Wednesday, May 30, 2012

8 Months and Counting....

Only one month left. Well, three and a half weeks really. This is probably the part where I'm supposed to say 'I can't believe how fast the time went!', but I really can't say that completely truthfully. Sometimes it felt like the days passed quickly, but mostly it felt like the weeks were crawling by and I was just surviving from moment to moment. Nevertheless, things are consistently getting easier. I can leave my house without worrying about what unforeseen dilemma might come up. And believe me you, there used to always be unforeseen dilemmas.

Yesterday whilst speeding through the French countryside, I had a sudden revelation. We were racing down the highway weaving in between traffic, windows rolled down, fresh air whipping through my hair, slowing down only to wind through the narrow lanes in the little towns with the tiny stone houses and bright shutters on the windows.... It was a beautiful day and I was soaking up every last drop of the moment when the revelation hit.

I'm going to miss this.

 I'll miss all the friends I've made here. I'll miss all the adorably small houses, and how the French make such a big deal out of every single meal they eat, and how we can walk two minutes to get to the local Boulangerie for a baguette and a pain au chocolate. I'll even miss the kiss on each cheek that is an obligatory hello and goodbye for every person in the room.

I'm often tempted to look back on the last eight months and evaluate them to see if they were 'successful' or not. I've come to discover that it's not a helpful exercise. I look back and ask myself, "how many people did I tell about Jesus?" or "how many lives did I change?" or even "what kind of a difference did I make?" In reality, I should be asking myself questions more along the lines of, "Did I obey Him?" "Did I find Him as the only answer to my every problem?" "Did I learn to love Him more?" "Did I seek Him?" "Did I fully enjoy every single blessing He sent my way?"

Do you see the difference? I'm tempted to evaluate my life based on me, what I'm doing, what I'm accomplishing, how I'm living.... when it's all about Him. What is He doing in me and in those around me? Do I seek Him? What has He done in my life? What has He taught me? What was His plan for me? I always want to make my life all about me, but my life is so very much better when it's all about Him. Everything just... works, and a happy Kelsey goes to bed at night.

When I look back on the last eight months of my life, it's so evident how God has held my hand and guided me every step of the way. There were hundreds of times He helped me through situations I was anxious about, times when He fixed the problems I couldn't solve myself, when He was a listening ear and a friend when it felt like I couldn't properly explain myself to anyone. When I think of who He is for me, what He's done for me, on a day-to-day basis and in light of eternity, I realize that there's no way I could possibly survive without Him. If not for His comforting and guiding hand, I would have had a breakdown here in France. I would have called it quits months ago and packed my bags and gone home. I would be a mess. And as I realize this, I think of the millions of people here who are still living without Him. I think of the hurting, lost, confused, purpose-less people, and I can't help but feel that they need a Friend like mine.

I felt that way before I even came to France. My heart ached for those who don't know Him. Only now I have names and faces to ache for. It's become so much more personal for me, and it makes me sad to leave in a few weeks knowing that so many of my friends still don't know Him. And at the same time, I've also learned that it's not all about me. He's the One that does the work, and He can do it whether I'm in France or not. Isn't that wonderful?

As my time here in France is oh so slowly drawing to a close, that bittersweet taste in my mouth is stronger than ever. I'm so very anxious to return home, to a culture and a language that is familiar. But one can't spend nine months in a country without being changed by it. I'll always have a bit of France in me wherever I go now, and a bit of my heart will always stay here. I guess that's just how things work in life.

C'est la vie.

Monday, May 7, 2012


"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

A couple weeks ago I went to a conference in Dublin on discipleship multiplication. It was fantastic. There were quite a few different GEM missionaries, and they even brought along national partners!

Arnaud, a French pastor, me, and Cyril, a French believer

Talking to missionaries and other believers and hearing about the work that the Lord is doing in their different areas will never cease to be one of my favorite things.

We talked a lot about church planting and discipleship and evangelism and at the end of every session my brain felt numb from taking in so much thought-provoking material.

They taught us about a lot of different things that I couldn't possibly explain in one blog post, but I still found myself coming back to this one verse over and over again. 

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.

Kelsey, don't wait for disciples to come to you, go and find them. Kelsey, don't wait until people ask you about Me, go and tell them first. Kelsey, go and teach people about Me, tell them what I've done for you. Kelsey, go. 

Go and make disciples. Believe it or not, it's still sort of sinking in.

Added bonus to the conference? Doing Irish things like eating fish and chips and taking pictures with guys dressed up as Vikings-- something that all Irish people do, I assure you.

After the conference was over, I stayed a couple extra days to hang out with Linda and see more of Ireland. I really love that country. It's pretty spectacular, and so complete opposite of New Mexico in so many ways that I don't know what to marvel over first.

An old friend of mine from Bible school in England joined us for a day too. Not that Richard is old. Or from England. He's from Northern Ireland, and he's not that old. Nevermind. Hi, Richard.


To my utter surprise and delight, coming back to France started to feel a little bit like coming home. It's taken me a really long time to start to feel settled here, but it's finally happening. Too bad I'm leaving in two months!