language school

In answer to your prayers, camp was a great opportunity to serve both kids and staff, in addition to furthering our language skills. Slick was in charge of bubbles (see picture below), which allowed some valuable interaction with the kids as well as spiritual insights, (see “Bubbles” on Donna’s blog) while Donna watched Zoe and did any odd job that cropped up, from laundry to bike maintenance to fixing leaky showers.

Now as we return temporarily to the US, logistical challenges continue, for which we desire God’s continued wisdom and endurance. We will be stateside for six weeks of training and packing before leaving for Africa. As we’ve said before, transition times are not easy for anyone and we would ask for prayer specifically directed against the enemy’s attempts to confuse with our communication as a couple as well as for an abundance of grace each for the other and for Zoe!

In the peace between us and in the details that fall into place, among other things, we often see God’s response to your prayers – thank you for praying!

"Roll, Zoe, roll!"

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… Let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25)

During our mission’s presentation, when we said we believed an important part of the ministry God has called us to was “encouraging missionaries”, we did not know that it would begin before we even reached Africa! Over the past several months God’s drawn us alongside several missionary families en route to the field, who are moving through various issues. We’ve had the joy of seeing God encourage them and draw them a little further down the path through us. One family was packing their bags and quitting school when God arranged the opportunity to spend some time with them and help them see how, in the Bible, God never uses discouragement to reveal His will. Praise God, they’ve unpacked, recommitted to finish their schooling and are continuing to follow the path to Senegal that the Lord has laid out for them!

As we looking forward to the next few weeks, several other families will be visiting us. We greatly desire to continue encouraging our siblings in Christ. But as Oswald Chambers once wrote, “more often discernment is given not for critique, but for intercession.” Please pray with us that as people share their lives and struggles with us, we would humbly and gently spur them on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24), and that we would not fall into the temptation of critiquing them or becoming conceited ourselves. There, but for the grace of God, go we.

Among the dandelions, Zoe learns the art of nordic walking.

A beautiful hike with tons of ruins labeled with the history that surrounds them and two little museums of yesteryear in the Alps. And with an amazing view!

Taking a glance from south to north after our picnic lunch

A little bit of silliness along the way made it all the more fun

Concerning the “grease of God’s grace” that He generously gave us in answer to your prayers from last month, we slid unhindered through all the company and visiting earlier this month (though admittedly it wasn’t so uneventful for the company). God honored our requests for an opportunity to share His love and work with unsaved family members. Three of them agreed to read through the book of John 1 chapter a day while challenging God “that if you exist, show me”! So we would very much appreciate your prayers that the seeds planted in these hearts would begin to germinate and continue to grow.

Additionally, we’re very thankful that the leadership of our mission agency AIM AIR ( is in the process of deciding whether we’ll be serving in Nairobi or in Uganda. Please join us in praising God for the coming revelation of His direction for us through those in authority over us. (It is always nice to know where you are headed.)

Exploring the front yard and appreciating Yvette's hard work

God’s been answering your prayers for us to absorb French: He enabled us to score among the top students in our respective classes on our last week-long exams at the end of February. And He has enabled that despite frequently diverting our attention elsewhere in recent weeks. It seems that even here, there is much ministry God desires done.

Since we arrived, God has been increasingly opening our eyes to what He is doing here and now. Yes, we are still preparing to serve in Africa: we are learning our French, but God is increasingly inviting us to join His work here and now in France this year, and through it, He is growing us immensely – and more than just in the area of language training.

So even as we continue to prepare, we desire to be responsive to His leading right now. During the first few weeks in March, family and friends will be visiting, both believers and non. Please pray that God’s grace and love might shine forth to those who do not know Jesus; we’ll be sharing our home and our lives with many over the next few weeks and months.

One of the enemy’s favorite tactics is to put a wedge between us, especially by mixing up our communication…we would greatly appreciate prayer that we communicate clearly and that the grease of His grace is apparent in our relationship.

Enjoying the cake (see next post for to see the amazing cake)

Slick celebrated a very special day yesterday, and invited the entire school to join him…

Friend, fellow missionary and fellow French student, Celine, is amazing at creating cakes. Rather than candles, the chocolate-dipped rasberries represented the number of years (please don't count!).

We wanted to post a picture of what we actually do each day, but it’s impolite to take pictures in class. Then we realized that Slick takes pictures everyday – of the board – because Donna only goes to school in the morning. She copies the afternoon notes from the board…

learning verb tenses

Zoe uses her Christmas gift from Grandma and Granddad to chat with them from time to time.

As we reach the halfway mark of our time in language school, we sometimes feel as if there were more to learn now than when we began! But God has definitely answered your prayers from last month: we have truly begun to understand some of the more complicated intricacies of French – but we are also seeing now how much we have yet to learn.

It’s a bit like training for a marathon (which Slick is doing) or plowing through the Wednesday of a busy work week. Thus we would really appreciate your prayers for endurance to persevere through “hump time,” as well as discernment as to what our path should look like when we depart in a few months.

Zoe makes Daddy take a break from running & studying

Slick ran the other day. He wants to run these short training runs at 8 minutes per mile. He’s training for the Paris marathon and he’d like to run it in under in four hours (roughly 9 minutes per mile). But on this run, he initially didn’t have a set goal. He just wanted run and put in a little effort.

But somewhere during the first half of his out-and-back run along the foot of the snow-muted Alps, God led him to set a more solid pace for the second three miles. Without looking at the GPS that told him his pace, Slick simply stepped it up a notch. He noted the time when he turned around.

The whole way back, he just focused on running a good strong tempo, giving it his best effort, but determined leave the results to God, rather than consulting the GPS for feedback along the way.

When he hit “stop” at the end of the run, he discovered he’d run exactly 8 minutes per mile. Not 8:01, not 7:59. His best effort at doing what God had laid upon him to do, plus the empowerment God gave for carrying out His command, was exactly enough, not one iota too much, nor too little.

And so it is with what He sets before us to do. Our best effort, plus His enablement, is exactly enough. Not too much, and not too little. In His hand, our all is sufficient for Him, and in our lives, He is sufficient for us.

At the school, Zoe found a pair of skis that fit her and her face almost got stuck in a huge grin after her first day on them

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