You may remember that a couple of years back we led a campaign we called #PrayforCincy. This year, we’re spending the month of January on a quest to #Pray4France. We here at WHCC have the great privilege of partnering with French Christian Mission and the Glen and Jessica Shady family as they move to France to bring the message of Jesus to a people who are in desperate need of His love.
How can you help? Well…parlez-vous Français? Do you speak French? No? That’s okay; you don’t have to speak French to be able to pray for France. All this month as we dive into this series on prayer, we’re going to be looking for ways to help us remember to pray for France – to pray for The Shady family as they begin this exhilarating new stage of life in France. If you remember back to our #PrayforCincy campaign, in some ways it was very easy to remember to pray for Cincinnati, because well, 95% of us live and work here in Cincinnati! We literally walk out our front doors and are reminded of Cincinnati. We drive to work, we go downtown, we make that long and dangerous trek across that crumbling bridge to Kentucky when we absolutely must, we look out off the hill and see the sun rising over the skyline to the east, and we are reminded that God is moving in Cincinnati. We are reminded to pray for our friends, our neighbors, our family, our city.
So how do we find practical ways to remember to #Pray4France? How do we remind ourselves that God is moving in France, and we can be a part of it? It’s going to take a little extra work; we don’t have those tangible reminders constantly staring us in the face throughout our day. We don’t even speak the same language as the people in France, believe it or not!
We’ll get into all the different ways you can get involved as we go through this month, but why a picture of a chalkboard today? Because just like many of you or your family members, all five of the Shadys are as of today, back to school! Elizabeth and Hannah start at their new elementary school, and Glen and Jessica begin language school. They had been trying to get a head start and learn some French while still here in the States, but today they kick it in to high gear. As you go through each day this week, be listening and watching for other languages – someone at Target speaking Chinese, or when you drive past a restaurant or store sign that’s in Spanish, or encounter a last name that isn’t English in origin (like Weiss… or Yungblut… or Ramirez) – let that remind you to #Pray4France!
Have you ever tried to learn a new language? The best way seems to be by immersion – but it is also the most tiring way. I (Brandon here) remember when I was learning American Sign Language (which, fun fact, has its roots in French sign language!) to be able to communicate with Maleah’s brother, it was exhausting (I don’t mean that negatively). 90% of how I learned ASL was by sitting around the dinner table with Maleah and her family – and the many guests who make their way through the Eubanks’ home – simultaneously trying to pick up what I could from what I’d already learned and through context clues, and relying on the aid of an interpreter when necessary. It takes a lot of patience, hard work, and an end goal in mind. For me, it was to be able to communicate with all of Maleah’s family, and to be able to share in something that was so instrumental to Maleah’s upbringing and life experience.
Glen and Jessica have clear goals in mind – to be able to communicate with the people of France, to use their own heart language to bring to life the gospel and the truth of God’s love for all of us. This week, let’s pray specifically for the Shady family: for their sleep; for their studies; for their sanity! For a while their brains are going to feel like mush at the end of each day. Pray for their patience, not only in their language acquisition, but as they switch their brains back to English at home every night to be able to talk with each other. They’re beginning a year-long road of total immersion into French culture and language, and our prayers can help catapult them into the new year with focus, endurance, and purpose!