If you're not on our email update list, then this will be brand new for you. And if you've already read this, then I apologize for the redundancy. The following is the March update that we sent out to our list of friends and family that want to receive this via email. It was a simple cut and paste job.
But for those that haven't heard, we're headed overseas to live and work in Central Asia. We leave in April. Awkward moments await and at some point in the next year or two, there will be an original blog coming with details about a horribly awkward adventure. Until then, may you find great joy in the sometimes painfully awkward pursuit!
Ten Ways We've Been Encouraged in February
1) We got our plane tickets! We'll be leaving from Colorado Springs on April 19th to head to Central Asia...29 hours later we'll arrive at 3:05 am. Picture for a moment a haggard looking family in complete shambles dragging their two red headed sons and all their earthly possessions in 8 floral patterned, thrift store suitcases...and smile.
2) We spent the first week of February with our new team...it was the COLDEST week I can ever remember in Colorado. Despite the frigid temps, it was exciting to be together and build relationships with the other 5 adults that make up the team. Jack, Diana, Jim, Kathy and Julie have already become family to us and we'll all share in the tremendous highs and lows of the next few years. When you're assigned to a team, you never know what you're going to get...but we have been truly blessed with this team. God is good.
3) For the past three weeks, we have been in Monument, CO, at an organization called Missionary Training International (www.mti.org). While here, we've been led through some marvelous training in language acquisition techniques (how to learn a foreign language) and are now working through a course on cultural adaptation and sensitivity ("different" doesn't necessarily mean "wrong"). Very good experience for us...Deb and I have enjoyed being in "school" together!
4) The boys are doing really well. We were nervous about how they would adjust to all the new experiences and they've surprised us with their resilience and adventuresome spirits! Thankfully, they have adapted really well to life here at MTI. Sam LOVES to ride up and down the elevator (we'll probably live in an apartment building with an elevator, so this is a good development) and has enjoyed playing foosball, air hockey, and dominoes. Titus celebrates his first birthday on March 5th and is a (usually) delightful kid that smiles at everyone.
5) Deb and I enjoyed a HOT Valentine's Day date at the local Chili's restaurant...pretty romantic spot. I initially tried to take her to a "nice" restaurant here in town that turned out to be not quite the quiet evening that I had planned. As we were seated, we looked around and quickly realized that I had made a mistake, so we literally RAN out of the restaurant before the waitress could get back with the menus. We laughed the whole way to Chili's and split a dessert...turned out to be a fun way to celebrate. Who knows what date nights will look like in Central Asia? Maybe this was God's way of preparing us.
6) On the weekends when we're not in training classes, we have spent great time with both sets of our parents in Colorado Springs. We're soaking up every minute of time with them and it's been fun to watch them engage with our boys as grandparents. This will be the toughest part of leaving the US...our families have been such a blessing during these past few months and we've grown accustomed to the protective "shade" they provide.
7) We got to spend two weekends in local churches and share about this adventure God is leading. Both churches played vital roles in our lives as we grew up and it was sort of like a homecoming experience as we got to see lots of folks that have meant so much to us. In each setting, we were thrilled to see the response of people and hear of their interest in our journey. It was affirming for us and we are looking forward to continued partnership with each of the churches.
8) So many of you have graciously given to help with our start up costs. THANK YOU!
9) God protected us during a recent trip down snowy and icy Interstate 25. A pick-up truck just in front of us slid on the ice and began to fishtail wildly all over the road. Since our little Geo Prizm is not designed for collisions with large pick up trucks, this was a frightening development! As this happened, Sam was in the back seat singing "God is so Good", completely oblivious to the scene just ahead of us. Thankfully, our car did not slide as I hit the brakes and we were able to maneuver around the truck without getting into an accident. Little evidences of His goodness are often the most meaningful.
10) We saw "The King's Speech" the night before it won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and we really enjoyed the story of King George VI. As one who struggled profoundly with stuttering when I was younger, this was a powerful story. We're anticipating a lot of difficulty getting our minds and mouths to connect as we learn a new language, and it was inspiring to us on many levels to see "Bertie" persevere and overcome this impediment. Go see it if you have a chance.
So thankful for each of you-
Dave, Deb, Sam and Titus