Good Bye Paris

Jul 12, 2023 | Gilbert's Journal

My 5 Day stay in Paris was full of colour and meaning. It was such an honour to be welcomed on arrival by a very dear friend and Big brother in the faith – Yannick Le Noan. I enjoyed the drive through the Parisian Metropolitan city, with a stopover at a Restaurant as we made our way to Le Noan’s house.

Later that evening, we had a memorable time with the student group – focusing on ” Be Attitudes” with a balanced view on the impact of attitudes on the four key aspects of Christian growth (Luke 2:52)

The students asked some of the deepest and most intelligent questions I have ever been asked, thereby forcing me to dig deep in order to provide answers.

On Friday evening during my time with the young professionals (GoPros), I had a similar experience as we dwelled on the seasons of life.

The GoPro group was made up of a balance of singles and young married. Many of the questions asked did revolve around the different seasons of my life and how I managed them. Some of the GoPros were kids I had known through their parents in Berlin and Abidjan in the 90s or early 2000s – they are now leading very productive lives, either as singles or young marrieds- a true reminder that it’s time to pass on the torch to the next generation – clearly an important season in my life.
One of them even shared what brought about his dream to tow a similar path to mine – use his gift of languages to serve and meet needs in our family of churches – especially in French and German-speaking churches.

What we do with what we have also dominated the time spent on Saturday, with the group of Christians of African origin. I was moved to share the way God has helped me to manage the different changes as I have gone from living in one culture to the other. My encouragement or objective was to help them find ways of using their God-given gifts to serve while living abroad. It was also a profoundly intimate time as I was meeting some of the brothers and sisters after at least two decades from the early 2000s in Abidjan.
It was very encouraging to see how they are already serving and looking for creative ways of becoming a blessing to their local church in Paris and to other Christians of African origin scattered across France and other parts of the European continent – especially young students who come here for university studies or higher education.

Sunday crowned my Parisian experience with a church service inspired by deep songs in French, a lesson on our Partnership in Christ, a wonderful time spent sharing with old and new friends, and a lesson to the servants of the different house churches.

It has become very obvious through this trip that there’s a lot we can benefit from partnering with one another, both within our local congregations and across borders.
I’m looking forward to deepening the relationship with the Paris church through further engagements on some of the topics discussed.

My stay was also punctuated by times of reflection and prayer spent in nature. Paris and Berlin are major world cities but have both preserved a lot of green areas.
A two-day stopover in Hannover will enable me to reconnect with my spiritual father – Dr Michael Koenigsmann and his wife. Thanks for your prayers.

 

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