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French Connection

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French Connection

French Connection

April 25, 2019

How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way. – Mark Twain

Leaving my children to finish their tour of the Eiffel Tower, I stepped inside the enclosed observatory to sit and rest my throbbing knee.

Less than one week prior we had embarked on this trip to Europe. For my children, the trip centered around the many cultural sights.  But for me, I wanted nothing more than to introduce them to the city I once called home and to reconnect with close friends.

Unfortunately, my left knee, compensating for my healing right heel, became strained on the very first day of our trip. As I rested and my children explored, memories of my life in Paris flooded my thoughts.

“Will it bother you if I sit here?” The man’s voice, calm and gentle, broke into my reverie. Looking up, I saw him, one of the Eiffel Tower’s security guards.

“Of course not,” I smiled as I slid over on the bench.

He assumed the puzzled air I had seen so often. After living in France for five years, my American accent morphed. Although never mistaken for French, people struggled to identify my origin.

“English? Swiss?” He asked.

“American,” I replied.

“Ah,” he nodded, “my pastor is American.”

His words launched a conversation made possible only when two people share a common bond in Jesus. As we shared our stories, we realized both of us had converted to Christianity as adults.

Remembering my unbelieving family’s struggle to accept my newfound faith in Christ, I asked Mohamed how his Muslim family responded to his conversion.

Undaunted by negative first reactions, Mohamed beamed as he shared how his family (parents and siblings) followed him and became followers of Jesus.

As our conversation turned to current goals and struggles, Mohamed confided his heart’s desire: to reach his coworkers by modeling Christ in their workplace. I couldn’t help but encourage him with a personal connection.

Growing up as a nonbeliever, I had often scoffed at Christianity. But one Christian coworker’s unquenchable joy opened my heart to “see if there really is anything to this religion”. Her daily walk with Jesus became the first Bible I ever read.

Mohamed and I come from completely different backgrounds and experiences, yet we both share the same conviction:

Our Christian lives create love letters for those He puts in our paths.

As the apostle Paul teaches:

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV)

As the tour ended, my children came to join us, bringing our conversation to a close. With a smile so engaging we couldn’t help but smile with him, Mohamed exclaimed, “Jésus est tout!” Jesus is everything. Indeed.

As I travel down the road, I pray for my life to be a beautiful love letter from the One who is indeed everything. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray the same for you.

Mohamed plays and sings in a Christian group called Alléluia North Africa. At one of their concerts Mohamed gave his testimony. For a rough English translation of his testimony, click here.

French Connection

April 25, 2019

French Connection

How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way. – Mark Twain

Leaving my children to finish their tour of the Eiffel Tower, I stepped inside the enclosed observatory to sit and rest my throbbing knee.

Less than one week prior we had embarked on this trip to Europe. For my children, the trip centered around the many cultural sights.  But for me, I wanted nothing more than to introduce them to the city I once called home and to reconnect with close friends.

Unfortunately, my left knee, compensating for my healing right heel, became strained on the very first day of our trip. As I rested and my children explored, memories of my life in Paris flooded my thoughts.

“Will it bother you if I sit here?” The man’s voice, calm and gentle, broke into my reverie. Looking up, I saw him, one of the Eiffel Tower’s security guards.

“Of course not,” I smiled as I slid over on the bench.

He assumed the puzzled air I had seen so often. After living in France for five years, my American accent morphed. Although never mistaken for French, people struggled to identify my origin.

“English? Swiss?” He asked.

“American,” I replied.

“Ah,” he nodded, “my pastor is American.”

His words launched a conversation made possible only when two people share a common bond in Jesus. As we shared our stories, we realized both of us had converted to Christianity as adults.

Remembering my unbelieving family’s struggle to accept my newfound faith in Christ, I asked Mohamed how his Muslim family responded to his conversion.

Undaunted by negative first reactions, Mohamed beamed as he shared how his family (parents and siblings) followed him and became followers of Jesus.

As our conversation turned to current goals and struggles, Mohamed confided his heart’s desire: to reach his coworkers by modeling Christ in their workplace. I couldn’t help but encourage him with a personal connection.

Growing up as a nonbeliever, I had often scoffed at Christianity. But one Christian coworker’s unquenchable joy opened my heart to “see if there really is anything to this religion”. Her daily walk with Jesus became the first Bible I ever read.

Mohamed and I come from completely different backgrounds and experiences, yet we both share the same conviction:

Our Christian lives create love letters for those He puts in our paths.

As the apostle Paul teaches:

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV)

As the tour ended, my children came to join us, bringing our conversation to a close. With a smile so engaging we couldn’t help but smile with him, Mohamed exclaimed, “Jésus est tout!” Jesus is everything. Indeed.

As I travel down the road, I pray for my life to be a beautiful love letter from the One who is indeed everything. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray the same for you.

Mohamed plays and sings in a Christian group called Alléluia North Africa. At one of their concerts Mohamed gave his testimony. For a rough English translation of his testimony, click here.

2 Comments

  1. Charla on April 27, 2019 at 11:37 AM

    What a sweet message, Shirley. I love God for the ways He guides our steps – and seating – so souls can mingle. Many is the time I felt alone, and He sent a kindred spirit to help pass the time and leave me with a smile. Thank you for sharing how He did this in your life.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on April 28, 2019 at 11:21 AM

      Thank you Charla. You are so right, God does lead our steps and brings us in contact with kindred spirits. It truly was a great and inspiring moment and definitely a highlight of the trip!

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