It is nearly unbelievable to Bart and I, that we have been overseas for 7 months. Especially considering that the next 3 months will be non-stop. Here is a brief look at our next few weeks and how you can pray for us!!
- This weekend we will have a team retreat with our teammates Eric and Melissa Davis and their lovely daughter Sophia. We will spend time in focused prayer, in team building exercises, and just enjoying each other’s company.
- September 10th-14th we have a visit from a missionary to France who will be going over the Culture Stress Assessment test with each of us individually in our team. She will discuss the results of the CSA and where we might be struggling or succeeding in cultural adjustment.
- September 16th-23rd Teammates travel to Italy.
- September 20th, Bart’s parents arrive for a one week visit!
- October is here!! 5th-9th Bart is kidnapping me for a brief and much needed kid free, pre-baby vacation. I have no other details because he is super sneaky! This is our celebration of my birthday (December 14th), Christmas and our Anniversary (December 29th) which we combine every year that we can.
- October 14th-17th our West Africa Branch Director is visiting us for a review of our language learning, and brief check-up on our future plans.
- October 19th- Bart is participating in a race with several French friends…something close to the American “Gauntlet” race. He has been regularly running, and exercising and this is his self-test to make sure he’s keeping himself healthy!
- November 6th-15th Bart takes a trip to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa with a group from Rainbow Christian Camp. An anonymous donor made this trip possible, and all costs were paid outright by said donor.
- December-Baby arrives!!!
- January 22nd 2015….departure for America!
As you can see! Our months are filling up fast! Bart and I continue to trek along in our French studies and culture learning. Lucas began school on the 2nd of September, and we are so excited that his teacher has assured us he is doing quite well. He hears only French there, and understands quite a bit. We do continue to ask for your understanding as many people have suggested that our kids will come back speaking French fluently, and that language is an easy thing for kids to pick up. I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that our kiddos endured every ounce of culture shock, stress, and adjustment just as we did and that we were more concerned on helping them stay healthy and learn how to manage the stress of being surrounded by astounding and sometimes overwhelming cultural differences than teaching them French. We do want to make sure they learn about the culture, and that is why we at least once a day, depending on the weather, get them outside into the market, playgrounds, metros, play dates and school.
The best and worst part of immersion is the inability to escape the culture. We truly are surrounded by French in every way. Today as we played at the playground, I had a blast with a little French girl, who was pretending to be an ice cream vender. Her mom asked for a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and I asked for a cone of strawberry, but she said they were out of strawberry, and cookie (Chocolate chip flavor with cookie crumbles in it)!! I feigned being heartbroken and accepted the “chocolate ice cream” she gave me. Lucas played alongside a little boy who shared his cars with Lucas because Lucas (hesitantly at first) shared his dinosaurs with the boy. There is so much that is beyond words. Kindness and gentleness, playing “cuckoo” with a baby on the metro, or assisting an elderly person with their groceries on the escalator, are all things that surpass cultural barriers here.
Would you please continue to pray for our busy months?
- Pray for our kids as they continue to transition here, then for the 8 weeks we are in the states, and then in our big move to West Africa
- Pray for our French learning as I (Andi) continue to struggle, and that Bart would not lose his French as he pursues one on one learning opportunities and discontinues his attendance at school. This was approved by our Branch Director.
- Pray for our travels! To and from place to place, pray that God would keep us, and guide us to each destination
- Pray that our visits with the Branch director and another PBT French Missionary would be as constructive as possible, and beneficial to all of us. Pray that we would be given the opportunity to bless them as much as they have blessed us!
- Praise God that we have all been healthy, aside from seasonal allergies, and a small stomach bug we have been consistently healthy the entire time we’ve been here
- Praise Him that this pregnancy has been uncomplicated, and healthy. We have a doctor who is kind and whom we can communicate well with!
- Praise God for the many opportunities we get to speak French throughout the week.
- Praise God that Bart has picked French up quite quickly and has continued to progress. He is now at B2 level.
We praise God that we are surrounded with prayers. Thank you for catching up with us!