As the weather has gotten warmer, we have been trying to make the most of our time outside of class to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation surrounding us as well as develop deeper relationships with people here in France. So, we have done several hiking trips in the mountains nearby. Here are a few pictures from our excursions:
The gorgeous flowers also cause some people (like Brian) to suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms.
However, the pleasant aroma that they give off is in great contrast to the scent of the pastures that are all around us in this small town.
And since it is a small town, we had to go to Chambery for Thad to visit the orthodontist. It was a day full of delayed trains and changed plans that meant we were able to do a little unexpected sight-seeing! Then, Brian and Josiah had to take a special trip to visit the town, just for fun. Eila, on the other hand, was forced to do sight-seeing and learning on a field trip with her FLE (French as a 2nd language) class to Chambery. It wasn’t as bad as she had feared.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We continued with some songs, skits and snacks again on Friday morning.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
A little story about Josiah’s recent field trip was published in the local paper and Josiah appears in the picture. Pretty neat:
Josiah’s school published a story on their website about the field trip. You can read more here (in French). Josiah appears in one of the pictures (same one as the newspaper it looks like).