Friday, October 26, 2007
Today I spent some time talking with a French national who is currently working as a midwife in Africa. She has been there for a number of years and I wanted to pick her brain. We began talking about some of the most common illnesses in her region and the conversation quickly turned technical. There is some cross-over between the medical vocab in English and French because most of the words have roots in either Greek or Latin, but I realized I have a lot of learning to do! For example, how do you say post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis in French?! No idea. I felt like someone put duct tape over my mouth, no longer allowing me to use the repitoire of words I had spent so many years learning! The good news is I still greatly enjoy this language and that the Bible tells me all things are possible through Jesus Christ who strenthens me....otherwise I might have run away already:-)
Posted by Sarah at 10:49 PM
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Hello friends and family, I miss you all and hope you are well. Things are going great here in France, six months have flown by, summer has ended and I am thoroughly enjoying my favorite season, fall!
How do you fit 22 students into 6 bedrooms?
It is definitely a full house here in Brignais! Parents of five grown children, my hosts Marc and Léonie decided to open their home to…well…pretty much everyone! During my stay here I have met approximately 17 members of their family and have lived with students and missionaries from a total of 8 different countries. This makes for a unique linguistic environment, our current record is 4 languages during the same conversation! One weekend we hosted the local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. Approximately 22 students descended on the house for a very full and active weekend that I affectionately refer to as the invasion☺ There were humans tucked into every corner! All of this was quite an adjustment to a single girl who was not used to sharing her space! While I have been stretched during this time, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I greatly enjoy the warm atmosphere of our home, community dinners, long conversations and new friendships. I see this as training and I will be sad to leave my newfound, enormous, multicultural family!
Break out the breath mints!
I have had a great time getting involved in our local church. The congregation has been so welcoming, inviting me to dinner and taking a genuine interest in my language learning. At first, the cultural greeting of a kiss on both cheeks took some getting used to, but now I am a pro☺ So long as I remember to move to the right first, most embarrassing situations can be avoided! Monthly our congregation shares a potluck lunch and recently I have become involved in nursery ministry. Last Sunday was interesting as I attempted to ask one child not to throw a toy at my head while extracting a crayon from the mouth of another! Sometimes the words in French simply do not come fast enough, this was one of those times☺ During this summer I participated in the church choir and we are currently practicing for our Christmas concert. As my language ability grows, so do my relationships with the members of this little church. I am so grateful to God for providing me with a Christian community during my time here.
My studies are going quite well, I am continually impressed by my school and feel I am greatly profiting from my time there. I am currently in level 9 of 19 and am functioning well in this language. I can communicate effectively, write essays and letters and read the Bible in French. My host family and francophone friends are impressed by my progress and I am very grateful for all of your prayers. This summer, after talking with my host family, my mission agency and my sponsors I prayerfully made the decision to remain here and continue my studies until December 2007. Originally I was scheduled to leave for Cameroon in September, this will give me an additional 3 months of language preparation.
My time here in France has been amazing, but it has not always been easy. I have been stretched, prompted to ask questions about my faith and at times been dragged, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. As difficult as this process has occasionally been, I know that it will be all the more intense in Cameroon. I recognize God’s planning and I am grateful for the things He is teaching me. My current prayer is that my trust and faith would increase and that I would recognize His infinite faithfulness and love in all circumstances, no matter how challenging. I would like to share with you an excerpt from an email I recently wrote; « It is almost humorous the battle that rages within. Part of me wants to be completely emptied of self, so God can get on with the process of reconstructing me, but the other part of me cringes at the thought of the pain associated with the demolition ! My prayer is that God would change me, even if it hurts. I have James 1:2 on my wall to remind me of the value of perseverance. I am still naive in many things, but I am sure to learn much more during the years to come. »
Thank you all for your support during this time. The emails, phone conversations and letters have been very encouraging. I appreciate you all and thank God for you.
God Bless, Sarah
Posted by Sarah at 12:00 PM