It seems like a lifetime ago that we flew to France as a family to explore our calling and see if that’s where God would have us serve. This picture was taken at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. The kids did really well when we traveled, though they were all very tired. They were 10, 7, and 5.
A year later, we flew again, this time with our cat in tow and ten pieces of luggage. We spent a week at our staff conference (again, with the kitty), then drove to Southern France. We slept on cots and mattresses that people let us borrow. For a time we had no fridge. In a flash, France absorbed us. We had to learn how to shop, how to get things like bus passes and schooling and electric bills and drivers licenses. We had to navigate healthcare, as I spent the first two months with an undiagnosed illness. We had friends in who helped us with the kids during the transition. And we had many, many guests.
We got to know our team, started dreaming about the church we’d plant. Within three weeks, our kids were in school. I will never forget how it felt to drop them off. Excruciating. Alarming. All three were nervous and edgy, and tears came easily.
But we faced our time in France with hope. Little did we know that so much would fall apart in a very short time, and continue to haunt us throughout our 2 1/2 years there. Even so, as I look back on it, I’m so proud of my kids. They were brave. They were (and are) my heroes. They endured so much. If I could give them a standing ovation, I would. They showed me what it meant to suffer gracefully.