Sunday, August 30, 2015

Loving Lyon

After traveling to Germany for our GEM Annual Conference...

and spending a couple of days in Paris so that our friend, Selah, could take in all the sights...

and hopping the pond to Lynchburg, VA to help Graham settle in at Liberty University...

I finally arrived home in Lyon.

David and Chandler had managed the move in my absence, so I have the joy of simply settling in without having had the hassle of any heavy lifting. It's good to be the queen.

Still, settling is a work in progress. We don't yet have Internet hooked up, and our kitchen looks like this:

In France (and I believe in other parts of Europe) it is common to find that apartments do not always have what is called an "equipped kitchen." Our apartment did not come with an equipped kitchen, meaning we needed to supply not only all of the appliances (which we own, so no problem), but the kitchen cabinets as well (which we don't own). I'm pretty sure this is why IKEA exists. So we've ordered our cabinets, and they are scheduled to be delivered Monday morning, at which time David and friends will begin the task of installing our kitchen. And then cooking will be fun once again. Don't worry...I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

In the meantime, we are adapting (quite happily) to life in the heart of Old Lyon. We live above a restaurant, which means that the night life is active. Here is the view looking down from our bedroom window at 11 p.m. any night:

 And we often have the joy of hearing musicians performing live in the square. The style and duration of performances is greatly varied, but always pleasant. You'll notice that Gemma likes to sing along.

Jack, being an indoor cat, is right at home in our new digs. Gemma is learning to be a city dog. She lets us know when she needs to go out and do her business and she seems happy to walk the streets and bridges of Lyon. If she misses having a yard, she's not complaining about it. And I kind of like having to take her out several times a day, as it gives me a good excuse to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.

Once we're fully settled, with a kitchen and all, I'll give you a video tour. Our new apartment is only 96 square meters, which is about 1000 square feet. While it's less than half the size of our house in Loches, it might be my very favorite place I've ever lived. It's quirky and old and charming and well-situated. We live in a pedestrian zone and can walk or take public transportation just about anywhere we need to go. 

Yes. Life in Lyon is good. Very good.

Meanwhile, we're still looking for a location to rent for the church. Please join us in praying about this. We are already starting our morning and evening prayer routine as a team, but we're doing it it our homes for the time being.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Another Au Revoir

Tears in my eyes.

I spent the past hour with my friend--the woman you know as Marie. You prayed for her. You shared her journey as she came to a living faith in Jesus. Over the past three years she has continued to grow in the Lord. She witnesses to her friends and family, she prays, she studies her Bible. She lives a life that has been transformed by the power of the risen Lord, free from fear and marked by joy and love. She and I have become very close, I consider her to be my French mother. She has helped me with language and culture and (like a mother) she always seems to notice (and comment!) if I put on any extra weight. I love her dearly, this sister in Christ.

And today I told her goodbye

Oh this missionary life we lead, a life that seems to be smearing my heart all across the globe. We invest deeply in friendships, find community, join together in God's work, and then we leave.

I know this is the life to which I have been called.

And I love it.

And I hate it.

Some days it is exciting, even glamourous. Some days it is blissfully ordinary. And some days it just plain stinks.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

I showed up at Marie's house empty-handed. Over the past several weeks she has been showering me with gifts in anticipation of my upcoming departure. She has given me flowers from her garden, a wonderful bottle of sparking wine, and a gorgeous rug that she bought years ago in southeast Asia. And so I wanted to give her a momento--something tangible to tell her how much she means to me. But everytime I tried to think of an appropriate gift, I drew a blank.

As we wept and hugged, I told her that I had wanted to bring her a gift, but that I couldn't figure out what to give her.

With tears in her eyes, she looked into my soul and said, "What to give me? You have already given me the most important thing! Because of you I know Jesus. Because of you I have eternal life. There is no greater gift."

This is the reason we are in France.

And so as I leave yet another part of my heart here in this town and move on to the next, I lean on the One who bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The One who is Love. The One who never fails. I remember that he left the comforts of his heavenly home to make salvation known to the world. I remember that the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. I remember that he goes before me. And I trust him to meet me there.

And I begin to pray for the "Maries" of Lyon....