“Over the bank holiday weekend, a small team of us led by Bruno Kondabeka had the chance to visit a church in Angers, France and to be a part of their community and serve them.
It was a privilege to engage with a different culture and language. Most of us did not speak French or knew very little, yet we were welcomed with incredible hospitality which even with language barriers was beautiful. Our hosts would apologise for what they saw as a lack of English, and then proceed to speak in full sentences. As English speakers it’s embarrassing at times to visit a nation and know so little of the language.
Over the course of the weekend we had the privilege of visiting the “Pierre et Lumière” in Saumur (Stone and light in Saumur). This was an incredible place where one man has dedicated 3 years of his life to building sculptures of Christian churches built into the stones in a cave. This labour of love is more than just sculptures as each one provides a history and explains the Christian symbolism and spiritual significance. There were some fascinating insights into how the medieval architects worshipped God through the building process.
Over the course of the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak with the young adults using an interpreter which was a challenge that I’ve not experienced before! We explored what it means to be significant – and how God’s intention for us is to be part of the bigger picture, that it is not about our own individual role to be “great”, but a calling on us as a community to be history makers together. This was followed by a BBQ with the young adult community, laughing, enjoying food together and being a part of their world.
On the Sunday we were able to join them for church – they were a marvellous community who couldn’t help but be excited by Jesus. Looking around in worship, there was a real sense of engagement and it was obviously they loved Jesus. As English speakers, we had the joy of experiencing translation and sung worship in French. It was definitely different but also a brilliant experience to hear worship in another language.
Bruno spoke at both their meetings that day – in the morning about God leading us to a specious place and in the afternoon reminding them and us that God listens to the cries of his people and responds to us.
It was such a privilege to be a part of their community for a few days, spending time with host families who would bend over backwards to provide for us. It was also valuable for us to spend time together as a team, enjoying each others company and learning from the experience together, even if that meant missing the ferry!”
Revelation Family Church Youth Worker
“This trip was a perfect balance of creating new friendships with our family in France and forming stronger bonds with our family here.” Elspeth Barron
“We had such a lovely time on our long weekend in Angers! We were welcomed with such warmth and kindness by our hosts, and in the church too. We loved staying with Sylvie and Andrea, and really laughed with them about our language gaps and misunderstandings, it was such a fun time! I was also amazed by the food that we were served at the church. We were caught out by surprise with the amount of food that was brought out, course upon course of gorgeous food that had been lovingly prepared. It was so nice to make friends with the girls there, and we felt really looked after.” Catherine Johnston
“It was fantastic to strengthen links with the church in France and experience unity together in a foreign context. Worshipping together was wonderful and unhindered by the language barrier because we are the family of God.” Sam Harding
‘It was lovely getting to know our host family and hear their story, plus the back garden to their house (which they built) was literally a forest!” Maria Lush