three of us have rung in the new year in France, and as of this writing
(Jan 8) are back in classes for four more months of French learning.
We are grateful to have progressed so far in our French classes to this
point. French is a difficult language to learn! There are times we
certainly feel like infants in the language. But we cherish the small
victories we have when we can speak and hear clearly.
Now in February, we reflect on the love with Valentine’s day
around the corner. We often sit down with Abby to color, and no matter
what picture she is coloring she always requests a picture of “Mommy
Daddy Abby” on it. What we love is never far from our minds. This
reminds us of how God should never be far from our thoughts, and of how
we should be thinking of God’s presence and guidance in our lives no
matter what the activity.
|Abby with Mommy, Daddy, Abby picture|
a new language and culture may be the hardest task imaginable! We have
had the opportunity to prepare sentences and share our faith through
those sentences in class with other Christians, but we haven’t yet taken
the chance to do this outside of class in full conversation. Though we
are eight months into our French classes, we speak as a 3-year-old! We
have a long way to go before being able to be effective in our language
skills to share our faith. While this fact humbles us, it also feeds
our hunger to continue learning French in hopes that one day we will see
someone turn to Christ who has never heard the gospel.|
Learning French and serving as future missionaries with the
Fulani gives us excitement for our future. We mentioned a few months
ago that Roy was planning to take a vision trip into Chad to better
understand what Fulani ministry can look like. By the time you read
this, Roy will be in the midst of this vision trip, and we will be
pondering our next steps of ministry in central Africa.
Here are some of the details of the trip we can share with
you. Roy will be traveling Jan 30-Feb 9 into Chad. He will be
accompanied by two other American missionaries and a Fulani
believer/pastor. Some of our goals for the trip are to better
understand where Fulani are in the southwestern area of Chad. We hope
to have exploratory conversations with Fulani in various villages to
learn populations, stages of faith, and physical needs of these Fulani.
From this information, our mission organizations can then work together
to begin to strategically engage them. We want to examine how open the
people may be for missionaries living among them and sharing the gospel
with them. With our agricultural and veterinary background, we are
also hoping to understand how they produce food.
Roy and his teammates are going into this trip with open
minds. We want to be teachable; we want to be learners. Roy plans to
ask this Fulani pastor what a Fulani church would look like to him. In
the US we think of music, choir, and a sermon with three points, a poem,
a few amens and handshakes, and see you next Sunday as a worship
service. For Fulani, what elements of worship are important to them?
Is music important? Would there be a sermon, or a more informal
scripture reading? Is it necessary to have a building or would a
congregation meet outside around someone’s home? What day of the week
would they worship (Muslims worship on Fridays)? When would they
baptize believers? How are pastors trained? Even though this trip is
into Chad and we are considering serving in Niger, the answers to these
questions will help guide us to form potential churches with Fulani
wherever we live.
This vision trip will also help to build job requests for
future missionaries to work with Fulani. When their felt needs are
better understood, Christians with a specific background may be more
inclined to answer God’s call to serve in Central Africa. Perhaps a
teacher sees an educator is needed in a village with a large Fulani
population, and this teacher already speaks French. He or she could
fulfill the opportunity to serve as a French teacher by going to this
location for a few years and make a significant impact in the lives of
the children they teach.
Most of all, we hope this is an opportunity for God to show us
His vision for the Fulani people. We can make the best plans, but if
God is not in it, then we know there will not be a successful harvest.
Roy knows it will be difficult being away from Denise and Abby
for so long. He is already looking forward to the reunion with hugs and
surprises when he returns.
|Can go anywhere|
now on we will be writing our prayer letters every two months. We’ll
still be glad to hear from you often, so keep sending us notes and we’ll
respond! Know that even though our letters are less frequent, our needs
are the same. We thank you for your gifts and prayers!|
Love from Abroad,
- Pray for Roy as he finishes up the vision trip (Jan 30-Feb 9), and for Denise and Abby as he is away.
- Pray that we would finish language school strong. Our last day of class is April 19!
- Pray for us as we plan our next short season in the States after we finish language school.
- Pray for good trainings, confirmation of future partnership in Niger and good preparations for going to Africa.
Roy, Denise, and Abby