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Jun4ThuHow moving to a new country showed me God's faithfulness. June 4, 2015 by Kathleen Moulton
Moving to France for seven months to teach children English sounded perfect when I applied for the job. I want to be a teacher, so it seemed like a great opportunity to gain experience. But a few weeks after I arrived, 23,148 kilometres away from home, I started to panic. I'd never left my family, even to work at summer camp. I felt alone and scared, almost like I couldn't breathe.
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As tears of homesickness rolled down my cheeks, I stopped for a moment and prayed. I asked God to send me a sign that I was going to be OK, that I was meant to be here. Not a minute later, I heard a BOOM! and ran to the window to see fireworks. Now, every time I doubt myself, I think of those fireworks and remember I'm here for a reason.
I work at a primary school in Persan, a small town just north of Paris, teaching children from Grades 2 to 5. They never fail to brighten my day. Working in a classroom has made my desire to become a teacher even stronger.
Poste de Paris, a Salvation Army corps in the 14th district, has welcomed me with open arms. I sing in the songsters and on the worship team and I'm in the beginners' brass band. Even though I'm far away, when I'm with other Salvationists, it feels like home. Willy-Jean and Simonetta Wally, a couple from the corps, have looked after me from the day I arrived—picking me up at the airport, having me over for Christmas and sending me messages every so often to make sure I'm OK.
I've also made some amazing friends from all over the world. We have explored Paris together, visiting monuments and trying new restaurants. I've discovered that I love to eat! Croissants and baguettes have become a regular part of my diet. The French take food seriously—dinner has several courses and lasts a few hours.
I've also discovered that I love to travel. I've been to Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Albufeira in Portugal, and Seville, Spain. Experiencing Europe has opened my eyes to a new part of the world. There are so many people on this earth—we are all different and I think it's amazing how God created and loves every one of us.
Some things have been a challenge—finding a place to live, setting up a bank account and starting a new job—with people who only speak French, really quickly! People kept saying to me, C'est la France, which means “It's France.”
The terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo were frightening. France raised its terror alert to its highest level and my school was blocked off for security. I was scared to leave my home for a week. It was a hard reality to experience, but I thank God each day that my friends and I are alive. Participating in the Je Suis Charlie march, alongside four million other people, was extraordinary. It was amazing to see so many come together for the same reason, that we are one.
Being on the other side of the world has challenged me to put my faith in God every day. Of course, I'm human and sometimes struggle with doubt. Leaving all of my family and friends behind was hard, but after seeing those fireworks, I realized I'm not alone and have never been alone. God has been by my side every step of the way. He loves me, uplifts me and keeps me safe.
When I got on the plane to go to France, I discovered I have a little more courage than I ever thought I had. I am grateful for this opportunity and for God's never-failing love.