My time in Geneva was a powerful start to the France Vision Trip. We stayed in a mountain chalet in the French Alps near the town of Bonneville. Hiking trails out my front door, picturesque roads passing cows, and stunning views. Bonneville is in a valley situated in the French Prealps. It’s a small community, mostly of people who commute daily to work in nearby Geneva. Our local host, Jon, built an excellent plan to introduce us to the local communities. Our first day was a Sunday so we went to a local church gathering in Geneva. Once a year 5 churches in the area hold a gathering together where they fellowship, listen to a sermon, and then have a potluck lunch. Our visit just happened to coincide with this yearly event. Even though I could barely follow along with the music and sermon, it brought joy to my heart to see people worshiping Jesus.
We kicked the week off spending some time in a park that, one one side over looked the city of Geneva, and the other side gave a beautiful view of the valley we were staying in and on a clear day(like that day was) you can see Mont Blanc, the high point of the alps, and Lac Léman from the same vantage point. We packed a lunch and spent a few hours alone in this park having some time to pray, journal, and read scriptures in preparation for the trip. This was an excellent way to begin the trip in a right state of mind.
The rest of the week in this area was traveling around the area and visiting with missionaries, relief workers, and pastors. Our group had a rental car that we took around the valley and it allowed us to bond as a team by spending time in the car sharing our stories as we traveled. Listening to peoples stories of their faith is such a beautiful reminder of work being done in the name of Jesus.
One of the last things we did in the area was visit Crossroads church which was situated on the French side of the borders, just meters from the Geneva airport. Here we listened to Katie's story of how she felt God calling her to minister to a local group of Roma Gypsies in her backyard. These were people who had been outcast, mistreated, and even suffered government persecution in finding sustainable employment. They were living out of cars or squatting in abandoned buildings just a few minutes walk from the church. Katie had started walking over to them and building a relationship with them, even though they mostly didn't speak French or English and she spoke no Romanian or Italian. After Katie told us her story she invited us to walk over with her to meet them. We were fortunate there was a woman there who could speak some English so we spent that afternoon talking with her and hearing her story. Watching Katie work through the difficulties and obstacles to just share love and the Gospel with her neighbors was a powerful reminder that nothing should stop us from where God sends us.
After we finished here we hopped on a train and set off for Paris.