We hit the ground running in Puebla this past month, but we're learning that it's a marathon and not a sprint. And just like any race, there are enjoyable legs of the race as well as painful stretches.
In this update, we'll share some examples of both the good parts and the hard parts.
Don't like to read? Here is a short version of this month's update.
The past month has been a blur. We have had a smooth transition with the help of our local missionary team, who has assisted with basic tasks like paying bills, buying groceries, and navigating the area. The kids have also adapted well to their new school, where most classes are taught in Spanish. However, the language barrier has been a source of stress, causing difficulty in communication and simple daily tasks. We have also experienced illness, which has made us reflect on the hardships ahead. But, we have found inspiration in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:15, "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls." We pray that God gives us the ability to endure hardships for the sake of the gospel.
The Good Parts
I'm happy to report that God has helped us have a smooth transition to life here in Puebla. Here are some of the things we're especially thankful for this month.
Our local missionary team has been extremely helpful. Thanks to our mentors (Joel and Melissa), we've been able to get settled into our house and start doing some of the basic things families do like pay our bills, buy groceries and navigate the area.
Some big things we accomplished this month include getting our temporary resident visa cards and getting our driver's license. It feels good (and safer!) to be able drive ourselves around town. Below is a picture of us celebrating after getting our temporary resident visas with some ice cream.
We've also enjoyed getting to know our city with our friends. Just last week we got to explore some old tunnels that are below the city. There are lots of historical sites in the area that we look forward to exploring.
School (For kids and parents)
We asked you to pray that the kids would do well at school. God has answered your prayers! The kids have had great attitudes. They are staying positive and enjoying being with kids their age.
Amy and Jared have also had a good attitude about school too (most days...). We're learning that our ability to have a positive attitude depends on how we're doing physically and spiritually. If we stay in the Word and get plenty of rest, we tend to do better in language.
Below is a picture of the kids in their school uniforms. We also included pictures of the language institute.
The Hard Parts
While our overwhelming experience has been positive up to this point, there have been some challenges in the past month.
While we're all making progress, we still have a long way to go with learning Spanish. We regularly find ourselves feeling embarrassed by our lack of language ability. It can be hard to muster up the courage to speak when you sound like a 3 year old.
There is also a sense of low level stress at all times when we are out in the community. Doing simple things like attending church, filling up gas in the car, or buying something at the store are much harder in a foreign language.
With so many things feeling out of our control, we can sometimes be tempted to react by being overly controlling in other parts of our lives. We're noticing a tendency to be more irritable with one another after a stressful day of language. So needless to say, we ask each other for forgiveness often and ask God for patience and grace daily.
We had our first bout with sickness within our first month. Caleb came down with a stomach bug towards the end of the month. A few days later, Jared caught it as well. It was the first time in 15+ years that he has thrown up. And boy did he make up for lost time ()
Unfortunately, sickness is not an unusual thing to experience on the field. We're doing our best to take precautions and avoid germs. However, we expect to deal with this from time to time. Sickness not only affects you physically, but mentally. Pray that we'd stay positive and not let the hard days discourage us.
One lesson we're learning is that we've embarked on a marathon and not a sprint. When we begin to feel discouraged by language difficulties, we remind ourselves that we've only been here one month. We also remind ourselves that languages take years to master. We'll have lots of opportunities to grow and it's ok to make mistakes. The important thing is to make gradual progress.
Secondly, we've been reading through the Bible in a year. We recently read through 2 Corinthians. One passage that seemed relevant was Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:15 where he says, "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls".
We were reminded that although Paul's ministry often included suffering, he always believed it was worth it. In Paul's mind, the salvation of souls was worth the cost. We pray that God would give us the same mentality on our hard days.
Starting soon we will be releasing a weekly prayer alert email with real time prayer needs for our family and others on our team. These emails will be a quick 3-5 bullet point email with prayer requests for the upcoming week. We'll send the emails out each week on Monday morning. We invite you to sign up to make a difference with your prayers.
As we wrap up this month's update, would you take a moment to pray for the following needs?
- Continue to pray for improvement in language for our entire family.
- Pray that we would be able to start building meaningful relationships with Mexicans.
- Pray for opportunities to serve the local church in a meaningful way.
- Pray for health and protection from sickness for our family and our team members.
- Pray for peace that passes understanding in the midst of cultural and language stress.
We invite you to leave us a note in the comments section below. We're always encouraged by your notes.