I mean, how would you feel if you woke up and a stranger was screaming bad French at you?
I have to share this amazing testimony and praise report!
To set the stage: yesterday we took the boys to a popular ski destination about an hour away so they could ski for the first time. They both loved it and really took to it pretty naturally. I was wearing ski pants which don't have the normal pocket for my wallet.
As we were about to get in the car to leave, I felt around in my pockets and then had that sinking pit-of-your-stomach feeling when I realized that I couldn't find my wallet! I flipped into panic mode. Immediately, the Lord provided a blessing as we ran into some friends of ours from our language school. Imagine, I probably know fewer than 50 people in all of France, and what are the chances I would run into one of them in our hour of need in the middle of a busy ski resort in the Alps? They prayed with me and loaned me some money so I could buy the kids a snack while I retraced all my steps from that day.
I wandered all over the mountain and reported the incident to the local authorities. The cynical part of me thought "Why bother?" About two hours later, with no luck, we finally left. We talked about it with the boys in the car on the way home, and we all prayed that God would help us find the wallet. Zeke even thanked God in advance in his prayer for returning it. I felt my faith being lifted by my boys prayers and the expression of their faith, which is and should always be child-like.
This morning, I went to my local bank and reported the loss and ordered a new bank card. When I got home, I saw a new facebook message from someone that I do not know. He must have tried to translate a message into English: "Hello, I work in bus transport on a conductive Albertville my report card with a door driving license, credit cards."
My first thought was that this was a Google Translate disaster, and also about how awful I must sound as I try to speak French here everyday, but I was intrigued by the mention of the driving license and credit cards. I replied back, in French, and asked if he found my wallet. "Oui."
Fist-pump! I couldn't believe it! How unlikely that it would turn up at all, much less that it made its way back to Albertville? I met him a few minutes later and he explained how a bus driver found the wallet in the parking lot and looked inside for information. My drivers license is from Missouri, so no help there, but there was a business card for a coiffeur (barber) here in Albertville. They called my barber, who remembered me and confirmed this was a current address, and they sent the wallet back to Albertville and then looked me up on Facebook! In less than 24 hours, God had miraculously and perfectly resolved this crisis. It was great to share this good news with the boys as well, so we could see how God answers prayer. I hope it is uplifting and encouraging to you today as well.
Each morning one of the students in our language school leads a devotional. These are done in French, and is a way to encourage each other as we study French and also to practice speaking and understanding the language. There are many students who have been here for almost a year already, and they were initially the ones leading the devotions. Now the classes who have recently arrived are beginning to lead them. Last week, it was Julie's turn. She gave the devotion in front of the entire school, in French.
In the video, she tells a story about an old pair of Liam's shoes that we brought with us, but which were beginning to wear out. She bought him a nice pair of new red shoes, but the problem is, they have laces, and Liam had not yet learned how to tie his shoes. While he wanted the new shoes, he didn't think he could learn this new skill and was more comfortable holding on to his old shoes, even though they were too small, had holes in them, and just weren't working properly anymore. She sat down with him and practiced over and over until finally he figured it out. It was frustrating at first, but with perseverance now he can tie his own shoes!
She related this experience to learning French, and how even though we want to speak this new language, it is difficult, and often times it is just easier and more comfortable to revert to speaking English. But there are "new red shoes" waiting for us to wear if we have the persistence to learn how to tie them.
What is life like in France?