Without even realizing it, we hit our 2-year anniversary in France a week ago. So needless to say, we didn’t celebrate because we forgot. But it still warrants some reflection. 2 years… In a foreign country. Ryan still hasn’t set foot back on American soil, I did have a little visit for my Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration back in February. But it was brief, and I didn’t go home to Ohio or Massachusetts, so I don’t know if it hit me in the same way returning there would.
Even though France is still a foreign country, I have to say it is feeling less and less foreign. We are used to our surroundings, used to walking everywhere, used to hearing everyone speaking in French, and even used to speaking French ourselves. We have learned so well French “politesse” (the rules of politeness), that even we sometimes unconsciously get offended when people don’t act politely to us (in the French way). For far too long, I avoided shopping at the market, because let’s face it, it’s way easier going inside a grocery store and picking things off the shelf without having to articulate what I want in French, but I realized this summer that I’m not afraid of the market anymore and I went several times. We read French books now, mostly books at an adolescent level, but a year ago, that would have seemed impossible. Subtle shifts like this are markers of how we’re adapting to French culture and our life here.
One of the strangest things about the 2-year mark, however, is our evaluation of our overall progress. Because even though we have made much progress in many ways, we are just beginning to be able to work on what we came here to do, start new churches, and it will still take much time and commitment before we feel effective at it.
So it’s a mixed bag, really encouraging some days and really discouraging other days. But we still feel just as incredibly privileged to be able to serve the Lord in France today as we did on day 1. It is something we thank God for each day.