So Alex, why did you choose France?
I’ve learned a lot in school about the culture and the language so I was already interested. Having studied the language for two years and visiting Europe a couple of times I was interested to know what France was all about. I enjoy Europe so I wanted the first hand chance to live it.
You’ve been here about a week thus far, what surprised you about France?
I’ve encountered so many warm people here. There is the stereotype that French people are all cold but so far everything I’ve seen is the opposite.
What are some difficulties for you?
First the language difference. Then not knowing if I stick out too much, as far as dress, manners and meal times.
So now that we have the difficulties out of the way, tell us about some victories?
I got the travel accomplished! I managed to get to where I needed to go the first time. The little conversations where I comprehend and understand are great. Befriending people quickly has been great, I don’t feel like I’m really lost or feeling culture shock. So I’m really happy about that.
So you are a student at Johnson University (in Knoxville, TN) Tell us some more.
I’m 19 and studying Theology, Inter-cultural studies and journalism.
How do you hope to use your studies/knowledge here with us?
I hope that I can use the practical knowledge I’ve learned in the classroom on the ground and how to appreciate differences as I’ve been taught. Of course using Bible knowledge in practical ways will be crucial.
How would you define what you’re doing in France this summer?
9 weeks of interning with Greg and Nikki. I learn the practical side of being a missionary (the types of relationships they have, the type of education they need). I’ll also be helping with some media applications as well (photos, videos and other projects).
How has working with Kontaktmission helped you?
KM gives me a realistic image of what the mission field is really like. I was already equipped with the knowledge of what missions in Europe looks like so that was not a mystery.
What word of advice would you give to someone who is looking to come to Europe short term?
First, pray and give it to God. Second, go out in faith knowing God will be in control. Raise support, make contacts and actually GET ON THE PLANE.
How did you come into contact with Greg and Nicole?
Through Kontaktmission and ICOM (a yearly missionary conference that takes place in America each year). ICOM is a great spot to make relationships (ICOM is where we - Greg and Nicole - first met KM many years ago.)
Are you enjoying here?
Very much. Thanks. I’m learning a lot every day.
Some advice maybe specifically about France?
Learn the language but most likely if you think you know it well you don’t. If you feel comfortable with the language you are wrong. It’s really important to understand and to know that you are leaving your comfort zone. Evangelism isn’t always comfortable and it doesn’t take place how we envision it.
You’ve ended up being here for 9 weeks. Do you feel like this is a good amount of time?
I think it’s just right. 9 weeks gives me enough time to experience the culture without being too far separated from my home and family. Also we can get tasks done because we have enough time to do them.
How is the expression of Christianity different in France (locally in Loches) ?
Their faith is much more on a personal level and people here are expected to take their faith individually and make it their own. It’s not a Sunday to Sunday action but rather a daily action. It’s a lot about relationship building first.
Is it true your name is Alex The-Intern, or is Ophelia just confused?
She’s just confused about that one. She’s a funny kid.
You’ve been here 9 (at the time of interview) days…. It’s way too early to talk about the future but where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself completed from Johnson with a degree and either full time or ready to go full time into the mission field.
Continue to be in prayer for Alex and our work this summer. Alex is great enough to be willing to help us move as well to Descartes. This is huge for us and will help in many ways. We look forward to updating you more on what we are doing this summer.