The summer is ending!

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.

Have questions? Email us!

Andi.cameron@pbti.org

Or

Bart.cameron@pbti.org

Thank you again!

 

A change of pace

Do you ever go from moment to moment wondering how you got there? What made your life go from a 55 MPH cruise drive to passing someone on the interstate at 85? The last few months have been a slow acceleration. Our French has begun to progress! It doesn’t seem insurmountable every day now. Bart is in the B-2 level now, and I have moved up to A-2! Verb Conjugation continues to be my biggest struggle. Our class hours have changed again, and Lucas has finished his first school year…so our days keep shifting back and forth from schedule to schedule. We were so very blessed by La Maitresse at school, as she cared so well for Lucas while he was there. Hosanna is growing so fast and she is developing her primary language very well! She explains herself more and more, describing situations or people. Both the kids have grown accustomed to walking quite a bit every day as have Bart and I. Some days we literally can’t figure out how time passed so quickly because we are always going from place to place.  We have learned better ways of shopping, and though we aren’t eating market fresh every day, we are very excited to have balanced our budget and figured out how to spend and save accordingly. It is unbelievable that we have been here for 6 months in the end of July. We can’t believe how fast time continues to accelerate.

Bart spent many days in the last month bouncing from place to place in Lyon, and even taking an overnight trip to Paris in order to try and get paperwork organized for French aid for this pregnancy. It has become even more complicated (as we are told is often the case in France) in a matter with birth certificates having necessary markings specifically for the French government. Thank you to our families and friends who have helped this process go easier!! You know who you are and we couldn’t do this without you! Please pray that we would be able to provide the necessary documents for this as it would be tremendously helpful. I am constantly reminded of the servant I have for a husband and how blessed I am that God has given him the gift of language. Bart has been in many situations that would have overwhelmed most new language learners, and I am always amazed at the peace God gives him. We both feel so much more at peace here now.

I think we have all come over a huge hill of culture shock. Though pregnancy adds a fun twist in things, we again, are constantly asking for God’s grace in the rough days. We are very excited at the new life growing that will be joining us in December. Each week we feel a little more prepared. Though there is a beauty in Lyon, extraordinary and unique, it is hard to feel like we belong here because we know it is only for a short time. We rejoice that we are here for this season, and know that God is definitely growing us in unique ways. We continue to grow relationships here with people at church, and people we regularly interact with. I have a love/hate relationship with the metro because now that summer has arrived there are often many mosquitoes just flying about…waiting for my blood! We have each made our own separate large blood donation to the French mosquito population. Thus said, being on the metro is a really cool experience for me. I love seeing such a conglomeration of people. Students, families, old, young, and hundreds of different colors all board the metro every day. Sometimes I just people watch. The accents are overwhelming, and sometimes so are the smells! Yet watching how different people interact to different situations, is a powerful way to understand cultural faux paus, etiquette, and even to learn the basic responses.

A couple of days ago we went to visit a beautiful park in Lyon. The park has a zoo as well, including a big open area with Emu’s and some deer that borders a small playground. While we were watching the deer, Lucas dropped his Camelbak water bottle down into the area. We knew that if Bart hopped down into the area it would be culturally impermissible, and that the kids and parents around would be very upset. It might seem like a silly thing to be upset about, but they take their water bottles everywhere. They were given to us by friends in Dallas whom we love a lot, and we knew that if we could, we needed to get it back. So Bart went in search of a facilitator, but lo and behold it was Sunday and all the offices were closed. Our American minds switched into action and we knew that buy the morning the bottle would be gone. Surely someone would steal it. Though it wasn’t in our gumption to jump the fence we KNEW that someone would. It began raining shortly after we got home that night.

That night, as we were preparing for bed, I gave the kids a chance to pray as I do every night. I opened it up and said “Do you want to say anything to God tonight?” Lucas has been saying “I am waiting for God to finish putting something in me to give back to Him.” For several weeks. I have been encouraging Lucas, but giving him space. Hosanna has been praying a similar thank you prayer each night. This night was different. Tonight, when Lucas responded, I prayed that God would use something as seemingly silly as a water bottle to draw my son to him. I asked that God would show Lucas that He is listening, by helping Bart find the water bottle the next day, knowing full well that Bart wouldn’t be able to get to the park until noon. It continued to rain.

That morning Lucas and I prayed again that Bart would find the water bottle where we left it. When Bart arrived home at 12:30 he played it smooth. He was drenched because the torrential downpour that had begun that morning had surprised him without his umbrella. Answer to prayer, Bart arrived at the park, found the woman in charge of the animal pen right away, she said that she would look right where he said and immediately found the bottle. When we told Lucas and suggested he stop to thank God for helping him he was glad to do so! Then this evening when I asked if he had something to pray for, he said “We HAVE to remember the water bottle prayer!” He then prayed a very sweet and rather lengthy for a 3 year old, prayer! He thanked God for going with his daddy to find the water bottle. He thanked Him for bringing it back.

So to some, it may seem like a silly water bottle, but to my sweet little boy who has changed houses and friends, who is learning (that’s right, it has to be learned) how to live a life of constant transition, it was his hope that a big God loves Him. When we jumped in puddles last night and he was afraid to go to bed later, I told him that the same God that was with Him jumping puddles, was with Him in bed. His response “Mommy!! If God jumped in a puddle it would make the giantist splash!!” He is so right. When God leaps into our hearts, when He fills us up with puddles of love that others walk through, and splash and play in, He makes a giant splash. Right now our splash is here in France. We are splashing those around us and being splashed in return. Right now I am praying that you would feel that love from God and rejoice in it, regardless as to what may be tromping through you right now. Let that love bring you peace.

 

In His love

Andi

Summer is here in France!

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!

If you would like to receive our e-newsletters or learn more about the ministry God is leading us to, please email us!

Bart.cameron@pbti.org

Andi.cameron@pbti.org

 

 

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

 

Time flies when you are learning French!

The two month mark came and went quickly and we are stunned at how time has flown. God has been present in every challenge and victory. It does often feel like we hit the ground running and haven’t slowed much. We have been intentional about taking the time our family needs to cope and adjust.

SCHOOL

We have been in over 6 weeks of class at Leo Lingua, and are learning things such as: French Verb Conjugation, pronunciation and vowels and consonants with their many different places and purposes.

We are learning the culture, and though all of us have felt the strain of being immersed in a different world, our eldest has shown the signs of culture shock the most. We are learning how to embrace his frustrations with grace, and stay constant while we ourselves are feeling the tensions. L has been in school since our 3rd week here. His teacher is incredibly kind and patient. In France there is no school for youth on Wednesdays, or on weekends. They have school for 6 week increments and then have 2 weeks off. On the last Friday of the last week of class there is a book faire. They have a small party with the themed books from the last 6 weeks all on display. A local bookstore often will sell some of the books and sometimes some of the authors or illustrators will be present. We have been able to attend one of these already.  It is super cool! We also were able to celebrate Lucas’ first school carnival. All of the kids dress up in their favorite costumes and parade around the school area, including the older kids. They then play games and have special treats.  Bart has been rapidly progressing in French, and because of this he can communicate well with Lucas’ teacher. I attend morning classes so Bart takes Lucas to school. I am in class level A-1 (The beginning level). My class has consisted of people from Germany, South Africa, China, New Zealand and Russia. It is an ever changing environment because people come for a variety of reasons and for very differing lengths of time. Because of this, my teacher is always on her toes! I have been very blessed by the different methods of teaching, including several field trips to areas around town. I have seen the Aquarium, Planetarium, Fourviere (the beautiful Cathedral on the hill) and Saint-Jean (another incredible Cathedral). Each of these trips were full of vocabulary and gave us a background on the city we live. My classes end in early afternoon, giving Bart and I about an hour together before he leaves for class. He is beginning B-1 soon, and can converse quite well with the people around us. He encourages me often in my studies. BOTH of us have had to overcome a serious Spanish accent while speaking French.

Joys

We celebrate the little things, including a day without accidentally speaking in Spanish. We are thrilled to be way closer to our teammates! We are about 25 minutes away via Metro and are able to spend time with them a couple of times a week. We are very excited about the way we have begun to adapt to the culture. We love the fresh food opportunities here, but there is still plenty of bread and chocolate. Though culture shock hits, we hold on to grace and prayer. We celebrate, even though we have days with tearful kids, and worn down parents, we know that we are in this together and that God has never left our side. We have found been attending church with Eric and Melissa at a local church here and have been tremendously blessed by the people there. We have also begun developing relationships with the people in our building. We live in an area of town with many different age groups and many different ages and dynamics live in our building. Also, there are playgrounds all over Lyon! We have found over a dozen since we have arrived and we love exploring them with the kids.

Challenges

We continue to tweak our budget every month, trying to decide what can stay and what has to go. We are so thrilled to be so close to 100% of our budget, but we are also still trying to measure out accordingly. The dollar, on a good day is half the value of the Euro currently and Bart has begun mastering the most effective way of getting the money from the US, to us here.

Though we are finally healthy, after nearly 4 weeks of sickness, the physical demands of walking everywhere all the time still wear us down. Sometimes getting out the door requires the double stroller. We are very blessed to be able to store the stroller downstairs so that we don’t have to load it into the 2×2 elevator. Yet we then stroll 3 blocks to the metro, take the elevator down and pack the double stroller into the metro, or perhaps the kids walk if we aren’t travelling too extensively, but usually that involves some snuggles on the way home. Another challenge is just allowing ourselves time to process. Everywhere we go we hear French. This is a huge blessing! Yet our physical bodies HAVE to cope with that stress, sometimes this involves headaches, or just pure exhaustion, other times our kids have said they have tummy aches in situations where we are entirely surrounded by French speakers (most times) because it can get overwhelming.  Please don’t think I am complaining. I only write that because I personally have fallen in love with the people and culture here, and am simply offering up the needs for prayer that many people have requested I share. Truly, we are so thankful to finally be here learning this language, no matter the challenges we face.

 Au revoir!!!

In comparison, the days we had in the states seem vastly different than our days here. Yet there are so many similarities as well. People here are much quieter; they are very private and immensely kind. There is an exception to every cultural rule, and so, though most of the time when I leave my house I pass many people whom are dressed very nicely for work or studies, there are times when I sigh a breath of relief at the mom in yoga pants chasing her toddler as he scoots along on his scooter. Many people have little kick scooters, both kids and adults, and even more people ride bicycles up and down the roads. It doesn’t always rain, and (he he) we have had quite a few days over 60 F. The trees are in full blossom and so is the hope in our hearts as we continue eagerly learning this language. We can’t wait to see where God leads us, as already we have had opportunities to share His love.

With deepest appreciation for your prayers and support,

Andi Cameron

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why we are not afraid….not for the faint in Christ.

The Bible is full of commandments. The Old Testament Law was full of purification rules and sacrifices that needed to be made because of sins Jews had committed that separated them from God. There were commandments about the structure of the temples, the Ark of the Covenant, and even about the different ways to wear clothing. There is something strange that I have noticed. I know that I am not a person well advanced in years, but in 1 Timothy 4, I am empowered through the incredible calling that God has given me through His grace, purification and salvation at a younger age (verses 6-16).  This said, I have been spending a lot of time in the books of Samuel and Kings. I have been awed by God’s direction and mapping of His purpose. The one commandment I have noticed ISN’T in scripture….

PAUSE.

You may be reading this blog, hoping that I will fill you in about our flights, time in Turkey, arrival in France, the plague of a chest cold we’ve had, or any number of other things regarding this journey. I would love to, but God won’t let me. So, if that’s what you’re hoping for, scroll up to the previous blog, I am sorry to burst our bubbles, but God has kept me awake for a distinct purpose this night.

Fear.

Nope, I’m not afraid. I can’t be. You see, the one commandment that is seriously lacking, to the detriment of many who may think it exists…is a commandment to be afraid. I have never read, anywhere, of God commanding us to fear anything BUT HIM.  Once in awhile I will step back and look at the little of the plan we can see and I will begin a slow digression of stupid. It begins with me thinking about the challenges ahead of us (sin #1…Philippians 4:2 says DON’T be anxious). Language problems, team problems, health problems, and then I begin to move in my digression to stupid number 2 (Matthew 6:25)…which is where most of the concerns of everyone else come in. Not a month went by when I was in the states that a handful of people didn’t remind me of all of the things I should be afraid of. Usually well meaning people that just wanted to share there concerns. These are usually the obvious physical dangers. Seriously…West Africa…if they had a mascot it would be snakes! We’re going to a country full of people that look a whole lot physically like Jesus probably did, but don’t know many of His words. There is sickness, disease, and yes…as I mentioned earlier, snakes, and a very open spiritual door.

So why am I not afraid do you ask?

Because fear is a stepping stone, but not one that moves us forward. When we fear, we take our lives out of God’s hands…pretending to have enough control over those lives to protect, provide for, heal and even direct them.  We are moving away from God, blindly, backwards. Imagine yourself in a forest at night walking with God. You know that He loves you above all other things He created. He is leading you, and you can’t see the way, almost as though you have a blindfold on and you are perfectly okay with that. Then, you get this inkling feeling inside. It’s not a comfortable feeling, it makes you begin to second-guess, and even doubt. The longer you think about this feeling the quieter God’s voice becomes. It began as a small feeling, but then you realize God’s voice is quieter and you panic! What if you make the wrong step? What if you fall and get hurt or worse…what if you can’t get back up?!  When we have faith in God, we are in an incredible union with Him. No, it’s definitely not easy.  We are told in scripture that we are “like sheep among wolves” and then this Devil slips in like a serpent, or even a hunting lion. He roars doubts at us, and we begin to try and take our lives into our hands.  When we feel fear, it is an opportunity to seek faith. You see…God is strongest in our lives when we are forced to rely on Him. When we feel fear it is a chance to stop and first, cast away the devil and bind him to Hell. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.”

Some of you may be reading this and saying “Come on Andi…these are easy verses we all know”. Some may be saying…”what is the point of this blog?? This is supposed to be an update, not a personal devo!”, but I write unashamedly addressing a question and common speculation that borders on “Are you crazy?” and is more specifically stated “Well! I am sure glad that God hasn’t called ME overseas!” In some perspectives we might seem crazy. We would rather be fools for Christ than to be anything else. Please understand that each of us is filled with an incredible design to serve Christ. One of our good friends is a beautician, and spends as much time in a week listening to people’s hearts than many therapists do! She also is a bus driver, a job that I know I could not do. My stress level would be climaxed, and I hate parking, it makes me a nervous wreck. Yet to me, she if fearless. When she does my hair she corrects me gently if I even hint to let timidity into my life.  We are each to be fearless, bold and above reproach in the callings God has placed on our lives.

I hope that this blog has empowered you, encouraged you, or challenged you. Understand, as a missionary, I still have days where I think “God…I don’t want to go! What if….”, but I am quickly assured by His promises that my trust must remain in Him. I cannot live with a spirit of fear; I have seen personally the mass damage it can cause. I know the power and liberation of love, power and sound mind, and I hope this blog encouraged you to know it too!

Andi

 

 

 

Travels and First week in France

It’s official! We are in France! How amazing? Don’t think it was without challenge! After many attempts at locating our Visas we took an adventure. Bart had been in touch with the Visa office several times attempting to fix any problems that would slow the arrival of our needed visas, but then cometh the snow. Man did it come!!! Here’s a quick summary of the past few weeks:

  • We left the Stephens family in Richmond on Saturday the 25thafter a good time of visiting and drove to Converse, after the first section of big snow had hit.
  • On Sunday we attended church and were given an amazing send off from Converse Church of Christ and then we were able to attend the Memorial Service for Bart’s grandfather, Rod Cameron. It was a very powerful service and we were so blessed to see how many people have had their lives changed by the ministry of Rod and Bev. I began feeling the beginning of an awful virus. The snow continued.
  • On Monday we began the semi-frantic attempt at getting a hold of the Visa office to locate our visas and were told that Bart could make the drive to Chicago to pick them up. I was in bed, in a lot of pain with a fever and the kids were at Nana and Papaws with a good friend. Bart purchased our tickets (we had been holding the website open waiting for the official confirmation for our visas before buying). Monday night we stayed up til’ 2 AM at Bart’s sister’s house packing our stuff into 9-50lb suitcases and 4 carry-ons. We also learned that all government offices in Chicago (our visa location) were closed. It was no use calling, we knew the office was run by an automated answering service.
  • Tuesday morning, I awoke feeling worse than I can ever remember. My mom began the drive from Richmond in preparation for our departure. Bart called the Visa office who told us they were remaining open and that we could pick our visas up. Bart and his good friend Marcus loaded up the van. My mom arrived and we piled in. There was barely room for everyone to sit, but we pulled it off. Then we began to see signs from Lucas that he was sick too.

Now for our travels:

In our travels to France we had a 21 hour layover in Turkey. Our first flight from Chicago was a tearful goodbye with our mom’s. We went to our luggage check and were so pleased by our hostess. She checked everything immediately and after spending several minutes smiling with our kids gave us 4 free seats! When we arrived past security it was very obvious that Lucas was getting worse so we quickly bought some meds. He slept on the benches at the airport while we waited to load.

Once loaded, we had 2 whole rows to ourselves!! This was such a blessing as Bart and I were able to rest at least somewhat! The plane was gorgeous!! Each seat had a pillow and blankes meaning that we had ample amounts. The people were incredibly hospitable and kind. We were served 2 meals, and snacks on the 11 hour flight. We were given headphones and were able to watch movies, or even able to watch via cameras the actual flight outside!! Our kids were both so exhausted that they tried very hard to sleep. We kept Lucas dosed. I felt awful because everyone on the plane heard us hacking all night. I ran out of tissues within the first hour from a constant sneeze and nose run.  At one point, I was sleeping sitting up and had Hosanna lying across 3 seats. The girl was determined to sleep with her head OFF the seat and the rest of her body on. I must have really drifted off when I hear “KLUNK!” and immediately grab Hosanna off the floor. Ah, well…you win some, ya lose some.  She went right back to sleep.

We were a little surprised to arrive in Turkey into immediate hustle and bustle lifestyle. I was a little overwhelmed, first because they only checked our car seats to Turkey…so I managed the kids, the stroller, Lucas’ carry on backpack, and Hosanna’s pink diaper bag that Mai made for her. Bart hauled both huge car seats, and the 2 carry on suitcases plus his backpack, all throughout the airport. Needless to say, Lucas and I both being sick, and a fussy 21 month old, after an 11 hour through the night flight….was not always pretty. Yet God’s grace was evident in the way we survived. Bart scheduled our hotel stay for the wrong night but somehow got us a free overnight through the airline but this required even more back and forth. We also had to go through airline security again, with everything because we weren’t just staying in the airport. Once we finally were shuttled through Istanbul to the hotel we were given connecting rooms, but Hosanna, who has had the hardest time sleeping of us all (maybe because she hasn’t been as sick), was up all night. The time change has really rocked her world. We must have spent 3 or more hours in that airport and I was so glad when we woke up the next morning in the hotel…until Lucas vomited. No joke, this sickness has been the spawn of Hell. We have had every symptom from congestion, coughing, sneezing, puking, fever, earaches, diarrhea, aching skin, drowning coughs….yeah…not pretty. Thank God for French black out curtains (more on that later).

The next morning Lucas wouldn’t eat, and in the entirety of this sickness had gone nearly 3 days without eating. We had been managing to get him to drink though. We loaded the 11 am shuttle right after Lucas vomited again. We went through the airport and had some Turkish ice cream from a funny man who made us all have a much needed laugh.  Lucas liked that, and ate a few bites. We quickly got to our gate and then…waited.

We arrived around 5ish in Lyon which is a 6 hour difference from Indiana, so what would have been 11 AM, not that our very confused bodies cared. As we waited in the passport line Lucas began exclaiming “Mama! I have to Pee!” People immediately became very helpful and shuffled us to the front of the line. Bart ran Lucas to the wash closet!

I pulled all of our suitcases off the rack and the man who worked at the airport helped us get a luggage cart…or 2. We had both  carts and the stroller loaded with stuff. We loved the stares we were getting. We eagerly passed through the doors and Eric was on the other side. I nearly looked passed him because I was so eager to find them! He, Bart and the taxi driver helped load our stuff into the huge taxi waiting. They drove us the 25 minutes or so to our apartment where we unloaded things into the hall so that we could relieve the taxi driver. Our landlord’s mother in law was there to help us up, and Melissa translated as we were given a tour of our apartment. I love the colors we have, and the blackout curtains. I especially love that it is ours. Every home we have lived in we have made ours, with only one exception. I am so glad to be here and though I know culture shock will come I am so glad for this adventure right now. I truly believe that the determination we have will help us tremendously.

Though Lucas didn’t starve himself, his body was radically depleted by the time we arrived in France.  He barely ate while we travelled. He slept for nearly the entire first day in his new room, and he slept nearly 12 hours a night for the first 3 nights because of this sickness and the time change. Katie and Zephan Hazell, as well as Eric and Melissa have been such a huge blessing to us. We don’t know what we would have done had they not met us with such willing hearts. They have taught us our whereabouts, spent hours at the store with us, or on the phone with the bank, or making doctor’s appointments. Bart now has what we think is Shingles! YAY! Not. I am so very proud of his hard work and dedication in French class, and that he is devoting himself to learning his whereabouts and getting our bank stuff in order. We officially have Wi-Fi at our house, and this means we have French TV! We have been watching the Olympics in French!! What a great way to learn!!

Bart has now finished his first week of class and tomorrow I start my class at Lyo Lingua! We have used the underground metro system quite a bit and are getting used to lots of walking (Just like CABO!!!). Lucas and Hosanna have been eating a ton of food because their bodies have not gotten used to the different foods here and they don’t feel as full.  We don’t have snacks everywhere or fast food to grab. They are way more expensive when you do buy them. There aren’t kids’ snacks in mass amounts (no jell-o, fruit snacks, snack crackers, cookies, kids’ drinks, soda from a fountain-anything from a fountain etc.). There are a lot of little café’s and bread shops. One very popular grocery store is Carre Four.  Lucas is way tired from walking, but his body is beginning to adapt, and he is very excited about the prospect of going to preschool here.  Katie helped us find a doctor and his sickness is nearly gone from the help of the meds he gave to Lucas.

So far we love the food, and there is a market about 3 or 4 blocks away that happens on Saturdays and Wednesdays, so we will be buying a lot more locally grown food there…Zephan says you just have to learn how to “buy in bulk in season”.  He said you will eat a ton of the same things for each season but it is way cheaper than going to Carre Four all the time. We will have to eat a ton of eggs and PB for protein. Besides that, I have loved the food here and can already tell I feel way better. There is real sugar in most of the food here, so no corn syrup, and a lot less processing. Lots…and lots and lots of bread.

So excited….I truly feel like I am going to really love this culture, and these people.

My one word of advice for going to a different culture: “Listen to the words of those who have gone before you but ALWAYS come with an open mind, willing to learn and accept something different”.

Thanks again for reading!!

Any questions, email us at

Bart.cameron@pbti.org Or

Andi.cameron@pbti.org

 

Life is change…change is good.

Life is change…Change is good.                                                  

 Even when it doesn’t happen like you think it should.

One of the coolest parts of being a missionary wife is the powerful way I get to see our calling impact my family. I have seen my children’s endless love, sourced from Christ. I have watched people’s hearts grow with the story of God’s call on our lives. I have seen lives changed from the story of people around the world who still don’t have a Bible. God has empowered us through you my friends. I mean it literally when I write “We are excited to take you to Africa with us” on our thank you cards. One of my favorite “Perks” is watching Bart preach. I love hearing him surrender his words to Jesus before he preaches and then just watching God move however He sees fit. A favorite sermon of ours is “Life is Change, Change is good, even when it doesn’t happen like you think it should.” Oh friends….is our life ever changing.

When a boat of missionaries were leaving a small village in Papua New Guinea after a week of language evaluation they were followed by a national. In his own pidgin tongue he began asking the missionary “When can we have it? When can we read what you’ve told us? When will you be back?” The missionary new that they were out of supplies and that they would have to refuel. It could take 2 weeks before they returned or maybe longer. The nationals’ eyes were eager, anticipating an answer.  “If there were more of us, we could come back sooner, but we will come back.” His eyes dropped to his feet. “You have come a long way. We are such a small people.” The missionary eagerly explained to the national that there were people all around the world praying for him, and that though he came from a small people group, his value to God was so much bigger. It was a bittersweet departure, but the value of the power of prayer is priceless. The power that your prayers have is beyond our understanding. Bart and I feel it. We feel it when we are exhausted from bouncing from house to house. We feel it when crazy things happen, when our kids are in pieces, and so are our hearts, we feel it when we rejoice over small and big successes, when we’re missing our teammates, and we will feel it when we move to France and begin language training.

As of right now, we are eagerly awaiting news on our Visas. Because of the frigid temperature drops, not to mention 2 different Holidays after our appointment in Chicago, we are having a hard time getting a hold of the French Consulate due to some closures. We want to inquiry if there is anything that we can do to help this process. We have all of our kids clothes packed into one suitcase, and have a small carry-on of our stuff that we are using as we travel back and forth from family to family. We moved out of the Ben Davis Blessing House on the 11th and spent some time in Converse sorting through our stuff and visiting with Bart’s grandparents, parents and some close friends. We drove down on Thursday to Paoli to visit more extended family and learned early Friday morning that Bart’s grandpa had died in his sleep. We thank you all for your prayers during this crazy time of grieving and transitioning.  We know that Pop is completely healed, and praising our Lord in Heaven, but we continue to process through this with God’s grace.

The following Saturday we drove too my parent’s home and attended church at Fountain City Wesleyan Church. We spent some time with my grandparents and my family. Bart left Wednesday the 21st (yesterday) for Converse to help with some needed wood cutting at Rainbow Christian Camp where he was raised. When our Visas arrive we will buy our plane tickets. God has made all of this happen in His time and has given us no reason to believe that He will not allow us to fly out on the 28th as we have been planning. We do have A LOT of packing to do between now and then, as well as many visits with many people to say goodbye.

Again, I tell you, we feel your love everywhere we go, because it is the love of the Father that has been given to you through His son on the cross, and has redeemed us from our agonizing fate. It is this love that empowers us to go and spread the story of salvation. Please continue to pray for us and our families as they are also preparing to have us move across the world! Also pray for our teammates to have continued grace and success in their French language learning.

We are currently at 97% of our monthly support needs. If you desire to support us financially please make all checks payable to Pioneer Bible Translators and mail them to our forwarding agent @:

Bart & Andi Cameron

3510 N. 1000 W. 27

Converse, Indiana 46919

 

For more information on ways to support us (EBT, one time gifts and tax deductions, as well as our newsletters) email us @  Bart.cameron@pbti.org

 

 

When the time comes….

Luke 2:16-20 “So they (shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Family….

We are so excited that as of this moment, the only thing keeping us from France is our Visa appointment on the 31st of December. We can’t believe it. It’s finally here. Looking back on the past 2 years we are full of joy at the way our faithful Lord has proved His desires for our lives. I wish there was a way for me to reach through the screen and hug you, to look you in the face and tell you thank you.  Maybe you have been reading our blogs because you stumbled upon our page or perhaps you are one of our prayer warriors, you could be a financial partner reading this….but regardless as to the specifics, the truth is that God put you here. You are here because you chose to listen to His promptings. Now please don’t stop!

We are so close to a huge transition in our journey. If ever we needed your prayers it’s now. Our teammates are still hundreds of miles away from us and going through schooling and culture shock.

  • Pray that we would be able to bless them with a reprieve when we arrive.

We are bringing Lucas and Hosanna far away from anything they are familiar with, further than ever before.

  • Pray that as parents, we will be sensitive to their needs during this transition. They will be surrounded by a language much different than their own, and just because children learn language faster, doesn’t mean a year in a different world is any less overwhelming.

Our families have parted with us over and over, first to college, then to Mexico, then to Dallas, and now finally to a more permanent mission field.

  • Pray for their hearts to persevere distance, pray for their roles in the life of our family to develop well even over distance. Pray that they would be filled with hope and trust in God’s will.

Our marriage has had its own ups and downs over the past 6 years. We have had many big storms blow through and until this year we were barely hanging on. Thanks to some amazing mentors and counselors we are well prepped and ready for the coming challenges.

  • Pray for our marriage to stay founded on Christ. Pray that we would draw closer to God and one another through culture shock.

We are moving to France as a language preparation for West Africa

  • please pray for the people’s hearts to be readied, and that as we begin working with others who have been there before us that we would be sensitive to their team dynamics and adjust accordingly.

We have 1 year of language training, though it could be less if we learn quickly.

  • Pray that we would absorb the language and culture around us and would learn the language well.

We have prayer partners and financial partners who have blessed us so much with this opportunity.

  • Pray that their blessings would multiply the Kingdom of heaven, and that we would find the remaining 4% of support we need.

We have been given the glorious calling this Christmas season to follow Jesus to many different places around the world. May God’s blessings be evident to you this Christmas and through the coming New Year as He leads you in your own adventures!

Andi, Bart, Lucas and Hosanna

As this Christmas season continues, let’s not forget the incredible purpose behind the bewildering birth of a beautiful baby boy...

Isaiah 53:

  4 Surely he took up our pain                                                  
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.