À Dieu soit la gloire!

To God be the glory!

Back in Texas!

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth”

Psalm 105:1-5

 

I have now been back in Texas for a week and a half. It is surprising how long it has taken me to “re-adjust”. After trying to re-adjust it seems that I have come to the conclusion that things will never and can never be just as I left them. Now this may sound obvious to you but to me it has been a lesson to be learned for me.

Before I left France I was told that going home I would no longer be the same, and though I believed that I did not understand that it would be a big adjustment. The word picture that illustrates what i have felt is this; when I left there was a certain mold/shape I left of myself here in Texas, as I was in France God continued to shape me, change me, and thus now returning to Texas I no longer fit in that mold I left behind. I am a different person. Yes I still have the same overall personality, I look the same, talk the same and so on but there has been a change in me. I do not want to fit back into the old shape, I am thankful that God loves me enough to take the time to change me. There are so many lessons He has taught me, lessons I never want to forget! 

I am still processing everything I learned this summer. I am so thankful that God is just as present with me here in Texas as He is in France. I can not live this life without Him. I am so thankful for the ways He has been answering my prayers for direction on what the next step in my life is going to be. He has not given me the big picture but I can rest in the fact that He knows the big picture and He will be faithful to show me the steps I need to take as they come. 

God continues to give me clarity on what I am suppose to do next. I will try to keep ya’ll up to date on what God is doing in my life and in what direction God is leading me. 

 

Now about my trip! I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to come along side missionaries in the South of France this summer! 

God is doing great things in France. Though France is not somewhere you go and come back saying “50 people excepted Jesus as there savior this summer” I can come back and say God is working in the hearts of the people in France. It may be a much slower process but God is working in peoples hearts! Just in the week we had with the kids during Bilingual camp you could see changes in the kids attitudes, they really desire to learn. France is hard “soil” it has to be worked and watered but I trust that in the end there will be a great harvest!  

I will be sharing about my time in France this Sunday night, September 8, at my Church, anyone is welcome!
Fellowship Bible Church
New Braunfels, TX
September 8, 2013 ~ 6PM
I will be sharing some of what I saw God doing in France, things God taught me, as well as sharing some pictures 🙂

I will be speaking for 30-40 minutes and then the last 15 minutes we will have communion so if you do plan on attending I would encourage you to take some time to prepare your hearts for communion before coming.  I would love to see ya’ll there! 

For God’s glory in Texas,

~Vanessa

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Unforgettable

What a wonderful, unforgettable trip!
I cannot believe how fast two months can go bye and yet looking back so much has happened it seems like a lot longer then two months 🙂

I am hoping to continue posting once I get home, some more story’s from France as well as what God continues to do in my life. I know that going home God will continue to teach me many things and He will guide me to the next step He has for me to take in this journey of life 🙂

So the last two week have been a huge change from our crazy 3 weeks prior. Last week we had our team retreat up in the majestic mountains! The retreat is a time for the missionaries we haw been working with to regroup, have some team building time, review the summer events and look forward to plans for the next few months. This year the team was exhausted by the time retreat came around so rather then doing business they really use the time to rest and recoup. It was nice to spend time with the team in a relaxed setting 🙂

This week being our finale week here has had a very different feel. Monday one of our fellow interns headed back to the State, it was sad to see here go! But we are looking forward to getting together back home 🙂 also on Monday Jill’s best friend came into town! I am so glad Jill is going to take some time of and have fun 🙂

We have had the chance to do some sight seeing this week which has been a lot of fun. It is funny how we have been here two months and in the last week we have seen more of the country then the whole rest of our time combined 🙂 in fact I am on a train now going home from Italy!

Monday I leave this dear place 😦 I will be heading to London for a few days with a friend of mine and then I will land in Texas on Friday! I am looking forward to seeing my dear family, I have missed them 🙂

Here are a few pictures from the past two weeks.

The kiddos I taught during the Bible conference with the wonderful help of Amanda and Josh from Denton Bible Church.

The kiddos I taught during the Bible conference with the wonderful help of Amanda and Josh from Denton Bible Church.

Amy teaching the woman in one of the session during the Bible conference.  I am sorry I don't have a better picture, this was taken with my phone...

Amy teaching the woman in one of the session during the Bible conference.
I am sorry I don’t have a better picture, this was taken with my phone…

More fun with the kids :)

More fun with the kids 🙂

Oh my word I can not even express how wonderful the ice cream is here!

Oh my word I can not even express how wonderful the ice cream is here!

Worshiping at the Nice Church.

Worshiping at the Nice Church.

One weekend we had 9 of us girls all staying in Amy and Jills house!

One weekend we had 9 of us girls all staying in Amy and Jills house!

So thankful for the living word of God!

So thankful for the living word of God!

God creation displays such beauty.

God creation displays such beauty.

Hiking up the river with friends

Hiking up the river with friends

Carmie and sweet Isla

Carmie and sweet Isla

so peaceful

so peaceful

I love these girls :)

I love these girls 🙂

Igor, Jasmina and darling Mila

Igor, Jasmina and darling Mila

Mila is 6 months old now!

Mila is 6 months old now!

The view out my window for the week :)

The view out my window for the week 🙂

:)

🙂

For God’s glory in the south of France,
Vanessa

Sacrifice

One word and yet so hard to fully understand. This is the post I had started writing in my head last week before we headed to the team retreat in the mountains. Through may different circumstances and events I have been learning what this word, scarifies, really means. Well I thought I somewhat understood… God had more to teach me on this subject and is more then likely is not done yet. 

A portion of Webster’s definition of Sacrifice:

1. The offering of anything to God

2. Surrender of anything for the sake of something else

As I arrived in France at the end of June I was full of excitement and anticipation knowing God had me here for a reason and also knowing He had a lot to teach me! Don’t get me wrong I did not think all of the lessons I would learn would be easy… but honestly I had no idea what I was getting into. . .  

I have alway wondered if missions would be where God would call me. Since I was five years old missions have been important to me. Coming here to France this summer and staying, what I thought was a decent amount of time, I was hoping to get a better idea of what it would look like being a full time missionary. 

Within the first week that I was here I was talking with Amy, one of the wonderful ladies I am staying with, and she was telling me about the past three years she has spent in France. It was right then that I started to have a glimpse of what the “sacrifice” of missions really consisted of. In the past when I think of what missionaries give up to be “on the field” I think of that they have to leave behind their families, friends, the comforts of home, security of a job/independence. . . though all those things are true there is more! They are giving up what we consider our rights. The give up the ability to be at important events, weddings, funerals, births graduations, they miss many of these special events because they are living out what God has called them to do. 

Looking back I feel like God was very purposeful in Amy and I having that conversation so early on in my time here, because little did I know then how God was going to give me a taste of what life as a missionary would look like.

 

July 2,  my dear friend Joanna’s sweet grandfather went home to be with Jesus. It was hard not being there to give her a hug to tell her I love her and to enjoy the time remembering her sweet grandfather with her. Mr. Neely, her grandfather, was a wonderful man and I loved him dearly! 

Yes this was my first taste of “mission sacrifice” but it would not be my last. 

July 4 in France! When I woke up on July 4th I woke up to a picture of my darling little niece in a “Big Sister” shirt! Oh my word! I was excited and at the same time sad that I was not home to rejoice with them. The whole day was a bit difficult, continually thinking about Cassandra and the new little baby growing inside of her. Also thinking about the fun we always have on July 4th at home, having a party, fireworks, enjoying time as a family. . . I can not even begin to tell you how excited I was at the new I would be having a new little niece or nephew soon! The thought came into my mind often and somehow it came up in almost every conversation I had with people that my sister was expecting a new little one 🙂

With July came our busiest time, 3 weeks of none stop ministries! in the third week news came that I have a hard time even writing. . . my sister had a miscarriage. at first I didn’t know what to say or think, I read the email and reread it, I felt stunned. This little baby who had only been alive in my sister for 11 1/2 week was now in heaven with Jesus. Tears came and continued to come as I ran outside and just thought about this little baby whom i already loved so much! And then Cassandra! Oh it hurt not to be there for her! I know God is sovereign, He has a purpose for all things  and He was merciful even in this time. He protected my sister, she was in New Braunfels and able to go to an OB that she knows and loves, God was even merciful in when I found out, I found out after getting home from teaching the kids rather then before I left which would have made it near impossible for me to teach. Through out this hard time, and it is still hard, God has been teaching me to rely on Him more fully. As hard as it was not being there to rejoice with my sister in her finding out she was pregnant it was even harder to not be there when she lost the baby. This was another “mission sacrifice”.

The last thing I am going to share with ya’ll is something that I am still working through. A few weeks ago I started thinking seriously about looking into extending my stay here in France. I felt like God wanted me to stay and explore more fully the possibility of full time missions. Now after the rest of this post you may think I am crazy but no, this post is not to shed a bad light on missions or make it out to be this horrible hard thing, rather this post is sharing the path God has taken me on in teaching me what to expect in answering a call to missions. 

I started looking into extending my stay and soon found that there were 8 “doors” God would have to open for me to be able to stay. Well the first door was permission from Amy and Jill. Because of the crazy schedules we have been keeping this door took a lot longer then I expected, after about two and a half week we were finally able to talk and that “door” seemed to open. Waiting was very hard! I watched every humanly possible deadline pass until I knew IGod would have to be the one to make things work for me to stay. God has a plan and a purpose in all of this.  As i continued seeking if this was the will of God I had a lot of hard emotional times of just wanting an answer, even if that answer was ‘no’ but it was not God’s time to show me His answer. Last night I got to the point of wanting to give up. I felt like I was adding one more thing to Jill and Amy’s busy exhausted plates and the timing just seemed bad. And yet I did not feel peace about throwing in the towel. So another night praying and seeking God as I went to sleep. This morning the answer became clear, I will not be extending my time here, I will be heading home on the 23rd as planned. 

Now I know this is different than the first three stories of “mission sacrifice” in fact you might say this is quite the opposite, I am not staying I am going home. Yes, it is true I am going home, but in this time I have been learning to sacrifice my desires, my timetable, my emotions and simple trust. Now you might ask why didn’t God just tell me no three weeks ago!? Well as much as I wanted to ask that same question I know the answer is He was teaching me another part of “mission sacrifice”.

This lessons have not been easy ones, and I am sure in my stubbornness they have been harder then necessary to learn but I am thankful for them. I am thankful that God loves me enough to pursue me, to not just leave me where I am.  As I go home I know God will continue to teach me, and I pray that my heart will be soft and teachable, that I will desire Him above all else and serve Him all the days of my life no matter where I am!

“Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His excellent greatness”

Psalms 150:1-2

For God’s glory in the south of France,

~Vanessa

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Missions

“What is missions to you?” This question was recently presented to me and it really got me thinking, what is my view of missions?

Here is a dictionary definition before I go into my answer to this question.

Oxford dictionary-
1. An important assignment given to a person or group of people, typically involving travel abroad.
2. The vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.
3. A strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.

I am impressed with the clarity of the dictionary definition! Here is the definition I came too.

Missions is a life style, living with an eternal perspective (focused on Christ and eternity to come).
Living life in a way which points others to Christ. Showing Christ’s love, living life and building relationships that will present opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with others in a way that is effective for the individual.
( missions should not just be on foreign fields, it is a call for all followers of Christ. )

Soon and very soon I will post again ;)

I just wanted to let y’all know I have a blog post half written in my head… But I am headed out of town for the week so I will not have a chance to write it visible until Friday night at the earliest…

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God”

Thank you all for your prayers for kids bilingual camp, it went really well! We had almost 60 kids 95% of which are unchurched.
I loved working with the kids in music/English class. It is a great privilege to to explain words like “You lived and died, you sacrificed for me, for me. You paid the price you sacrificed for me, for me. Now the least that I can do, is live my life for you!” What a message!
Not only did we explain songs we also played games to help them learn the words to the songs. I had a wonderful co-leader, Robin, and some great interpreters and helpers off and on throughout the week. Something that the kids really started to grasp the second and third day is the might and power of God. They were amazed at how big God is and that He created all things and is in control of all! I love sharing truth about my God with others 🙂

I was also in charge of the part of the “knight in training program” 🙂 a couple of the guys from the church made us a wooden horse on wheels that I would push the kids on while they had a “lance” (pointed pool noodle) that they had to stab through the pool noodle rings I had. It was so much fun, the kids loved it and so did a lot of the adults 😉

One last story from kids camp 🙂 so during our big finale we were all I’m front singing for the parents when I saw a sweet little boy with tears streaming down his face. I quickly picked him up and ask him what was wrong, thankfully e spoke English and told me he couldn’t see his mommy. He was so sweet, I helped him look for her in the crowd then with a face full of sorrow he said “I don’t think she is here!” My heart melted as I told him it would be ok I was sure she was on her way. He then when on to describe her to me in the cutest childlike way, she has dark hair, glasses and she wears a purple hair clip. I assured him I would keep looking and he started to sing and do the hand motions again 🙂 within 5 minutes I saw his mom walk in the door, I pointed her out to him and he beamed! My heart was so happy seeing this little boys joy in knowing his mom was there and proud of him 🙂 such a happy moment to end the week with!!!

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Amanda and crew, spent the week in the kitchen making fantastic meals for all of the volunteers and well as snacks for the kids twice a day!

 

 

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The kids always enjoy craft time 🙂

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Each child chose one preforming art elective Dance…

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Martial  arts…

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Rhythm 

 

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The kids loved riding the horse!

 

 

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Loved watching the kids interact in large group

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Science was always big hit! 

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We had two fantastic story tellers!

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the kids were so cute 🙂

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Kids waiting for their turn on the horse.

 

 

 

 

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🙂

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Such fun!

 

 

 

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The kids all had a blast.

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Camie and Ross are such a cute sweet couple 🙂Image

I love the team here =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jill did a fantastic job organizing kids camp! She is amazing =) The kids love her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Each day one of the groups prepared snack for the rest of the kids as an act of serves! 

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Such a sweet little girl! She only spoke french but we were friends.

 

 

 

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Getting ready to preform for the parents =)

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This is the sweet little boy I was writing about =)

 

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Singing for the parents.

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The team that made this week possible.

 

Outreach/evangelism week

Over the weekend we had a little bit of time to rest and get ready for the coming week. Saturday we spent a little time at the beach then Sunday was another full day, church, potluck, meeting then church again! And then you guessed it another week was upon us… 🙂

This week has been very different then last week. Last week we where all in one place working on the same thing, kids camp. This week we are all spread out doing all different outreach projects in Nice, Canges sur Mer, Saint Paul and Vence. We have had a team doing a basketball camp, a hospitality team and an art team. 

I was on the art team, we were trying to figure out some effective ways to do outreach through Painting, sketching and photography. It was a lot of just ‘seeing what works’ but it was good, it was stretching and caused us to be creative 🙂

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The first day we where sketching the streets of Vence, and using that as an avenue by which to engage in conversations with people.

 

 

 

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The second day we did a Photo shoot in the old city of Saint Paul. As people were curious about the shoot we would have an open door to tell them about the Church and engage in a conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rachel did a great job being the model =)

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Such a beautiful place 🙂

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We also had the opportunity to go into Nice and pass out sandwiches to the homeless . Often we would also have the opportunity to pray for them.

 

 

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Igor has such a heart for the homeless, I loved seeing him interact with people we would meet.

 

 

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The flowers here are fabulous! 

 

 

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We went out for ice cream one night to celebrate Amy’s birthday! 

 

I know there is a lot more that I could write, this is only a small glimpse of what we have been doing . . . but it is getting late and Church is in the morning so I am going to have to leave the rest for a latter time.

Oh meet Helen, my blogging buddy 😉 

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To make God known in the south of France,

~Vanessa

Thank you for praying!

Thank you all for praying! Today went well, you can see the wheels turning in their little heads as they listen and then ask questions. There is such a need here, this is the first time a lot of these kids have heard about Jesus. Please continue to pray for these kids, we have one day left to show them love and point them to Jesus.

My heart is heavy as I think of all the kids in France who have never had the opportunity to hear the truth about God. What we are doing this week is just drop of water in an ocean of need.
Think with me for a second, how many Churches in town are doing VBS this year? 15, 20??? And all within the city of New Braunfels alone. Well here this is it! There is only one, the next closest VBS we know of is at least 3 hours away! The need is great, but out God is greater. Pray for workers (people called to serve The Lord in France).
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

Here is a video of one of the precious groups of kids I have had the privilege of working with this week in Music/English class. I love them so much!

Kids Bilingual Camp – Please pray!

Please be in Prayer for Kids camp tomorrow (Thursday). We are focusing in on the gospel message tomorrow.

Please pray for the kids to have understanding, soft hearts and minds to the truth the Jesus Christ came, died and is now alive again. He payed the full price for our sins so that through faith in Him we can spend eternity with God and have a purpose here on earth.  

Please pray for wisdom and clarity for all of the teachers as they explain The free gift of salvation. 

Thank you all for your prayers and sweet notes of encouragement! 

For God’s glory in the south of France,

~Vanessa

ImageSinging praises as we start our dayImageImagelearning about God through science  Image

Seeing the amazing sun that God created Imageinteractive Bible story time!!!ImageEach child had their picture taken with a knight and princess =)ImageIntently working on craftsImageDr. Jez brought her telescope to view sun spots with the kidsImageThe Lions waiting for their turn on the horseImageJoisting is a hit for sure!ImageAre knights and princesses for the dayImageOur fearless leader 🙂 this is one amazing woman!Imageenjoying dance 🙂 

 

 

A whirlwind week, or has it been two… :)

Where to start . . . So much has happened since last Monday when I posted last! 

This last week was a week I had really been looking forward too, a short term team that I had the privilege of meeting back in Texas was here! The global journey team came to help us get ready for bilingual kids camp and also do some outreach in Nice. It was fun to see familiar faces and and get to know the team a little better =)Image

giving my little friend a piggyback ride after a game of leapfrog freeze tag =)Image

Painting water for the mote that goes under our drawbridge Image

Amanda painting bannersImage

I loved getting to spend time getting to know Jackie!Image

putting up the castle  Image

Helping Amy in the science room, we had so much fun drawing the planets and their orbits Image

Saying goodbye to the global journey girls. It was great getting to know each of them!

 

This post is a bit out of order, I apologize.

Here are a few pictures from La Tour de France!

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Time tryouts in Nice, France

We had a lot of fun biking over to Nice to watch the time tryouts! It was also pretty cool to riding home on the promenade and have two of the team go flying past us!Image

Joanna and I enjoying Tour de France

The speed these guy have is incredible!Image

Before the race all of the sponsors would parade by (at 70 MPH!) and trow out little prizes. Dave and the other guys got really in to it! 🙂

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And here is the leader for the day! 

 

The next day the race started in our little town! It was a lot of fun and excitment. An experience that will always be fun to look back on! Image

Our group that gathered to watchImage

So much excitement and fun as they rode through the streets!Image

We actully were able to see them twice because after they passed us we ran down a cross street to the next place they would pass. what a memorable day 🙂Image

 

 

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Owen and ross enjoying the festivities Image

Sweet little girl 🙂 

 

The kick off of Kingdom Rock Kids bilingual club!Image 

Staring with songs and dancesImage

Dr. Jez in the Science room doing a smoke canon with the kidsImage

Amanda hard at work in the kitchen

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Back in the science room with Dr. Jez putting pencils through a plastic bag with water in itImage

Rachel teaching martial artsImage

Amy, Jill and Jen

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Lunch time!

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The music/english room is where I spent most of my day teaching the kids the meanings to the songs they are singing through fun games 🙂

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One of my other responsibilities is Knight training =) Yes we have jousting! The kids love it 🙂Image

The day ended with a few more songs and games 🙂 

We are blessed! God brought over 50 kids today to kids club! Only about 8 of the 50 attend the church! Please pray with me that God will do great things this week in the lives of these precious kids. Please also pray for energy and creativity for the teachers. And for me, please pray that I will start catching on to the French language…..

It is getting late and tomorrow is another full day, so goodnight 🙂

 

For God’s glory in the south of France,

~Vanessa

 

 

Faithful

“You are there in every season of my soul 

You are there, you’re the anchor that will hold

you are there, in the valley of the shadows

You are faithful, God”

 

God is faithful! No matter what the circumstances of life bring God is always faithful. This has been a lesson I am seeing played out. I have been taught this ever sense I was a little girl but it is amazing how something you know to be true becomes alive when you have to live it out!

When I came to France two weeks ago I did not come completely unprepared, but I was not fully prepared for what I would see. I had heard that France was a “spiritually dark” place. They do not “know” God. It makes me sad when I see people here that look really sad. They seem to have no joy in living! The culture here is very much a fend for yourself culture, people are not generally kind, in fact after talking to a middle schooler here it seems that the “fend for yourself” “you are the most important” attitude is ingrained in you from a very young age. Sometime it is really hard not being able to speak French, I really wish I could talk to the people here, I often want to talk to someone at the store, or in a bakery just to cheer them up but all I can really do for know is smile and hope to brighten their day.

I know God has me here in France for specific reasons, and I am enjoying figuring those reasons out 🙂 Things have not all been easy here, in fact in the last week there have been a lot of hard days. We had a half day of prayer on Saturday and you would not believe how hard it was to prepare for! Task that should have been easy and fast were monstrous! Satan seemed to be out in full force trying to keep us from praying. Satan knows the power of prayer and he know God is the God of miracles and we have faith that God will do great things in answering our prayers.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” Eph. 6:18-19

 

 

I have so much more I would like to share with ya’ll, including pictures =) I will try my best to get them up tomorrow or Wednesday 🙂

 

Au Revoir!

For God’s glory,

    ~Vanessa

 

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