Friday, July 20, 2012

Off to Gabon!!!

Hello Everyone! 
It's here!!! The day has finally arrived!!!
"I'm leaving on a jet-plane, don't know when I'll be back again...."
My flight for Gabon leaves TOMORROW July 21st at 12:50pm (6:50am eastern time). I will have a layover in Casablanca and will arrive in Libreville, Gabon at 4:30am Sunday morning. 

Looks like Africa's getting ready for me! =)

Tonight I sat here in Marseille, France at a hotel restaurant, awaiting my flight to Gabon tomorrow, eating my last meal in the Western world for the foreseeable future. 
I was sitting outside in the sweet, warm air, a light breeze curving itself around me and the palm trees dancing with relief in the evening's coolness.
I still haven't become accustomed to staying at hotels and eating at restaurants all alone, but it gives me time to reflect and think on all that God has done along this journey. 

After 13 years of following the Lord's leading, 
the day has finally arrived.

I'd like to tell you that I have it altogether, that I'm not nervous about moving to the African jungle tomorrow. I'd like to tell you that I'm not going to freak out if there's a snake in my house or that I'm going to be really strong if I get malaria. I'd like to tell you that after 7 months of language study, it will be a piece of cake to teach in French. I'd like to tell you that the constant heat and humidity won't be an issue and that I'm not going to struggle with being lonely or being away from my family or Christopher or my friends. I'd like to tell you that I'm a "super Christian" and I always respond in a Christ-like manner, that I'm not prideful or selfish. I'd like to tell you that I am "Rambo's daughter" and that I will be tough, come what may.

The reality is- I'm not. 
I'm just a girl, trying to obey God
-and this is where He's leading me. 

But  I do know my God. 
I know His strength and His might. 
I know His power and His enabling. 
I know His presence and His comfort. 
I know His saving grace and Love for the nations. 
I know His patience and slowness to anger.
I know His selflessness and humility.
I know His provision and His miraculous intervention. 
I know His healing and wisdom. 
There is NOTHING my God cannot do. 

And if our God is for us, than who can stand against us?

 Each morning I try to read a Psalm before my feet hit the floor and the day gets crazy. This morning was Psalm 23. We all know that Psalm, we could recite it over and over again. 
Today I got stuck on the 1st verse,
"The LORD is my shepherd; 
 I Shall Not Want."

God will not let us go wanting, He takes care of our needs.
I saw that provision repeatedly throughout my day today. 
God provided a ride to Marseille today with one of the neighbors of my host family, he happens to work at the airport.
After some unexpected expenses getting here, I wasn't sure the cash I had taken out for traveling would stretch, but God provided. 
For lunch, the same neighbor invited me to lunch with some of his co-workers as a guest.
Then, this afternoon while I was organizing some papers in my duffel, I found a random 20 Euro bill -plenty for dinner and lunch tomorrow. 

I Shall Not Want. 
God, our provider. 
It was as if God wanted to remind me of this before I head out tomorrow. 
He knows no limits- time, distance, money. He can and will take care of us through whatever life throws at us.
God, our provider.
  Here or in the US, or in Gabon, He remains the same.

Thank you for your prayers in this final leg of the journey to Gabon. 
 It is a joy to serve with you, to know as I go, you go with me in prayer. 

                                                       Love from France, 
                                                             -for the last time-

I love this song by Priscilla Ahn, somehow it captures tonight.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Graduation from Albertville

Madame Gothié et moi

Hello to Everyone,

Another chapter comes to a close...and the revolving door of "hello's" and "goodbye's" swings again. I praise the Lord for His faithfulness and empowerment in seeing us all through the end of language school here in Albertville. It has not been without its challenges, but God has brought us through another step on the road to the work to which he has called us- sharing who He is in a language not our own.

Receiving our diplomas...

With my teacher Anne, celebrating kicking 6 months of
language school in the face

Thank you to our teacher Anne, who with her endless patience, gentle correction and joyful spirit put up with countless hours of us trying, failing, succeeding and just generally slaughtering the beautiful French language in her class ;-) 

For our teachers, this is very much their calling, through which they are significantly contributing to the growth of the Kingdom. I continue to be amazed at how God chooses to use all of us with our different gifts and passions to draw people unto Himself. 

And for all the memories shared with new lifelong friends....

Our hike up the Belle Etoile

the laughter
the tears
the adventures
iron sharpening iron.

This is what happens when you study too much French

Thank you to all of you for your prayer and encouragement to carry me through these six months of language study in Albertville. You are an indispensable part of the team and I am so thankful for each of you!

What's next you ask? Check out the timeline tab for a quick glance, but I am heading to the south of France to the city of Montpellier to take a 3 week Medical Vocab course in French. It is a secular school and I will be living with a French family. Please be praying for opportunities to share the Gospel and for a really profitable time to solidfy my French and grow in the Medical vocab arena in these next three weeks, July 2nd-19th. 

After that, Lord willing I'll be leaving for Gabon July 21st! 
It's almost here!!!

Love from Albertville, 

A Little Somethin'Extra: to experience a little more of our "cloture"or graduation, below you'll find a video of our choir or "chorale." Every semester each class is required to participate as another way to learn French. Feel free to watch or not watch, just know ahead of time they taught us how to speak French- not how to sing ;-)

Madame Gothié

I would love to introduce you all to Mme Gothié.
She is a sweet, dear retired nurse who agreed to the challenge of teaching me some foundational medical French.

 My sessions with her have been the highlight of my stay here in Albertville, I am so grateful for the blessing of her friendship, medical knowledge and steadfast faith in Christ. I have truly found in her a kindred spirit.

Every Wednesday I had the privilege of riding my bike to Madame Gothié's house, and today you sort of get to do the same. She has graciously allowed us all a rare peek into what a French Savoie home looks like =)

 So here we go on our bike ride....

....the road with the arrow leads up to Madame Gothié's house- you can choose if you want to ride up or walk your bike ;-).

  I always felt as though I were in a fairytale or something, biking through the Alps in a little mountain town with the little Swiss chalets on either side and hundreds of flowers surrounding me...I think all I would need is a red hooded cape and I'd be all set.

This view is the reward after mounting the top of the hill in the mid-day heat- it was worth it every time.

Just around the corner, we arrive at her house and her beautiful garden!

Living Room


Our desk

We reviewed anatomy and physiology and went over a LOT of pronunciation of medical words in French- it was so helpful. 
After our work was done for the day, we'd sit and visit for a couple hours, in French over a cup of tea. 

Le Muguet- traditional flower given the 1st of May

At the end of every study session, Mme Gothié would always brighten my day with a bunch of flowers from her garden.  
With no place to put them, she would always place them in the side of my bag as I headed out on my bike. So there I would ride home, my satchel over one shoulder and a bunch of flowers peeking out the side, my hair blowing in the wind and the Alpine mountains reaching high into the sky on either side of me, refreshed and ready to face another week of language school....

I am so thankful for the foundation in Medical French as I head to Montpellier for my medical vocab class. 
Merci Madame Gothié!