With a Frenchman hot on my tail, I approach yet another traffic circle and flip my left turn signal on even though I am about to make an obvious right turn into the multi-lane whirlwind of traffic already whipping around inside. I successfully get in the circle and make my way towards the exit on the other side where I quickly hit my right turn signal to let everyone know that I want to get out of this merry-go-round of terror. Immediately before exiting, somehow, I get passed both on the left and the rightand then cut off by someone who apparently needs to get somewhere faster than I do. No worries . . . I’m still alive and back on a normal two lane road. Surely none of this should have caught me by surprise because before all of these round intersections of anywhere between 3 and 7+ roads are signs that read: “VOUS N’AVEZ PAS LA PRIORITÉ” (YOU DO NOT HAVE THE PRIORITY).
Another year has ended and a new one has begun. We spent some time reflecting on what God has done for us over this past year (so many amazing things!) and reminding ourselves of our goals for this first year in Grenoble, France:
1. Missionaries in training –We want to spend time with as many “laborers” as possible here to learn from their years of experience as we continue to follow God’s leading.
2. Helping with the FEU (foyer évangélique universitaire) –We are here to be involved in the practical (hospitality, general upkeep and maintenance) and spiritual (outreach, Bible studies and discipleship) side of this greatly needed international student ministry.
3. Language acquisition –Practically speaking, this is high priority right now with David spending 20 hours per week at one of the nearby universities and Rachel spending 10 hours per week between a private tutor (another CMML missionary) and Alliance Française. Please continue praying for us in these areas!
This was our first Christmas and New Year away from home, family and many friends, but thankfully technology enabled us to stay in touch with everyone and we were able to spend a good amount of time with some of our new friends here. The FEU hosted a student organized Christmas party where the gospel was clearly explained to all in attendance and then a few days later the FEU staff served a formal Christmas dinner where a guest speaker shared even more from God’s Word. On Christmas day, the ICG (International Church of Grenoble) hosted a potluck dinner for international students who did not get to go home over the two week break. In addition to all of the delicious food everyone brought, Rachel made a number of delicious pizzas and quiches. We sung some traditional Christmas carols in Chinese, English, French and Spanish and then played a few large group games. A few days later, some of our friends came over and cooked an amazing authentic Indian meal for us.Since then, we have been getting back into the regular swing of things here at the FEU with breakfasts, dinners and Bible studies spread throughout the week.
Last Saturday we planned a FEU cleaning day and were able to clean out and organize a few rooms in the basement and the entire kitchen area followed by a lunch for all the volunteers. This upcoming weekend, some of the students are planning a last minute ski trip as plans for a more involved weekend retreat later this month fell through. Please continue praying for all of these events –that hearts would be touched and that lives would be transformed by the Great News!
As we run around between classes, errands and FEU events, I have to continue reminding myself that I do not have the priority. This is true, not just in the traffic circle, the grocery store line, or the tire shop, but also, it must be true in my heart (which is especially difficult as a “live free or die” American). Daily, I need to lay aside my ambitions, my desires, and my objectives for what God has planned.
As with all believers, God is in the process of forming me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. He has the very best way for me to live already figured out. If I’m honest, many times it is not the way I think is best and I stubbornly refuse to submit my will to His. Invariably, this causes pain and frustration and eventually I look back and see that His way WAS clearly the best way.
Whether it’s learning to navigate all the nuances of a different culture, or in submitting my will to my Creator and Sustainer, the best thing I can do is acknowledge that I do not have the priority.
David et Rachel
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3 & 4 ESV)