We are blessed to reflect on the many blessings we have received this past year.
We have connected with other believers and have had the blessing of meeting regularly for prayer and worship. We had the wonderful opportunity of witnessing two baptisms these past months and are excited for more to come!
Since settling into our new home this last summer, we have been continuing to learn the local language and trying to build relationships with our neighbors. We have found amazing language tutors and are spending hours stumbling through broken sentences, piecing together stories, and laughing at our mistakes (and getting laughed at, but hey, that is just part of it).
We have also been part of an English conversation club, where many people gather to discuss different topics and practice their English. Because we are native English speakers we are helping facilitate groups and create discussion topics and questions. We are also trying to bring Jesus into the conversation as often as possible and we are praying to meet people through this group who want to learn more about Jesus, and whose language might be at a similar level as ours. Recently, Alex had two people in his group say that they didn’t know their purpose in life and were searching for answers. Please continue to pray that we would be able to take these discussions further with people who are curious and ready to engage in conversation about Jesus.
During the Christmas season, we worked to navigate cultural differences while still celebrating as a family. Because we live in a Muslim country, Christmas is completely foreign, and most people simply think it is about welcoming the New Year. We had a few friends over around Christmas time, and we had the unique plan of giving raw meat to our neighbors as a celebratory gift! In the Middle East celebrations often include slaughtering a sheep or goat and sharing the meat with neighbors. We will give in a way that is meaningful to locals, even though a bag of raw meat seems much less appealing than Christmas baking!
A few prayer points:
- Please pray for one friend in particular who is asking hard questions about Jesus and the Bible. He is quite offended by some of the teachings of Jesus but is still pursuing friendship and discussion. Please pray that his heart would be drawn to Jesus.
- Pray for another woman Sarah is attempting to share with who says she is hungry for meaning in her life. Pray that she would be open to learning about Jesus.
- Tky needs your prayers! Please pray for those who have lost loved ones or are still trying to reach people who are in the affected areas. Please pray that our God of peace and comfort would be with them and that we would be able to sit, listen, and pray with them.
- Pray for those who are safe, yet are paralyzed by fear. Even though our city is relatively safe, people were sleeping in cars or in government buildings, afraid of more aftershocks. It felt like a movie scene as we walked around our neighborhood. People were bundled in cars, gathered around campfires in fields, and shivering in the winter air.
- Please pray for the government—that they would have the wisdom to know how to handle the economic devastation this will cause.
- Pray for all the believers throughout this country. Pray for incredible wisdom, a heart of understanding, generosity, and sacrifice, as well as incredible favor and opportunity to bless and help people.
Thank you all so much for your continued prayer and support. We are blessed to have such a strong team back in Canada! May His joy sparkle out at you through every snowflake (of which there are many, we hear….!), and may the child-like “catch-your-breath” wonder be born afresh in your hearts towards the sacrifice Jesus made for us all.
Until All Know Him,
P.S. We wanted to let everyone know that we are doing good and our home was not harmed. We woke up to the first earthquake at 4:30 on Monday morning. Although it rocked our home and shook the furniture, nothing broke or fell. Very few things were damaged in our city, as we are not too close to the fault lines.
However, many cities around us are devastated by the two major earthquakes and over a hundred aftershocks/small earthquakes have happened (aftershocks are still happening). Thousands of people have been killed.
Because we are not in a directly impacted area, we are not hands-on in the evacuation of people from buildings. However, we will be helping in any way we can, such as donating items for those who have lost their homes and hosting those who need a place to stay.