Friday, 30 June 2006

Au revoir et à Dieu

'On the road again'

In various posts over the past few months I've made references to moving from Belgium, but I've not posted about it so here it is briefly for anyone who doesn't already know. I leave on 4th July. This period in Brussels was for a year, as a member of an IFES InterAction Team. I love Belgium, with all its quirkiness, friendliness, cultural mélange - with all its need of the gospel. I'm passionately committed to student ministry. And I also (in a different way to Belgium!) grew to love England and student ministry there during my time there. Here I could add only one more year of voluntary work. So it seemed wise to me, through God's direction, those advising me, and those resposible in the application process in UCCF, that I return to the Midlands to work for UCCF:thechristianunions as a CU Staff Worker from August. I'll be based in Birmingham and serving CUs down the M5 corridor. I'm really looking forward to serving students there in building them up in the gospel and encouraging and equipping them to share it on campus, and to growing through this myself. Very exciting, and a great privilege! I'll need loads of grace and wisdom from God. Moving does my head in (and helps me rely more on God) and this will be the 4th place I've lived in as many years, so I'm looking forward to settling there for 3-5 years, giving me more opportunity to get stuck in to the student ministry, church, make non-Christian friends, etc.

Au revoir

Plans are made with the wisdom of the time, and change as God wills. But for the present, it's only an au revoir I want to say to Belgium. No matter how good I am at packing in July, I think I'll leave some of me behind, and take some of Belgium with me which won't weigh in or show up in any security scanners for the Eurostar. Unless God gives me leave, this little country will continue to be in my prayers and plans.

A Dieu

The French only say adieu when they won't see the person again. Why? I object. I currently think of coming back to Belgium, but still the greatest thing I can do is regularly commit her à Dieu - to God.

So around here, expect more theological ramblings (I won't stop reading!), and don't expect me to stop mentioning Belgium. Perhaps, however, my reading list should change culturally from Proust and Rousseau to Douglas Coupland. Hmm.


Andy said...

'parting is such sweet sorrow'

Shakespeare wrote well - I guess the sorrow is that in returning you do not happen again upon the lessons of the past, the hard won victories (they leave with you and hang on) but you do get to visit the sites and taste the cuisine and remember.

Remembering is so important in the Bible - so important in the Christian life.

Remember the lessons of the last two years (and the many more that came before) remember the lessons of harship and of plenty - and take them with you: share them, proclaim them!

And it is not so bad: Belgian chocolate and coffee are freely available in the UK. :o)

étrangère said...

Thanks Andy, that's a really valuable reminder.

Freely available? Ah, only in my dreams, even here!

Andy said...

maybe that should have been WIDELY available

Rhology said...

Does this mean that your English is spoken w/ an English accent? So that you sound MUCH more refined and well-bred than your counterparts who butcher the language across the pond?

étrangère said...

Oi, across the pond in which direction, Rhology?? I'll have no-one but me slagging off the Norn Irish accent...

As for my accent, it changes outside of my control depending on that of those with whom I'm speaking, but generally speaking, the English say I've an Irish accent (though I still get a puzzled look and asked where I'm from) and the Norn Irish say I've an English accent. It's better speaking French in fact: the francophones say one can tell I'm not francophone but can't tell that I'm anglophone :)