Toc

Yay! We are super excited to have our passports back from the Cameroonian Consulate with our visas to enter the country. Praise God that this happened so quickly (less than one week total!) and smoothly. This is a huge relief and answer to prayer.  We can now check off the biggest box on our list in getting ready to move to Africa. As they say in French “Toc.”

Just a few more things to do before we go… We are slowly getting it done. ✅ Toc. Toc. Toc.

Learning Outside the Classroom (for Josiah)

Josiah went on a camping trip in the mountains of Arêches with his class from school a few weeks ago and then had another mountain hike to the Fort de la Batterie today.  He has had a lot of opportunities to learn about many different things – including French language – outside of the classroom.  These field trips have been pretty amazing.

With his class, Josiah has toured a cheese factory in Beaufort and a lumbermill (not to mention the steel mill and skiing trips that he already enjoyed this winter).  After the three straight days speaking and listening to French only, he was really encouraged by his progress with language learning.

At the Beaufort Cheese Factory, it did not smell pleasant.

They learned about ways to experience nature through their five senses – one at a time.

Nice classroom for learning about plants in the mountains.

He also had the chance this May to go to Lausanne, Switzerland, where his class was able to visit the Hands-On Science Center and the Olympics Museum.  His class had won a special contest with their report on the para-olympic athletes.  It was pretty cool.

 

The Beginning of the End

Our time in France is quickly coming to an end. We have been learning and continue to learn so much living in Albertville. We have just two weeks until our next and last set of exams. Actually, Eila took her language exam yesterday, but she still has another month of school!

We have started gathering documents for our visas, sorting out winter clothes, and making reservations for our trip to Africa. We will be taking a break for two weeks  before we make the big move. (Some of our beloved family members will come to Paris and Rome with us!)  And, we are all still trying to study and learn as much as we can, and also squeeze in as much fun as we can.

We haven’t started saying goodbye yet, but that will be next and it will be tough. We have grown to love this little farm town in the valley of the Alps and the wonderful people we have come to know during our short stay here.  There are, of course, a few things we won’t miss, like bureaucracy and school for Eila. However, the list of things we will miss is very long. For example, the food, the views and most of all the friends we’ve made are now etched in our hearts.

Vive Le Jubilé!

Last weekend, the Centre Chrétien d’Enseignement du Français (CCEF) in Albertville celebrated it’s 50th anniversary.  It was a full weekend which started on Thursday with skits, poster, tree planting and videos by each of the classes to commemorate this special occasion.

One of the class projects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our language school.

We continued with some songs, skits and snacks again on Friday morning.

An intellectual discussion on French orthography and 50 years of learning French at CCEF in Albertville. This is Shannon’s class.

Saturday morning, Shannon helped to lead small groups of visitors as they toured the school. Then there was the official ceremony on Saturday afternoon. All of the current students participated in a chorale for the ceremony and Brian’s class performed their song to transition from officials to testimonies of formers students.

This is the current language students singing “Entrez Dans Ses Portes” (Enter In His Gates)

The final part of the celebration was on Sunday morning.  All of the evangelical churches in Albertville joined together for a special service followed by hors d’oeuvres.  Actually, each of the 50th anniversary events were followed up by a little snack.  It was very French, complete with champagne (plain or with crème de cassis), pain surprise (a bread bowl filled with a variety of tiny sandwiches), and lots of little quiches and charcuterie.  The cake for the Jubilé was especially festive with large fireworks!

The kids got all dressed up for the parties too! It was a long couple of days for them, but they had a lot of fun playing with all the other kids.

This photo was captured by another student, who found this to be a very typical American (in a very French space). This was taken while we were cleaning up.

It was a full weekend with a wonderful celebration of all the ways that God has used this school to teach and send out over 2600 missionaries from over 30 countries to 36 different francophone countries.  God’s work is ongoing and it is so encouraging to be a part of something so much bigger than we  can see.

April Newsletter

Sour Patch Kids are among our family’s favorite candies. So, we were really excited to find them on the shelf at our local grocery store in Albertville, France. When we read the name on the bag though, we laughed out loud. Very Bad Kids doesn’t have the same meaning or connection to the candy at all. Something was clearly lost in translation. This simple candy name illustrates the difficulty and importance of quality translation for the Bible. Preserving the accuracy as well as ensuring a translation that is clear and natural is essential. These and other challenges remind us of the need for trained translators and consultants in the monumental task of ensuring that all people have a Bible in their heart language. Thanks for being part of this work with us!

Lost in Translation

Sour Patch/Very Bad Kids

Our time in France is nearing the halfway point and each one of us has recently received a report card along with a conference with the teacher. Learning a language, even while immersed in the culture, can take an average of about 18 months of full-time study. Since we had a very good base in the language, we are functioning pretty well. The children came in with no French at all and are now able to read and write a little and even understand some of what is happening around them. They are able to play some sports with their classmates. The boys are also getting to be decent with a yo-yo, thanks to its popularity on the playground at school. It will still be a while before they can make their own sentences or carry on a “normal” conversation in French. Despite the challenges, we see God’s protection and provision. We are thrilled with the progress that we are making in our language studies. And, we are encouraged by your continued partnership with us in ministry. Thank you for being part of this adventure with us.

Let’s Praise God for answered prayers!

  • We survived the first semester with exams; we are all making a lot of progress in language learning.
  • We are getting involved in our local church.
  • Our neighbors and classmates have been very helpful, including lending a bike to Eila for the rest of our time in France.

Please Continue to Pray:

  • for continued development of friendships for each of us with our French neighbors and classmates
  • for the kids to seek God and trust Him during this difficult season for them
  • for good health, study habits and motivation to speak in French, even when it is humiliating.

We are truly grateful for your role in the work that God is doing in and through us!

Bonjour, Bonjour Dit Le Soleil

Josiah memorized another poem for school.  Here’s the text:

Bonjour, bonjour, dit le soleil

Au bon foin qui sent le pain chaud,

À la faux qui étincelle,

À l’herbe et aux coquelicots.

Bonjour, bonjour, dit le soleil,

Il fait chaud et il fait beau.

Le monde est plein de merveilles.

Il fait bon se lever tôt.

by Claude Roy

This translates to:

The sun says hello

Hello, hello, says the sun

To the hay smells of hot bread,

To the sparkling scythe,

To the grass and the poppies.

Hello, hello, says the sun,

It’s warm and beautiful.

The world is full of wonders.

It’s good to get up early.

Réussi

Nous avons réussi nos examens!

We passed our exams!

We are almost halfway through our language training here in France and have progressed on to the next level and also class. We will have another set of exams at the end of June that will determine if we have the necessary fluency in the French language.

It was a full week of testing that covered speaking, pronunciation, reading comprehension, listening, writing, vocabulary, grammar and of course, une dictée (a dictation), which is typically french. The boys have two dictées each week in school. The grammar test was grueling, but the production exams in writing and speaking were also extremely fearsome.

Test Results

Grades in France are usually based out of 20 points. 50% is passing and anything less is failing.  It is acceptable to get 10-11,9/20 (passable). Scoring 12-13,9/20 is pretty good or a C (assez bien) while 14-15,9/20 is good (bien), which is the equivalent of a B and 16-19,9/20 is very good (très bien) or an A grade.

 

Field Trip Chaperone

Brian had the pleasure of being able to go with Josiah to a school field trip last Friday.  Josiah’s class of 4th and 5th graders (CM1 and CM2 here in France) visited a steel mill and a dairy farm to learn about the processing and manufacturing of raw materials here in our region.  It was very informative and I was able to translate much of it for Josiah.  We had a sack lunch (un pique-nique) along the way.  Here are a few pictures:

Very exciting being inside the cow shed. Many of the children didn’t think it smelled very good.

Josiah had to wear safety gear to go into the steel mill.

I also noticed a couple interesting things which probably wouldn’t have happened on an American elementary field trip:

First, the adult chaperones split a bottle of wine with their sack lunch (yes, one of them brought a bottle in their sack lunch).  I was offered some, but declined.

Secondly, one of the children fell (slightly, enough to get his pants dirty) into the area where the cows poop.  The reaction from everyone was mostly a “too bad for you/tant pis pour toi — guess you shouldn’t have done that”.  I would’ve guessed a slightly stronger reaction would’ve happened in the States.