A French Welcome

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Caring, God's Hands, Helping, Kindness

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:3-5 NIV)

Have you ever met someone who was so friendly that you still remember them years later, even though your encounter may have been brief? If not, come visit St. Pierre and Miquelon. Maybe you will be fortunate enough to meet Soraya.

We were aboard a boat, heading back to St. Pierre when we met her. We had spent a full day exploring the island of Miquelon, and we were all wishing the boat would “chug” along a little faster when we noticed that there was a twelve-year old girl smiling at us. Strange . . . Before long this same young lady held out a piece of candy to each of us, and then she started up a conversation with my wife and oldest son. She knew the region quite well, as she had grown up in St. Pierre, and she told us several things to look for. She must have noticed that my boys were playing a game with coins, because she gave each of them several euro pennies. Then she brought out some of her toys from her backpack and invited them to play with her. By the time we got off the boat, my oldest son had a French e-pal.

Believe me, the long boat ride back to St. Pierre went quickly after that, and soon the tired look on our faces was replaced by smiles.

And it all started with just a smile. Isn’t it amazing what a bit of friendliness can do?

That same evening, we met someone who wasn’t quite as friendly. She was our waitress at the restaurant we choose for supper. Remembering Soraya, we smiled and tried to be friendly anyway, despite the fact that it didn’t seem to be having any positive effect. But the next day when we went back (this restaurant served the best food in town!), we were welcomed like royalty! Service couldn’t have been better!

The day we left the island, we decided to have lunch one more time at this same restaurant. We had just one hour before our boat was scheduled to leave. It should have been plenty of time for a little lunch, but when we entered the Meringouinfre (A great place to eat crepes!), we couldn’t believe how many people were already there before us! We took the last table, then we watched with dismay as a line began to form at the door. There was no way we could be served before the boat sailed! But as we sat down, the waitress-the same one we had had the previous two times!-greeted us warmly. She assured us that she would see to it we were out of the restaurant in time to catch our boat, and she went way out of her way to make sure this would happen!

Does it pay to be friendly? It most certainly does. Shouldn’t we, as Christians, take some lessons from Soraya? Absolutely. How many opportunities have not been lost by just acting like everyone else: bored and hostile to intrusions? Would you like to revolutionize your workplace? Smile at everyone you encounter, especially those who give you lots of grief. Would you like to have more witnessing opportunities? Smile. Smiling is contagious and opens doors that would never be opened otherwise.

While waiting for our Ferry to St. Pierre, a light keeper gave us each a pen (a rare treat nowadays). On it is written the following words: “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” This whole trip to France gave us the opportunity to apply this message, thanks to the example of that young girl. Was God trying to give us a message? Is our Heavenly Father trying to share this same point with you?

Try it, it’s worth the blessings you will be bestowing around you.

Have you ever been to St. Pierre? What a great learning experience!

In His love,
Rob Chaffart
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries


A French Welcome