Never in my life have I missed the conveniences of America more than when we prepared for our final International Youth Group of the year. We had decided that we were going to turn our space into Hawaii. This sounds simple. That is until it is 11pm the night before and you are trying to make a flamingo out of card stock paper and a balloon. But a lot of great conversations happen over the shared frustration of folding paper into Hawaiian flowers (if you were there, and did not notice any beautifully folded paper Hawaiian flowers, this is because after two hours I gave up, I am very sorry, though we did eventually figure out how to make the flamingos).
But as we sat there trying to bring the islands to Grenoble, we talked about the idea of aloha. To me, aloha had always just been a Hawaiian word used for hello and goodbye, but there is a much deeper meaning to this word. Aloha can mean grace, or peace, and one definition I found described aloha as joyfully sharing life. I cannot think of a better way to describe one of the goals of ministry here in Grenoble. French has a similar expression, “joie de vivre”, meaning the joy of living, which is similar, but this definition of aloha includes something else that is really important—sharing. What an absolute joy it is to share life with each other.
Over and over again this past month, the Lord has been teaching me about hospitality, about the joy of sharing my life, my kitchen, my dinner, my whatever with those around me. There is something truly joyful about this type of sharing. 1 Peter 4 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9). When I first moved to Grenoble, one of my biggest prayers was that the Lord would bring me community. It was a slight flashback to days on the playground, asking kids to please, please be my friend. And God is good, and I am so thankful for my people in Grenoble, and I am so thankful to joyfully share life with them.
This joy also applies to the students I get to talk to; I am often so humbled and honored to get to share life when them. It is really humbling to get to talk to my middle and high school friends about what is going on in their lives. But above all else, it is such a joy. I am so thankful to have a job where I can joyfully share my life with people.
This summer this is my prayer, that God will provide opportunities to demonstrate hospitality, and have the chance to get to joyfully share our lives! Aloha!
The past month has brought a lot of endings. As I mentioned, we had our last International Youth Group of the year! It was a blast, and we even had some new kids come, and it was a fun celebratory end to the school year. It has been an honor to get to serve these kids this year. Please pray for guidance and direction for the next year, as Amy and I plan how to best reach these students. We also had our last Campaigners. We finished going through the book of John and celebrated by watching the movie, Risen. Please pray as this week our girls take their end of year tests, and pray that we will be able to connect with them during the summer. Many people have also left for the summer, which makes Grenoble a lonely place. Please pray for continued community for those of us who are here, and pray for good community for those who have gone back home.
This month I also had the joy of having my sister come and visit!! It was so wonderful to get to show her around Grenoble. Not only did she bring my one of my favorite things from the U.S. (Snoqualmie Pancake mix) but she also was a huge help in our last International Youth Group.
Please pray as we enter the summer and prepare for camp. I will leave for Portugal with our three campers on the 11th of July! God has a funny sense of humor, as many of you know I am afraid of the water and this is a surf camp….be prepared for many pictures of me desperately clutching my lifejacket.
If you would like to be a part of Young Life Grenoble and support us through prayer or financially, please let me know, and I would love to share more of our vision with you!
Thank you so much for your continued love and prayers, I love you all!!