As per my last blog post, I am going to Paris this summer on a mission trip! I understand any amount of skepticism one may have when reading something like this. But before your heart becomes completely cynical, read my story.
Let’s start at the beginning. 2016.
Little Sami in 2016 was an angry mess. I was junior in high school, attending community college (I thought I was hot stuff for that), and completely clueless as too what I should do with my life after high school.
During my spring break, my mom, sister, and I got the opportunity to go visit Europe and see two of our very dear childhood friends stationed in Germany and Belgium. We flew into Amsterdam in The Netherlands and from there, we worked our way down Western Europe, ending in Paris. That trip was – no contest – the best two weeks of my life. I fell in love with Europe.
I fell in love with Europe with the exception of Paris. I hated Paris.
I originally thought I did not enjoy Paris because it was the last three days of our trip and I was tired. Or perhaps it was because my sister got incredibly sick during the days spent in Paris. Or because my mom and I both had panic attacks in the train stations.
When I went back to work after coming home, I was relating my experience in Paris to the new facilities worker who was French. He suggested that perhaps the strange feeling I had in Paris was actual spiritual darkness. After he said this, everything made so much more sense.
In 2016, Paris, France was one of the ten most secular cities in Europe with 40% of its people being atheists. Much of this is due to something called Laicite. This policy manifests itself in the extreme separation of church and state. Now in 2020, the high percentage of atheists has declined only due to more people from the Middle East seeking refuge in the country, increasing the Muslim population.
Fast forward a few months after the trip, I began to feel a burden for the French people and tried to find ways to go back. This time in the capacity of missions. My French friend from work tried to teach me the language and got me in contact with some pastors in Paris. I had my whole life planned out. I would finish my associate’s degree, go to YWAM and/or join the Circuit Riders, and somehow make my way to Paris as a missionary.
But then God called me to King’s and life started looking very different than I had planned. In the mundane and craziness of life, the call to Paris was buried and almost completely forgotten.
That is, until a few months ago.
In November, I began wildly applying to any summer program, internship, and study abroad program I could. I began feeling this urge to go overseas and to spend my summer anywhere but the states. Offhandedly, I found a mission trip with CRU to Paris for six weeks and without really thinking about it, I applied.
Weeks went by without hearing anything. Then a month. Then two.
The week that the spring semester began, I got an email from CRU saying my application was being reviewed. And I don’t know how to explain it, but it was as if a dam broke and everything that had been spoken over me and everything I had prayed suddenly flooded over me.
Needless to say, I got accepted. Four years after my first trip to Paris, I get to go back!
Because the trip is with CRU, I will be going with a small team to help support an even smaller team stationed in Paris long term. I will be in Paris for six-weeks, building relationships with college students, helping with discipleship, doing service projects, and helping to start campus ministries around Paris.
I am so incredibly excited!
I hope after reading you are less skeptical, or at least more open minded to the possibility that God can call people to the West. There are many missionaries from other countries here in NYC, serving and evangelizing to the people here. If Christians can be called to New York to share the love of Jesus, why would he not also call Christians to Paris.
On a separate but also related note, I now have to bring up something a bit uncomfortable. The total cost of the trip is $5,575. This total includes airfare, housing, and most meals. I ask you to prayerfully consider joining me as a ministry partner. You can give to my mission profile on the CRU donation website.
If you are unable to partner with me financially, I could definitely use all the prayer!