We returned safe and sound to Mali on Monday. We’re accustomed to the 18 hour flight from California to Mali, so this trip seemed very short. We arrived refreshed after a much shorter 6 hour flight from Paris. ;-) Since being back, we have been trying to re-acclimate to the weather. Where temperatures in Paris were 40-60°, we’re now facing daily highs of 115°. At night we drop to the low 90s.
Again, we thank you for your prayers. Upon reflection, we realize we didn’t share enough about our trip to Paris. It was pitted with many obstacles and hardships. Besides the obvious medical issues we were dealing with, we were continually faced with the very dark spiritual oppression in Paris. It is a city that turned its back on God many years ago and it really shows. Despite Paris’ nickname as the City of Lights, its actually just the opposite. It is a city covered in darkness. (A good representation of this is that everyone in Paris wears black. A popular product in the grocery stores are special laundry detergents for black clothes.) After a couple of weeks, it took a very big toll on our family. Towards the end of our trip, we felt as we were going to leave Paris more broken than we arrived – especially in the emotional and spiritual areas. We didn’t feel like we were ready to face Africa again and we were feeling apprehensive about returning.
We attended a couple of churches while in Paris, including a very high and formal service on Easter Sunday at a Anglican/Episcopalian Cathedral. The pomp and circumstance seemed appropriate for Easter, however we didn’t find the spiritual enrichment we were looking for. We spent the next two Sundays attending the American Church of Paris. It was wonderful and refreshing and we were touched in many ways. The Lord really spoke to us through the worship and pastors’ messages that all included the exact spiritual medicine we were seeking. We were very thirsty and it felt like we were handed the tall glass of cold water we needed. The last song we sung before leaving church a couple of days ago was a song we hadn’t heard before called God of Justice. It is very appropriately a missionary song. It includes a phrase that keeps repeating: “Fill us up and send us out. Fill us up and send us out” Wow, what could sum up our our cry to the Lord more than this? And He heard! He did fill us back up and we felt right about returning to Mali.