For the past few weeks the attendance at our English classes has increased. Many of these new students first came to the English intensive camp and now have become active in our classes. Pray with us that these relationships will continue to grow and that these students will also become active in communities of faith.
One day, I was watering my plants, and I was shocked to see this beautiful flower blooming. Apparently a seed had been planted at some point, and now I was witnessing the growth! It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of all the years of “seed sowing” we have been doing here in Green Mountains, and how we are now starting to see signs of His spirit moving in the hearts of the people here. I am confident new life is coming for many, and it will be even more beautiful than this unexpected bloom! Thanks for your faithful prayers—they are what is watering the soil and preparing the hearts for growth!
Our city is one big construction site! Out on a walk near our apartment, I noticed that in one condensed area there were 5 cranes working simultaneously on various building projects. The city is growing and developing at a rapid pace, and we long to see the same be true in terms of spiritual growth and development.
In March, we are focusing on breaking down walls. We took this picture of the classroom walls where we teach. There are a myriad of stories that intersect here every Tuesday for three hours. There are stories of sickness and health problems, as well as emotional imbalance. Of the six girls that have been coming, three are married, one has children, and one is dating seriously. We have students that have lost parents, have parents that live in other countries, and most have siblings that they help care for each day. We love the students that sit in these chairs. Would you pray for them? Would you pray that the walls of their heart would break down and that they would be receptive to the message of Hope that we want to share with them in the coming days?
There are two interesting pictures of “familiar fakes” that we have come across this week, as a family. The first is in reading the last book of the Narnia series (The Last Battle). This story is all about people and creatures following a fake Aslan, even obeying commands that seem out of character. The second encounter was driving through a small town with huge signs for Starbucks painted on walls and billboards. The nearest Starbucks is at least one airplane ride away. The coffee in this village was nothing more than instant packets and hot water from an electric kettle.
We have a lot of distractions in life that look really close to things that we should be investing our time and energy into–seeking and following, but often they are not the Real Thing. Would you pray that our emotional and physical energy would be focused and used to further the One True Kingdom?
One of the surprises of moving overseas was the reality that I had to become a master of all trades (or at least develop irrational confidence to try to fix stuff I have no business fixing). At various times, members of the team have found themselves serving as repairmen (electric, water heaters, cars), accountants, construction crew members, tour guides, English language experts, veterinarians, pediatricians, marketing consultants, real estate brokers, and more. On a recent evening at the center before class started, we noticed several lights were out and needed replacing. So a teammate served as an electrician! 🙂
During this time of lent, we focus on our need for Christ. Praise be to God for His wonderful mercy through Christ’s death and resurrection. A recent visit to an ancient church underscored the incredible gift that we have received. May our hearts be turned toward Him in new and meaningful ways during this season. And may we cry out together for those who don’t know Hope and Peace through Him.
Last Friday, we hosted our third painting party night! Twenty-one students spread out in three rooms, and followed along as we painted–in English. Imagine the vocabulary opportunities that come with mixing colors, palette placement, and brush strokes! It was a great time of laughter and encouragement!
We are thankful for the wide variety of foods and products available to us, but we have all learned an important lesson–if you see it today, it doesn’t mean you will be able to find it again (ever or soon!). So there are some items that we try to stock up on when we do find them. In one team home, tortilla chips are a favorite! What do you make sure you have in your pantry?