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Paris? Really? You really want to move to France now?

May 28, 2011 Leave a comment

It is 2003.  The United States has declared war on Iraq.  France has declined to help.  French Fries?  No way…they are Freedom Fries!  Nobody seems to like the French.  So, when Jen and I tell our friends and family that we are talking with a church in Paris, they think we are crazy.

And yes…maybe we were crazy.  I had been teaching at a Christian school, but was not enjoying the experience.  Most of my students weren’t opening up to me the way that I was used to.  Maybe they were too afraid of getting into trouble with the administration if they shared what they were dealing with me.  I knew that I couldn’t stay.

Jen and I had interviewed at two different churches.  When one said no, we were really down.  It seemed like such a great church and opportunity.  When the second said no, we were relieved.   The interview that we had with them was one of the strangest experiences that I had gone through.  (read the blog here)

Jen had a job as a receptionist and had permission to surf the web during down times.  I asked her to search for any schools, seminaries or other websites that listed ministry positions.  She came across a guy’s website where he listed international youth ministry positions.  She found a position in Paris at a church that had the same name as the church we were attending.  She emailed it to me so we could laugh that there was a church in Paris with the same name as our church.

To her surprise, I said that we should send them my résumé and see what they say.  Now, you must know that my Jen has a French degree, studied in France, and absolutely loves Paris and France.  (A note to all those guys out there…score some major points with your wife and move them to their dream city.  They will love you even more!)  After some emails and calls, we ended up packing up our stuff, storing most of it in our good friends’ garage, and moving to Paris.

Our friends and family did think that we were crazy.  But, it was the best, and hardest, three years of our lives.  Interestingly enough, many of the French people we met wondered why Americans weren’t visiting Paris like they used to.  When we told them that it was because France didn’t support the war, they were confused.  They didn’t see why that would keep people away from Paris.  ”Don’t they still love Paris?”  A definite difference in how Americans and the French approach life.

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The strangest interview

May 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is the strangest interview that I have ever had.  It was at a church that I had attended  previously for a couple years and I knew the pastor well.  The interview started with everyone getting some pizza and sitting around a few large tables.  There was a little chit chat and then the head of the search committee said, “Okay, let’s get started.  Jeanie, you are up first.”  From here on out, it was rapid fire questions.  No problem, I was ready to answer lots of questions.

What I wasn’t ready for was the complete lack of nonverbal communication.  I would answer a question and look around to see if people were tracking with me.  When I didn’t get any affirmation of understanding, I did what I would do with junior high and high school students, I rephrased my answer.  After a few of these type of answers. Jen starts kicking me under the table.  I give her a look wondering why she keeps kicking me.  Eventually, I get the point and stop repeating myself.  The interview ends with the head of the search committee telling me that he will be in touch with me in the next week or so.  The pastor walks us out to the car and we drive home.

When we get in the car, we look at each other and ask each other, “What in the world just happened?”  I had never before talked to a group that looked at me with stone faces like they had.  We quickly decided that this wasn’t the place for us.  I waited for the head of the committee to call me so I could tell him that we weren’t interested.

But I never got a call.  Since they had agreed to pay for our gas, so I had a good excuse to call them and find out.  So I call and leave him a message.  After almost a month after we interviewed, I finally hear from him.  He says that they are talking exclusively with another candidate.   Thanks for telling us!

An interesting part of this is that it was Jen’s former youth pastor that they were talking to.  He ended up going there and left after a short time.  I truly believe that God saved us from having to go to this church.  And it opened the door for us to go to Paris.  God is good!

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