France Mission Update #1

June 20, 2016

 

Hello to family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

 

I am happy to let all of you know that I have safely arrived in France.  I apologize that it has taken me several days since my arrival to get an email out to all of you.  Things didn’t go quite as planned, so I am finally rested up and ready to go.  I left Charlotte Douglas Airport with American Airlines on Thursday, June 16.  The flight was scheduled to take off at 6:25PM but we ended up taking off at 6:45PM.   I landed in Paris at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8:20AM France time, which is 2:20 EST.  Jeff had waited up all night to hear from me to make sure that I got there safely.  I have a prayer warrior for a husband 😊  Going through passport control, getting my luggage, and picking up my rental car all went very smoothly.  Then I started driving and ran into a few glitches.  What usually takes about an hour to get from the north to the south side of the Paris beltline took two.  France is currently hosting the 2016 Euro Cup, so if you are a soccer fan, you are familiar with it.  It is very exciting for France, but with all the traffic and the construction on the highways, a normal 4.5 hour drive from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city of Lyon took 8 hours.  I left Paris at 10:00AM and got to my hotel in Lyon at 6:00PM.  Since I didn’t sleep at all on the plane and had been traveling for a total of 30 hours, I was exhausted and decided to get some sleep.  Saturday morning I set out for Saint-Raphael.  What usually takes 4 hours only took 5.5 hours on Saturday, so I was very thankful for that.

I am staying in a lovely studio apartment right next door to Gaston and Mauricette.  If you got my updates from last year, I met Mauricette playing Scrabble last summer.  Gaston, Mauricette’s husband, was a guard for Charles de Gaulle when he was president of France.  Well, over the past year they have become my French parents, so they were able to get a nice studio apartment for me for a good price.  Since my arrival I have been getting settled in my apartment and getting rested up for this week. 

Yesterday I spent the day with Gaston and Mauricette celebrating Father’s Day and watching France play in the Euro Cup.  Today I went with Mauricette to play Scrabble and got an opportunity to see many of the people that I met last year.  I am hoping to get together with some of them for coffee and see where things lead.  In about a half hour I will be leaving for my first choir practice.  I am looking forward to seeing many of the people I met in choir last year.  There are four people in particular that I made a strong connection with last year and I am really hoping to strengthen the connection this year, as well as make new connections.  I am hoping to get started with my domestic violence ministry tomorrow.  Please pray for divine appointments, that God will lead me to the people that are ready to hear the Gospel.  I also ask that you pray for openings for me to share the Gospel, that spiritual discussions would happen naturally.  Last year, God opened up so many doors.  I was able to have a spiritual discussion with every person that I was able to sit down with one-on-one, and that is not easy in France.  Most people will not discuss spiritual things with someone unless they have known someone for a long time.  This type of conversation is considered to be intimate.  Many French friends that I have known for a long time have explained this to me.  I am grateful that people seem to trust me and open up to me relatively easily.  Please pray that this will occur again this year.

I will be sending at least one email a week and will try and send more.  May God bless and keep you all.

 

Ilene

 

P.S.  Jeff ordered 10 New Testaments with Psalms and Proverbs in French for me to bring over here to hand out to people with whom I share the Gospel.  We thought it would be good for me to show the people the references in the Scripture and let them read it for themselves.  Anyway, the TSA stopped me in Charlotte and checked my carryon.  The agent wanted to know why I had so many of the same book.  When I explained that they were Bibles and that I was a missionary going to France to give the Bibles away, she said she suspected even more that I was a terrorist.  Oh, well.  What do you do? If we are suspected to be terrorists because we carry Bibles, then may all of us be suspect!

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