1. This week I visited Geneva for the first time. While there I went to the famous Reformation Museum, and I bought this replica of a 15c board game, which is a sort of Calvinist form or "Chutes and Ladders." The instructions crack me up, and include rules such as "If a player landing on square 24 knows the principal quality attributed to King Solomon they can move forward two squares. If not, they must contemplate their ignorance whilst losing a turn." We've played it once. I spent most of the game stuck on square 31 "lamenting with Jeremiah." I never made it to paradise. I'm glad the game does not have the power to predetermine my eternal state!
"Assistant?" you ask. YES! Because sometimes God does even more than we ask or imagine! I've been praying for a few months for an assitant--a bilingual person who could volunteer about 5 hours a week to help me with marketing and communication for Elan, the French association that I am in the process of launching. One day, about two months ago, Virginia came to our church with her husband. They live in the neighborhood and were looking for a local church that they could call home. She is a young French woman with a Masters in English who is currently not employed. When she found out she was pregnant, she put her job search on hold, deciding that she did not want to dive into a new career on the brink of motherhood, At the same time, she felt like she had way too much time on her hands and had been praying about ways she could spend her time that would be beneficial for the Kingdom of God. When I told her that I was looking for an assistant, but that I would not be able to pay her (at least for a year) she said that she would be interested in the position. We sat down and did a semi-formal interview. She was captivated by the idea of helping missionaries to transition to the field and delighted with the possibility of being able to use her language skills. We clicked, and Virginia agreed to work for me on a volunteer basis for about 5 hours a week. So at least one morning a week, Virginia comes to our home and works alongside me, answering emails, creating contact lists, and doing some translation She will also help create a website and market Elan to missionary sending organizations. Virginia is becoming a dear friend, and I am so thankful for her partnership in ministry.
3. This week I hosted a day-long meeting with French partners and missionary leaders to talk about Elan and officially create the organization. I had twelve participants, an even mix of French and non-French. It was a productive day!
4. It is SO MUCH FUN having Graham aand Chan BOTH in the house for the summer months. Since David and I are still working full time and I am still in classes, we have asked the boys to each plan and prepare two meals per week. They are doing a great job, and we are eating well! Chan has made pork chops with blue cheese and pears, and Graham has made japanese dumplings!
5. While in Geneva, I had some time to lay down and watch the clouds go by. As I lay, I looked up and saw this lovely sight. It's like God was saying, "Hey there, little one. I love you."
6. I'm currently taking a class on American Church History. My professor is a Native American of Cherokee descent. Let's just say that the class did not begin with the arrival of the Pilgrims. It is ironic to me that so many settlers, who were fleeing religious persecution, quickly became religious persecutors. The things that were done in the "name of God" are beyond comprehension. And yet, in the end, the Republic that was born offered more religious freedoms and boasted more religious diversity that had ever been found in one place.
7. I now officially wear glasses. Not just reading glasses, all day, every day glasses. My friend who is a Fashion Consultant advised me to go with a neutral color for frames. Which makes a lot of sense. I picked pink. Which kind of goes against the general understanding of the word "neutral." Oh well! I liked the pink ones best.
8. I've been taking a calligraphy class this year at the local community center. I'm not very good at it. I can spend three hours practicing a single letter, and still not get it just
write right. But here is my first attempt at writing out a whole quote. This is a favorite quote from Ijeoma Umebinyuo in "Diaspora Blues" and it resonates with me deeply, as an expat. It says, "So, there you are. Too foreign for here. Too foreign for home. Never enough for both."
9. The weather has finally turned warm here in Lyon. Which makes me want to eat ice cream. A lot. Every single day.
10. The European Cup (or Euros) is currently going on, and France is the host country this year. The Euros is a once every four years Europe-wide soccer tournament. Matches are held in all the major cities of the host country--which means many matches are being played here in Lyon. Fans from all across Europe and flooding into France, and there is a general spirit of excitment in the air. We are watching at least one match a day, and loving every minute of it. So far, France is undefeated! Allez les bleus !