Kinko’s but French), and the man who worked there helped me, but for some reason, it wasn’t sending. He told me I would have to call the people who are supposed to be receiving it, but unfortunately, it was 5am California time, so I had to wait. I told the man I would be back and went with Zoe and Chris to the cat café. After an hour and a half, they had to leave, and I still had another hour and a half before the registrar of voters opened. I live pretty far from the center of town (about half an hour), so it didn’t make sense to head home and have to come back to the print shop when I had an answer from the registrar. Instead, I decided to finish some homework in the library of the Institut Franco-américain where I volunteer. (Side note: I ended up talking to Maria, one of the ladies who works there, and she used to live in Amsterdam, so she gave me some recommendations for this week!)

I finally got a hold of the right person in California, and he told me that I could scan my ballot and email it to them, if that was easier for me. The university printers could do that, so I wouldn’t have to pay the 8 euros it would cost to fax the multi-page ballot. I packed up my stuff and started to leave for school (about 10 minutes away on the metro), but on the way out, I thought I would chance asking if there was a scanner in the IFA library. The woman at the desk (an acquaintance of mine) told me that no, there wasn’t a scanner, but she uses this free app on her phone to scan documents, and it works really well.

So I did not have to go back to school, I did not pay any money, and I got to have a good nostalgic conversation with Maria about the city where I am going to spend the week. God is good.

 

Prayer requests:

  • Safety for Sarah and I (and Chris) as we travel to Amsterdam for the week, and for patience for both of us–that’s a long time to be constantly with one person
  • That I would stay healthy–it’s truly a miracle that I haven’t gotten sick yet. Every single one of my friends has had, or has currently, a cold.
  • That I would find more time to rest in God’s presence, especially this break, and to listen to His words

Much has happened!

Monday, 19 September-Friday, 23 September: Normal week of classes

Saturday, 24 September-Sunday, 25 September: Excursion with CIEE to Cornouaille, including Pont-Aven, Quimper, Concarneau, Locronan, et le chateau de Trevarez

Monday, 26 September-Friday, 30 September: Normal week of classes, but my parents and grandparents (maternal) arrived Thursday night, and my internship as a English student teacher started on Friday

Saturday, 1 October-Sunday, 2 October: Trip to Luxembourg and southern Belgium with my parents and grandparents

Monday, 3 October-Friday, 7 October: Normal week, and my volunteering at the Franco-American Institute started–I am in charge of a middle school club (French students learning English)

 

I’m not sure what to recount among the many things that have happened, but the general result is days becoming shorter and fuller and relationships becoming deeper and more established.

I had a request to describe my academic schedule in more detail. I have class every day except Wednesday, but as each class only meets once a week (with the exception of my German class), the amount of time I spend at the university each day varies greatly. Monday-four hours, Tuesday-seven hours, Wednesday-none, Thursday-eight hours, and Friday–two hours plus one hour of teaching. On the long days, I end at 6pm, which would be too late in America, but since the French don’t eat until 8 or 8:30, it’s practically still afternoon!

I am taking four French language classes (Study of the Language, Oral Expression, Oral Comprehension, and Written Expression) and four electives (which allow me to receive a diploma from this university): Literature of the Foreigner, French Theatre through the Ages, French Society in the News, and French History 1870-1914. I am also taking a pedagogical class which goes with my teaching internship, and I am auditing a German class for fun. That may seem like a lot, but the classes here don’t have very much homework, so I still find myself with extra time on my hands.

But since I’m Rachel and I don’t like having free time, I am taking three dance classes: Modern’Jazz, Contemporary, and Training of a Dancer (a Pilates/modern combo); I am volunteering at the Franco-American Institute; I participate in a small group at my church; and sometimes I go ice skating!

In what free time I do have, I Skype people back home (if you aren’t one of them, you should text me, and we can set up a time to chat), watch movies/TV shows with Dominique or Patrick (never at the same time–their tastes are very different), go out with friends, and read for pleasure (something I never get to do at Wheaton!). It’s really not a bad life.

 

Prayer requests:

  • Continued prayers for a balance between being present here and connecting with people back home, a balance between busyness and rest, and a balance between time with people and time with God
  • Continued prayers regarding when to speak about and when to just show my beliefs to my non-Christian friends

Thank you, everyone!

My first French friend and a strike

Monday, 5 September-Friday, 9 September: Second and final week of preliminary classes, as well as registration for classes at CIREFE (the international department)/Rennes 2 (the French university)

Friday, 9 September-Sunday, 11 September: Sarah visted me from Caen, where she is studying!

Monday, 12 September-Friday, 16 September: First week of real classes!

Saturday, 17 September-Sunday, 18 September: Journées de Patrimoine (Heritage Days)–anyone can visit public buildings (like the town hall or the opera) for free with guided tours

 

I made my first French friend on Tuesday when I tried to attend a dance class. On the schedule, it listed two different places (the two campuses of UHB for the same time and same genre of dance), so I went to the closer one, but after searching for five to ten minutes, I couldn’t find anyone who looked like a dancer. As I stood outside the locked doors, a girl approached me and asked if I was looking for the dance class. She had made the same mistake as me, but she figured out that the class was at the other campus first semester and at this one second semester. Marion then proceeded to drive me to the other campus to look for the class. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was half an hour after the class started, it was already completely full, and they were turning people on the waiting list away. Since we weren’t even on the waiting list, we just left without talking to anyone, and Marion drove me all the way home.

But the story doesn’t end there (thankfully)! Marion and I exchanged phone numbers, and we went to a dance class at a studio on Wednesday which we both really enjoyed, so we will continue to see each other weekly in dance class!

Second order of business: the strike. I arrived on campus on Thursday morning at 8:30, coincidentally on the same metro as several of my American friends, to discover that protestors had blockaded all of the doors to all of the buildings of Rennes 2. We had been warned about the strike, but apparently campus doors hadn’t been blockaded for years. We stood outside under a dismally grey sky, wondering if we would have any classes at all that day. After talking to some of the professors who were also trapped outside and who didn’t think anything would change before 10:45 (the next class time), some of us decided to go to a café to warm up and returned for the next class, at which point the blockades were moved. Some of our friends, however, returned to their host families’ houses to wait it out and couldn’t return for the following classes because the bus and metro lines were also disturbed by the strike. Overall, this experience was very French–they like to vocalize their political opinions.

 

Prayer requests:

  • Praise: I have friends! My list of friends/classmates includes American, Brazilian, Colombian, Japanese, Kazakhstani, Iranian, and French (my classmates are even more diverse–those are just the ones I talk to regularly)
  • Praise: I have been safe on public transit, even late at night.
  • Praise: I have found a church and opportunities to dance here, both of which I had been worried about.
  • Request: That I would balance my time well between communicating with people back home and being present here
  • Request: That I would be a light to my non-believing friends and that I would have wisdom regarding when to bring up my faith explicitly

Merci!

The first week (or so)

En bref, the last ten or so days:

Saturday, 27 August : Marché aux Lices with the American group from CIEE

Sunday, 28 August : St. Lunaire / Dinard with my host family (beach towns about an hour away, near St. Malo)

Monday, 29 August – Friday 2 September : Preliminary language and culture classes, meetings about safety and class choice and opportunities, and spending time with the other Americans (speaking Franglish–a lovely mix of French and English)

Saturday, 3 September : Mt. St. Michel with Zoe and Danielle, two other American students with CIEE

Sunday, 4 September : Church and a day-after wedding meal (both detailed below)

This week we will be finishing our preliminary course and registering for classes.

 

There was a church listed on Google Maps as being four doors away from my host family’s house, but I discovered from their website that the Sunday meeting location is a community center in the south of Rennes. Not knowing which bus or metro stop to take, I sent an email on Saturday to the church email and received a warm response from the British couple who lives four doors down saying that they would gladly take me with them! The husband Paul is part-time staff at the church, and they were very kind to me.

The church itself is very diverse, with 14-16 different nationalities in a congregation of 60-80. The service is held in French, but there are multiple languages spoken before and after the service among members. I met several Brits, including two female students my age with whom I hope to be friends.

The sermon was about the difference between l’espoir and l’espérance, two words for hope in French. You will also notice that this is the title of this blog, but I think I’m going to hold you in suspense a little while longer in regards to the meaning. It deserves a whole blog post.

The wedding meal was held the day after the ceremony and reception, and there was a dress code–stripes. Striped shirts called marinières are a cliché referring to all of France, but in Bretagne, it is actually true. We ate galettes saucisses, a specialty of Ille-et-Vilaine, the region of Bretagne where Rennes is, crêpes au beurre salé, also a specialty of this region, and cidre brut (well, I drank Coke, but the others drank cidre), a breton drink. All in all, it was a very breton afternoon.

 

Prayer requests:

  • Safe travels for Sarah Kennedy who is going to come visit me this weekend from where she is studying (about 1-2 hours away)
  • Peace for Spencer who has been missing me
  • Smooth class-scheduling tomorrow (Wednesday)–it has already been a bit stressful
  • Praise: I have made friends within our American group! They’re great!

Merci à tous!

First Day in Rennes

We just finished our cultural orientation in Paris (seeing the sights, learning some history), and today is our first day in Rennes! Last night we moved into our host families’ houses, and today we had meetings regarding how to behave and what to do in cases of emergencies and such.

My host family is extremely kind. Dominique and her husband are grandparents, so three of her five grandsons were here to greet me and to spend the night. They were a laugh, and the four-year-old even corrected my French once. This morning, though, Dominique didn’t wake up before I had to leave, so without breakfast, I set out to make my way via public transportation to the university. The stop Dominique told me was wrong, but I asked the bus driver, and he told me the right one. Then I had to ask a lady who got off at the same stop where the metro was. Then I went the wrong direction from the metro station, but in the end, I made it to the meeting only a little late.

My way home was even more interesting. The bus stop near the metro for the bus going the other direction was closed. I didn’t realize, so I waited there for quite a while before three French girls came along and figured it out. A lady told us which direction to go to find the next stop, but that stop didn’t have the line that I needed. The three French girls and I waited for a while there before they decided to go to a third stop which was definitely on the line we needed. Thankfully, I overheard and asked if I could join them, and we found the right bus and all got the right place.

In conclusion, with the help of 6 different people, I successfully navigated Rennais public transportation!

 

Prayer requests:

  • Continued safety while traversing the city (especially when I’m alone)
  • Opportunities to make friends (without partying until the sun rises)
  • Courage to talk to other students, members of my host family, etc.

Merci encore!

Thoughts from the Airport

To all of you who are praying for a smooth flight for me, thank you. I am currently sitting at Washington Dulles airport waiting for my connecting flight to Paris. It has been a difficult morning, but God has been faithful.

My phone completely ceased to function, and I had to switch SIM cards with my sister at the last minute. I had to say goodbye to my sister and my fiancé, neither of whom will I see for the next four months. I have been stressed and nervous and cried plenty. But God keeps reminding me that He is good and that He gives peace that surpasses all understanding.

I was planning on writing about all of the traveling that I have done this year—particularly this summer—and how I am ready to feel settled in one place. However, right now I’m not feeling like France will be very settling for me. In fact, I’m pretty sure it will be extremely unsettling, but maybe that’s what I need. Wheaton has been comfortable. Not always easy, but always safe. With dear friends surrounding me and faculty and staff who love to take care of us, it wasn’t hard to feel at home. There are constant reminders of God’s truth on that campus.

In France, I expect that God will teach me how to live without that abundant supply of truth at my fingertips. It may be the hardest thing I have ever experienced, or God may surprise me by showing me how easily He works outside of “the bubble.” I only know that He has prepared the way ahead of me, and He has no doubts that this will be good for me.

 

Some prayer requests for my time:

  • That I will find a community of believers with whom I can serve
  • That I will find a way to dance for the Lord
  • That I will be present in the moment, instead of wishing for the familiarity of home
  • That I will take comfort in God when I miss people or feel overwhelmed

Thank you all for your prayers and your love—they mean a lot.