Since moving here, we’ve mostly been trying to settle in: jobs, French for Anya, an apartment, a church, friends… I got a good job as an assistant manager at Hollister, Anya a part-time job as a baby-sitter, she‘s improving a lot on her French, and hopefully we’ll be moving into a long-term apartment soon. God has provided so much for us so far. Sometimes we don’t realize it because we want to be able to do so much more, but we need to be patient in prayer and follow God’s timing.
Sometimes we miss the US, the Claibourne’s, the King’s (S/O to the fam in OH and CO. What up?!), our church, our lifestyle, our friends, our habits, the Bengals, the NBA on TV every other night, Reese’s, annoying UK fans (haha), etc… but that’s normal. We get used to that, because we love the US so much, but we love France as well. The city, the lights, the environment, seeing new things together, new experiences, going to new places, the baguettes (only me), building up the church, spending time with my family, and much more.
We came here for a reason and with the highs and lows we go through, it is tough to focus on it all the time, but we keep praying that God gives us the strength and the opportunities to share the message.
I’m also super proud of my wife. When we decided to come back, we didn’t really know what to expect. Even I, who grew up in France, had no idea how this move would eventually turn out. But Anya’s been fighting through the language barrier, the culture shock, the loss of many habits she had in the US, and still keeps a smile on her face and finds ways to make all of this exciting. And every time I need support, she’s always there, and that’s awesome. Our marriage has definitely gotten stronger, even when sometimes I get back home after basketball practice at 10:30 at night, we can spend an hour or two just talking about life, which has helped us make it through the tough times and also helped us become so much more confident about the future.
Time for a funny story: At my job at Hollister, I have many opportunities to potentially move up in the job and also move to different locations. The two main questions they asked me when I started were: What’s your plan in life and what’s your long-term plan at Hollister? It’s so funny for me to think about it; if I had ever tried to follow my own “life plan”, I would have laughed at myself if I had thought I would be a Christian, with a dog (Joey is doing great by the way), married and in France at this point of my life. But God brought me to CCU to meet my beautiful wife, he brought me to a Whitewater All In baptism service that Sunday in October 2013 and placed me next to that awesome unknown man who literally told me “go ahead, I can see that you want to go, it’ll be the best decision of your life”, and also brought us to France. Even though when we first got together, Anya told me “I’m never moving to France”. Haha. How surprising, inspiring, and funny God can be.
So what’s our plan? I don’t know, we’ll see what happens! (Which is exactly what I told them, and apparently they liked it since I’m still working for them) Maybe in 20 years I’ll end up CEO of Hollister and Anya at the head of a French learning ministry (she’s probably laughing at that idea), or maybe we’ll be back in the US by the time the Bengals win a playoff game (will it be next year, will it be in 5 or 10 years, will it ever happen? At least we know it won’t be this year…). Who knows?! God knows, and that’s who we’re relying on.
All I/we want for Christmas are your prayers for strength, wisdom, and opportunities to spread the Gospel, love, God’s guidance, and also for some Chipotle and Skyline Chili. (We may have to wait a while for those last two)
Like Anya I’m thankful for your prayers and your support and I hope you guys will have a wonderful Christmas, while we're enjoying ours with the Masses. Anya will probably write about it in 2017 for you guys and share some pics of our first Christmas together in France!"
Love from France,
Merry Christmas to you all!