My Mission Trip to France=$3800

I have raised $3,857.00 to date. My support raising is complete! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Since I've been gone...

Biarritz has captured my heart.

I don’t know how else to explain it, other than I feel so alive and am so IN LOVE with being here, right now. The Lord is so sweet to me, everyday feels so refreshing and lovely.

Last Monday I had my first FRENCH surf lesson! Biarritz being a world famous surf town, I figured I better learn how! I must admit, the fact that my surf teacher did not speak a LICK of English was a bit terrifying… Being unsure of what he was yelling at me, over huge and pounding waves, twas a bit unnerving, especially since they were probably phrases loaded with info that will help me stay alive no doubt. However, all in all it was really good fun!
Jeanne, one of our guests in the hostel, is from Quebec, and such a sweetheart; we became friends really fast. She was a guest at the hostel for only a couple of days, but we connected with her over our football watching/crepe making “apero night” (our weekly hostel socials). She’s on an amazing adventure throughout Europe, and wanted to go surfing, so I told her I’d go with her. It was so much fun, and although the waves were too big for beginners to stand up on, we considered our time in the water a success.

June 19 is the Fête de la Musique, which is a national holiday in France in which every town celebrates its local music. In Biarritz there was a lot going on, ranging from rock concerts to Basque choral singing. That night Jeanne, my teammates and I, met up with some friends from our church here in Biarritz and explored music in the city. It was a lovely night in community, and hearing the variety of music and celebrating with the locals the beauty of their culture was so much fun. Late late that night, my teammate Mandie, Marion, our dear friend from church, and Jeanne and I went on to Bayonne, a nearby town, where we got to listen to more music ranging from Salsa to 70’s disco.

Bayonne is just beautiful. It reminds me a lot of old town Bilbao and Florence. It has a beautiful and gigantic gothic cathedral, which is having classical music concerts every Saturday night throughout the summer. Who’s excited about that? This girl! (This is one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken so far)
The next day Jeanne and I spent the day together in Biarritz, getting tapas, ice cream and walking around the town and the beach. It was such a treat to share stories and become better friends with such a wonderful girl. I especially enjoyed getting to share with Jeanne my journey with God, and we had a really great conversation on the rights of women and social injustice in the world. Miss you Jeanne!
Last week some of my teammates and I began helping out at Catherine Picone’s. Catherine is a widow and a mother of 6. She is a very good friend of our staff family, and it has been such a joy to serve her in helping with some cleaning tasks and construction tasks around her house. WHICH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOME I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. Catherine and her husband, who died from cancer nearly three years ago, worked very hard on making their house reflect a traditional Basque-French home. It’s even been featured in some magazines! Catherine invited our WHOLE TEAM over for lunch one day. She served us yummy lamb and the most amazing tirimisu and gâteau chocolat (chocolate cake) I’ve ever had!

Catherine is also the mother of Victoria, another high schooler who attends Hossegor church and is the same age as our dear friend Marion. These girls are so special to me; I am sure you will hear more about their stories later.
Not only are they beautiful women of God, they are amazingly talented as well! So many jam sessions have been had between these two and other church members – I wish I could share these beautiful sounds with everyone!
This week I also got a really great opportunity. Audrey, another dear friend of mine from our church, had to go to Paris to take a test for her degree, and needed someone to fill in for her two English classes on Wednesday. So my teammate and I got to teach lil’ French kids English. This was one of my favorite things so far! The children were such a delight (we taught them the verb “do”) and meeting and interacting with their parents was even better! Please be praying for this “business” aspect of our church here. They desperately need someone to take over the English business for them, and it’s such a great opportunity!

Life here has been 1000mph, or kph rather. In an effort to be brief, our events for the rest of the week looked like this:
Another staff family from a town about two hours away from Biarritz came to visit our staff family, so we took the two families’ kids (about 9 of them!) out to the beach for the afternoon!
We served Catherine Picone with construction/cleaning work.
We had a girl’s night and made Dutch pancakes and watched Dirty Dancing with our long term staff girl here.
We prepared a dinner for our entire team, and hosted another “apero night” with crepes/football watching for the hostel.
We had our first Sabbath on Saturday. I went to the beach all day and read books and journaled – it was awesome.

I got to watch a tourist do this…but maybe next time it will be me?

That Saturday night, we also went to a Father/Son soccer game that our host and his son participated in. It was so fun, and a double celebration of our lil area in Biarritz. In the summer, every small town has a “fête” where a marching band comes out and plays and there’s a cookout, huge dinner, and some kind of merchants. For our lil area, there was a huge FLEA MARKET type thing, and I got some fun things, which you can be on the lookout for. :)

On Sunday I was given the amazing opportunity of sharing my testimony at our night church service, in Hossegor. Friends, it was so beautiful, and God answered so many prayers I had…and MORE, so I much so I will dedicate my next blog post to it. That being said, I hope you are all doing just lovely, I miss you dearly, I hope you are enjoying and being blessed by being a part of not only my story, but God’s story and God’s work here in France.

Until next time!
Grosses bises, *Sheena

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Small Video to Say Hello From Our Hostel Guests

For the past week, every morning my teammate Ashley and I have been making breakfast for our hostel guests. We've made sausage and tomato hamburgers, scrambled eggs, croissants and waffles and brioche, bacon and tomato and onion burgers, and french toast. In addition, we always serve them hot tea and coffee, and offer the everyday staples of cereal, toast, and fresh fruit. We always have a surf movie playing as a backdrop. So many fun relationships have been made over our breakfast table, and we've had so many treasured conversations.
Here's a small video to show you what this time looks like:

As a quick update, today was church Sunday, and it was such a beautiful time at both the Biarritz and Hossegor churches. I helped lead worship tonight at Hossegor, and had to opportunity to sing worship in both French and English. It was such an amazing honor, and I had so much fun. Tomorrow, my long term teammate and I are going to Anglet, a nearby beach, to get surf lessons with a hostel guest. I'm both nervous and excited, but probably more excited.

If I get pictures from tomorrow, you can bet they'll be up on here soon.

D'accord. Bonne nuit tout le monde!

avec tout mon affection,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Life in Biarritz. And I may never leave...

*Note: I was recently told by staff here that we had no security issues. So, I am happy to share that I am in BIARRITZ, a surf city on the southwestern coast of France. This is a unique location infused with southern French and Basque culture.

This city is even more beautiful than the pictures I looked up before I arrived; winding streets littered with old white houses with either green, red, or blue painted shutters. Flowers are frivolously everywhere, on overpasses, street corners, and many house windows. They litter city corners like city streets are littered with boulangeries (yumm).

My heart is happy.

I feel like I'm home.

Being in Biarritz has been amazing.
The opportunities I've had to minister and grow in the Lord thus far have been overwhelming. For the first time in my life I really feel like God has enabled me to have something to offer to His church and His body.

Just to recap, my team and I are here to help out with two church plants and help run a surf hostel and it's surf minstry.

Since we've been here, we've gone to the two church plants. One is actually held at the hostel's all purpose downstairs room, which used to serve as a ballet studio. This church is about 30 big, and completely French and family oriented. After every Sunday service the church eats lunch together; this past Sunday being no different. We went to the service, then ate lunch after, where I met some French girls my age and instantly connected. We've stayed in contact via Facebook since, and I'm so excited for this friendship this summer.

That same Sunday night we experienced our team leader's church plant, which is in a nearby town called Hossegor. Hossegor is known for it's beautiful wave break and is the center of many surfing companies in Europe. This church plant consists of mostly young surfers, and I was able to connect with many of the teenagers there. Because this is such a new church, there are SO MANY needs and opportunities that our team will be able to jump in this summer. I'm even singing worship THIS SUNDAY, in English AND French, which though unnerving, absolutely excites my heart. In addition, each member on our team will have to preach a message and share their testimony.
We have connected well with the teenagers, many who come from a Catholic background, and have made plans to hang out and surf and fellowship with them this summer.

In addition, this week one of my teammates and I lived and worked at the Surf Hostel Biarritz. We will rotate two team members to do this every week!
Every morning we make a homemade breakfast for our guests and we offer good table service. People are always so surprised, and I love it and I love getting to love them in this way. I truly think I am coming to love hosting and the opportunity to refine the gift of hospitality. Getting to hang out with the guests during the morning and night has been so cool - I've met people from Ireland, Sweden, Britain, Canada, Poland, and Australia. I've loved each and every relationship.
Serving at this hostel is such a great opportunity for us, and we even had a guest come up to us while we were cleaning the kitchen and start a conversation on spiritual things. In the end he asked us to share with him what we believed about God! It was a great discussion.

A highschooler from the church at Biarritz has also worked alongside us this week as we have served in the hostel and provided childcare and help for the staff family here. It has been a great opportunity for her to learn English and a great opportunity for us to love her in Christian fellowship, which is something she craves and doesn't have here. Her birthday was on Wednesday, and we made a cake for her in our apartment and then took her out to a great restaurant in Bidart, a nearby town, for dinner.
I ate the most amazing marinated mussels for an appetizer, the most amazing tuna with basquaise sauce as an main dish, and the most amazing strawberry tarte for dessert. The following pictures are of her birthday with us.

Blessings upon blessings have been poured upon us from the moment we got here. A couple from the Biarritz church is gone for the summer and have graciously offered their HUGE and BEAUTIFUL apartment to our team. We can see the beach and the Pyrenees from it, and I've had some amazing quiet times with this back drop.

In addition, I have been blessed by the amazing ministry opportunities here.

Tonight, I was able to host and organize a social for our hostel. We had a crepe bar (we made crepes and had ALL the toppings laid out) and then watched the football game. So many great conversations were had with our hostel guests. One guest even asked my teammate to share his testimony with her!
In addition, this Wednesday my teammate and I will get to sub-in/sit-in to English lessons held at the hostel/church's multipurpose room. This is such a great opportunity.
Additionally, one of the church members has invited me to her hiphop class (hello!) which she has enjoyed as a fun ministry with people.
And on top of that, our staff family has communicated to us the need for voice and dance teachers in Biarritz, and how that is something French families really love to put their kids in. The church's allpurpose room being an old ballet dance studio, they would love to have someone from the church use this space to teach lessons as a way to be more a part of the community.

Friends, I can not tell you how afraid I am to even dream...
(For those who don't know, I danced classical ballet for just over ten years and used to be a children's voice teacher in college.)
I'm not sure what to do about this and about my future, but all I can do right now is pray.

There has been no collision in culture and life here, for me. I feel as though I have just slipped in, my rhythm of life has aligned as if maybe I was always here.
It's truly beautiful and life-giving to my soul.

We are becoming friends with our boulanger, Philipe, and making friends in town and talking to people, though sometimes difficult with the language barrier, has come fairly easily. I speak French with people everyday, and I love it.

I am just ENJOYING life here and ministry just feels like such a natural outpouring. I desire God and I desire to share my life with others and be a part of their lives and their loves. It feels real and it feels good and it feels TRUE. Like THIS is how life is supposed to be lived.

Beautifully and wonderfully and free.

That being said, I have MANY prayer requesta, and if you've made it this far, I'd love for you to pray over them with me:

Please pray for:
- the Biarritz and Hossegor church plants
- christian friends for our new French friends in their lycees (high school)
- me, singing worship on Sunday at Hossegor, and our team's involvement with that church
- our hostel guests
- our long term team members

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey so far. I can't wait to share more of it with you.

Humbled by your love,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

T-minus 17hours. And I'm officially commissioned and trained.

Much has happened since my last update.

My roommate Jenna Bishop got married.
My best friend Sarah Tilley got home from Spain.
My subleaser Kayla moved in.
Dear friend Lauranne came home from Uganda.
My roommate Kay moved out.

And I left Orlando for orientation in West Palm Beach at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Life here has been just beautiful.
I've met all four of my teammates, and I love them all. It's insane how connected and overwhelmed with love I already feel with these people. They all get the gospel and are absolutely consumed with passion for God's grace and His word.
Sweet answers to prayer.

In addition, we've gone through cross-cultural missions training here at our orientation. And Pioneers has the best training ever, I'm sure.

Here's some of these seminars/things we done:
Why Missions? A Biblical Foundation
Overcoming Myths about Missions
Having A Good Attitude
Personality: Knowing Your MBTI and Team Dynamics
Cross-Cultural Stress and Dealing with Culture Shock
Prayer for the Nations
*wrote a team covenant
*individual prayer
*daily team devotionals
*daily team time
*daily worship

It's been phenomenal and I feel so served and fed. I hope the Edge staff are reading this, because they have been so amazing and such servants. I feel so prayed over and SO very prepared. Thank you.

It's been a blessing and an excitement to make friends with people and to see that we are going all over the world! We have teams being sent to Spain, Poland, Jordan, Afghanistan, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, India, Croatia, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and France of course....just to name a few. There are about 80 Edgers here for training, and then there's another training in the UK. About 100 people are being sent out this summer....Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow we all leave. We take a train (who knew Florida had them!) down to Miami, where we will catch our flight to London, then France.
Our flight leaves at 5pm, and I'm so excited.

In addition, I am so humbled and blessed by all my dear friends! I'm happy to report that...


Friends, I could not have done this without you. Thank you so very much for everything you have done to support me and for all your prayers.

We have spent some time looking at the hostel and at the church plant in preparation for our time in France - praise the LORD because it seems like the church is thriving.
Wow, friends, I'm so excited to partner with you this trip and share with you stories and prayer requests from our friends and our church over there.

THANK YOU again for all of your love and support.

avec tout mon affection,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

4 days to go, $400 left to raise, and I moved out...

God works everything out for the good of those who love Him and serve Him according to His purpose.

This truth has been my saving grace in life many times.
Oh what a GOOD God we have.

About a week ago I found out that I was able to get a subleaser for my room for the entire time I'm gone (and then some, so I will need a place to crash for two weeks in August!). Sweet blessings, thank you Jesus.
So I moved out of my room yesterday. It felt really liberating.

That said, I am now pretty much packed, although, with a 33lb weight limit...yeah I need to take more stuff out...

Anticipation is building, and everyday people just tell me how excited they are for me. I have been so moved and humbled by the generosity of those around.

My house church graciously sponsored me to go to the International Justice Mission benefit dinner this past week, where the President of IJM spoke on generosity.

He shared an interesting perspective that every single person who is living right now has, at one point, been solely dependent on the generosity of another. Curiously enough, this period of life where we relied on another's generosity, from birth till about 3, are the years that we actually end up forgetting.
But nonetheless, the truth remains that from the beginning, we were crafted to live, breathe, and survive in the arms of community.

Jesus let me never forget the sweet generosity that has been shown to me in this period of support raising. Thank you thank you for your support and prayers thus far. It is so very appreciated.

That being said, I do have $400 left to raise by Sunday, so if you feel so led to give and help decrease that number to zero, you can easily do through the link at the top of this blog, or here:
Most sincerely and humbly, thank you, dear friends and family.

WOW. I leave in four days.

And I'm so excited. :)