When we arrived, we didn't really know why God sent us there or what we'd be doing, but it turned out to be the most amazing and healing time. Everything we'd asked God to give us in the next season was right there, waiting for us like a neatly-wrapped present.
I was assigned to the kitchen, where I quickly made friends with the head chef. We cranked out two meals a day for 15-35 people, and I dreamed up desserts for birthdays and base events. After two years of working from home and having no real schedule, the type-A workhorse in me was thrilled to have structure and purpose every day. I was also in my second trimester sweet spot, which meant I actually had the energy to work all day and sometimes even write in the evenings.
Sam teamed up with the base's worship leader, who had him playing piano, singing, and sometimes even belting out opera during the morning set. I've never heard my husband sound so much himself as he did there. He also worked on projects around the chateau, which in typical old French fashion needed plastering, sanding, painting, and de-molding. By the end of our stay, Sam was leading work duty teams and serving as the quintessential do-what-needs-to-be-done (but no one else has time to do) guy.
It became clear to us within the first week that this was exactly where we wanted to be. In worship one morning, God spoke clearly to both of us that this was our next home. Lunch with the base leaders confirmed that they, too, wanted us to join the community long-term. We didn't hesitate to say yes.
Which means....we're moving to France!
The leaders of the base have made it clear that they want us to join the community, not just fill a job description. With an infant in tow, our next stint there will probably look a little different from this last one, but we feel confident that God will show us what our role at the base should be. We've already been asked to teach about women's leadership in the church, a topic we are both passionate about and have never ever been asked to teach (though I have been scolded for it many a time). I'll likely teach some writing workshops, as well.
In the mean time, we have creative projects coming out of our ears in Illinois. Sam has been writing, composing, and fundraising in preparation for his first Christmas album. Now that the project is 95% funded, he'll head to Indiana to gather his musician friends and record in a professional studio. By mid-November, the album should be hot off the presses and ready to sell. All proceeds will go towards our upcoming mission in France.
I'm back to writing, with a new article (about pregnancy travels) up on the freshly-redesigned Awaken Magazine. I've also joined their Writer's Guild, which means that I'm more involved in the editing process and helping other writers improve their craft. My own blog is still in the process of being designed, and I've enlisted the help of a graphic designer friend to speed things along. If all goes well, the new blog site will be up in the first half of November. This Weebly site will remain a place to get updates on our ministry, but the other site (url TBA) will host my weekly writings about faith and life abroad.
Since I'm sure you all want to know, Baby Steere is doing very well, wiggling like nobody's business and growing at the proper rate. Our church has generously covered our birth and prenatal costs, which means we get to focus on all the fun aspects of pregnancy: birth classes, registries, and taking pictures of the growing bump.
May the Lord bless and keep you all,
Liz (and Sam and baby)