Time flies by as we continue our schooling here in France. We are constantly surprised by the beauty we stumble upon. Each day is like a canvas God has painted; from the skin tones of the hundreds of people we pass, to the different French accents we hear, or the delicious tastes of different foods we try we are constantly aware of His profound creativity.
The last 2 months have flown by. On July 23 my (Andi) mom came with my younger brother Christopher and they stayed a week to visit us. From the moment they arrived we experienced craziness unlike anything we have experienced thus far in France. Within the hour of their arrival we had missed our train to Paris and been yelled at by a homeless woman who proceeded to let her bulldog nearly eat our food. Now, I know what you are thinking…”Surely the week couldn’t have been that bad! Your mom was visiting!” It wasn’t. The week was wonderful! We spent time with my mom and brother and those moments are irreplaceable. We ate French ice cream, walked all over Paris, and Lyon. We took them to some of our favorite spots, including stumbling upon a delicious new restaurant. We had a date night with my younger brother, and the kids were completely in love with Meemaw. Because of our amazing friends, we even had a car for the week as they were on vacation and let us borrow it. Yet it was obvious that the enemy was trying to destroy the refreshment we were receiving from the visit. We appreciate the prayers constantly friends and family, because truly, what we are doing is changing our lives and preparing us for even bigger changes in our future. The power of prayer is more than just a phrase we talk about in church. For us, your prayers are often what get us through the week, and we are praying for you too! Would you please email us how we can be praying for you?
Only a day after my mom departed for America we were packing our things for a weekend trip in the French Alps. In our time here we are constantly making new acquaintances and friends. Last year when we moved in we very quickly became acquainted to our neighbors Lucy and Clementine. They both spoke English and so understood when we struggled through a sentence in French. As of the middle of June they both had finished school and begun to move out and job search. This meant we were completely alone on our floor (We aren’t sure anyone lives in the other 2 apartments!) Lucy was able to keep in touch with us and had suggested we come and visit her at her parent’s house in a little ville….called “Ville”. The town was tiny and made Converse look rather big. That weekend we drove between the mountains of the French Alps, made a stop in the Swiss side of Geneva, and went hiking. Seeing those mountains made the Smokies look like foothills and had us constantly in awe of the power of God. We spent the entire weekend speaking in French and watching a kind and generous French family and how they interact. Lucy’s Mom and Dad, Dominique and Pascal, were patient with our stumbles in French, and forthcoming with information about pronunciation and French culture. Dominique made the best French food we have ever tasted. They loved on our kiddos and led us around their town as well as to a Fireworks display on the Swiss Independence day. It was an incredible weekend and we were blessed by this family.
As for French learning, we will be straightforward and say that God is working miracles. Somehow, I have made it into the B1 class. In truth, I was only in A2 for 2 weeks (maybe!) before our visit with my mom and the time in the Alps. Yet when I returned to class I noticed that it was not just the couple of people from my A2 class, and that we were discussing “subjunctive” verbs. Bart and I have the same teacher in different classes now and she suggested that I ask him to continue helping me with subjunctive while we were home. Bart’s response was “Hmmm…Subjunctive?? That’s B1 stuff!” and when he asked our teacher about it she simply said “Well! That’s the class I teach!” and thus…I have moved up. I still feel drastically behind on my verbs, but I do feel like practicing in conversation has helped immensely. Bart is less than 1 week from finishing with class and participating in language exchanges from here on! He will be regularly exchanging English for French time with French people. I couldn’t be more proud, or in love with him, and yet every day my pride and love for him grows. Bart and I have been able to Skype with the West Africa Branch Director, Stevanie Wilcos, and she has encouraged us in our French language learning. She has also given us an email in which we will forward upon request to inform those concerned with the Ebola virus (NOT the same as Eboli, for those still wondering). This is from a person living in West Africa about the risks involved in living there. This is something that should not be published on social media, or forwarded to other parties.
Last paragraph of info! I promise! Bart and I were pleasantly surprised to receive and email from some of our friends in West Africa explaining that a huge shipment of medical supplies will be shipping out from Detroit, Michigan in August. The crate that is shipping still has quite a bit of space available, and the shipping itself is free because the church making the shipment has already paid. We and our teammates have been offered this awesome space. Our only cost is the customs, and the mass amount of time that Bruce and Pamie and several others have spent hunting the things we are having shipped. To give you an idea, we are shipping everything from basic medical supplies to tools, clothing, our baby crib, replacement tires for our truck in WA, and a new solar deep freezer and fridge. The past week has been spent on line, and making contacts in the States to have these things driven to Detroit and packed into this container. We are so blessed that our families have been agreeing to do so much of this packing, driving, and organizing that we are speechless by their service.
We continue to covet your prayers and your support never goes without praise to God. We are beginning to hunt online for return tickets to the States for 8 weeks from the middle of January to the beginning of March prior to our departure to West Africa. We are planning a little bit of time in several places, with a large intent of rest and reorganizing before we leave.
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Thank you again!