Time to go back

It’s been a while since I posted here, but it’s about time to start up again. That’s right, I’m heading back to Paris for an extended stint.


Sometimes a place gets into your soul, whether you want it to or not. True story: the first time I visited Paris in 1993, after all was said and done, I reflected on my visit and said, “Paris was nice, but I don’t know if I’ll ever go back.”

That was my first trip overseas, and other than brief trips to Canada, it was my first time out of the country. There’s a bumper sticker that says, “Don’t believe everything you think.” No kidding. I’d love to go back in time and laugh at my younger self. Little did I know—how could I have?—that I’d end up spending a year of my life in Paris.

Most recently I was there for a few days in February, and now I’ll be heading back for six months, starting at the end of June. The year there from 2015-2016 was pure cultural experience: learn some French… experience life in Paris… travel around France and Europe… eat a lot of pastries… This time will be different. I’ll be serving as the transition pastor of the church we attended while we lived there. The current pastor is retiring, the new pastor won’t be coming until next January, so I’ll be serving in the interim.

It’s been seven years since I’ve been in full-time ministry; since then I’ve spent much of my time writing fiction, and I’m finally close to publishing a collection of stories.

So: time to get everything ready for living overseas again. Time to jump through all the hoops to get another visa. Time to finish up this round of publishing efforts before getting back into ministry. And time to make another list of bakeries to try out. I can’t wait!


Here we go: let the goodbyes begin

The best part of living in Paris? Without a doubt, it’s the people we’ve met and the friends we’ve made. The hardest thing about leaving Paris? Leaving those friends behind.

Our year in Paris has been a wonderful time of making new  friends: classmates and parents from the girls’ school, people I’ve met playing in a band, and especially those we’ve met through our church, Trinity International.

Yesterday was our last Sunday worshiping there.


After our last service at Trinity, with our friends, Paco and Leslie.

And not only was it our last Sunday, I also got to preach the message. I hadn’t preached since we moved to Paris (other than giving a brief devotional at a missionary retreat in the south of France last fall), but it went well and I even got a few laughs from my jokes—and if I can get my teenagers to laugh, they couldn’t have been too corny.

(Just a brief aside on preaching in an international context: this was my first time having to prepare for a congregation that had a considerable number of people who don’t speak English as their first language. It meant getting my message ready further in advance than normal so that the French translator could prepare. It meant thinking through the language and idioms I use that might be a bit tricky to translate or that could be confusing to some people—because some might be listening who don’t speak English as their first language but don’t speak French either! All in all, it was a great experience.)

From the first, we were warmly welcomed when we found Trinity last fall. Right away we met other expats as well as French people in addition to people from every continent (well, except for Antarctica).

Obviously, simply being in Paris is a wonderful thing, but it’s even better when it means making new friends to meet for dinner, or coffee, or a picnic. It’s meant getting together for game nights, going for a hike, or having a friend to go to a museum with. The girls have enjoyed the youth activities, we’ve done a treasure hunt that took us all over Paris, and even got to go see the Pentatonix with another family. We were welcomed into friends’ homes for Easter dinner and barbecues and pizza night.

Who knew we’d meet such a great group of avid gamers? Terra Mystica, Blood Rage, Code Names, Dead Men Tell No Tales… We had no shortage of good times gaming.

Creative Nights at the church’s Genesis Center were a hit with the girls. I save my creative energies for writing and music, but I always had fun talking it up with other people.

Food–one of my favorite things…


…and something that definitely brings people together.


The fall retreat.


Carolyn and me singing at Music Night.

Finding Trinity turned out to be another great opportunity for music. With only a year here, there was no time to waste waiting around; after feeling so welcomed, I quickly asked about getting involved in the music. Soon enough I was getting chances to play bass and even serve as one of the worship leaders.


Most of our songs were in English, but I’m going to miss worshiping in French!


Thank you for such a wonderful year, Trinity. We’re going to miss you.