Sunday morning, 4 août, 2013; WEEK 5!
Wow. Praise the Lord, He knows all things. I can’t believe (except that I can, haha) the conversation I just had with my new room-housemate, the newly recruited intern from Strasbourg (which sounds really German but it’s French). Her name is Alissa and she’s half French, half Japanese, which is nice because I feel a sort of kindredness with her on account of her being somewhat Asian (there are literally no other Asians here, not even tourists, which is surprising… except for the first Chinese people I met in Lisieux yesterday 😀 but that’s another—and less interesting—story), even though we still have to talk in French (which is also good). Anyway, she got here on Thursday night so this is only the beginning of our three-week-long roommate-hood, but we’ve gotten along really well so far and I’m very grateful to have company at last, and sharing meals together is great too because 1) the food is better and 2) we get to have really nice conversations that are much more interesting than the ones I struggle with at work, because we have so much more time to kill (enjoy) at ‘home.’
In short, I’m actually glad that this morning nobody came to pick me up to bring me to mass (because this is the first Sunday I’ve spent here in this house and not with the Christian couple, so I forgot to ask if they could come and get me anyway), because that meant that Alissa and I had the whole morning to pass together over a medley of interesting brunch(ish) foods (hot chocolate milk and bread with butter, raspberry jam, camembert cheese, and then for me a small side of leftover rice and tripe—it’s a Norman specialty, apparently, super Asian though hahaha), and plenty of time to talk about all sorts of things under the sun, in particular, GOD.
And it came to pass extremely naturally too, because one moment we were talking about jazz music, and the next moment how young people perceive marriage in France (because as you know this is a topic that currently interests me a lot, and as Alissa is not from Normandy I wondered if she had a different perspective, which she does, though she agreed that lots of young people are very cynical about marriage now, and religion in general—which led to our next topic! See, it wasn’t even me who brought it up! :D), and voilà, suddenly we were talking about the Old Testament and my views on evolution and the validity of the Bible and I told her the story of Abraham and Isaac and Ishmael (as in, how there came to be two sons) and then as an example of how the Bible is vivante (living) and not morte (dead), and how the Lord speaks through his Word, I was able to tell her the story of how God confirmed that I was supposed to move to China with my family when I was 11 years old (most of you know this story, but maybe I should write it down sometime anyway)! I got to bring out my French bible too, in order to point her to Ephesians 6:1 because God’s words are much more powerful than my own paraphrasing (and I haven’t memorized the verse in French haha, maybe I should do that so that next time I tell this story I’ll have it handy even if my Bible isn’t conveniently nearby), and I could tell that the testimony was powerful even in my not-so-great French. Praise the Lord, really, I never imagined that I would be able to share a testimony in French, especially not so early in my time spent in France!
Admittedly, I am now just over halfway through my internship here, but I didn’t expect anything like this to happen, and I’m extremely grateful for it, and ever more optimistic that God really knows what he’s doing with me here. I see now that he planned things really well, because I had the first three and a half weeks to live by myself and to question God about what He wanted with me, and how I should prepare my heart to interact with my coworkers, and how I could ever share about my faith and my love when my French was so limited, etc. etc., and I think he really took that time to remind me that my purpose here was to learn French better, yes, but more than that to continue to solidify my joy and my purpose of living in Him, and to assure me that in due time I would be ready to serve him in a more tangible/visible way… now I start to see the fruit, as I would never have been able to have a conversation like this four weeks ago, so it’s perfect that I should have a new roommate now and not at the beginning of my internship, otherwise we probably would’ve gotten used to not talking much at all—and the fact that Alissa’s boyfriend is a Christian, so she’s very open to talking about this and is already curious to know more, which helps me a lot! I still have a lot to learn, particularly in terms of French and Biblical/church history/theory, and history and religion in general, but I’m eager to continue on this path in reading books (please suggest) and talking to the people around me—in short, I’m really excited and really blessed, and I pray that God will continue to guide me with his wisdom and impeccable timing! Please pray for me too if you’re reading this, because intercession is powerful!