As I sit down to write this I feel so excited to report back to you all about how life has been for us in the last couple of weeks!
Firstly, on behalf of our family we want to thank you again for your on going prayers and support. We have had a great first couple of weeks and we attribute that to the goodness of God, much of which has flown through you.
So what's been happening?...
We intentionally made the first week here "treat week" for the kids. We have been so amazed by their courage and maturity as they themselves move to a different culture, and have left many of their family, friends and treasured possessions behind. Chris and I know they will be blessed for it, we know that God has great plans for each of them here....but for their tiny little hearts and minds, it's had its challenges. Even writing this now tears fill my eyes as I remember back to the many tears I have shed when questioning whether we are "doing the right thing" for them. It is only by faith and past experiences of God's goodness that I KNOW in the bottom of my heart that this is a blessing for them. So it was our great pleasure to spend a week revisiting all of their favourite places, eating too much sugar, connecting them with their old friends, and helping them to make new ones. I am so pleased to report that they are doing amazingly well. Even with "treat week" being over, they are enjoying it here and we see them at peace and settling in well.
We know we will be working with anti-trafficking organisations here, however our initial instructions from God was, "learn the language, learn the culture, and build good foundations." We see the 'good foundations' as us making sure our own little family unit is strong and secure, but also spending our time in prayer. With SO much need around us we are cautious to seek God for what HE has for us to do, and wait for his timing in the doing so. There is the temptation to try and fulfill every need, however for long term success we want to make sure our foundations are strong to build upon.
Chris has enrolled into a 12 month, full-time language school here which starts December 1st. Although it's "full time," it consists of 4 x 2hr lessons a week with the expectation of practising (and being laughed at!) in the community to make up the rest of the hours. This is great as it still leaves time for ministry and is not overwhelming as we settle in as a family. The kids are starting their classes next week, 2 x 1hr classes a week. They are making up a private class with two friends they have made here and they are very excited to start! I started last week with the same teacher the kids will be having. I am doing 2hrs a week until bubs arrive, and then I will use that next season to practise and consolidate what I have learnt.
House/car/scooter/visas/bank accounts etc:
We are literally starting from scratch here and unfortunately having to go through the tedious task of setting everything up. There is a phrase here called "Thai Time," and we are now experiencing what that means lol. Things generally tend to take a lot longer than expected and we have been advised..."just be flexible." So although it can be frustrating, we are just having to roll with it. Saying that, we have been so blessed by the help of other missionaries here and it is making for an easier process that it would otherwise be.
We are currently house sitting for some missionaries who are back in the U.S. and they have blessed us with the use of their car also, which is making life a lot easier. We have a beautiful home to move into just before Christmas which we are so excited about. It is about half the price to rent as other houses of that size, is big enough for our family, and still has room for God to send in more people! Our heart is to take in girls who have been rescued from trafficking/prostitution, so we know this house is a "God send" to us.
Chris has a scooter he is about to buy and we are still on the hunt for our own car. Used cars are expensive here so trying to find one big enough for our family and in our budget isn't easy. They do pop up apparently, it just takes time. We would love your prayers on this!
We have baby #5 due at the end of Jan so we are currently looking into Drs/hospitals. I hope to have a plan by the end of next week! It has been a huge leap of faith coming here heavily pregnant. I won't lie, at times I have thought ..."ARGH!" But we knew we were to come when we did and I am hopeful all-will-be-good after meeting a beautiful, english speaking Dr yesterday.
Other than that we are enjoying this season of meeting new people and visiting new places. We have been so welcomed by the missionary community here and they have made our settling in so much easier. We are "itching" to get stuck into the "doing," however are resisting the urge as to make sure we logistically properly set up, and have our foundations strong!
We are missing our family and friends but are grateful for things like Facebook, Marco Polo, and Skype. We look forward to many visits from you all...*hint *hint.
So that's it in brief! It hasn't all been smooth sailing, we've had our rocky moments. One minute we are full of faith, the other fear and doubt. But we have learnt in these times to withdraw from the "business," spend time alone with God, and it's in that place we feel His presence, His peace and we are re-fueled to go again.
We have decided not to share "publicly" details of the work we are doing here (out of respect to those we meet and minister to). We will share slightly more personally though through our regular newsletter we will send out. If you would like to subscribe to our email list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess & the Tribe xx