Connecting & Settling.
It was so good last night to reconnect with the boys on the presqu’ile de Caen after 4 months. We were a small group and kept to extra safety and hygiene procedures to protect everyone. They were so keen to see us again and catch up, and this morning I find myself thinking about the deep need in us all for connection. Over these past few years of SOS Chai in Caen, we have met many guys and heard many stories. We have had some fun moments, some very challenging moments, some incredibly moving moments, but also some very sad moments. The biggest blessing of it all is to see how across so many boundaries our lives have been so enriched by these precious new friendships. I know I have changed a lot as a person though my encounters, conversations and friendships formed through SOS Chai.
We’re so blessed to have others in our lives who challenge us and change us; even our smaller families are made up of many differences as well as similarities. But it’s the connections, those conversations and opportunities to hear each other and share with each other at a deeper level that make life so much richer. I’m grateful for these guys who have challenged me but also enriched my life.
We came to this city just over 10 years ago, after a lot of years loving the city and searching for the opportunity to settle here. We’d had a bible verse from the psalms many years before , ‘He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.’ Psalm 117. This verse has always been so precious to us, and we’d always known it was our verse from God for the city of Caen. God always sees us and knows us.
This week we’ve started opening up our space in Caen, for the boys to drop by and pick up clothing and have some informal English or French conversations. It’s exciting to see friendships go deeper as we have more intentional time to spend with them. In this season where there is so much fear in the air, we all need others around us who will take the time to hear us as we learn to live in very different days. The challenge for us all is to see the uniqueness of others, and their stories, as an enrichment and not as something to be afraid of. I love the reality that the presence of each of these boys is a unique gift to our city and I challenge myself to hear more, love more, and keep connected though all the small opportunities we have to build friendship with those who are also searching for a city to settle in.