Since the last time I posted, a lot has happened! Our brains have been crammed with information that will be helpful with transition and culture shock, our emotions have been put on high alert as we have experienced who we really are under stress and we have been encouraged by the many ways we can promote spiritual vitality in our stressful lives ! It is very difficult to give you a sense of all that we are accomplishing here, but I will try to give you some snippets of what we have been up to.
Thursday in our classes, we talked a lot about spiritual vitality and how it must emerge from 3 foundational truths.
1. God is God
2. God may not be safe, but He is faithful
3. God is good (even when there is suffering)
In God's perfect timing, He knew that this day we specifically needed to be reminded of these truths. It was this very afternoon that we told our kids that Neena's cancer had relapsed and that she would be starting chemo again. We really had a sweet opportunity to talk with the kids about these truths and pray for them and Neena's health. We felt the Lord's tenderness as we talked and prayed together as a family.
On Friday morning we started in our Growth Groups, where we do a Bible study and pray for one another. During this meeting we had to share with each member of our group one strength for them to capitalize on and one area of growth for them to attend to. It was very intimidating at first, but I think we all left very encouraged! The rest of the day we focused on transition, culture entry and we played a four culture game. That evening, our friends the Steffens arrived from IL.
Stacey's growth group
Brad's growth group
On Saturday, we headed off to Focus on the Family (www.family.org) You could play there for hours. There are playgrounds, an area for reading, dress up, puppets, the Wardrobe from Narnia, a sitting area for watching Veggie Tales and of course, a 3 story slide. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed the view of Pikes Peak from Focus.
The Steffen and the Hunter kids
Abby coming down the three story slide
Brad and Torry having a great time
Levi and August Steffen
In the afternoon we went to visit the Garden of the Gods park. It has spectacular views and the kids had a great time climbing up and down the rocks.
Sunday, we met Jackie Smith and Tracy Moses (from FL) who are out here taking some classes at the Focus on the Family Institute and we went to church at a PCA church called, Village 7. Then we got some good ol' Kentucky Fried chicken and enjoyed the beautiful weather at a local park.
Jackie with our family
Luke's new hobby...tree climbing
Abby climbing on the bars
Levi enjoying the tunnel
Sunday evening, our community of MTI'ers put on a talent show. Can you guess who volunteered to be the emcee? Our family did a skit using the song "Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. We changed the words of the song to coincide with what we have been learning here at SPLICE. It was actually pretty funny. Everyone did a great job and it was also a time where we really got a look into each other's ministries.
"Favorite Things" skit
All the kids doing a little dance
Today while we learned about some techniques for language learning and how to handle cultural differences, in the kids' classes, they talked about feelings. I think the teachers described the different types of feelings that are normal with this process of transition and moving and then gave the kids an opportunity to express how they are feeling. Luke described his feelings as being sad, mad and happy. Sad because he misses his friends and family, mad because Neena's cancer has come back and happy that we are going to tell people about the love of Jesus! (I think he is going to be the next Billy Graham) Abby was honest too, and said she is mainly sad. "I want my friends back", she said. Levi has also expressed wanting his friends. Tonight he told me he was "going to go upstairs to get Ethan and James". I'm thankful that MTI is giving them a language to express themselves and a safe environment where they feel the freedom to share what is on their hearts. Please continue to pray that God would use this time to minister to them also and that they would continue to grow in the knowledge of His love for them in all of this!
I know this post has been long. Next time I'll try not to wait so long to get you caught up with our lives...now you see why some nights I have been just too fried to post!