Lengthening Shadows

100_3974

The sun is setting here in my French home. The last little shades of pink on Belledonne are fading away. It’s been a rainy couple of days as evidenced by the clouds, but the sun has been trying to peek through from time to time. Another day is almost finished. Another lesson for tomorrow is almost put together, only lacking a few finishing touches. A cup of hot peppermint tea sits in front of me with the curling steam coming up from the cup as I try to battle the early symptoms of a cold.

I was reflecting on a question a friend asked me over Skype the other day. He asked me to describe my best experience in France so far and also what had been my worst experience. As I think back now to some of those tough days as well as those days of triumph, it strikes me as my friend also remarked after I shared both of how intense both have been. Those first three months after I arrived were probably some of the toughest I’d faced. It’s inspiring to me though to look back over some of those dark, rough times and see where the Lord sustained me, carried me, and taught me to trust Him even more fully. He held me as I mourned with France and then when I mourned for a couple of dear friends back home who passed away around the same time. He helped me through the frustrations of dealing with the administration and trying to figure out teaching in a completely different context to completely different students.

By contrast, He allowed me to soar when I finally started being able to better understand the fast-paced French being spoken around me. He gave me the excitement of having lessons go well and to see some of my students start to grasp some of the concepts I was trying to teach. He allowed me to see spectacular scenes that even my eyes couldn’t even quite take in all the beauty. He gave me those quiet mornings spent with a friend over a cup of tea just talking about how good the Lord is and how faithful He is. He gave me the ability to hear His Word preached and read in French. How beautiful it is to see His love transcend culture and language. Every step of the way, He has been there.

I realized tonight as I was working on lesson plans how short my time is here. My landlady even asked me a couple of days ago what my departure day is as she needs to know for planning purposes. I could only give her an estimate. I’ve started having more and more details start to come up about my return. Registering for classes, housing, plane tickets, moving just to name a few.

I do beg an interest in your prayers. I remember how overwhelming the details were just trying to come over to France, and I know it’s going to be quite involved getting back to my starting point. However, just as a dear friend reminded me over a year ago as I shared with her all of my fears of trying to go France, “Well, God worked out every single detail of you moving to Indiana. Do you think He can’t handle this? Trust Him!”

He has been my Rock. Just as those mountains I look at each day have stood there for thousands of years, so is He unmovable and constant. Maybe that’s why mountains always make me think of the Lord and His grandeur and majesty.

Dreaming of Home

It seems that although I feel like I’ve pretty well adjusted to everyday life in France with all its ups and downs, part of me never has. Any expat I’ve talked to relates. There’s a part of you that always misses home no matter how much you love your life abroad.

For me, it’s most apparent in my dreams. Almost every night, I dream of home. Sometimes I don’t remember the full dream, but I always have a feeling that my subconscious went home again and brought up happy scenes. Last night, I dreamed of my return to the church where I’m a member in Indiana. I saw their happy faces full of joy that I was safe and back to stay. I heard Brother Roger in his melodiously slow Kentucky accent tell me to come over and give him a hug. I heard the Forrests asking me if I could stay for lunch while Sister Suzy wanted to know all about where I’d traveled. But then, just as quickly, their faces faded from my view as I awoke to hear the early morning stirrings of my landlady’s young son.

I was still in France.

What a strange mix of emotions I felt both of joy that it wasn’t yet time to say goodbye to my dear friends here and sadness that it wasn’t time yet to return to those I love back home.

How similar this is to our Christian walk. A part of us always yearns for home, our eternal home. It doesn’t matter where our paths lead in this life, what trials we face, or burdens we bear, we’re continuing onward to that one goal: Home. We don’t fully understand what it will be like, but a love and yearning for something we haven’t fully experienced yet tugs on our souls and reminds us where our allegiance is.

“O could we make our doubts remove,
Those gloomy thoughts that rise,
And see the Canaan which we love
With unbeclouded eyes!

Could we but climb where Moses stood
And view the landscape o’er,
Not Jordan’s streams, nor death’s cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore.”
-Isaac Watts

I love how the last part of this hymn I grew up singing just came to mind. If you’d like to hear what it sounds like, I did manage to find the version my mom used to play on her stereo at home:

I’ve said over and over that I would know when it’s time to go back home to the U.S. I know it’s not time yet. I think it will be the same when it’s time to go Home too. This old world is getting increasingly dangerous and decayed, and it makes me wish even more fervently for home in both senses. However, my Captain has me here for now and as long as it’s His will for me to be here, I’ll press on and pray for the strength to be faithful to the end when He does call me Home.

It is sweet though that truly anywhere He sends us is home if only He is there with us. Just as another hymn says “I need not go abroad for joys, I have a feast at home…”

100_1939

Where Two Siblings Went

It’s been such a busy couple of months, I’ve sadly fallen behind writing updates of my ongoing adventures among the French. It feels like after I hit the halfway point of my journey here, time has started flying. In any case, I wanted to drop by and give you a glimpse of the memories my brother Jesse and I made when he was here for nearly a month back in December and January.

Winter break was special for two reasons: (1) I was able to take a break from the stress of everyday life at the university and just travel and make memories, and (2) I got to share those memories with my little (big) brother. Hence my silence on the blog during those weeks. There was just too much to see to possibly keep up with writing.

100_2162

Having a picnic on the pebbled beach in Nice

As you can see, I was incredibly busy. 😉  It was a unique trip with several destinations and several unforgettable experiences.

100_1972

Jesse arrived around December 19th and a few days later we boarded a train and began hopping around France and England. Unfortunately, our hopping also included checking out the French emergency room at one point. You know, one should never pass up an opportunity to learn new vocab, right? Though I think we both would have preferred to learn that sort of French vocabulary out of a textbook and not from real life.

We called our adventure the Sibling Trip Winter European Edition or STWEE to borrow from the French tendency to acronym anything and everything. We explored Nice, Antibes, drove through Monaco, climbed the stairs at Eze, strolled the streets of London and later Paris, and of course, we did some hiking in the Alps around Grenoble as well as near the Italian border around Nice. The above pic was taken in the seaside town of Antibes. It was a dreamy place, I must say. I loved seeing all of the many colors of the buildings, hearing the Italian influence on the French accent there, making some new friends, and seeing some sights that absolutely took my breath away.

100_2232

Jesse and I both love French and France, but we had never been able to experience France together until now. I’m still not entirely sure that France or Europe for that matter will ever be the same after we came through. One of the best parts for us though was the people we were able to be around. Jesse got to see my life in Grenoble and meet most of my friends here including the sweet Gabins. They treated us like family and Christine made some pretty amazing Earl Grey which snapped Jesse out of jet lag and unloosed his French tongue. I’m only mildly exaggerating there. I also got to meet his sweet friends the Nadirs in Nice and Antibes.

I don’t want to give the impression that everything always went smoothly or without conflict on our trip. However, part of the beauty of our sibling relationship is that we always just keep on rolling and learn a lot lessons in forgiveness. Now, just for the record, that doesn’t mean that either of us conceded to the opinion of the other necessarily. 😉

100_2056

What made this trip special exactly?

100_3218It was watching Jesse get stared at by the French on the train as he gobbled down an entire bar of dark chocolate. It was the laughs and grunts of getting our luggage up more stairs than I can quite count. It was getting introduced to the Nadirs who took Jesse and I in while we were in Nice. I still miss those Bible studies in French and the Bible quiz Mr. Nadir and family did one of the last nights we were there. It was seeing the Eiffel Tower from the plane on the way to London. It was the laughs, the sibling comments and looks we shared seeing some of those paintings in museums, and yes, we did have to ad-lib what the statues were *really* saying in the gardens of Versailles. There were the mornings we’d wake up sore from walking but ready to go do some more exploring (once I found some coffee). It was that rainy day in Oxford when we both managed to forget an umbrella and walked around rather soaked trying to find the cross in the street that marked where our ancestor Hugh Latimer was burned at the stake.

One of the main parts of our trip was London, and it was an adventure pretty much from the time we landed. Just for future reference, arriving on Boxing Day isn’t probably the best plan if you’d like to actually eat something. As it was, we ended up arguing with some Indians running a gas station over a 4£ meal deal which was literally the only place we could find open. They don’t read their own signs and apparently, asking them to microwave a sandwich (which their sign offered) after 9 p.m. is beyond impossible. Don’t ask me why. I’ll leave the place we stayed out of it other than to say it was a big lesson in getting what you pay for. Thankfully, the rest of our adventure there went well even if we only saw the sun once maybe twice.

We crammed a lot into the 4.5 days we were in jolly ole England. It wouldn’t be exactly accurate to say that it was all completely magical. There’s a bit of disillusionment that takes place the first time you see a place you’ve always had to create in your imagination as you read. I had always wanted to go to London mainly due to my infatuation with its history and the countless books I read as a child and young adult that were either set in London or mentioned London.It wasn’t quite the dirty place you read about in Dickens, but I wouldn’t say it was quite like Mary Poppins either. I think the major disillusionment came from just how expensive everything was which is a common problem even for those who call it home.

100_2322On our first day we sauntered around Baker Street and were sure to give a respectful and amused nod to the Sherlock Holmes statue and later investigated the Charles Dickens House. Apparently, the Londoners we talked to later at a church service we attended that Sunday didn’t even know there was a Dickens museum. Instead of only them giving us tips, we were able to give them one or two. I’m quite the Dickens nerd, so it was a treat to get to see one of the places he lived and understand better where he got the inspiration for some of his novels. Despite our fatigue, we decided we’d catch the tube to see Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey at night before calling it a day.

100_2405

The next two days in London involved my trying to contain myself and not jump up and down in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey (though really few cathedrals can now compare to Westminster, sorry Notre Dame), Jesse navigating the tube map, eating in classic London pubs, seeing if London bridge was really still standing (Jesse assured me it was, but I had to see for myself), looking to feed the birds at St. Paul’s but finding none to feed, strolling around Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square, seeing the Tower(s) of London and Tower Hill, having a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament which I highly recommend doing, minding the gap, and the overall feeling that the people in the tube speak a different language even if they are technically speaking English. Did we get to see everything? No, but I think we covered quite a bit in a short amount of time.

Our last full day was spent at Oxford. Of course, one can only pronounce Oxford with a highly sophisticated British accent because after all, that’s where the intellectual elite go to university. Well, that and Cambridge, but I’m going to be biased since I haven’t visited there yet. 100_2847

Oxford, what a historic little town! It hosts about 38 different colleges that are all under one big “Oxford umbrella.” Due to how much it rains there, believe me, they need a giant umbrella. I think they sell some in the tourist shops if you’re interested in one. It was during the holidays, so there wasn’t the usual student population one would normally see there. Jesse mentioned he’d now like to transfer. He’d fit in just fine, I have no doubts.

100_2937Oxford is special for many reasons beyond the pervading feeling one senses of an ancient appreciation for higher learning. Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien were all there at one point or another to give an example. Jesse and I even ate in the Eagle & Child Pub where Lewis and Tolkien often met to discuss their works and was also the meeting place of the Inklings. Jesse and I did a guided tour of the town which was the best thing we could have done to get a true feel for the history of the place though I do wish our guide hadn’t gone on quite so many rabbit trails. About the time our tour ended it started pouring rain, and I was just about done for the day. I don’t know how they get used to it getting dark at 3:30 p.m. during winter there. It made it feel like it was so much later than it actually was. I found a café and while I tried to dry off and warm up, Jesse did some more exploring around town. I think what I will remember most though was finding this cross in the middle of the street:

100_2934

 This was the marker where multiple martyrs including Hugh Latimer were burned at the stake. I’ve had multiple experiences so far in my time in Europe where I’ve seen a place that marked a horrible event or a difficult human struggle and have found myself at a loss for words. I was standing on the spot where some of my kindred in Christ paid the ultimate price by having their bodies burned at the stake knowing that the sufferings of this present world were nothing compared to the joys of heaven and eternity at Jesus’ feet. It is at times like this that we question whether we ourselves would do the same. I pray I would be willing and ready, and that God would give me grace and strength to stand for Him if I were to ever be met with such an ultimatum. It’s all we can ever pray.

The rest of our adventures were in France mainly around Grenoble and Paris. This involved forgetting everything was closed on New Year’s Day meaning that was food scarce, my mad dash to turn in grades before a deadline, Jesse coming face to face with a bathroom floor (not my doing, I promise) and spending a day learning French medical vocab on a gurney instead of catching a flight to Ireland, my making French students nervous breathing down their necks while proctoring finals, and we wound the whole thing up in Paris before Jesse flew home.

Bruva, I think we need to figure out something called “relaxation” when it comes to our trips.

London Bridge and Coffee

This is actually one of Jesse’s photos I borrowed from Facebook. We realized we hadn’t done a selfie in London yet, so we got coffee and hot chocolate and stood on London Bridge and voilà!

Redeeming the Time

What a blessed Sunday it’s been. I met a pastor from one of the other regions who just had an expression on his face and in his manner that seemed to exude the love and peace of God. I’m not sure how else to describe it. He brought a sweet and blessed message, and we had a dear time of fellowship with him afterwards. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again in this life, but I suppose, as Timothée, another pastor I met a couple of months ago, said in bidding me goodbye “May God be with you and even if I don’t see you again here, I’ll see you in heaven.” I thought of Tim’s farewell as I watched this pastor walk into the train station. He had likewise bid me goodbye saying that he wasn’t sure that we’d cross paths again but hoped that God would be with me tomorrow as I teach as well as during the rest of my stay here in France.

God brings people into our lives for a reason even if it’s as brief as just a few hours on a Sunday. Time is valuable. We’re not always meant to meet people and know them for a lifetime. Sometimes we only know them for a few hours. In either case, we should never miss an opportunity to use what time we have to encourage one another and realize that life is so much more than just what’s going on inside of ourselves. Our prayer should always be to stay faithful to the Lord no matter what happens and that through our lives we may be a blessing to someone else.

I came here to expand my knowledge and understanding of the French language and culture, but my experience so far here has been so much more than that. God has shown me His people here. He has given me a love for them. He has given me glimpses of how their lives though different in culture and language are not so vastly different from my own as I originally thought. How else could I love His people from the moment I meet them to then realize in some cases that only God knows if our paths will ever cross again in this life? It may seem to be a depressing thought, but I don’t really find it depressing so much as just “frappant” as the French say. “Frappant” means “striking” or “gripping.” I just feel like the French word more closely approaches the feeling I’m trying to convey. Essentially, it’s one of those times when you feel a need to stop and ponder.

It’s a strange thought to ponder indeed especially as I’ve started working on arrangements to go home in July. Part of me is tempted to see if I could stay another year since I can technically renew my contract with the university here, but the practical side of my brain usually reminds me that I have duties and commitments back home. Maybe some might say to go for it and stay another year, but I could never take such a decision lightly.

I’m in such a strange quandary of feeling so homesick for the U.S. while at the same time nearly crying at the thought of leaving France. It’s not unusual, I know. It’s all part of it. One moment you’re nearly counting down the days until you leave and within a couple of months you want to hang on to each day begging time to not pass too quickly. We’ve been exhorted to redeem the time. It is my prayer that I effectively do so with what time I have left here. God gave me the grace to come and to get through what seemed like a mountain of complications. He’ll give me the grace to go when it’s time to leave too. He’ll continue to take care of my friends who have become like family here in France just as He cares for my dear ones back in the U.S.

Do forgive me for getting so incredibly behind on the blog. I’m back from vacation and am working on a post which gives a glimpse of the traveling my brother and I did. Until then though, may the Lord be with you even if our paths never cross (again) in this life.

100_1934

Long Days and Mountain Air

I was yawning and scraping the last bit of my fromage blanc (kind of like yogurt) mixed with a little honey and canned peaches out of a bowl when my landlady walked into the kitchen. I looked up and said a tired “Salut”. She mentioned she was tired as she opened a cabinet for a glass, and I agreed that I was too. She looked at me and then said in her typical fast French (had to get her to repeat herself as usual) “Your days are too long! Way too long! This is not good for you.” She’d been observing for the first time some of my school routine during the week. I slowly nodded in agreement and told her that I was trying to see if I could change my schedule a little for the next semester, but I’d have to wait and see if it would be possible. She nodded and said that I definitely should change it up because it just doesn’t seem healthy to be working those long hours. Oh dear, good thing she hasn’t seen me during a typical semester back home.

Things have been incredibly busy and in many ways quite difficult over the last few weeks. I keep coming to terms with the fact that at least while I’m in France, life will most likely not be simple or absent of complication. Though really, why am I so special to think that it would or should be so? I’ve strangely grown accustomed to things not working anyway. o_O On the flip side, I get extremely excited when something does go smoothly.

Happily, I’ve lately received a couple of big answers to prayer. I finally received my medical appointments for the validation of my long stay visa and (1) neither of them are on a Wednesday and (2) they came before I have to leave the apartment for three weeks (long story). I was concerned about retrieving the letter with the appointment dates if I didn’t have access to the apartment mailbox. Thankfully, they came through email. Both were specific requests I prayed for as I waited and waited for my appointments to come. God does indeed work in the details! 🙂 The first appointment known as the “Awkward Chest X-ray to Prove I Don’t Have TB” (in true French form that would be the acronym: ACXPIDHTB pronounced as”AX-PID-HiTiBi”) is on Monday, and the second medical visit is in January. Don’t ask me why they’re spread out like that as I have no clue. After all the trouble I went through to get these appointments, I’d rather not say anything for fear of it all falling apart resulting in my being shipped back to the States before I’ve finished my contract. I’m just so happy to finally be making progress with this long administrative nightmare I’ve been going through since my arrival.

Since my last update, the weather has gotten quite a bit colder. It’s been snowing high up in the Alps! Beautiful isn’t it? The natives are happy because some of the ski slopes have now been able to open. They’d been rather concerned with the Indian Summer we’d experienced that the ski season would start later than usual. 100_1861

It reminds me of how the Alps looked my very first time in Grenoble nearly seven years ago. Maybe I really should try out skiing here this time. The weather is rather chilly but not unbearable. I can still feel my face and don’t have to wear five layers to keep from getting frost bite. 🙂 Can you tell I’ve spent the last two winters in Indiana?

French is also coming along. Sometimes in conversation it feels like I have a little person up in my head going through all of the French files in my brain trying to find words or phrases to try to express what I want to say. This file searching often causes a delay leaving me looking at the person I’m talking to with a deer in the headlights look as I’m mentally urging the little person frantically throwing papers out of filing cabinets to hurry up because I really need that sentence structure/word NOW! This results in a few papers being thrown my way to “make do” which causes the French person I’m talking with to smile and tell me that they understand me but that one should really say it this other way. The little person in my head usually has a sulking expression after his efforts as he makes note of the correction and files it in the MISC cabinet before finding an easy chair to collapse in {Yes, I do think they need to make another version of Inside Out devoted to the multilingual brain}. Sometimes it does get discouraging, but I’m glad to have seven more months to keep on trying.

In any case, there’s so much to look around and be thankful for despite all the long days and obstacles I seem to run into! I have food in the pantry and the ability to make hot coffee in the morning (important skill there). I have family and friends who love and pray for me. I have dear friends here that mean the world to me. I get to wake up each morning and see the Alps outside of my window. I can make myself understood even if it’s not always “grammatically correct”. I have somewhere to go to hear the gospel preached and have fellowship! These are just a few of so many blessings!

Life may not be perfect here, but it is a blessed life because I know Who has given me life and from Whom these blessings come!

A Special Friend

Several years ago over a cup of coffee at a Starbucks on the corner of two busy streets in West Texas, two girls sat down with full, steaming cups and started talking about life and began getting to know each other. Both had been through some tough stuff and had no idea that the other had been through similar things. As the coffee steam subsided and the cups emptied, a sweet friendship began. The two continued talking until it was closing time. They reluctantly parted but promised to meet up again for coffee soon.

In the weeks and months that followed a special bond developed between these two. So many dear memories were made involving movie nights, coffee chats (never going to forget the soapy coffee incident…wow!), game nights with friends, sleepovers, long phone chats and texts, long discussions about life and the future, and more laughs than one could count. These friends cheered each other on in the challenges and were there for each other in the hard times.

Then, change came.

The time came to part ways in the sense that life was leading these two in different directions. What exciting adventures lay ahead for both though tears were shed at the thought of parting. One friend moved several hours away down to Central Texas to be closer to her family. About a month aftLauren and Staceyer her move, the other found out that she was indeed moving to Indiana to continue pursuing her studies…

Oh, dear Lauren, I still remember that night I came to your almost packed up apartment to say goodbye before the moving truck came early the next morning to take you south. We hugged, cried a little, and promised to stay close friends no matter the distance. Just as Anne of Green Gables said “True friends are always together in spirit,” and so we were and continue to be no matter how many miles separate us. God blessed us during those two years that we lived in the same city. He had a plan. He knew we would need each other’s friendship in the years that would follow.

This week dear Lauren had a birthday. What a blessing you have been to me, Lauren, from that first moment when we discovered we were kindred spirits. We’ve both been blessed to see our friendship mature as we’ve prayed for and encouraged each other in the Lord. I’m thankful for our laughs and our many inside jokes.

Let me tell you a little about this dear friend. She’s a sweet one, this Lauren. You will almost never see her without a100_1304 book and consequently, she’s the perfect person to ask if you need book or author recommendations. Her ready smile will brighten your day and her hugs will cheer you no matter what you may be going through. She has a tender heart as is demonstrated in how she cares deeply about others and truly desires to bring comfort and light to those around her.

By the way, she has great taste in clothing and fashion. I still mention to her that a certain purple dress of hers might just mysteriously disappear some time when I’m visiting. Of course, I would have no clue how it disappeared but may coincidentally be found wearing a similarly styled dress later on. 😉 That aside though she’s the perfect one to take along if you need some help finding a new outfit.

God gives us friends for a reason. You see, God can see ahead to what the future holds. He knows the struggles, the joys, the changes, the trials, and everything that we will face, and He knows the friends we need at those specific times. Isn’t God good!?

I’m thankful for each one of my dear friends. Thank you, Lauren, for being such a bright light in my life, and a very happy birthday to you! 🙂

“Même pas peur”(Not Afraid)

I’ve been sitting here trying to finish up my plans for my seven classes tomorrow and have been struggling to focus. What an unbelievable few days it’s been. There are two reasons I’m struggling to focus, but I’m only going to focus on one of them for now.

France is in mourning. I am in mourning. I’m not French by nationality, but the French part of me has been in pain ever since I first heard the news of the horrible attacks. Despite the common stereotypes that I hear from Americans in regards to the French, I’ve always found the French to be warm, welcoming, and kind. Oh, sure, their administrative process is maddening, but that’s just government for you.

If you ever go to France, get to know her people.

Sure, you can always find someone who is rude anywhere you go. However, don’t make the mistake of judging an entire people based solely on having a few bad experiences or just because that’s what everyone’s always told you about the French. If you take the time to get to know them, they love to tell you about their culture, language, traditions, and encourage you to try their many, many types of cheeses. {Be careful about some of those cheeses though. I’m of a strong opinion that some types are definitely an acquired taste.} The point I want to make is that out of all the French people I’ve met, it has been the minority who I’ve found to be rude. The French themselves find it strange to hear that they’re often described by Americans as being rude. In true French form, this usually launches into an explanation of the various “rude” people they have run into in their society, and how it was probably due to the person being “mal élevé” or lazy and so on. This will probably also lead to a critique on the history of their society, where their school system is going, and that people don’t read enough literature, and so on and so forth. Oh, I love the French. I really do!

France has been hurt but they’re not broken. I get the feeling that they’re 100_1843not afraid but are ready to pull themselves up again in defiance to these ISIS cowards. They want to stand united. They are mourning, but they’re proud to be French. The night after the attacks, you could see candles in the windows of various apartments. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any candles on hand, so I just left some lights on. Not sure if you can see it clearly in the picture, but there were a few candles in the windows of this apartment building close to mine. Anywhere you looked, you could see candles in windows. I wish I’d had a better camera to capture this silent unity in the midst of tragedy.

Yesterday, we had an assembly of all the teachers, staff, students, and administration on campus for a moment of silence at noon to remember the victims. I’m not sure exactly how many there were in the crowd, but it was quite a multitude. Everyone was chatting when suddenly everyone became silent right at noon. We all stood in silence for that moment. Some were looking at the sky, others at the ground, some had their eyes closed. As we all stood there contemplating what had happened and praying silently for this hurting nation, someone in the crowd yelled out “Même pas peur!” (not afraid). Everyone smiled and began clapping. A few moments later, we began walking back to class.

100_1848

100_1850

No one knows what the coming days hold. Who ever does? There are warnings for everyone to be vigilant and careful in these days following the attacks. For now, we’re trying to continue with everyday life. I’m getting up and going to teach my classes just like I normally do. My students are coming to class thankfully ready to dive right in and work hard trying to wrap their mouths around English pronunciation (not an easy feat for a Frenchman, let me tell you), and although I’m sad for several reasons, I feel strongly that there is hope here. Today, part of me longed for home and the embrace of my mom and dad especially, but it’s not time to go home yet. There’s work to do.

Pray for my students and colleagues. Pray for Paris. Pray for France. Pray for our hurting world. If you are still at the throne of grace after praying for all of that, say a little prayer for me that I’ll know how to show God’s love to those around me to bring glory to His name.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Rev. 22:20