The city of Pontoise, the Pontoise Church of God and its pastor, Philippe Dibling received the Abante International colleagues with a warm welcome, warm people and, of course, lots of cheese! The team was received into the homes of several families from the church, who graciously hosted the colleagues.
During the week, the Abante International colleagues cleaned and organized parts of the church facilities, visited the sick, evangelized on a college campus, visited a high school for cultural exchange, visited the very romantic and unforgettable city of Paris and took in the history of the spectacular Chateau de Versailles. Pastor Phillippe Dibling guided the team through this special week and made everyone feel welcome in France.
During the weekend Abante lead a special event called Crazy Night. Crazy Night served as a cultural exchange between the French, United States, and Puertorican cultures. Strange, but typical, dishes were served by each culture. Frog legs, snails, chicken feet and fried Oreo’s were just some of the delights that made the evening’s menu.
Each culture presented and debunked some of the myths and stereotypes of each culture and then all joined in for a traditional Raclette dinner of French cheese and meats. The night ended with worship and short reflection by the Abante International Team.
Abante Colleagues also participated in the Sunday service by leading a few French worship songs. Brian Schlottmann, Abante International’s Executive Director lead a very inspiring sermon as well on “The Power of a Father’s Blessing.” That same afternoon, the team led several workshops that spanned topics from Faith and Science to Evangelism and Theatrical Improvisation.
The week ended with an emotional farewell to our hosts and a last quick visit to Paris to see the Notre Dame cathedral. The week left many professional and personal connections for the Abante Colleagues to appreciate for a life time and a deep experience of the French culture and its amazing people.