Summer 2022 Update
Updated: Aug 23
While we have had the joy of experiencing our first French winter, spring and now summer, we are ready for fall. Albertville is hot, (super hot as AC is not common in Europe), but we know before too long we will be pulling out the gloves and hats again.
We passed our language exams mid July and said goodbyes to many of our classmates who are moving to their ministry fields. The spring semester was intense, but we added so much to our french language repertoire. Naomi can now conjugate verbs in 7 tenses (in theory) and can talk about more than the weather and her dog. Jesse is perfecting his pronunciation and working hard to master the grammar rules and apply them. We are making good progress. It’s a ton of hard work and daily dedication to speaking, writing, reading and living in French.
The kids too! They have all 3 learned so much in a short amount of time. They have adjusted nicely to the MANY cultural differences and all have close friends.
Ida was voted by her class to share a few lines at the performance. She did great! She is loving school.
We don't hear Evelyn speak much French unless she is around her friends, in those situations, she gets her point across and her needs met. She is sometimes caught speaking French to the horses she rides :) She has started writing more in cursive which is required by her teachers.
And sweet Virginia, is just cruising along picking up all the language and cultural habits she can gather. Virginia participated a 2 night dance performance which she learned with 100% French instruction. She is wildly energetic these days working on mastering her 2 wheel bike with the encouragement of her best friend Luna.
The summer is in full swing at the camp, with the restrictions of Covid minimized the camp is once again full of life, volunteers and campers. The campers engaged in deep conversations with their leaders on <suffering, evangelism, and what does the bible say about…> Check out this camp recap video
While we really wanted to be a part of what was going on at camp, we decided to take this summer to deepen relationships we have begun to cultivate here in Albertville. We hope that next summer we will be hosting these friends at the camp. It would be an honor for Jesse and I to welcome our Albertville church to camp and share all the camp has to offer with the other connections we have made. We have also enjoyed this summer to just be together as a family. With everyone’s stress level minimized we are able to reconnect. The transition has been very taxing on all of us and we know that next summer we will be able to fully invest in the efforts of the camp and have our language learning more solidified.
We also traveled to Slovenia at the beginning of August. Our mission organization gathers all the missionaries once a year for an annual conference. This being our first conference, we enjoyed hearing from ministry leaders who are serving around Europe, connected our French field team. We enjoyed worshiping in English and praying for one another who are serving around Europe. There was specific programming for the kids to help them process their transition and connect with other missionary kids their age. This shared experience for them was very important. Evelyn immediately made close same age friends and Ginny asked every day when she could go back to her school. They all learned about God being their anchor and their hope. The picture below is of Jesse and I worshiping together with the other Gem missionaries at conference.
So what does our next phase look like?
We will continue language learning and increase our involvement in local ministry in September. The current plan is to have the next full school year in Albertville, to keep the girls progressing without interruption. For Naomi & I, after January we will start our transition to camp focused work. By next Summer we will be transitioned to Camp des Cimes! We are being intentional on how we prepare so that we can be working from a place of strength. Jesus said it best, a firm foundation weathers the storm:
…“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27