Grand Plans, Balloons, and A New Outlook (Part 1)

I've grown up in the Bible belt of the American South. The place where there is a church on every street corner; even in the countryside where I live there are probably twenty plus churches within a five mile radius. Church is all around me. With the church comes Christians, the body of Christ, the ones who tell others about Jesus.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that it's that way everywhere. I mean the Church is the one telling us that there are people next door, across the country, and around the world who don't know Jesus. And it's true. We hear all the time about the lost. We're encouraged to go. We send out missionaries all over the world. For me specifically, I hear about them going through my denomination's sending agency: the International Mission Board (IMB). So I guess that's why my next statement - a thought that's been floating around in my head today - surprised me.

"It never occurred to me that there might not be missionaries there."

Now, let me clarify. By "there" I mean in the area surrounding Poitiers, France where I will be living and studying in 2014.

I guess I just took it for granted that when I went to France somewhere nearby would be an IMB missionary.

You see I had grand plans: I was going to go to France, meet all these students, make friends, lead Bible studies, work with the local church and the missionaries I assumed would be there, and I would do great things for God.

And then I found out that there were no IMB missionaries in the area.

I think there may be a local evangelical church. But since all the church websites (if they have one) are in French, I can't really tell.

And those grand dreams of leading people to Christ? Well this map from The Washington Post show that 30%-39% of those living in France consider themselves "convinced atheist".

Did I mention that apparently France is considered a "missionary graveyard?" Not literately. It means that most missionaries end up coming back home because it's too hard with too little to show.

Now, all this can take a girl down a notch. Balloon, needle, POP. Yep.

You know what though? I needed the POP. I needed to trip over my pride. I needed a reminder that I can't do anything.

Now don't read that wrong. I still think that God is sending me to France. I've just been looking at it all wrong.

Want to know what I mean? Well, I guess you'l need to read part 2 of this post (coming soon).


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