The Almost Saint

I’m not saying the man is perfect but he pre-washes his grimy, oily clothes for me. He washes the dishes even when I’m not sick. He watches girly movies with me, maybe not ALL the time, but at least sometimes. He drives his truck (instead of his motorcycle) when he knows it might rain just so I won’t get wet, even if it means he’ll get stuck in traffic. He challenges me to be consistent in my quiet time and prays with me every evening. He listens to my whining and holds me close when I’m overwhelmed. He makes me laugh. He graciously allows me to plan and cook meals (Trust me…this is a blessing!) and takes me out to dinner when I’m too tired. He lets me take naps and sleep-in while he loads the washer and puts the laundry on the line. He consistently calls me when he’s away and prays with me over the phone.

My husband is pretty much a saint and right now, I need a saint for my Valentine this year!

Because…

… while many newly married couples move into a another house, we have stayed in over 30 houses (owned by other people of course) and two hotels before moving to South Sudan. All this in just the 9 months since we got married. And while most people travel some, we drove over 14,000 miles through 28 states in 5 months with a short (and by short I mean a 24 hour flight) trip to Kenya.

My grocery shopping consists of calculating out how many rolls of toilet paper, tubes of toothpaste, and various medicines we might possibly need over the next 3 months because that’s how long it will be before we can go shopping again. Our 130 kilos of things (296 lbs. for the Americans) are now residing in Malakal having been trucked and then flown there a few weeks ago. We’re also endeavoring to learn one of the most difficult languages in the world, i.e. Arabic.

I’m weary, worn-out, and whiny!

Because nearly every day our plans change. We constantly live with high levels of stress, on the brink of crisis, with shredded fingernails, and the threat of flooding tears, my tears.

But… and there is a but…

God has given me so much grace. Grace to see the wisdom in selling all our furniture. Grace to stay in yet another home not my own. Grace to accept that my life is not my own. I am bought with a price. Grace to believe that this life, these struggles are only temporary. Grace to know that He is my security, my one constant in life, my all. Grace to know that ultimately God is in the details. He is in control. Thank goodness I’m not!

Kindergarten Re-visited

Coloring Pictures

Hard at work, coloring away!

Coloring pictures is cathartic, well…until your hand cramps up and the pencil indents itself into your finger. We’re having flashbacks to our carefree days in elementary school; coloring, cutting, and laminating, except now we possess the expertly honed abilities to color within the lines, cut in straight rows, and operate a high-powered electrical machine.

Seriously though, this is prep work for our language studies. Each of the pictures that we color, cut, and laminate are going to aid our language helper in teaching us Arabic. We’re using the Graduated Participator Approach (GPA).

Language cards

People group picture cards

For the first 30-40 hours (or 1-2 weeks) we participate simply by listening and responding non-verbally as our helper points to different picture cards while pronouncing the name in Arabic. During this time we expect to add between 300-400 new words to our vocabulary!

The next 50-60 hours we will learn an additional 450+ words while participating in limited two-way conversation as best we can. As we progress to Phase 2 of GPA we begin story telling using simple, wordless children’s books. The end result, of course, is to speak fluently!

For now this is our full-time job; starting out just like babies, learning a new language, making countless mistakes, practicing in the marketplace, making new friends, and feeling like fools much of the time as we stumble over unfamiliar words and sounds!