Three Road trips, three very different reasons. That wasn’t the only story, but it was a big part of our week.
I’ll work my way up to it. But first, let me tell you about our afternoon in the…
Given the overall lack of rain since our return to France, one of the things we’ve not yet had to do was mow the lawn. On one hand it’s a blessing in disguise because it frees us op to concentrate on other little tasks.
I must admit, it’s kind of cool to be able to say that cleaning up the garden beds involves harvesting lavender.
The lavender was past its prime and the two topiary, ornamental crab-apple trees were a bit overgrown so we spent a bit of time on the weekend cleaning it all up in preparation for fall.
Rather than simply discard the lavender, while Soph & Dominic trimmed, Timo cleaned the stems. Once each plant was trimmed back they all cleaned stems. There were complaints to the tune of “I never want to smell lavender again!“ but if you could’ve heard them going on, you’d know that they managed to have fun doing it.
Roadtrip #1 – Angers
This destination is not new and will be a weekly trip as it’s one of the schools I teach English at. We do not have enough monthly financial partners to fully sustain our mission work here, so rather than up-end the family (disrupting life and incurring significant moving costs associated with relocation), I’ve again sought out a few teaching opportunities. It means a bit less time completely dedicated to ministry, but in the long run it allows us to continue assisting in a city where there’s no other minister able to step in.
We thank the Lord that these doors have opened up and consider it his way of helping meet the need in the short-term.
Roadtrip #2 – Marseille
This was a biggie.
Around noon, on Monday, we got confirmation that both Liz & I needed to be Marseille for a 10:00am appointment the following morning.
I arrived home from Angers mid-afternoon (Monday) and had just enough time to pull together and overnight bag, grab a BIG coffee for the road and get back in the car for the 850km (530 mile) trip.
Liz & I had to present ourselves at the Italian Consulate in Marseille to finalize the process of me becoming an Italian citizen. The last step was a swearing-in ceremony performed by the Consul General.
There is a bit of back-end paperwork to be completed between consulates & the government but I’m officially Italian.
The value in having obtained European citizenship (I didn’t have to renounce my Canadian citizenship… I’m henceforth a dual citizen) is that it will facilitate visa & residency considerations during out time here.
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
Tuesday morning, our consular appointment was done by 11:00 o’clock and by noon we were back on the road (for another 850km / 530 miles).
About an hour into the drive we saw an exit for the city of Avignon and decided to stop to see the famous bridge (remember the song… “Sur le pont, d’Avignon, l’on y danse, l’on y danse…”).
Avignon is also known for the Papal Palace.
Between 1309 and 1377, the papacy moved from Rome to Avignon and the Roman Catholic church was directed from this city. Between 1377 and 1403 there was a resistance papacy that rivaled church leadership in Rome but it was eventually quashed, leaving Rome as the center of the papacy as we know it today.
The downtown was awash with the smells of lavender and herbes de provence as both are harvested in the area.
Back to School
The one drawback to our appointment on Tuesday was that it meant we’d have to miss the kids first day back to school.
That wasn’t so bad for Timo & Dominic who were both going back to something familiar, but we were disheartened that we couldn’t be there for Sophie who would be facing something entirely new.
They got off to school alright in the morning (many phone calls were made) and they even sent a back-to-school selfie as they went out the door around 6:30.
The day went well enough for the boys but Soph’s first day was overwhelming. All in all, each of the kids have expressed a feeling of being overwhelmed by one thing or another this week. That’s been something new for them.
They’ll get through it, but please keep them in your prayers… particularly Soph who is in a whole new world.
Roadtrip #3 – Melun
The third and final roadtrip of the week began last night when I headed back up to Melun for the first weekend of the new Bible School year, which begins today. I’ll be back home later today, Lord willing, and ready for great church tomorrow.
For now though…. I’m off to teach Romans!
Thank you for your prayers,
God bless you this week!