No matter where I am in the world, or what language they may be speaking, I always know I can feel peace and joy at church. My first Sunday here, I felt so at home when I spotted this sign. And I can't even begin to describe how much I've enjoyed attending every week. The members here are few, but they are strong, and welcoming and loving. I felt like one of them after only hours together. They are perfect examples of loving with Christ-like love.Before coming to France I knew my village was about 40k (25 miles) from Nimes, where I would go to church, but I didn't think it would be a big deal to take public transportation that far. Little did I know that public transportation is almost non-existant on the weekends during the summer in southern France. The buses don't run in the summer, and the train is pricey. It's about 10 euros each way to Nimes, which would be about $22 a week, round trip! Luckily there is one member who lives in my village as well. He's an older man named Bruno. And this is his sweet ride. Sometimes I wonder if it will be 1985 when we arrive.
Bruno is not talkative, and that added to the combo of me not yet being proficient in French led to some pretty quiet car rides, especially at first. I would ask questions, and get one word answers, until I just became comfortable with a mostly silent ride. He expressed himself in other ways. Sometimes he would take back roads so he could show me a nearby medieval village, or the fields of sunflowers. And he proudly tells everyone that he is my chauffeur, and that I have a cadillac on order. Today when I got in the car he told me there was something for me in the glove compartment. I opened it to find this photo. He's snapped it the week before and printed it out for me. So sweet.
A quick side story about the African man in the front. He came up to me at this party and said "Nicole, I just really love you. It's too bad you're married." To which I responded, "Oh yes, too bad."
That's Nicole on the far left. She was so excited the day we met, and said she didn't know she had an American name! She and her friend Betty took me around old town Nimes one Sunday after church. They were so much fun! They told me their life stories, and gave me dating advice.
This was a Relief Society (women's group) activity in Montpellier. Aline, me, Isabelle, Darcie, Nicole, and Claudette. Aline invited me to stay the night with them that night so I wouldn't have to make the trek to Nimes twice in one weekend. It was the greatest night because they had a neighbor party, and their closest neighbors all came over for dinner. It was when I'd first gotten here, so I was still struggling to understand everything, but I loved it!And this was today, on my last Sunday. I was so sad to have to say goodbye to everyone. My earlier blog about not being seen by most people upon meeting, does not apply at all to my church friends. They see everyone. I snapped this photo because these sisters had put together a little goodbye party for me after church. It was so sweet! 'Till we meet again, sisters!