In February 2011 I realized God was giving me an assignment: to go to France - He had given me a passion and a heart for the country and He wanted me to go there to bless the French people and to help build His Kingdom. This revelation took a long time to really work its way into my heart and even longer for me to accept it for my life.
In June 2011 God miraculously opened the way for me to go to France to spend a year of my life (my gap year). So in September 2011 I left Wales, the only home I had ever known and set out full of doubt, fear, excitement and anticipation, ready to live out the adventure God was calling me to embark on with Him.
This blog is an accurate and detailed account of that incredible adventure which I hope will inspire and encourage you and help you to understand the adventure God has called us ALL on.
"I say this because I know what I am planning for you,"says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future." Jeremiah 29:11
August 2nd 2012
So after my stay in the South I made the long and treacherous journey across France to Brittany, by train, lugging about 45kg of luggage behind me. I set out at 11 o'clock from Toulon - luckily my pastor was kind enough to escort me to the train or I might have had some difficulty battling my way down the stairs and up the escalator. When I got on the train I felt I was about to re-live the unpleasant memories of my first train journey in France all those months ago and that’s more or less what happened. Only this time it was worse. I braced myself for the hour journey to Marseille, standing up, wedged between the luggage. It would seem that as much France prides itself on efficient and punctual public transport, they ... read more
July 29th 2012
My long-awaited departure from Alsace took place last Wednesday (July 18th) at 16:00 to be exact. Saying good-bye to the family was as I expected: difficult, sad and surreal – it was one of those moments which you prepare for and think about for so long that when it finally happens, it almost doesn’t feel real. And I wish it hadn’t been real. I wish I hadn’t had to look at Gabriel, thinking that I’d never see him again as he is now; I wish I hadn’t had to hug each child one-by-one as they came to thank me for their goodbye present, thinking that I wouldn’t see them again for such a long time; and I wish I hadn’t had to say to Raphael, looking into his large hazel brown eyes that I was leaving. ... read more
July 15th 2012
And so the exciting, busy and intensive week of Bouge Ta Ville began - to explain simply, it's a week where about 200 young people get together every two years to transform and manifest the glory of God to their city. The concept began in Mulhouse, the city where I was doing it last week and is beginning to spread to other cities across France which is VERY exciting.... It all kicked off on Saturday afternoon at a huge church of around 2000 people in Mulhouse. I was relieved and excited to hear other English speakers when we arrived at the welcome part (I had been worried that I'd be the only English speaker and that I might not understand or be able to participate in everything.) I had put my name down to work with ... read more
July 5th 2012
It felt like just any other Friday at the end of a long and tiring week, only this time, I didn't have lessons in the morning and I'd been called in to help the Maternelle ALL DAY. Imagine my excitement. Ok, so it wasn't that bad and it was my last day working at the school and there was quite an exciting and buzzing atmosphere as preparations for the school party got underway. The school party was, I'd understood to be a much anticipated event of the school year and high expectations were built up around it as well as great pressure. I looked forward to it with excitement but also sceptisim, wondering if it would be all that it was hyped up to be. Like I said, my day with la maternelle just felt like ... read more
June 18th 2012
Only two weeks left of school but I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I think my announcement yesterday that I only have one month left here in Alsace quite shocked Laetitia, hitting her (and me) with a realization of how quickly the time has gone. Last Friday I had my last lesson with the 4eme - I allowed them to bring crisps and sweets to snack on during the lesson but I felt a bit sheepish when the President of the school board walked through the class on his way to the office, wishing us a 'Bon Appetit' - I hope he doesn't think we stuff our faces like that every lesson! Sometimes when I stop long enough to think about it, it shocks me to think that this life which I've become so ... read more
June 15th 2012
It's crazy to think that when I began this year, I was bored out of my mind but now my weeks are jam-packed with things to do:lessons to prepare and teach,people to meet,social activities to enjoy etc! I just thank God that it wasn't like this from the very beginning - I've had nearly a month of it and I'm exhausted and more than ready for a holiday! God really couldn't have allowed things to happen better and I smile to myself, knowing that He knew how busy I would be by the end of the year and how much I would need a holiday, despite my idea to begin with to have more of a 'working holiday'. I thought it would be time-wasting to spend a couple of weeks of my summer break sitting on ... read more
June 8th 2012
After neglecting my blogging duties for a few weeks (mostly out of lack of time and the fact that nothing particulary exciting has happened), I have finally decided to put fingers to keyboard again in order to bring you up-to-date. The Saturday before last I was feeling particulary brave and adventerous and sensing that another dull weekend at home might drive me crazy, I decided to take a trip to the distant, exotic land which is not Alsace - Belfort. Why might you ask did I choose to take the trip alone? For one thing, there was no one around to come with me and secondly, it can be quite fun sometimes and I'm not one to miss out on doing things, just because I can't find anyone to do it with me. So the adventure ... read more
May 25th 2012
It has been another ordinary and pleasant week but I fear that if I go into all the details I will bore you dear readers, so I will do my best to include only the 'interesting' stuff. After holidays and bank holidays (they seem to have a lot in France) I have finally managed to have a full 'working week'; that is to say both my Monday and Friday classes. And life with children is rarely dull, as I have been reminded this week; challenging and amusing, yes but NEVER dull. It is Monday afternoon and I am on sieste duty with the little ones as usual: I have four 4-5 year old boys to manage - Florian, Joas, Elian and Josias. We start by making a trip to the toilet (I tend to leave them ... read more
May 14th 2012
On Saturday I was delighted to have the opportunity to take part in The March for Jesus in Strasbourg - the perfect place to pray for the nations of Europe! And there was certainly a very European theme - at the end of the march we were even given the honour of having a meeting in the European Council - this Europe theme really spoke to me of the plans God has for me concerning Europe (not just France!) We (I went with a surprisingly small group of people from church - I was surprised that more people hadn't wanted to take part - for me the idea of marching through the European capital, praying and worshiping God was just SO exciting!!) began the march next to the European Council and not far from the European ... read more
May 9th 2012
My day of freedom finally came on Friday when as scheduled, I went over to Colmar to see Daniele, the English teacher from school. Her holidays had been worse spent than mine and she was clearly full of bitterness, hurt and sadness, making conversation with her sometimes difficult and I found myself constantly praying for protection around myself against the negativity emanating from her. I began to think that perhaps it had been a mistake to do something with her, getting the impression that she wasn't really in the mood to enjoy herself. But God puts certain people in our path for a reason, right? We headed off from Colmar to a small picteresque town called Riquewihr. On the way we stopped at a war memorial for the Allied Forces which acts as a great look-out ... read more