Monthly Archives: May 2014

Andi

This is Andi. I am almost always the one who writes our blogs. I am beginning to realize that most of our supporters, and prayer partners know Bart, or have known him for most of his life. Not many know me. Not this blog could ever actually give you even a glimpse of the crazy and wonderful things God has led me through. Still, I thought it was worth the moment. I can more easily  get discouraged by people’s word’s than I could a physical impairment…until I re-realize how ridiculous those words are if they aren’t from Christ. Then the ferocity can appear and my drive will compel me to go harder.

I am an emotional person. Anyone who knows me, knows this. I am a thriving optimist in almost any situation, and though I have been told by some (who don’t know me as well as they pretend) that I am insecure, I am a fierce fighter. When I love someone, neither Hell nor high water could keep me from protecting them.  I love people tremendously. All people. This is some of how I came to know God was leading, and at times demanding, that I go overseas. I don’t know a stranger, and skin color only makes you more interesting….especially if it’s not mine. Don’t get me started on accents, or the hundreds of reasons why I SHOULDN’T like someone (Such as creed, color, life preferences and such).  This will only make me want to be your friend even more. I believe in the all consuming love of Jesus, and I have firm faith in the Word of God.

I have always struggled in a formal school setting. Seriously. It’s just not how I learn. If you could make it social, or musical, I could most likely remember it forever.

I am very competitive. I love…love…love to exercise. I love to dance (SHH!). I also love kids. When I was a kid I told my mom that I would never get married, but that I wanted to own a mansion and adopt A TON of kids. Because that’s a measurable amount right? I wanted to be the one to tell kids how valuable they are, and how much they are loved. I was raised in the city, but spent every possible moment outside, in the trees behind our house or at one of my aunts houses in the fields. I was raised in Indiana, and our city was surrounded by corn farmers and some Amish. I would love to write a novel one day. I truly have story lines going through my head all of my week.  Though Jesus wasn’t always the first love of my life, He is now, and that’s what matters. The rest is what falls into the testimony category, and that’s something I like to do face to face.

I graduated from Johnson Bible College with my Associates in Intercultural Studies. I had a lot of Credits and still would love to get my BA or BS.  This was during the beginning of their start of their transition to Johnson University, and their joining with Pioneer Bible Translators. We had already signed on with PBT, and we continue to rejoice in the way God is leading us with this amazing organization.

I really love reading and FINALLY, after my post-college brain purge, began reading more than Non-Fiction, (mostly Christian…and I have been known to vanish in a good murder mystery or modern day romance) such as books on parenting, growing in my walk with Christ, or loving my husband better. I would love to say I have plans of becoming a clean-eater and now that we are in France I eat only organic…but in truth….Oreos and I have a lot of good memories and it is super hard to plan for organics when adjusting to a new culture.

This is the most random blog ever, but tonight as God lets me hear His thunder and watch an extraordinary sunset, I was really encouraged. I was encouraged because God rejoices in who I am, and He has filled me with purpose. I hope that you know how much He rejoices to call YOU His child. He has written your story, and the best way to learn what that comes from asking His forgiveness for your sins and brokenness and letting Him direct your paths. He will fill you with hope and give you a future. He is the light of the darkest parts of my life and guides me through when I am lost.

Hoping your heart is His,

Andi

 

The SHOCK effect

Some days I just want to throw my hands up and scream. Some days I do. I was sincerely encouraged by a blog I read called “Debunking 5 Myths about expat life” http://www.longmilescoffeeproject.com/journey/debunking-5-myths-expat-life/  If you have a few extra minutes, it is a very good read. Though we are in a developing country, we experience much of the same stresses.  The most appropriate analogy I can think of for culture shock came while I was having one of these days. Culture shock isn’t like the flu, a lingering and exhausting sickness. Rather, it is more similar to electricity. It comes in huge waves that are way more powerful than any preparation can prepare you for. Sometimes it really does feel like we are being electrocuted with culture. It can make you angry, depressed, anxious, fearful, or even just simply exhausted. I, being coined by a friend as “obnoxiously optimistic” gave every effort to somehow “break the circuit” of “culture shock”.  Yet it is entirely unavoidable.  We praise God daily for the prayers that have rallied up around us during some of the hardest days here in France. Last week I heard my son say “I want to go back to the states and never ever come back here” Five different times. That was NEVER. EVER. An immeasurably powerful statement from a 4 year old. This normally occurs after something frustrating happens that is out of his control…just as it does for me. Something such as his toy getting broken at the playground. For he and I both it is the constant smell of cigarette smoke in our daily life, or the inability to freely be noisy in our 4th floor apartment (it bothers the neighbors). Some days I would love to buy something for my kids without having to think about how it will fit in a suitcase or whom we are going to give it to when we have to leave here. I just want to speak French and have someone not tell me “I don’t speak Spanish” in return.  Understand, I’m not whining. This is not a blog of complaint that can be appeased by simple “Hang in there’s”. This is me coping with the calling that God has laid before us. Hundreds of miles from family during both of our kids’ birthdays, during the challenges and trials of close friends and family, we keep in touch via email, or Face book. We have it much nicer than many missionaries; we can Facetime at our convenience, we can make calls to friends and family from our home phone. We can walk to a grocery store or order pizza. I say nicer because there is no such thing as “easy” culture shock, or even an “easy” calling for that matter.

Some days I almost feel like I am stateside. Today was one of them….for about an hour. Flyers were handed out at Lucas’ school for a small Farmers Fair about 4 blocks from us. Lyon is a big city, especially for us mid-western farm landers. It makes us laugh often because our team mates don’t see how Lyon is so vastly huge to us and are amused by how awed I (Andi) am at the number of people here. Anywhoo, I digress. The Farmers Fair had 2 milk cows, 3 sheep, 2 goats, 8 or 9 rabbits, 2 pigs, some chickens and many venders selling fresh food. It was hosted by people that were a part of the “ Le Jeunes Agriculteurs” or “The Young Farmers”.   We watched the farmer hook a milking machine up to a cow and milk the cow. He then shared fresh warm milk with the people who were around. Seeing the animals and the small fair atmosphere made me feel like we were back in Indiana. The kids had a blast, as we don’t get to see these animals often here. We do have friends who live in the more rural area outside of Lyon and we get to see the beautiful countryside when we visit them. During these visits the throb of electricity lessens. We breathe a little easier. As we came home from the fair I licked my “Chocolat Menthe glase” “Mint chocolate ice cream” and smiled. For the moment the kids were ecstatic. It topped out at 70 degrees today and though I had some good French interaction, it was brief and I was okay with that. We arrived home, and it made me smile that Lucas is so confident on how to get home from our normal routes. Then we hopped on the elevator and joined the lady who lives below us who has previously commented on our noise level. She was so excited to see the kids and gave them a squeeze. This also brought me peace. Then it happened. The small, stupid interaction that happens at least ten times a week to me, but to no one else on our team. Yes, I know, comparison is equal to unhappiness, but it’s impossible to avoid when it’s this obvious. The neighbor turned to me and said in French “I don’t speak English, I’m sorry I can’t understand you.” She then told me how unhappy it makes her because she wants to interact with us. I understood everything she said, but when I responded in French, she couldn’t understand me. I have been spending time praying that God would give me peace, and that He would give me a supernatural ability to learn French and that His purpose would be fulfilled in me here. I have asked Him to lead me, and show me what it is He wants me to see while I am here. I ask Him over and over. Because I know He can. I ask great things of God because He is a God of greatness. I have no doubt in our calling, or in the obedience it requires. My Lord is big enough. These burdens, the shock, the doubt, the inability, are not things that frighten or overwhelm Him. He is my God of peace. He has given me great joy in building a relationship with my teammate Melissa, and through the challenges we have experienced during our time here our friendship has grown tremendously. He has allowed us to become a part of a church here, and the people have been very encouraging and loving to us.

This next month will be a whirlwind for our teammates as they travel to the States for a brief time and then return with visitors! Our kiddos have grown very close to Eric, Melissa and Sophia and I am sure we all will miss them while they travel. Would you please be praying for us? For our team and for language learning?  Also, please pray that God’s grace would be ever present in the hard times of culture shock. Please ask God to direct you in the part you might take in the adventure He has set before us! Would you like to be a regular prayer partner? Is there a chance you might be willing to join us on the field? Perhaps you would like to support us financially as we work with Pioneer Bible Translators preparing for our journey to West Africa. We would love to share more information with you!

 

For more information about our journey you can email us at:

Bart.Cameron@pbti.org

Andi.cameron@pbti.org