~Going through language school will be one of the hardest things you ever do. Yup, that is true!
~Don't stay too busy with other stuff...your mind needs to stay focused on why you are there...for language school. Learning a new language takes all of your effort and mind. Yup, that is true!
~This will be a time when your family will draw closer to one another than ever before. Yup, that is true!
~You will go through some culture shock. Yup, true again. One thing that we weren't really warned about is how language school would effect our children. Let me just go ahead and say, though, Living your life for Christ is the most rewarding and fulfilling way to spend the time that God has given you. We love being missionaries and taking the next step to the mission field God has called us too. There are some obstacles and times of discouragement, but the Lord is so faithful and He's always the best comforter in the World! Living for Christ brings true joy and contentment! Never feel sorry for missionaries, we love doing what we do!
Children are resiliant. Okay, I have absolutely no idea how to spell that word! But, they do go through times where things can be difficult for them, too. Imagine this. You want to raise your children to serve the Lord. You want them to be fruitful christians. So, what do you do? Many things, of course, but one of them is that you faithfully bring your children to church to hear good preaching, right? Of course! If they're going to grow, they need to hear God's word.
Well, now imagine this. Imagine your children not hearing preaching for a year. No hymns and Godly songs for a year. No times at the altar because the Lord has spoken to your heart during the message. No "Just as I am, without one plea"
That's what it's like for my kids. Now, of course, we hear preaching and sing hymns, but when they are all in a language that you can't yet understand, or that you are only understanding 30%, it's just about the same as not hearing or singing. Your ear and your heart can't understand. Scary thought!
Out of all of our children, Joshua has experienced the most culture shock and has had the hardest time in language school. He loves it and loves new adventures, but he misses friends, misses home, misses family, misses our church....He wants to learn French so bad, but he gets really nervous to try to speak what he has learned. At times he feels he'll never really learn french. Last month we somehow "realized" (Praise the Lord for speaking to the hearts of Moms and Dads!) that our children were hurting in a spiritual way. Even though they're reading their Bibles, faithfully praying, and attending church, there was something missing. Since then, we're trying to be a little more aware of our children's spiritual needs. We sing more hymns together around the piano as a family. (The first time we pulled our our hymnbooks and did this Joshua said he was so glad because he was starting to forget some of the words!) We have more Bible studies together and we're memorizing verses together. Joshua has downloaded sermons onto his MP3 player and he listens to about one a day. (He was listening to one tonight while cleaning his birds cage!)
God is so good to show us areas in our life that we need adjustment...like helping our children in the spiritual aspect. God is also good to give us the desires of our heart. Josh is officially now a teenager and he's realizing things are a little different than he thought they would be. He always dreamed of going to camp. Well, he hasn't had that oppurtunity and we're really not sure when he ever will. When we head back to FL between school and going to the field it will be November/December...not exactly camp time. Well, God knew this and has given him the desires of his heart. Last month one of our supporting churches in Nova Scotia contacted us. Joshua loved being at this church and it was hard for him when it was time to leave. They told us they have a youth meeting coming up and they'd like to pay Josh's way to come. At first, I had the "Mommy" response. "No Way! He's my baby! How would he get there? Fly by himself? No way!!"
But, then, Patrick and I realized this is the oppurtunity Josh has been praying for and wanting. It's like going to camp, mini-style! After much praying, we decided we will let him go. This is a big step for me! He will fly out of Quebec, by himself :( on Friday morning, then return on Monday around noon. This will happen the end of April. Talk about making my Joshua excited! Wow! He can't wait. Thank you Lord, for being faithful to my baby and providing this oppurtunity for him!
Please, pray for missionary children. As my pastor puts it, A huge percentage of people surrendering to the mission field are missionary kids. Satan knows this and he attacks and tries to distract missionary kids. What a big distraction it could be for parents on the mission field if their children go astray. Pray for my sweet kiddos. Pray for the children of missionaries that your church supports.
One more thing, I want to put in a little "plug" for Joshua. He's been keeping a great blog http://www.throughmyeyesasamissionarykid.blogspot.com/. He just added two new pages on the left side that give his testimony and our mission field. If you have a chance, swing by and check it out. It will be a blessing, I promise. Also, he loves comments! :o)