Olivia and I just got back from an escapade in Paris and we have been humming La Vie en Rose ever since. It’s a great description of our wonderful spring – it’s been like looking through rose-colored glasses!
The last week of March, we welcomed Willemijn from Holland, (despite my vow to never host another exchange student in a previous newsletter!) She was delightful and along with her classmates, participated with our students in a fun run to raise money for the persecuted church. We raised over 3000 euros, which is amazing, considering our school struggles to pay the bills most months!
On the occasion of my 50th birthday, Jesus used all of my local friends and family (and even strangers!) in myriads of ways to show me how much I am loved. After leaving everything and everyone familiar 12 years ago, I have never felt so rich. This gives me immense hope as I look towards the future (and all the unknowns that come with aging!) Here are 7 of my girlfriends from our church who celebrated with me one day at my favorite restaurant in Germany followed by a long soak in the local thermal baths!
One birthday blessing was getting a call to help one of our students with English homework – my first paying job after getting certified to teach English! He’s a relatively motivated 14 yr. old boy who lives in our village, so it’s easy money!
Noah was also home for his spring break and we had a delightful 2 weeks together in beautiful weather, while Olivia and David were still at school all day. During our 4-day Easter weekend, we held a 6 hr. tabernacle on Good Friday to lift up Jesus as King over France at the onset of presidential elections and we invited Alana and Nadine over for my traditional leg of lamb meal on Sunday.
A few days later we picked up the Richards at the airport for their fifth 3-month stint with us. Janet and Nadine will be busy with sozo training seminars during this time. Right now our individual sessions revolve around just a few people whom we see every two weeks. The teen that we helped a year ago referred another teen to us who was barely functioning. After 4 sessions with us, having transferred to our school, and staying with a healthy host family during the week, she was able to attend a full week of school recently for the first time in years. She even participated in the fun run!
And that brings us to our own spring break and Paris. My old friend Corinne turned 50 two weeks after I did, and I hadn’t seen her since she her father’s funeral 18 months ago. She had sent me 20 roses and I wanted to take her to a gourmet restaurant run by YWAMers in the 19th arrondissement. She’s moving out of Paris this year, so I decided I should take Olivia along while we still had free lodging, since her last visit was 11 yrs ago on outreach from Scotland and she remembers nothing! La Vie en Rose was playing during our boat ride down the Canal St. Martin.
During that time, David drove to a prayer house near Lake Thun, Switzerland with the Richards and some of our youth worshippers to fill a few days with worshipful musical and artistic collaboration and prayer. Guess who came home exhausted and who came back refreshed!
Next week Olivia leaves for another class trip with her German teacher to visit Vienna and Berlin. So far, she is the only 11th grader enrolled for next year, so she may do independent study while her classmates go off to public school. Ah, the ups and downs of high school in Europe!