Not in the way you might think. The sun hasn't been overly cooperative this winter, but the dark, cold days don't seem so bad when we're watching God at work around us. Of course, i wish i could report dozens coming to Christ and new bible studies springing up in our neighbors' homes, but that's just not reality in Europe. However, last Friday at the gym with Dasa, we had this conversation:
Dasa: David is learning about prayer in his new school (Catholic). The teachers told him that he had to say certain words when he prayed, and he had to pray at certain times, and if he breaks the rules God won't listen to him.
Me: Really? What do you think about that?
Dasa: I don't think that's the way God is. I think He will hear us whenever we talk to Him.
Woo-hoo! She is starting to get it. Every time we see each other, she brings up spiritual matters. She is reading the bible and is understanding it for the first time. Her atheistic background gives her a fresh view on what she learns--meaning, she seems to be able to see wrong teaching such as that on prayer above. It is a joy to watch and share with her. Dasa and Petr also visited the international church one Sunday. They really enjoyed it. It was quite a different experience for them. They've only ever been to a Catholic service so this one, with 20 different nationalities, music ranging from praise and worship to the doxology, and and family atmosphere was really strange to them. But they liked it and plan to come back!
In English classes, the group remains faithful and as we plow through John, the questions from Dereje, especially are fun to answer. He understands so little and is like a curious child. We love it. He has asked us to join his family for dinner one evening. We look forward to meeting his wife (who is an atheist). Dereje is also coming to church and bringing his kids.
Andrew and Jessica continue to meet with Gabi's daughters, Tereza and Camille, for English time (they do stuff like sledding, going to the park, playing games together). I hope to get together with Gabi for coffee soon.
Girl's bible study is going very well. We are talking about purity for the next 6 weeks or so. The group remains consistent and eager to learn. Coral has had visa problems and has been stuck in California, but will be back with us soon.
So as far as ministry local ministry goes, God is at work and we are excited to be a part of what He is doing. Of course we have our official work for the region as well, and this is the busiest month of the year for Preston. This week we have our first termer's conference followed by three weeks of training for our strategy coordinators from across CEE (Central and Eastern Europe). Preston is juggling schedules, teaching, logistics, volunteers, and more. We love the activities of February, but we covet your prayers to protect from illness and fatigue. This is a critical time of training for our missionaries and what happens here in the next month will profoundly affect their ministries. I also speak a few times at Ebenezer and spend time nurturing and encouraging the visiting Missionaries, as well as play hostess to lots of visiting speakers and volunteers. Please pray for our family as we juggle through this crazy month.
David had a birthday since the new year started. He's officially an adult now. Strange for me, but good for him. We are finalizing our plans for stateside and do plan to be there for a year. We will be Missionaries in Residence (MIRs) at Louisiana College for the 09-10 school year. David will be living in the dorms there and the other kids will be in the local school system. We are getting very excited about our year in the land of Walmart, Target and Chic-fil-A, but are a bit apprehensive about leaving all that God is doing here and our friends/church family. Please pray for us as the details get ironed out and we prepare to leave. We are especially concerned about what will happen to our apartment while we are gone. We really want to keep it and are praying that it will work out. Our ministry is here in this neighborhood and we don't want to start from scratch when we return. I am also working on calendering for our year at home. If you would like to plan a time for us to come to your church, or help you promote missions in some way, and haven't already contacted me, please do so that I can try to work that in. I can't promise, but I will try.
We praise God that we have a home in Georgia and one in Louisiana where we will be living during the year. We do not, however, have a car yet. Please pray for God's provision--this is especially important since we will have two new drivers in our family (aghhhh--come to think of it, maybe you should pray for that too!).
Thank you all for interceding for us. I love hearing from you all when you write. We love you all.
"For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness." Psalm 18:28