So, we’ve been a little behind with the blogging. Sorry about that. April was when our scheduled Spring vacation was, and at the start Chris’ mom came to visit, then we had a team retreat, and we had some friends come to visit at the end. So in between studying and getting some rest in, we were a little busy.
We had been looking forward to Chris’s mom coming for a while. For the first part of her visit we stayed around town, and the last few days she was here, we visited Provence. Our team retreat was going to be in Provence, and she was going to fly out of Marseille, so it worked out to see some of the area before she left. The kids loved their time with Grandma, and while we had a great time, it was hard to say goodbye when the time came. She had a very early flight, so Oliver and I stayed back, and Chris and Avonlea took Grandma to the airport. After the good bye, they came back to get us and we headed on to the retreat, after staying one night with some our Marseille teammates.
We were all pretty down when we got there, but we were immediately met with loving faces. What followed was a sweet time of fellowship, prayer, singing (in spite of our awful french accents). Our teammates came around us and loved on us and our kids like they were theirs. We had some meetings about the work happening in Toulouse and Marseille, of which it was nice to be included. We had a couple outings to the zoo and the beach, and we closed each night with a wonderful meal and swapping stories around the fireplace after the kids went to bed.
After we got back, all I could think about was that God set this up perfectly. He knew we’d be a little down. He knew we’d need love after saying our first hello and goodbye to a family visit. He new we’d need a renewed heart for our work that seems to be on the other side of this giant language-learning mountain. There’s things to do and we are still a little ways off from being the least bit helpful, but we know that we need to be heads down in our learning of French to get there. Since language school is a little like drinking from a firehose, we needed the break to process all the info that has been coming at us. He knew what we needed. We had opportunities over the break to speak in French, to learn about French culture, and to just process a little.
Our break ended with some dear friends spending some of their vacation by visiting us. They spent a few days with us, went to French church with us, and visited the area before heading off on their own french adventure while we went back to school. It was nice to see the familiar faces, share our experiences so far here in France and show them around a little. We went back to school full of enough energy that we even decided to potty train Oliver less than two weeks after going back!
All that said, there have been so many times, between seminary, support raising, and every other aspect of our lives, where we’ve had some sort of agenda, or timeline, and it’s gone awry, only to be replaced by a better one. God’s plan is so much better than the one we would have for ourselves, so we try to hold to them loosely, doing what we can for today and not worrying too much about tomorrow, if we can help it.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34 ESV)
So, if you feel inclined to pray for some of our ‘today’ trouble: here are some of our prayer requests:
> Please pray that we continue to learn this language, with decent accents, enough so that we can be useful to our team in working here in France.
> Please pray for our language partners. Mine is a sweet Christian woman who is a long standing member at the church here in Albertville. The church hosts a lot of foreigners (us American students) as well as french evangelical christians. They are looking to relocate at the moment, and are prayerful that a lot of the logistical requirements will fall into place.
> Chris is going to a denominational meeting in mid-June with the EPREF church here in France to introduce himself and get some exposure to the church denomination. Please pray that that would go well.
Oh yeah, and here are some photos from the vacation and the retreat: