Sunday, May 11, 2014

Friends and France

       I know it has been a long time since I blogged. My life here in France gets so loaded with studying that I don't have time for everything I want to do. But the last two weeks I have been on a break from school, and God has refreshed my spirit, mind and body with friends. The first week of my break, I did some studying, but was also able to meet my dear friend, Mathilde Mendez, in Chambery for a day. She was here visiting her family, and I took the bus over to meet her. What a fund day of shopping, visiting and catching up, and lots of eating! Her sister makes a mean Tartiflette! (potatoes, onions, ham and tons of Reblechon cheese) Oh my, the pants were tight after that meal. What a blessing Mathilde has been to me! She helped me get started on my French studies before I left in December. But mostly she shared herself with me! I so appreciate her!
      Then on Thursday, I picked up my rental car, and was able to go to Grenoble to visit with my friends that I met last summer at MTI (Missionary training international). They are here learning French also. Their baby was born with Hirshsprung's disease and they have been at the Ronald McDonald house since He was born, waiting for biopsies and surgery. I was also able to take a sweet young couple from my class that have a darling little boy who just celebrated his first birthday. We all had such a nice day together, fellowshipping, walking, and taking the cable cars in Grenoble to the top of the Bastille. By the way, little Samuel had his surgery on Friday, and they were able to remove the diseased part of his bowel. Please continue to pray for Danny and Mandy, and for Samuel's continued healing and health so that his parents can continue on to Africa to serve the Lord.
       Friday night I picked up my two best buddies from Riverside (Bev and Cris) from the Geneva airport. I just dropped this back off this morning at 5am (too early!). We had 8 full days of fun, sightseeing and fellowship. I can't believe how much we packed into those 8 days! We saw several sites close to Albertville (Annecy, Beaufortain, Miolans castle, Fort Tamie, The abbey of Tamie). We also saw Lyon, Paris, and went the last day to Turin, Italy. I have posted some of our pictures on Facebook, so hope you take a look. I really enjoyed sharing France with them. It is an amazing country with such wonders! The region I live in is unbelievably beautiful this time of year. There is still snow on the mountains, the hills are very lush and green, and flowers are blooming everywhere. I think that Bev and Cris fell in love with France as I have. It is definitely leaving a lasting impression on my heart, and I believe it did to theirs' also. Paris was unbelievable! There is so much to see, that we barely scratched the surface in three days, but we tried to see as much as possible; Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, the Orsay Museum, the Louvre, the Eiffel tower, a river boat cruise on the Seine, and the L'Orangerie Museum. We also ate in a lot of great restaurants, walked through gardens and did a little shopping. Overall, a once in a lifetime experience.
     As I dropped them off this morning, I realized that I am not alone, even though I am far from friends and family. First, and most important, God is my faithful and loving companion. He never leaves me. Being alone here in France has deepened my relationship with Him, and my dependence on Him. As my friends shared their lives, and what is happening with my friends at church in Riverside, I felt so close to everyone. I loved the updates, and now know better how to pray for those people that I love so dearly. And thankful for all their prayers for me! Today is Mother's Day, and even though I am missing my kids and grandkids I will get to Skype with each of them later today. I am their mother and they are my kids, no matter how far apart we are. I am ever thankful for their love, support, and help! And God has blessed me with great friends here. Just this morning, my sweet friend, Christy, left flowers and a Mother's Day card at my door. And now, I am crying, just feeling blessed and loved, rested and refreshed by the Lord and my friends. Thanks, Bev and Cris for traveling a long way to visit me. Love you!
      And so tomorrow, it's back to language learning. I'm thankful that some parts are coming so much better, but the speaking part is still a challenge. Please continue to pray for this to start clicking better. Until next time, Love, Sandie

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