Every Monday and Thursday at our language school, a student from the class has the “opportunity” to give an all school devotion--in French! These are good learning opportunities where we prepare something on our hearts, practice it, and then deliver it to the audience of about 40 students and teachers. Anxiety runs high for most students for this 10-15 minute talk. It’s a good exercise for the audience as well. They must concentrate on listening and comprehending what is being shared. Most students share about their family, prior life in the US, calling to mission work, favorite Bible passage(s), or anything that is on their hearts at the time. Regardless of theme or message, the devotions have all contained these three statements:
Bonjour à tous - translated “Good day to all” or “Hello everyone”. While this may seem like a simple phrase we use in everyday life, in this context it means more. Adding the “à tous” adds the notion of togetherness. Not only do we all (tous) have to undergo this anxiety provoking exercise, we are all (tous) here together in this school feeling the ups and downs of trying to learn French. We all (tous) are here for a common purpose, preparing for French communication with people in our destination countries.
Prions - translated “let us pray”. After the speaker finishes sharing his or her thoughts, he or she usually finishes with some sort of prayer. The word “prions” is an imperative or command including everyone (let us pray). People generally do not say “I am going to pray”. Again, the nature of “we are all in this together” is displayed. Let’s all together pray about our families, our learning French, our preparations for moving to Africa, our struggles and hurts, and so much more. It’s also a time to praise God together for all the blessings He has given us.
Est-ce qu’il y a des annonces? - translated “Are there any announcements?” After the prayer, you ask if there are any announcements.This is done at church at the end of the service as well. Usually one of the teachers, administrators, or students has one or two. Then we are off to class. Again, this is another display of unity in the school so we are all on the same page. Our ultimate unity is in the greatest announcement of all. While most of us are headed to different locations, we have the same announcement for those we will serve--Jesus loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.