Since being in Paris five girls have come to faith in Christ. Amazing isn’t it? In a very spiritually dry and weary city, there are people who are thinking about spiritual things, asking questions about life and death and eternity and their questions are finally being answered. The Lord is faithful to reveal himself to his children. He doesn’t need me or anyone else on my team, but he wants to use us. He wants us to see more of his glory, more of his face, and to feel his tangible love for us and for those who are on the cusp of knowing him. It’s a privilege to take this news and share it. To be a part of caring for people. To see them take the first steps into this life of faith. Jesus is so good and purposeful in allowing us to be a part of each salvation. These are faces we won’t forget. Stories we can’t erase. Someone going from death to life is etched in our memory until we meet our maker face to face and walk into eternity and see those who have gone before us and those who will come after us. May my heart forever be bent toward this vision.

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The Perdue fam hopes that you had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving! We definitely had a great one here in Paris. I was honestly a little sad about missing the first big holiday, but it ended up being a good day. We had dinner with our team and I really didn’t “miss” any traditional side, except my moms broccoli casserole! We were able to watch the Macy’s parade, make a huge pot of mashed potatoes, and drink coffee all day. It was as close to perfect as perfect could be. We were able to see family a couple times throughout the day thanks to facetime so it felt as normal as it could have which I was really thankful for. Makes me think that Christmas won’t be as painful as I’m anticipating. We’ll be traveling home from Italy on that day, so we’ll see about that! 

So since being in Paris, I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of taking advantage of what the city has to offer as far as parks, museums, and close by towns. Each weekend has been filled with something new so it’s been fun to check things off our list! This past weekend we perused the Louvre since it was free on Sunday. We spent a couple hours just slowly walking through a couple portions (you have to spend days in there to see it all) and it was fun to see things again that I’d honestly forgotten about. You see one you see em all right!? 

Last night we went to the Christmas markets on the Champs Elysees and I must say it was a little commercial for my taste. I’ve read that others are a little more quaint so I’m interested to see if those meet my expectations a little more. It was fun to see the streets lined with lights though! Christmas is just around the corner! 

To bring in some more Christmas cheer my friend Brooke and I made sugar cookie dough and let Asher make some Christmas cookies! He loved using the cutters and pushing them rather aggressively into the dough and pouring sprinkles everywhere :) I can vividly remember making cookies with my Grandmother every year and I want Asher to have these memories too! 

As we approach Christmas I am hoping that I can “unplug” and really allow the meaning of Christmas to change me. To shift my focus from me, me, me to Jesus. We aren’t really exchanging gifts this year because we are taking a couple of trips over our break. We are headed to Prague and to a couple of cities in Italy! So excited to see a new place and then to return to some of my most favorite places in Italy. 

Some photos of our week!

 

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Versailles.

So, each weekend we are faced with “where do we go and what do we explore this weekend?” This past weekend we decided on Versailles! The palace of the King and where Marie Antoinette set up shop at just 15 years old. I didn’t know much about her before our Fat Tire bike tour and then by going to Versailles you see an even great glimpse of her crazy lavish life. She eventually was beheaded in her 30’s and was hated by every person in France. Kind of a sad life if you really think about it.

So, we took a quick train ride out to the city of Versailles and walked through the huge golden gates and started touring the palace. It’s really big and tons to look at. Almost too overwhelming. You start wondering “didn’t I already walk through this room?” Everything starts to look the same. Pretty nonetheless! So my favorite part had to be walking through the gardens. I can only imagine how much more beautiful they are in the spring when everything has just bloomed, but seeing the rows of yellow and orange trees was pretty perfect too.

Here are some photos of our day!

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i’ll admit that messes and chaos can make me feel a little crazy. i don’t know why that is, but i’m learning to embrace that little part of myself. i am also learning to let loose and bring asher into things i’m doing, even if it means a big mess. nothing some quality cleaner and a sponge can’t wipe up right? so, after we went to the apple orchard we had so many that we couldn’t have eaten them fast enough before going bad, so i was forced to make some baked goods. i know, so so sad. i decided to make an apple cake yesterday in our free time, and invited asher to be a part of it. even though i had to instruct him through every step and say lots of “no, no no, that doesn’t go in there” or “wait for mama!” it was really fun to see him “helping!” the beauty of it all? we passed like an hour of time, and nothing was broken and the mess was actually pretty minimal. here’s my advice if you have a busy little buddy at home who just wants to help:

1. explain as much as you can. i kept telling asher the same things over and over again and eventually he knew that the flour went into the bowl. so on and so forth.

2. take a breather. forget the mess that’s being made and live in the moment. notice their excitement and just enjoy making a memory with them!

3. let them stir, pour, roll, whatever. let them get their hands dirty!

4. encourage them! tell them what a great job they are doing and how much fun you are having with them. i noticed the more excited that i got, the more excited asher was.

5. eat the finished product and explain that they made it! they’ll love seeing what they made.

i know these are basic and i know that it’s nothing new, but for me, i had to really talk myself into letting the kitchen get messy. it’s small and there’s not a lot of counter space! but making that memory with asher and watching him get so excited was definitely worth the extra few minutes of cleaning!

 

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look how excited he is! love this sweet boy of mine.

 

Brrr! Paris is cold and we aren’t even fully into winter yet. (insert FEAR) we are in our new apartment!! We couldn’t be more excited and thankful to be in our home, to unpack all of our suitcases, hang our clothes, and just settle into our place. Scott and I still look at each other in disbelief that the Lord provided such a perfect place for us. We are one block from another married couple on our team, we have a metro stop within a couple minute walk, a market within a 5 minute walk, grocery stores, all purpose stores, and boulangeries! (let’s be real, that’s the most important!) So, I’d say this is a huge step in helping us feel more at home here. I think it’ll always be tough to feel fully “at home” but this definitely helps. Asher has space to run more, his toys have their place, we can hang our family photos up, and put our personal touch on it. It’s fun!

The last week or so has been good. Honestly, I feel like time here is going pretty quickly, but I can’t let myself think in terms of months. I get a little overwhelmed thinking about how many more days and months we will be here. I wouldn’t say I’m counting down the days by any means, but each new month causes you to think. 

Sometimes I struggle with what to write on here. I want to be honest about how I’m doing here, and share what the Lord is teaching me and us while we are here, but sometimes I can’t even gather my thoughts and put them into anything understandable. Today in John I read about abiding in Christ. What does that mean, that idea of abiding? How am I doing with abiding in Christ when some days everything in my day to day life seems crazy and exhausting? Do I abide in Christ when my circumstances are going well or do I abide in him when I feel lost and extra needy? Later in the chapter it says, abide in me because apart from me you can do nothing. Ok, so abiding isn’t circumstantial. period. Abiding is an all day every day active choice I have to make. I need to abide when I am happy, sad, frustrated, feeling lonely, feeling excited and thankful. I need to know who my creator is and I need to know that he is the branch and I am in the vine. He is pruning me and stripping off dead branches and leaves that are barely hanging on. Things in my heart that prevent me from fully abiding. From fully allowing him control in my heart. I know that I am not doing well in this. I do not abide in Christ all of the time. Most of the time I am relying on myself. I can do this, or I can do that is a mentality I constantly have to hush. 

I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be honest with the Lord. He already knows anyway, right? But there’s something about confession, about sharing my thoughts and struggles out loud or on paper with him that breaks down any walls or barriers that keep me from really being truly honest. I want him to know that I am feeling lonely and that I get sad a lot. That there are days when I feel like I’m barely hanging on because I feel lost and exhausted. I want him to know that I am quick to be angry. That I am harsh in my heart towards others. That I am greedy and love material things. That I use buying things to gloss over what my heart is truly experiencing or a sin that needs to be dealt with. Like I said, he knows this about me. He knows my sin, and yet still loves me, still accepts me. Praise him for that! I am so glad that he doesn’t keep a list of my wrongs. 

Two girls placed their faith in Christ a couple of weeks ago! This is huge for Paris. Something that doesn’t happen very often is a student trusting Christ. Then two in one week made that decision. The two girls actually were introduced to each other and from a teammate it sounded like it was twins that had been reunited for the first time after being separated their whole lives! They couldn’t believe that someone their age in Paris had the same thoughts, feelings, desires, and voids in their hearts! They shared their stories with each other and both couldn’t believe how much their stories resembled each other. Isn’t God so good to give us other believers to encourage us in this journey? I know I’d be lost without people in my life who’ve invested in me, asked me good questions, challenged me, helped me examine my own heart and helped me see more of God. Pray for these two girls! Pray for their time in the word, for protection against the enemy who wants to steal and destroy this new found hope and satisfaction, and pray against persecution from family as one girl has left the Muslim faith. 

Thanks for reading and being a part of our days here in Paris. We are thankful for every prayer. 

 

apple orchard.

we visited an apple orchard just outside of Paris a few days ago as a team and it was so much fun. i didn’t even know this should’ve been on my bucket list but it’s been added and crossed off. not only can you pick the most delicious, sweet flavorful apples, you can pick tons of veggies too. a win all around. asher had a blast running around and picking up apples and eating however many he could get his muddy little hands on. scott and i lost count after about an hour. he had a hay day though and i loved seeing him so excited. “APPLE, APPLE!” was exclaimed all day.

it was perfect cold crisp weather and we finished up the day with soup and cider. perfect little fall day! here are some photos to prove it!

 

 

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cute little bear.

cute little bear.

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seriously these veggies have the most intense fresh flavor. naturally a good potato leek soup is on the docket. apple orchard for the win!

a longing for home.

often times before coming to Paris i would daydream about it. i would wonder what life here would look like, what would my apartment look like, what market would i shop at? who would be our neighbors? so many thoughts about who, what, when, where and how would constantly flood my mind. now that i’m here i am wondering about home. what is my family doing? is starting to feel like fall there? what would i be doing right now if i were in jacksonville or tallahassee?

the thing is, i’m (we) are always longing for something. obviously if you are a believer, that longing leads to heaven. but i feel like that’s the cliche answer. i think it’s more present, more here and now and i want to really put my finger on it. i long for what makes me comfortable and makes me most feel at home. sure, i like to travel and see and do, but ultimately i think i enjoy being in my home. i have always wrestled with saying i was a homebody because so many people on staff love adventure and thrive on the nomadic lifestyle that staff life can tend to be. sure, i like to go, but even more i like knowing what i have at home waiting for me.

ultimately, being in paris has exposed a lot of my desire to be comfortable. to know what lies ahead and be able to predict life at some level. here, you can’t always predict the day. i think when our stint year is over, i’m going to have this little tool belt of skills stacked up that will help me in the years to come. i’ll be able to handle life and surprises with more ease. ( i hope) at the end of the day, i want more of jesus and less of me. i want him to be my safe hiding place. i want him to be my dwelling place, my home. no 4 walls and a roof can ever offer me the security that he can and i need to remind myself of that when i do feel lonely and homesick.

** we have been having a ton of fun with our team and have loved feel loved and pursued by them. we have deep, intentional conversation with each other. we pray for each other. i feel like we’ve eaten a feast when we leave them because of how full of life and gratitude i am for them. to be cared for in deep ways by friends is such a gift. true community is this right here below. doing life with them, sharing in good and bad, laughing, crying even. sometimes i really struggle with why friends in my life have come and gone, and it effects how i see myself, how much value i place on the relationship and i can doubt what was really there. but friendship has to be nurtured. questions have to be asked. effort must be made. sure, it’s hard and it’s time consuming and it’s not easy. but it’s worth the time and effort. thankful for these friends who are doing this day in and day out.

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my sweet scott was brave enough to let me cut his hair twice so far! the second time i got my mom on facetime to do it with me step by step ;) i think i did pretty well considering! i do come from a family of a barbers :)

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the leaves are turning yellows and orange and falling! it’s so beautiful!

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i have a little bucket list for paris and this was on it. merci-merci is this really fun store/cafe. think anthropologie meets the most hipster cafe ever. i had a cafe creme and then explored the retail side of it. such great design and all so pleasing to the eye!

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man, this little 19 month old boy has me wrapped around his finger. i love him so much and find myself more dependent on the Lord for his heart. he is tender, wild, and so fun to be with. even though i’m mentally exhausted by the end of the day, he is such a gift and i will tell him that always. scott and i pray over him every night that he would know the love of God tangibly, that he would come to salvation at an early age and walk in his laws.

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taking full advantage of those park days and loving walking in all these leaves. of course they made fun crunchy sounds so he kept doing it over and over like any other toddler would!

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i hope you’re having a wonderful week. that wherever you are, you’re experiencing God’s grace and goodness in your life, even if you are having a tough day or week. hopefully the newness of seasons will bring refreshment and rest to you!

apartment.

Friends,

today we got a phone call from an agent telling us that we were able to rent the apartment that we really wanted! i am still in disbelief that we got this particular apartment! it really has everything we need/want and i am so very grateful that the Lord answered our prayers in this way.

it’s so fun to see God answer specific prayers. we asked for so many apartments but he knew that this one would be best for us. he knew that we’d thrive here and i can’t wait to transition into it! the only downside is that we have to wait until november 1 to move in, but it’s totally worth it! (i may not have the same opinion on a rainy day where i’ve been stuck indoors though!)

being in Paris has caused our prayer life to dramatically increase and has even shown us that we need to rely on the Lord the same way we did for the apartment in every other area of our lives. to be totally reliant on his sovereignty and faithfulness even when we are doubtful or want to take control of the situation.

thank you for praying for us and for believing God on our behalf. we are really grateful and can feel those prayers!

October in Paris.

Happy October, friends! The fall season has arrived and once again so much faster than I anticipated. How is it that the year flies by so quickly? I won’t complain though. Bring on the pumpkin, changing leaves, scarves, boots and crisp fall air! Paris is actually really beautiful right now. The leaves are a bright yellow and falling as you walk down the streets. Florida doesn’t have a very obvious change of seasons so this is pretty fun to experience. I will say though that I am a little nervous about the winter here. Apparently it can get pretty cold. Luckily I have my heavy down coat! 

I haven’t been able to blog as often as I’d like because my computer hard drive actually crashed :( We took it to a hard drive recovery place and they said it would cost…get ready… 2,800 EURO to fix it. HA. that’s a joke. Actually, Apple is responsible because they sold us a corrupted Snow Leopard Operating system disc. We loaded it onto my laptop and it just caused everything to crash. SO, Scott is planning on fighting to the death to get this thing resolved. Ridiculous! So, even though we have Scotts computer here, I hate to load all of my stuff onto his laptop and have to eventually transfer it over. But, I don’t want too much time to pass so I decided to just blog anyway.

The past couple of weeks have been good. The weather has been really nice which is really a huge blessing. Rain can really put a damper on getting out and about so when the weather is nice we try to be outside as much as we can. We are at the parks, taking walks, and going to markets. 

So far my favorite areas that I’ve been in are Bastille and the Marais. Such great little boulangeries, cheese shops, clothing stores! Very Parisian neighborhoods and lots to see and do. France is such an interesting culture. There are things about it that are really great and I think we could even adapt and learn from, and then things that are so frustrating at times. For example, the French really value relationships. When they enter a room, they greet each person individually by kissing them on each cheek and saying a quick hello. They also really value children and family. Often, we see Dad’s taking their kids to the park or biking with them. They value their culture too which is neat. Things that are frustrating are lack of efficiency. It can take hours to do one task. Something that would take me an hour in the states to do takes me at least 3 here if not more. I may even have to save half the task for the next day. Another odd thing is customer service. For instance, in a grocery store, the cashier sits in a chair and you bag your own groceries. They literally scan your items and take your money and that’s it. Publix would be appalled! Also, manners are kind of non existent when walking down the streets, or in stores or on the metro. In the states we say excuse me a lot if we need to get by or have a question, here they just shove their way through. Many times I’ve been cut in line or pushed because I think everybody is in line, and really lines don’t really exist here. The French don’t seem to have a problem with any of this though haha. 

So, there are definitely things I miss about the states. Sure there are great things about being here and I’m sure I’ll adapt to many of the cultural norms, but at this point I can’t say I would trade my culture ;) 

We actually still do not have an apartment. We are actively looking and going on appointments but just keep hearing a lot of No’s. It’s pretty discouraging! We’d really really love to be in our own space but at the same time don’t want to manipulate the system or jump in front of what the Lord has for us. It’s a challenging balance to practice. How do you stay active and be responsible pursuing apartments while still trusting the Lord has the perfect place for us in his timing? It’s a tricky place to be in. The process is very much a roller coaster with my emotions. I have had my hopes up several times only to have them let down by hearing a No. Right now we have given our dossiers to two really great apartments (one is super great and I’d absolutely love it) and are waiting to hear back, but I just keep fearing hearing more No’s and being back at square one again. I want to trust the Lord but I also want to ask him and believe that he can come through for anything!

Would you continue to pray for our housing search? Even specifically for this really great one? I’d really love to be in this one based on location and space and amenities so I’m definitely asking the Lord for it and I’d love other people to pray alongside of us!

Here are some photos of the past couple of weeks!     

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Thank you for reading and praying for us. We definitely know that having people behind us in prayer is so huge and vital and definitely don’t take it for granted. 

It’s hard to believe that I posted 10 days ago. Somedays I feel like I’ve been here for months, and other days it feels so short. In the last 10 days we’ve stayed busy mostly hunting for a permanent apartment! It’s no small feat to apartment hunt here. I don’t even know how someone who wanted to move here randomly would even know all of the documents they would need in order to complete their file that you must hand each agency if you’re interested in the apartment they’ve shown you. It’s very much a landlord’s market here. Basically the agent takes your file and gives it to the landlord, among other applicants, and they evaluate and decide who they want to rent to. If they don’t choose you, you have to move on. I feel like in the states anyone will take your money. Here, it’s not like that, and it can be exhausting and quite frustrating. We have given our “dossier” to two agencies so we are waiting now to hear from back either of them as to whether or not the landlord has chosen us. Hopefully by tomorrow we will hear something, but everyday that passes I’ve come to not expect a call. (not to sound emotionally defeated, just that everything takes so long here)

anyway! I feel like we are continuing to transition here as we learn our neighborhood, the language, the stores, etc. There are days that I really feel like I have a handle on things, and then I get lost for more than an hour with Asher. (it happened) Without a car I tend to feel trapped at times. Many days I’ve left the house in semi-nice weather only to walk for 15 minutes and it start to monsoon. You can’t prepare for the weather, you just have to pack the umbrella and hope for the best. Those are the days you wish you could hop into your car. 

Something that has been fun for us is taking Asher on morning walks to a nearby park. He really likes getting out of the little place we are in and being outside and since he’s up at 6 every morning we have plenty of time to get in a solid hour of walking and playing. It’s become our little norm and he really loves it. Plus it wears him out for his morning nap! Win.

Another aspect of French/Parisian life that I’ve enjoyed is the outdoor markets and daily trips to the store. They don’t really have large refrigerators here (ours is like a dorm size one) so we have to go to the store pretty often to restock, because it just doesn’t hold much. Although with weather and it taking time to get there by foot can be frustrating at times, there is something unique about making time to really create special meals. We’ve already had Potato Leek soup and a really yummy tomato soup. We’ve had salmon and salads and french toast too. Brie, Baguettes and wine are pretty much on the table regularly, especially if we are with friends. Can’t complain for sure.

There have been serious ups and downs the last three weeks. Tears have been shed, doubt has creeped in, anger and frustration have surfaced but the Lord has been really good to answer specific prayers. I feel like it’s really exposed how much we did life without him in the states. How little we had to trust him. Here, I feel like I need him hourly, and I should. I know that this year will shape me, Scott and I, and Asher in ways that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else and the Lord has already shown himself more than faithful to us. 

Would you pray for us this week? Pray that the Lord would even give us housing by Sunday. We feel like moving into “our” space would be a huge step in helping us feel even more at home here. All of our things are still packed in luggage and we kind of feel like we are living in a hotel. We would love to have a larger space for Asher to play and just a home to make our own. We know that it’s just four walls and a roof, but it gives us life to be able to fully be us in our home. Would you also continue to pray for Asher to sleep through the night? He still has yet to do that and it is wearing. We would love for him to be on a normal schedule! 

Would you also pray for our health. Asher is battling a little runny nose/cough and Scott has sinus pressure and is stuffy. We would all love to stay as healthy as possible! 

Thank you so much for staying with us as we do life in Paris. There are many days that we long for “normal” american life, and to be with familiarity, but we want to trust the Lord that this is where he has called us for a time. Many days we can’t say that we feel that, or want to even believe it, but we know we should and we want to want to! Thank you for praying for us! 

 

 

here are some photos of the last week or so! 

asher playing at our neighborhood park

asher and daddy on the metro

picnic with friends at the Louvre

a little parisian cafe

walking over the Seine

dinner with great friends

 

 

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