“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
After fours months of tough transitions and emotionally charged newsletters we are pleased to be writing this month’s newsletter that is full of good news! We have been living here in Cacalote for almost two months now. What once was a place of initial shock has now become a place of familiarity and joy. The people that live here are so kind and encouraging to our family. We have been able to build a home and friends here.
The past seven weeks we have been studying Spanish with much intensity. We have reached our first milestone by completing our first level of Spanish classes. We will be starting level two next week. We are becoming more familiar with words and the structure of the Spanish language. Our ability to speak is about one month behind our classroom learning. So right now, we are able to put together some simple sentences in the present and past tense. Even though speaking is still a bit tricky, the good news is that we can understand much more than we can speak. We have been told that it takes about three years to really feel confident in your ability to speak another language. This helped us to realize this is not a short-term process and that we need to have a long-term approach to learning the Spanish language. So, we continue on poco a poco (little by little)!
Not only are we learning Spanish but we are learning so many things about ourselves, our children, and our Great God.
What a huge difference a month has made in our children’s lives. McKenna has decided that after spending several weeks in the Spanish school with us, she was ready to attend the multi-grade school on the base. This week she entered 7th grade and has really been enjoying it. It helps that she has been attending youth group for several weeks now and has had the opportunity to meet new friends that also attend the school. It has made the transition so much smoother since she already knows several people. McKenna loves having some additional freedoms; like riding her bike around town, hanging out with friends after school, and going to the beach. She has also been very helpful to us by riding up to the store often and picking up items we may need. It’s been wonderful watching her mature. She really loves living here.
Mia is also doing well. She is being challenged in school and is rising to the challenge daily. It’s not a surprise but Mia is catching on, comprehending, and speaking Spanish really well. She thinks its funny when she translates for us! She has made several friends at school and in the village. Each week there is a young girls bible study in town which she is attending regularly. They have a Bible lesson, a craft, and bible verses to memorize all in Spanish. Its fun hearing her rattle off verses in Spanish with such ease!
After repeatedly wanting to go back to Napa his first month here, Isaiah has finally hit his stride this last week. He has made a friend that lives close by and is his age. The boys are spending the afternoons playing Legos, video games, and whatever else boys do! This past weekend Aaron and I took Isaiah for a ride in a friend’s kayak. We paddle up through a narrow waterway which eventually opened up into a lagoon with big beautiful white birds flying from tree to tree. When Isaiah saw it, he said “see this is why I love living here. And, it’s probably cold in Napa!” It is an answer to prayer that God has given him friends and a joy for living here!
Oh, Penelope! Our feisty five-year-old has many wonderful qualities. We are so thankful that God has given her a personality that is not easily swayed or pushed over. She is still having her ups and downs at school. It frustrates her when she can’t understand something or she perceives that something is too hard. Even though some days can be challenging for her, she is making friends and it seems that every day she is coming home and saying new words in Spanish!
This past month we were seeking the Lord on how we can serve Him right where we are. Even though our time is full with attending school, working on homework, and parenting and even though we are only here short-term, we still want to be useful servants where God has placed us. During this time, a friend here asked us what we missed from home. One thing we miss is gathering together with fellow believers, worshiping, and hearing God’s Word being taught in English. The Lord began to stir our hearts that others might feel the same way and prompted us to start a weekly Bible study with the other Spanish school students/missionaries. So, we stepped out in faith! We invited everyone from the Spanish school to come over to our house on Friday nights. It has been so refreshing to gather with a group of people, share a meal, hear from God’s Word, and pray together. One night while we were all sharing about how our experiences have been here in Cacalote and what God has been showing us, one young lady was so compelled by the Holy Spirit to share something she could not hold back. Through tears she shared that she is here because her two cousins came and she thought it would be fun to learn Spanish with them. The first week here she thought to herself, “I would never be a missionary”. She had plans to be a surgeon in the future. But after several weeks the Lord has been working on her heart and has been speaking to her about joining her family members on the mission field in Africa! It was such an awesome testimony of how God intersects our lives and our plans and can change our trajectory. We all prayed for her after she shared. It was such an honor to be among the first group of people to hear what God has placed in her heart. We can’t wait to watch God’s plans play out in her life! Praise God that He calls us and equips us to do His will. Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”
We can’t thank you enough for praying for us. We know God has heard everyone of your prayers. We are so encouraged that some good things have been happening this month. We are so happy and privileged to be serving our great God! We would not be able to do this without God using many of you to support us and encourage us on this journey. It is truly a picture of the body of Christ working together to build each other up and share the good news of the gospel to all the nations. Our prayer for each one of you, this month, is that you will know God’s plans for your lives. That you will seek Him with all your heart and when He reveals His plans to you that you will, without compromise, obey Him. Don’t be surprised if His plans turn out to be different from your plans! Remember there are always blessings in obedience.
With much love and gratitude,