Moving is always a challenge. Good, bad, or ugly, there’s bound to be a wrinkle or two in even
the smoothest of moves. Add “overseas” to the mix with a three-week deadline to accomplish it,
and you’ve created a perfect storm. Such was the case for our relocation to Paris.
In my defense, there wasn’t a plethora of information available. With little time for meaningful
research, I fell back on an old reliable source of information—the movies. Unfortunately, when
Maurice Chevalier sang Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” I remembered seeing him in a straw hat and
light jacket twirling his cane along sidewalks alive with cafes and people dining beneath Cinzano
I love Paris too, but springtime there is freezing, especially in early April. On a sunny day,
temperatures might climb to the mid-50s. Parisians still wear scarves and drink morning coffee
(without milk) indoors, often standing at a café bar. No one was wearing the kind of clothes I’d
packed, and our family, huddled together for warmth on a street corner, attempting to hail a cab
(not how it’s done there), was a pitiful sight.
We were on our way to services at The American Church in Paris, located on the left bank of the
River Seine on Quai d’Orsay. After the closing hymn, we made a beeline for the fellowship hall
and the invitation to enjoy a cup of hot coffee with cocoa for the children.
“Did you just arrive?” a sweet sister in Christ asked. “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”
“Yes. Thanks for asking. Have you been here long?”
“About a year now. My husband works for Big Blue.”
“IBM. And you? What brings you to Paris?”
“My husband’s at the embassy on special assignment with the Department of Defense.”
After a momentary pause, as I continued to curl and move my hands around the warm liquid held
in my cup, she asked, “Did you leave your coat in the sanctuary? I’ll have one of the kids go grab
it for you.”
I had not left a coat in the sanctuary, nor had anyone else in our family. Chagrinned with my
ignorance of the seasonal weather, I quietly shared my dilemma. Until our temporary shipment
arrived, our only outer garments were the sweaters we wore. She empathetically smiled, patted
my forearm, and went on to visit with other people.
That afternoon there was an unexpected knock at the door. A group of women from the church
had come to see us. In their arms were boxes of warm clothing. It was a moment in time I’ll
always treasure. The coats, scarves, and hats brought to us that day demonstrate the caring
fellowship shared among those united in Jesus Christ.
Not only were our physical needs met by the church during those early days in Paris, but so were
our spiritual needs. This has proven to be the case through our many moves since then. When we
diligently sought places of worship stressing the importance of an abiding faith in Christ with the
belief that the Bible is the word of God written from the first page to the last, we would find a
church home. But finding that depth of Christian maturity and leadership wasn’t always easy.
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if
his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness… For the time will come when men will
not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them
a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15
and 2 Timothy 4:3-4
But because God loves us, has promised we will find Him if we diligently seek Him, and that
He will never leave or forsake us, we can move anywhere in the world, secure in knowing
He is with and for us.
You may not be looking for a place of worship overseas right now, but if you notice the Word
of God omitted from what you hear in church or are hearing the clear teachings of God being
sugar-coated and twisted to be palatable with today’s culture, I pray you won’t allow the challenges of moving to keep you from seeking Him with all your heart.
One of the many blessings I enjoyed while attending The American Church in Paris was their
program of welcome for newcomers, Bloom Where You’re Planted. During Bloom, I met cooking
expert Madam Eve Bark. In addition to classes at Le Cordon Bleu, I attended Eve’s hands-on
cooking demonstrations taught in her home. Each class ended at her beautifully decorated dining
room table, where we enjoyed sampling the food we had prepared.
My first class with Eve included making Béchamel—one of the five classic French sauces. She
so easily made the creamy white sauce needed for a chicken casserole that it removed all fear of
trying it myself at home.
Trust me. Béchamel sounds a lot fancier than it is. Think “milk gravy,” say bay-shah-mell, and
give it a whirl!
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* ¼ Cup all-purpose flour
* 4 Cups of milk – at room temperature, not ice cold.
* 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
* ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best).
* In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
* Add flour a little at a time, and whisk until smooth.
* Stir until the flour turns a light, golden, sandy color. About 5-7 minutes.
* Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in the room-temperature milk.
Slowly adding the milk prevents clumping.
* Continue cooking until thick.
* Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.
* Add the nutmeg and salt.
* Continue simmering, constantly stirring, for about 10 minutes.
Optional: Instead of salt, crumble bits of a Knorr Chicken bouillion cube into the sauce.
Start with just a little and add more to taste.
Béchamel is best enjoyed immediately but can be refrigerated for up to three days and
gently reheated, adding some milk or cream if needed. Freeze it in heavy-duty freezer bags
for up to six months and defrost it in the refrigerator before reheating.