Summer is here in France and the hot weather has proven it! Last week we had days in the low 90’s. Most apartments don’t have air conditioning and so ours isn’t unusual. We open our 6 foot screenless windows and let the breeze blow in…sometimes, other times we close the blinds and block out the heat of the sun! Living on the 4th floor (5th American floor, in France the ground floor is 0).
Much has happened since we last spoke! Including the exciting announcement of baby #3! We are so excited, and tired! Thank you for your prayers and well wishes as we are now eagerly searching for an obstetrician and a hospital. I am nearly 15 weeks meaning I am due in the first part of December. Bart has also been running back and forth all over creation from appointment to appointment to begin the process for French medical assistance. We have been very blessed to have our good friends helping us know where to go and whom to talk to as well as. Many thanks to John and Rachel Mumford for encouraging us and helping us through foreign paperwork!
In other news, we are excited to have our teammates back in the same country again! They had a small time in the states and we missed them so much! They are anticipating be finished in November and we are cherishing our moments here as a team. Truly, they are invaluable to us and our kids are so excited to have Melissa and Eric and of course “baby Phia” back within reach.
Bart and I are still working through French school. The director has decided it’s a good idea to create 2- 2 week classes to help a number of students move up. Normally, there are 6 levels to French school: A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, C-1 and C-2. For 2 weeks there will be an A1.5 and B1.5. Several students, Bart and myself included, have progressed enough to move out of our class and yet still don’t feel comfortable moving up to the next class. These added classes will help us play catch up on the things we are struggling with hopefully enough to move on to the next class!
We are learning that we may never come to love France as we had initially anticipated, and that is ok. The people are beautiful and kind. We are constantly seeing that, and I long for the opportunity to build relationships with them. We have also discussed how different it would be if this were a more permanent place, we would find a house that was easier for our kiddos to play in, and would be making permanent plans here. Yet that is not where God has called us and we are certain of that because even in our most desperate cocoa-puff eating, American movie watching, culture shock panics, we have peace about West Africa. We know that this is something God is growing us through. The patience we are developing or the peace through physical and emotional exhaustion can only come from God. I once read an anonymous quote “Strength comes from being so broken that you know you can’t keep going, and yet you survive and keep on”. The truth and purity of God’s love is often the most evident to us when we know we can’t do it.
A few for examples of our time here in France
We have missed weddings, funerals, and new babies born in the states,
We have created our own traditions here in France for Easter, and Birthdays
We have longed for American food, or the simplicity of it,
We have had new foods here, and learned to make our own treats, our bodies are slowly not craving
American food anymore,
We have discovered the challenge of keeping important relationships a priority
We have learned new methods for keeping distance relationships intact,
Our Elevator has been broken so we have taken 5 flights of stairs for the last week with 2 kids,
We have realized some things are totally unnecessary to leave the house for J
We have held a sobbing 4 year old who doesn’t know why he’s crying,
We have helped ourselves and our kids figure out culture shock and still attempt to be a family of grace,
We have become more and more aware that there are many people (believers and unbelievers) who will disagree with our lives or think we are crazy (maybe we are just a litte!)
We have learned how to live in peace, and truly CHERISH the many many people who pray for and support us!
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