PARFUMS DE VIE - URGENT PRAYERS FOR FATIHA WHO STARTS CHEMO NEXT WEEK
I have attached a couple of photographs of Fatiha dancing which were taken two years ago at our 20th wedding anniversary. When I first saw these photos, I was deeply moved, as they capture her beautiful spirit and the freedom and joy that she has received, embraced and pursued.
Fatiha is one of my dearest friends here in Grasse and she also happens to be married to my brother (and only sibling) Roddy. Will you please pray for her, my brother and their three young children, as she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer last week. She is only 38 years old. She will start chemotherapy treatment next week, initially every three weeks and then every week. After 6 months of treatment they will see if the chemo has been effective in reducing the four tumors in her left breast and evaluate whether or not she needs a mastectomy. It has all happened very fast and Fatiha is still reeling from the shock. However, in keeping with her incredible hopeful spirit, her amazing response was "I'm so thankful it's not an arm, or some other part that I actually need, I can easily live without a breast!"
Fatiha arrived in France from North Africa in 2009, fleeing the oppression of her religion, her family and her country. She used her entire life savings to pay for the arduous journey across the Mediterranean and almost drowned in the process, as she can't swim, but got thrown out of the boat (without a life jacket) hundreds of meters from shore! That she survived is a miracle in itself. That she stumbled upon Parfums de Vie in her very first days in France is an even greater miracle. She encountered Christian community, began reading scripture and then married my brother in May 2011. They now have three adorable children - Ryan (9) , Lydia (7) & Leana (3). My brother Roddy moved to Grasse to marry her after meeting her in our home when he was on vacation! He has learned to speak fluent French, has integrated into French life and has an excellent job as an engineer for a yacht company. They are happy and settled in Grasse, have recently purchased a home and they and their children continue to be very involved in our lives and in Parfums de Vie.
Over the past ten years I have formed a close friendship with Fatiha. As she has shared her story with us over the years and begun the process of healing and finding new life in Christ, I have always been very moved by the reality of the extreme desperation she felt as a young woman to take such huge risks to escape the oppression she faced in Algeria, where as a young university educated woman, she was not allowed to make her own choices, but was the property of her father, who had chosen a husband for her. She would then become the property of an older man she didn't know, love or respect.
Here in Grasse, she has continued to pursue growth and transformation, in fact her determination to disentangle herself from her strict Islamic background and integrate into European culture is remarkable. Not only do their kids go to a private Christian school, but Fatiha encourages them to learn about Jesus through Parfums de Vie and she has become an ambassador and defender of the values of Parfums de Vie within the Muslim community here and regularly speaks out for us when we are under criticism.
Several years ago, Fatiha became certified as a fitness coach. When she was a teenager, she had the opportunity to play sports at school and was so gifted at Volleyball that her coach wanted her on the team. When her parents found out, her father of course forbid her from playing any sports, because this did not fit the image of a respectable Muslim girl. Muslim women are raised to be ashamed of themselves and are taught to hide their bodies. Watching Fatiha learn to fully 'embody' herself as a liberated woman and fitness instructor has been a joy to behold and is a wonderful picture of the freedom and transformation that comes through Christ!
As you can imagine, the news of this diagnosis has come as a huge shock for everyone as she is very healthy, young and strong. I asked her permission to share this news with you to specifically ask for your prayers for her healing. She told me that it is her faith in God's goodness and love that is giving her the strength to face this new and difficult season and she is so incredibly thankful for your prayers.
On a personal note, Roddy and Fatiha's friendship is a huge blessing to Vincent and me. They are not just family, but intimate friends and their commitment to us and the ministry of Parfums de Vie is such a personal encouragement. It was a gift to have them serve alongside us at our most recent camp in July.
Please pray with us for Fatiha's healing, for strength and endurance to go through the treatment, and that God will somehow use the struggle and pain to bring even deeper abundant life, blessing and freedom for their whole family. We trust in His goodness.
Nicole & Vincent