TESTS- We just finished another round of testing at the end of our second trimester. This round of testing has been much more difficult, but we got our results yesterday and... WE PASSED! Praise the Lord! It's hard not to stress in the face of them, but we're doing our best to continually reminding ourselves how far that we've come in such a short time. We meet regularly with our language partners and we are understanding and being understood more. This is the results that we're praying for. So we're praising the Lord for this progress. Please pray for our last trimester of studies that conclude on June 24th.
LIFE IN ALBERTVILLE- We were so blessed to have the opportunity to lead our little French Assembley of God church on Easter Sunday in singing "In Christ Alone"... in English! I played the guitar, Joey on bass, and Megan sang! The people politely smiled and some actually knew the song and followed along. We've been praying that we could be used to bless others and we've seen this start to happen more and more. We are so thankful.
LIFE AT SCHOOL- We were also able to bless the other C&MA students by hosting an Easter dinner at the community room of our appartment complex. We had a meal together, played some games, and worshipped our Risen Savior in song! We broke out the guitars again for this.
KIDS- Megan has really picked up on this whole "being a blessing" thing and has done some babysitting gigs for some other families for free and even when the parents were at home, just so they could get some more things done or study or whatever. Joey and Sam have been reaching out to kids at the local soccer fields with mixed results. Some of the other boys want to establish their dominance physically, so they've run in to some tough situations where they just had to walk away. Through it all, they've stayed positive and haven't given up trying.
SUMMER- We're back in the states on the 27th of June. We're gonna be packing up stuff, making some church visits, a visit to one of the biggest airshows in the world (Oshkosh, Wisc.), and touching base with as many friends as possible! Joey and Meg's are really looking forward a 4-day jr. high event at our home church- York Alliance.
AIRPLANE- We're still in the midst of our fundraising where the businessman from California is matching every dollar raised up to $325,000!!! We are seeing people step up to donate- especially a lot of other missionaries, of all people! We've had two gifts of over $18,000 each and a bunch of other sized donations. I think we're up to about $100,000 raised and with the match, that's $200,000. How cool! About a 1/3 of the way there! Please pray for the additional funds to be supplied and for wisdom concerning our aircraft choice. After some additional prayer and discussion, we've thought it best not to put a downpayment for the preferred aircraft in Germany until after I pay them a visit in May. We want to make sure that everything lives up to what we've investigated it all to be.
SCHOOL IN AFRICA- We have felt confirmation to homeschool our children along with another family (The Solvig's) whose children are about the same age as ours. They have felt the same level of confirmation, so we are praising the Lord for this decision in unity! YES! It's funny that this was one of those conditions that we put on the Lord when this part of the journey started... "Lord, we'll answer this call as long as we don't have to homeschool". HA! How the Lord works to form us and change us! We are also praying for wisdom concerning a person coming and assisting us in getting started down this road of home schooling. We hope that a young person, just out of college, may want to come and lend a hand with the homeschooling as we'll have our hands full with getting settled into a new environment. Please pray for us as we concider those that are expressing interest in joining us for this purpose. There is also a price tag involved in the resources needed for this endevor. Pray that all these things will come together for the Glory of God.
1. Blessing people in practical ways: We pray for a successful launch of the air ambulance ministry in Gabon in September. There are so many logistics to work out- hard not to get overwhelmed some days. Also, we pray for a successful hand over of the guest house duties by the end of the first 9 months of our time in Africa as the family doing this now (the Solvig's) will be leaving at that time. Also, the local churches of Gabon have asked the Office of Short Term Ministries to consider ways to launch small enterprises to assist the unemployed men of their churches (16 churches in the city of Libreville- population 650,000). There is an idea brewing in my heart to mentor aircraft mechanics through our program and, further down the road, pilots! How cool would it be to work ourselves out of a job someday!
2. Blessing people in WORD: We pray for the times when we are able to speak to francophone people with clarity. We pray that we are able to change from conversations about education in a language to being able to conversations about Jesus! We are starting to memorize scripture in the French language and pray for opportunities to use this knowledge.
3. Local Church Ministry in Gabon?: Of course, we'll be joining a local church in Libreville, however, we're wondering if the Lord would have us invest in additional ways. There is a group of anglophones that meet weekly for Bible study in Libreville. In the past, they have looked for direction and leadership to form more of a faith community. Wouldn't it be so cool to see this group equipped to reach the people of thier city and those that come and go there? We're committing this idea to the Lord, knowing that we're going to have our hands filled initially in Gabon.
4. Short Term missions involvement: The STMO (Short Term Missions Office) of the C&MA will be establishing a program in Libreville. It is being run by our good friends Tim and Meredith Brokopp. It will be interesting to see how this works and what may develop out of that. They have already said that they'll be using my services to move people and resources to and from Bongolo Hospital. I'm praying for additional ways that this partnership could develop.
5. English training: We're seeing the TESOL language classes being used to expand Christ's Kingdom around the world. We'd like to pray about getting education in this area as well.
6. Deeper connection's with the churches that support us: We pray for meaningful ways to link to what the Lord is doing in the churches that are praying for us and supporting financially. Emails, newsletters, and personal visits are our current avenues of linking, but we're praying for fresh ideas for strengthening the ties. Who knows what this may look like, but am praying that direction.
I think that's it for now!
ps. Alace will be visiting C&MA missionary friends in Macedonia this coming week (Wendy Coons and Dave & Brenda Aderholdt). Also, in mid may, I'll be dropping in on other C&MA missionaries, Steve and Karen Mack, for a quick overnighter and worship service on my way to some aviation training about an our drive south of Berlin. Please pray for rich times of fellowship and encouragement to be shared among all during these visits.