Below is a article published in the Spire newsletter of The American Church in Paris.
In my article, I shared my recent news, emotions and reflections on my family’s decision to leave Paris this summer and therefore leave my position of Associate Pastor of Youth and Young Adults.
I like the French term “au revoir” for while we customarily use that to say good-bye, the actual translation implies a “till seeing again” or seeing again of someone.
This past summer, after two months of extended conversations and prayerful conversations, my wife Lauretta and I made a difficult decision regarding our time in Paris. What began as an initial two-year assignment has grown to four extraordinary years of personal and pastoral growth and development and quite literally the growth of our young family. We could not be more grateful and appreciative of our time here. The love and support of our ACP family has been overwhelming from the moment we landed with our dog Brady, multiple suitcases and nervous anticipation. How can one know what life in a foreign country and culture will be like? Would we make new friends and integrate well to our new church family? Would we enjoy life living in the city of Paris? We would be able to communicate and understand a new language?
An emphatic “YES” was our answer to all of those questions
(Well, maybe except for the last one!”
Our time here has indeed been remarkable, memorable and truly life-changing.
Which is why it is sad to announce that at the end of the summer we will be leaving.
Paris has become a “home away from home” to us. T.S. Eliot once said, “The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant”. It has been exhilarating to live and minister in this beautiful, historic, artistic cultural capital of the world. More than a physical residence and geographic location, Paris and ACP has captured our hearts. They say that home is where the heart is, and for so many reasons, ACP will forever be our home church.
And yet, our home is where our family reside. Many understand the challenges of living so far away from family. Our parents, now grandparents to Blake and Jack, long for closer proximity to be able to celebrate holidays, birthdays and baseball games together. We long for that as well and understand the benefit of returning to our roots and a sense of familiarity as we raise two toddlers. We know that the transition back will not be easy and reverse culture shock is quite real. Yet we are confident in God’s timing and at peace with the process of transition. At this time we do not know what God has planned for us, but are learning to trust more each day in God’s goodness and faithfulness.
I titled this “A Long Good-Bye” because we have the blessing of another nine months of ministry, service, fellowship and friendship together. As Pastor Scott has said in the past, when you live in Paris, the days are long but the years are short.
Well, I sincerely hope that this is a long year together full of laughter, memories and moments we will cherish forever. And rather than actually saying good-bye, I rather like bidding an au revoir, confident that we will see each other again.
On behalf of the Haugh family, we want to thank each and every individual of The American Church in Paris for your love, care and support. Thank you for praying for us this year as we remain committed to praying for you.
I conclude with this thanksgiving and prayer from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, which I now say to The American Church in Paris:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
-Dan, Lauretta, Jack and Blake Haugh