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!

February Newsletter

France is not that different.” said Josiah. Then he went on to say, “except the tiny cars, the long lunch break, half-day Wednesdays, food, and that everything is in FRENCH!” We have been in France for about one month.  We celebrated the new year with a local traditional meal, tartiflette, brought to welcome us to Albertville, France.

Within a week of our arrival on the other side of the Atlantic, all of us had taken placement exams and started school. (Well, Eila started one week later, which was just fine with her!)  The boys are attending a local elementary school: Val des Roses.  Brian and Shannon are studying French at the Centre d’Enseignement du Français.  Eila is going to the Cité Scolaire Jean Moulin, where she is taking lots of FLE (French as a foreign language) as well as other classes in French.

A typical day so far is full of school for everyone. Eila’s school, which is about a 30-minute walk from our apartment, begins at 7:55am. The boys’ school begins at 8:25am and our classes begin at 8:40am, so we have just enough time to walk to the various schools and make it to class on time. We all have a two-hour break for lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm, and then we finish our classes at approximately 4:30pm each afternoon. After a small snack, we review the kids’ work from the day and start on homework.  The boys spend time playing in the snow, with legos, or reading while we make dinner.  Luckily, we live right across the street from a grocery store.

We are so grateful for your prayers as we are truly starting to feel like we are settling in to life in France and are able to do more than just survive.  We are eager to make friends and practice the French we are learning.

The kids’ reactions and quick adjustments to life in France has been very encouraging.  We see how God has been preparing the way and getting us ready for our next move to Cameroon this summer.

Thank God with us!

  • Saying goodbyes and moving was difficult, but we experienced God’s peace throughout the process.
  • We have moved into our apartment with beautiful views of the Alps in France.
  • All five of us are attending school in Albertville and learning more French every day.
  • We are starting to get involved in extra activities outside of school and are excited to make new friends.

Please Continue to Pray

  • for friendships for each of us with our French neighbors and classmates
  • for wisdom in managing our time and stress levels
  • for studying, and language progress, especially for the kids
  • for continued peace in Cameroon

Bonjour (Update)

We are just starting to go beyond saying “Bonjour” to actually talking with and getting to know those around us.  We are feeling homesick and yet we are seeing God’s goodness and power in big and little ways each day – like the healing of Shannon’s shoulder pain, an American friend for Thaddeus in his class, a gymnastics club for Eila to join, Josiah’s free skiing lessons with school, delicious bread (among other treats!) and the sun shining on the mountains outside our window.


I lift my eyes to the mountains… My help comes from the Lord.
Psalm 121:1-2

November Newsletter

Sold, to 4897” the auctioneer said as we claimed our small snowblower for $2.  During October, we have been participating in the Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) at the Wycliffe-JAARS Center (jaars.org) near Charlotte, North Carolina.  One of the required training activities was to attend an auction where we learned how to interact on the fly by observing other participants.

The focus of the training is preparation for transitioning to a new culture and serving well in any environment.  The skills we are practicing and the topics we are studying are essential for successful cross-cultural communication during our language study in France and for our ministry in Cameroon.

Continue reading

August Newsletter

“Wow; I had no idea!” whispered one woman as she watched our kids pull the list of languages down the church aisle.  We were sharing about the need for Bible translation around the world at our home church last month.  The statistics and stories of people waiting for God’s Word are staggering.  God is using us to get the news out about this need and advocate for those without the Scriptures.  At the same time, God is also preparing us to go and be part of meeting the need, ending the wait for so many with no Bible in a language that speaks to their heart.

“When Are You Leaving?”

This is a question that we get often, and it is a difficult question to answer precisely.  However, every day the future seems to be a bit more in focus.  In order to leave, we must be at 100% of our monthly ministry budget and we are currently at 80%.  We are so thankful to God for the people that are partnering with us.  When we began building our partnership team in February, we had a faith goal that God would provide 100% of our ministry budget by mid-October.  It looks like that just might be what happens – but this is our plan.  We are trusting God to accomplish His plan. Continue reading