Hey, it's Danielle again. Today was our last full day in France and we take off at 7am (our time) tomorrow for the airport. We've appreciated all of your support, love, and prayers for us during our time in here.
As our team packs and prepares to come back to the U.S. I can't help but be reminded of the many things that I've learned about the people of France and Islam. To be honest, I'm nervous about applying what I've learned to my "real" life.
I'm learning more and more as I grow as a Christian that being a Christian doesn't usually mean choosing the more comfortable life. God calls us to go and make disciples. He doesn't say it as a suggestion - it's a command that He gives to every believer.
It was great to be able to meet missionaries and different groups that are focused on ministering to the people of France. In fact, it was a huge encouragement for me, since I was really concerned with how secular I had heard France was becoming. However, there also was this part of me that was content with thinking "Great, France has Christians so there's really no need for me to help out."
For those of you who don't know, I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and never had a desire to go anywhere outside of the country until this last year. I was content with where I was in my church and I had convinced myself that I just wasn't the "missionary type". I had also convinced myself that if God wanted to use me for witnessing to the lost, it'd be within America because after all America is fairly lost itself.
These past couple of months (and weeks during this trip in particular), I've been convicted and realized how much of my life I've been holding on to. I've told myself that I was following His calling for my life, but really I've only been taking the parts I've liked and felt comfortable with - I haven't really let Him stretch me out of my comfort zone.
While here in France, we did a lot of prayer walking. And frankly, it was a little boring for me at times and I couldn't figure out why until now. The missionary we've been working with continued to remind us that our prayers were really important to him being able to follow-up with people and have some footing in the North African neighborhoods. Despite this, I told myself that I simply wanted to talk with people one on one more (which is partly true - I love hearing peoples' stories, but I was more telling myself that so that I wouldn't feel so guilty) and that's why I wasn't into it as much as everyone else seemed. I think that part of the real reason though was because I didn't want to get too attached - I didn't want it to get too personal because that would mean I'd have to do something about it and go outside of my comfort zone.
I like living in a country where I can openly talk about my religion and where I can go to public Christian events. I enjoy living in a place where I have "rights" and have the opportunity to find a job if I need money. However, sometimes God calls us to go places where we don't have that many freedoms so that we can speak hope into the lives of people that live in those places.
I've been challenged to listen more closely to the spirit's calling and to genuinely ask God to break my heart for what breaks his. I'm hoping to be able to challenge myself to expand my comfort zone more and to really be genuine in the ways that I reach out to people that I come in contact with.
As our team travels back to the U.S., we could use prayer to come back with a deeper desire to be God's disciples as a result of this trip, to not be so afraid of being pushed out of our comfort zones and to really be seeking God's will over our lives. We could also use prayer for transitioning back to the U.S. time zone and being able to apply the things we learned on the trip with our lives in America.