The last few months have certainly been full of adventures as my wife and I left our home and church family in New York, packed up all our belongings, and flew with our dog overseas to begin a new life in Paris. I have much to write about in the weeks to come about leaving our beloved family, friends, and students back home, but want to write a brief update since our arrival in Paris only 6 days ago.
All of our fears and anxieties dissipated upon arrival in Paris. Our gracious God proved himself (once again) to be faithful to his promises. The three of us arrived safe and sound with all luggage in hand to a warm and welcoming community in Paris. Our new church home, the American Church in Paris showered us with grace, love, support, and provisions from the moment we landed in Charles de Gaulle airport.
An newly renovated apartment fully furnished and with a fully stocked fridge greeted us at 65 quai d’ Orsay.
The entire pastoral staff and church staff have been extremely kind and gracious with their time and efforts in helping us adjust to a new life and ministry. Shortly after we unpacked and made our new place “home”, I was introduced the following morning at all three worship services (Communion, Traditional, and Contemporary) and the round of applause was simply overwhelming. The church had been faithful and committed to pray for us since day 1, through the difficult process of saying good-byes, the more difficult process of obtaining our visas, and our arrival to Paris.
That afternoon we had our first youth group and were once again overwhelmed by the love and support. On Tuesday we lead the young adult community here at ACP and were amazed at the rich diversity of the gathering. Over 15 different countries and nationalities were represented including (but not limited to) Pakistan, Canada, Philippines, Romania, New Zealand, Cameroon, China, Bangladesh, Jamaica, and many more. There is beauty in eclectic and ecumenical settings, especially when Christ is the center of the community!
During our first week, ACP held a VBS program each morning for the younger children and a “Young Artists” week for the older students. I participated in this great program, lead by Scottish artist Peter Chalmers.
The collective group project was to brainstorm, script, film, and edit a movie. The artistic and creative expressions of these students was a sight to behold. I feel extremely blessed to have the unique opportunity of working with these international students as part of the youth group here at ACP.
On a personal side, my wife and I have loved every minute of exploring the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris! Self-guided walking tours, navigating the Metro and bus systems, buying groceries at the local markets and specialty shops, 4-5 hour dinners at newly acquired friends homes, and enjoying the culinary delights in our local arrondissement’s numerous cafes, brasseries, and bistros have certainly kept us busy this week.
We are excited to continue to meet new people, learn the language and customs, and dream about life and ministry here in Paris. We truly thank God for such an amazing church community such as ACP and look forward to what God has ahead for the youth and young adult ministry at our church and the greater Paris community.