By the way, for those who read our blog post about our "theological" flower, it bloomed, and it did not disappoint. Every day, its life was a reminder to us of how God is the life-giver and creates flowers out of nothing but a heap of dust.
While we are so thankful for our church community, who has embraced and loved us, and been very patient with us as we learn French. We have also been eager to build relationships outside of the church, which at times we've felt limited in because of the language barrier.
BUT, God has worked despite of this and has opened many doors. We're blessed with a great friendship of our French neighbors and friends at our "pavillon", where we really feel a connection. It's been great to feel our conversations move to a deeper level, and JJ really does love playing with their son, Clement.
And we've been building relationships with people in the community just by frequenting their establishments and striking up conversation. We've had really great conversations with the owners of the English bookstore we frequent, one of which is French and the other is Dutch. It has been a little bit easier to connect there b/c they both speak English with us! ;) But, they are very encouraging of the cafe project with our church. And for those who know me (Betsy) well, you'll know that I was extremely excited to hear that he plays American football and has started a co-ed flag-football team - AND is starting an all women's team next year! Praise God - something active that I'm passionate about, and a chance to meet a bunch of new people. And American football in France? That is pretty unusual.
But, yesterday two really cool things happened regarding relationships.
We brought JJ to his first birthday party yesterday. We were very excited to attend it as well, but when we arrived we noticed no parents were there. So, we asked the mom if the party was only for kids, and she said yes but that we were welcome to have appetizers when we picked him up. So, we showed up at 6 p.m. to a very happy and sweaty JJ and were invited in to the home to eat ice cream. We find that the French hospitality is truly a gift, one that we try to offer to our French friends as often as we can. So, we then sat around the table and met the other parents. It was such a blessing to be able to connect with 3 other parents at JJ's school. Two of which we had the opportunity to share our project with because they asked us why we are living here in France. Explaining it in French is getting easier. One of the women said she goes to a Reformed church outside of Montpellier and asked me how our Protestant church was any different. It was a great time of getting to know each other and now we can say more than "bonjour" when we see each other at school.
My Artist Friend
Ever since meeting our first landlords in France, I felt a connection with the wife. I just love her spirit. She is also an artist, and before we left invited me down to where her art was and asked if I wanted to pick one out. I was able to have conversation with her then about her art, even in my broken French, about her use of "light" in her art work and why she chose to use certain images. Since then, I've been wanting to call her and connect, and get together for weekly conversation and see if she would teach me how to create the type of art she does. One day, many months ago, I was supposed to go over there, and it didn't work out, and then I lost my nerve to call her. Until very recently, she was on my heart and mind again and felt like God was saying to connect with her. And then yesterday, as Dave and I were walking around "centre-ville" taking videos for our site, I saw her. It was so unexpected, we happened upon an art exhibit of sorts, and there she was. I explained that I had been thinking about her and wanted to know if we could get together, and she gave me her phone number ! Thank you God for working in ways we could never expect.