They're great for our French because the whole service is in French and everyone around us speaks in French and with us in French. We are still a little afraid of the "discussion" weeks where the whole service splits into groups for great conversation in French of course. I've been practicing: "Je ne veux pas parler, mais seulement ecouter maintenant, merci." (I don't wish to speak right now, but only listen. Thanks!!)
They're great for community because we get to connect with people we haven't seen during the week and meet new faces as well. This community is so beautiful - inside and out. It is a rich community filled with beautiful souls and is quite beautiful in its diversity as well.
They're great because we worship together, and let me tell you, this Montpellier community knows how to worship. There is a song I love so much because of the amount of joy it evokes in the community - people come to the isles and dance and raise their hands. There are usually two guitars going, a very talented keyboard player, the saxophone, and the drums. They praise God with everything they have and are.
They're great because we eat together! Every first Sunday of the month is potluck. And the other Sundays we are a part of a lunch rotation that meets at different peoples' homes, and we LOVE these times!! Usually it is a more traditional French meal, with courses, all of us sitting around the table having great conversation and laughter. Then there is a time of rest after the dessert and cafe, where some actually sleep on the couch, some knit, or some choose to play games together. After these lunches, we don't get home until around 6 or 7 p.m. It's a full day of friendship, great food and fellowship.
They're great because of Didier's teaching. We are understanding more and more of the services, and LOVE how Didier preaches - he's very organized, with bullet points, and often uses acronyms. Didier says the French love these. Right now he's teaching on how this community can grow, and is using S.E.E.M: Servir (Serving), Eglise (church-service and community), Etude (studying the word together), Modele (mentoring). Yesterday, we talked about "Etude", and reasons for education within the church, which is such a need because many new Christians in France are learning/reading the bible for the first time.
They have great bulletins!!! I'm not joking - they're awesome. Not only are they awesome for our French learning, because they're filled with such rich vocabulary and syntax, but they are filled with such important content! This week some was about how Christians are being killed in a village in Nigeria, and another week it was about forced marriages between people of Islam faith and Christian faith - these are important because it brings global awareness to what is impacting Christians everywhere in the world, not just in this community. There is a section of quotes - and this week one from Corrie ten Boom (me translating the French into English): "If you look to the world, you will be disappointed. If you look in yourself, you will be depressed. If you look to Jesus Christ, you are received and restored."
Beginning of the Week
And they're also great because they represent the beginning of the week. And this week we balance school, studies, meet with language partners, and French friends for dinner, AND we're excited to meet with a lady from the church about our plans and prayer for the Coffee Shop activities that we'll be starting this Fall at the Montpellier Church!!!!
Thank you God for Sundays - a day that is filled with such richness and thank you for the ability to worship YOU together with this beautiful community! Thank you for a brand new day, a brand new week, where we will seek you and ask you to guide our steps.