As I looked outside my kitchen window in France, I asked myself, “How will we meet the neighbours? What doors will God open for us?” It’s been more challenging than I expected. Lives in France are firmly separated, with a high priority on privacy: work, family, recreation, education, and religion. These areas rarely overlap. My previous 20+ years in Asia seemed so easy in comparison! I just had to go out and people would invite me in. Here, tall fences, gates and heavy doors insulate homes from the outside, and from outsiders. One doesn’t simply walk into a French home. So, we got on with our lives – yard work, hanging up laundry, playing in the yard, walking to the supermarket. Bit by bit faces became familiar. Then one day there would be a quick flash of recognition from someone. Then a head nod. Then, even a small smile. Eventually, as the people in our neighbourhood became accustomed to “the new people”, a lady might invite me over for tea or coffee. The conversations were much like the ones I had in Asia – where are we from, what are we doing here, how many kids do we have, what does my husband do; then current affairs and, of course, the weather. I freely share about Jesus in our lives, not waiting for some “opportune” moment. Eventually, as the questions become deeper the more coffees we share, they also ask about our Lord. He has opened doors, and hearts.
From A Worker In France