on thursday, i left marseille and mes nouveaux amis (my new friends) thursday on another tgv fast train to lyon, which is the food capital of france and located in the southeast. i wound up seated next to a frenchman named jean-mark, who is a christian evangelist on his way to switzerland for ministry (i think- his french was super fast). he was loud and nice, two things americans love. the trip was painless and the route gorgeous. when we got to the station, i accidentally said "Dieu blesse-toi," which actually ment Gid hurt you not bless you; hopefully he knew what i meant.
i met christa, a friend of a friend from denton, who is an energetic canadian missionary that has visited over 30 countries and spent the last 7 years living in yemen, oman and france. we took the metro to the apartment she shares with fellow canadian missionary nicole, and immediately fell asleep. that night, nicole took me out to see the town. i grabbed an algerian kabob sandwhich, a cherry coke and a teeny chocolate truffle and we ate on the bank of the rhone river as the sun set over the water. we crossed the rhone and sone rivers as she showed me fountains, explained art, gave the political background of statues and pointed out great places to eat and shop.
friday morning i ventured out on my own while they did arabic and french language things, making my goal to check out this old abbaye. it was closed when i got there, so i roamed the streets awhile until christa and i left to mural hunt. back in the 1930's, this architect/artist named tony garnier was comissioned to create visually appealing low income housing on the oustkirts of town. he invited famous artists to come and paint the sides of some buildings, and around 23 murals still exist in this fairly ghetto but quaint looking area; now, a traditinal lyonnaise thing is these and more than 60 other murals around town. they were pretty cool, especially some that were themed after ideal cities in mexico, russia and canada (the u.s. one was ugly!).
then i spent a good 6 hours with a french/tunisian family of five in their home. the meal was unintentionally representative of the cultures present: amazing african meatballs, french baguette and deep-fried american french fries. the entire time was spent listening and speaking french; and because the family is half immigrant, they were incredibly patient and encouraging in my slow processing and talking. the dad wanted to talk american politics, which was great considering i couldn't understand what he was saying and i don't enjoy that topic. as they were a part of an arabic community church and all believers, we ended the night praying for each other. it was my first time praying in french and hearing prayers in french- pretty cool and exhausting. i love the acceptance and unity that can exist among christians who are strangers- because we're family, there can be authenticity and hospitaliy like none other.