Everyday life looks a little different here. Everything takes longer than we are used to. Pray that we would be able to seize every opportunity – as we go through life – to share boldly how much we love our Jesus! This is a picture of a trip to the frame shop. Even while we were here, many people (including the man in the background) were interested in engaging in conversation.
There are many beautiful, old doors in our city. They serve as important reminders to pray for continued openness in this country, and in the hearts of this people. Please join us in lifting up these petitions, and keep your eyes open for doors that He is opening where you live!
We often see people here walking with arms locked. My heart is always pricked by this posture. Lord, may You deepen relationships that we may “lock arms” with those here to raise Your banner!
Our city is full of contrasts–from beautiful flowers in old, five gallon buckets to the way women from different generations dress—I can’t venture onto the streets without sensing the tension between old and new. What will be kept? What will be lost? Can the frenzy of change be sustained? We are so thankful to our Father for leading us to this place at a time when people are searching for peace and for answers. Please pray that we will be faithful to make His name known at every opportunity, and that we will always be prepared to give the reason for our hope.
The last several weeks have been full of new sights, smells, and sounds that have piqued our curiosity. In some cases, we have been able to ask why and how things are done, but many mysteries remain. One of them is front and center in this picture. Why are the trees painted white? We’ve had fun guessing, and look forward to the day that we can ask all about it in the heart language of this place! (PS You may also be asking, whose dog is this? That too is a mystery!)
One morning this week, all five of us were out in front of our building waiting for their school bus to come pick our kids. Our oldest son said, “I wish I could go back home.” A bit on edge about being sensitive to him adjusting to life here, we asked him what he was missing that he needed. I was hoping it would be something available here that we could get while he was at school. He replied, “I wish I could have cereal.” When we asked him what kind, he said, “the kind in our apartment. I wish I could have had time to have another bowl of cereal before I had to go to school today.” Here I was, jumping to the assumption that he was homesick, for Colorado, when he was referring to the apartment we have on the 11th floor as home! This is a huge blessing. We are very thankful that after all of the adjustments our family has made in the past month, this city is beginning to feel a bit like home.
– thoughts from a New Team Member
Several American fast-food restaurant chains are starting to come! We already have McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, and Wendy’s. It’s not the actual fast-food places that we are excited about, but the prospect of future growth — economically. Do you recognize this familiar logo that appeared in the window last month? Once these restaurants decide that an economy is stable enough to invest in, other stores/restaurants follow…all providing good jobs! This will be a great benefit to people like our university students that just graduated and are discouraged because they have not found a job.
I discovered this broken window in the center a few days ago. Thankfully the glass did not fall down onto the street below where people gather near a crosswalk!
I called my friend from the office next door (he is a member of an intermediate English class at the center) and he helped me remove the broken glass from the window frame using the tried and true “washcloth as safety glove” method.
A few hours later the new window was installed successfully! This scenario made us so grateful for the incredibly gracious local friends God has given us here. It also reminded me to view every circumstance (even the frustrating ones like broken windows) as an opportunity to deepen relationships and trust.
Our three new couples have started the long and challenging process of learning the local language. Please pray for diligence, patience, and grace for them during this journey! We have seen over and over how learning the language builds trust with our neighbors and students and it is so foundational for a successful life and ministry in this city. This is a significant mountain to climb and we need your prayers.
All smiles on “Language Day 2”!!
We see “wish trees” like this all over the city. These trees are identified as possessing special religious or spiritual value and people tie ribbons, cloth, bits of plastic bags and other odds and ends to the tree. These are symbols of their wishes and dreams, and people are convinced that the “power” is in the symbol instead of the “hearer” of the prayer.
We continue to work hard to learn the local language so that we can share with the people of this city the good news that there is One who hears the prayers of His people.
Psalm 66:19: “…God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.”