Sunday, January 31, 2010

Deux Mieux en Mieux

This weekend was the Hendrix marriage seminar “Deux Mieux en Mieux” (Two better and better). It was the tenth time they had given the seminar, but the first time they had actually done it here in Lyon. Many members (both single and married) of the Eglise du Christ and also the Eglise Chretienne came. The seminar is very similar to Marriage Matters by Jerry and Lynn Jones, but it has been translated, adapted to the Hendrixes’ style, and adapted to fit with French culture. It was funny and also very practical. I understood almost everything, and Doug was able to follow along pretty well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Discouraged (brace yourself, this one is long)

"Intimacy with another country is ripened by pleasures but also by loneliness and error... it is nurtured through long wet winters as well as radiant days."
-Shirley Hazzard, "Italian Hours"

January has been a month of discouragement. We have had our fair share of loneliness, error... and it sure does seem like a long, wet winter.

It began with our long trip back to France on December 26th... once again leaving family, friends, familiarity... not to mention sunshine.

The weather is discouraging... cold, gray, sunless skies... short days... rain, freezing rain, snow.

Transportation has been an issue for us this month with the snow, train line work, and strikes. We have a long and tiring commute.

With our contracts ending in April, we are beginning to feel very weighed down with the decisions we must make... do we extend? Do we renew? What if we can't find jobs in the US? What if Doug doesn't get into a PhD program? Where will we live?

But above all, the heaviest burden has been the sudden changes in our current living situation. Once school resumed, our "once a week roommate" started to show up unexpectedly at different times of day. It has been unsettling to not know when someone might pop in... including her parents (our landlady and her husband) who dropped by a few weeks ago and informed us that rather than their daughter staying once a week, their son would begin staying at the apartment at the beginning of February... not once a week, but permanently. Which means we can no longer use the "living room" area of the apartment because that will be his room. We will also not be able to use the coat closet (where we also store our luggage), because that is also in the living room. We also found out that he is a smoker. This was obviously NOT in our lease, and we have been very disappointed, but we also want to try to preserve the Hendrixes relationship with our landlady and family, especially since they are not (yet) Christians.

So the apartment search began... but it is not really the time of year to be looking for apartments as most are filled for the school year... and we got more scam responses than anything else. Otherwise the apartments were too small, too expensive, or too far.

From the beginning of our own little "housing crisis," the Hendrixes were so very generous to open their home to us. We feel like God is leading us in this direction (by pretty much shutting every other door!), so, we made the decision today to take them up on their offer. Sometime next week, we will be moving in. Not only will it save us from sharing an apartment with a smoking stranger, but it also makes sense because we will be gone for 2 weeks in February for winter break, and they will be gone for nearly 2 months in Guadeloupe and the US... they will have someone watching their house while they are gone, and we will save several months of rent.

So, our new address will be:
9, rue Paul Gauguin

In all of our discouragement this month we have really enjoyed "escaping" in our travel to Alsace and Belgium. The Bundys were so good to us last weekend and our spirits were very lifted spending time with them.

Looking forward to more travel and praying for "radiant days" ahead!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brussels, Ghent, and Paris

Our trip began Thursday evening with a train ride to Paris. We got to Paris late and left Friday morning, so we stayed at a hotel near the train stations. We have had great experiences in the past with Rick Steves recommended hotels (Hotel le Bayeux, Hotel Turenne, Hotel du Champ de Mars, Bed and Breakfast Arles, etc.), but not this one! Never again will we stay at the Sully Hotel! Our room had wallpaper peeling off the walls, questionable bedspreads, a big stain on the floor, holes in the bathroom walls, and mold in the shower. YUCK! We actually left earlier than we needed to Friday morning just to get out of there! Rick Steves might be getting a letter from me… who knows, maybe management changed since his last book?

Getting ready to leave!
(trust me, it was worse than it looks in the picture)

Our short train ride to Brussels flew by and before we knew it we were there and meeting up with DeeDee. It was a beautiful day in Brussels! We did the Rick Steves Grand Place walking tour and Upper Town walking tour. Here are a few of the highlights:

St. Michael's Cathedral
Notre Dame du Sablon Church
Place du Petit Sablon
Tour d'Angle, part of the 13th century city wall
it is evidently good luck to rub this statue of a former mayor (who, by the way, in 1356 bravely refused to surrender the keys of the city to invaders, and so was tortured and killed)

Friday night we had dinner in the Bundys’ beautiful home. DeeDee made a Flemish specialty, Carbonade. Saturday morning we ended up hanging out at the Bundys’ apartment for a while and then took a train to Ghent. It was cold and rainy, but it was still neat to see the Old Town.

Saturday night the Bundys took us and Lia, another girl staying with them for the weekend, who teaches English in Liege, and Rey, Lia’s boyfriend who lives in Brussels, to their favorite restaurant near the Grand Place. It was delicious! Sunday morning we walked around St. Catherine’s, the “village within the city.” Not much remains of the old fish market than just a lot of fish restaurants. We enjoyed seeing St. Catherine’s church- it was really different than other churches we had seen. We went inside for part of the mass, which was interesting.

We also saw another interesting church and part of the old city wall.

Sunday afternoon we headed back to Paris and went to the Orangerie Museum. We really enjoyed it!

That last painting, called "Les Trois Soeurs," reminded us of the Bumpus sisters. We decided that the top right sis was Elizabeth, to the left was Meggie, and on the right, Caroline.

Next was supper at Le Pain Quotidien,

and then waiting in the COLD train station for the last train to Lyon of the night.

We didn’t get back until 12:30, but we were able to get really cheap tickets by taking the late train.

Click below to see our other pictures from the weekend:

Brussels, Ghent, and Paris

The next 4 weekends will be packed: the Hendrixes’ marriage seminar in Lyon, the Ladies’ Retreat in Aix-en-Provence, a trip to Nimes and Uzes with the Hendrixes, and then our big winter break trip to the Netherlands and UK.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spring is coming!

We saw the sun shine 3 days this last week in Lyon!! It was a great change from the normal gray skies this time of year. We have also been able to tell a difference in the length of days the last few weeks... when we leave work on our "long days," we still see a little daylight!
Here are people of Lyon enjoying a sunny afternoon on the Rhone:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A few thoughts on Haiti

In the fall of 2002, my sophomore year in college, I went with a friend to the Lipscomb Missions fair, and ended up signing up for a mission trip to Haiti. I didn't know anything about Haiti except that it was a French-speaking country and the missionaries in Cap-Haitien, Mark and Cathy Pearson, were former members at South Fork, our church in Winston-Salem.

March 2003

Dr. Mark Pearson and LU students set up a clinic after church.
I played with the girls while their parents are being seen by Dr. Pearson... an "aha!" moment for me was realizing they understood my French!
The trip ended up being a major life-changing experience in so many ways. Haiti completely changed my worldview, I came back and changed my major, and I started really rethinking the consumerism of our culture... and I knew when I left that I would return... sooner than later!

So, as soon as we got back to the States, I started working on a plan to go back. I, along with another girl from Lipscomb, Leslie Gomer, went for about 3 weeks that May. We stayed with the Pearsons and helped out however we could.

May 2003

Cap-Haitien Children's Home
When I left at the beginning of June, I fully intended to return in March of 2004. In the fall of 2003, I was asked to co-lead the trip, so I planned, coordinated, and recruited a team. In early 2004, civil war broke out in Haiti. The Pearsons decided we needed to cancel the L.U. trip. I was devastated, but began praying that I would have an opportunity to go back to Haiti.

In 2005, Lipscomb decided it was still too risky, and Jeff Fincher asked me to lead a new trip to St. Martin. I accepted and absolutely loved St. Martin (Doug and I have now been 6 times!), especially as part of our work was with a Haitian church on the French side of the island. But the whole time I was praying for a chance to go back to where my heart really was.

Not long afterwards, the Pearsons made the decision to return to the States. Now my main contacts were gone. Chances of returning weren't looking very good.

In the fall of 2008, Melaney Cost announced at a missions meeting that volunteers were needed to help lead a trip to Cap-Haitien, Haiti. GAC would be teaming up with a group of nursing students, led by Twilla and Angie Haynes from Eternal Hope in Haiti. After many prayers, Doug and I decided to take a sabbatical from our work in St. Martin and to help with the Haiti trip. We spent most of our time with the kids at the Hope Haven Orphanage. God was amazingly present the whole time we were in Cap-Haitien. Every student (35 of them!) came away changed.

April 2009

Susie Julian (nurse and GAC mom) with 3 month old (but only 4lb) Ana, rescued at a clinic
the slums of Cap-Haitien
sweet Rosemanie showing Doug how to play the hand-slapping-game
Precious Rosemanie
Doug and Ti-Paul

I have been thinking so much about Haiti the last 8 days. Although Cap-Haitien didn't experience any real destruction, the whole country is devastated and paralyzed. See this post from Cheron at the Hope Haven Orphanage.
I've been thinking about the song, Mother India, by Caedmon's Call... it was written after returning from a mission trip to India. I think it fits perfectly with Haiti as well... see the slightly adapted lyrics:

Father God, You have shed Your tears for Haiti  
They have fallen to water ancient seeds  
That will grow into hands to touch the untouchable  
How blessed are the poor, the sick, the weak   
Father, forgive me, for I have not believed  
Like Haiti, I have groaned and grieved  
Father, forgive me, I forgot Your grace  
Your Spirit falls on Haiti and captures me in Your embrace   
There's a land where our shackles turn to diamonds  
Where we trade in our rags for a royal crown  
In that place, our oppressors hold no power  
And the doors of the King are thrown wide

There is so much that is needed... 
if you want to help, see these posts by Lauren, Austin, and Twilla.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Our Saturday

Walking through Vieux Lyon...

lunch near Bellecour...
Doug had been wanting to try "Kebab," and today was the day
eager to dig into his "sandwich kebab frites"
"not bad" says Doug

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowy Saturday

Quite a bit of snow last night...
click to see the pictures.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow #2

Well just as the snow from Sunday/Monday had almost melted away, today we got our second big snowfall! It started snowing around 11 and we had several inches accumulation. It is supposed to continue through Sunday, so we'll see how much we end up getting!
Hotel de Ville dusted with snow
Jaime, Ryan, and Doug with Louis XIV
You can barely see Fouvriere Hill due to the snow and fog!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


It started snowing in Lyon on Sunday night and snowed on and off until yesterday morning. There was quite a bit of accumulation! Here are a few pictures Doug took at Parc de la Tete d'Or yesterday:
You can see a few others here:
Snowy Lyon