Language Learning in France… and other things

Posted by on March 4, 2013

It’s been a little while since we last wrote, so we wanted to bring you to up to date on what’s been happening in our lives:

Language School in France

On January 1, we landed in France and began the overland journey to Albertville, France, which will be our home for the next year. Albertville is a sleepy little city nestled in the French Alps. Its only claim to fame is that they were hosts to the 1992 Winter Olympics. Even though it’s been 21 years since then, they still revel in their past and evidence of the Olympics is all around us, from the hockey rink, to the stadium, to the snow capped mountains whenever we look up. It’s nice to be here and be able use Albertville as our base for learning French.

Eric and Juli in the French Alps, Mont Blanc is in the background.

Our language school, Centre Chretien d’Enseignement du Francais, has been around for about 50 years and in that time more than 2000 students have left here prepared to minister in the French-speaking world. For us, we tested into the “Debutante” level. That’s the beginner level and the methodology is more or less sink-or-swim. So far, we’ve been able to keep our heads above the water, but it’s humbling when you know that you speak caveman French, and it sounds like, “Me want food!”

Six hours per day of French, plus more interaction with folks around town, and we know that it will eventually come. One of our more useful terms is, “Repetez, s’il vous plait…” which means, “Repeat, please…” We’ve gotten a lot of milage out of that! Thankfully, the school has a good reputation around town and most people have been willing to be patient with us as we try out our new language on them.

Arielle and Elysia play in Olympic Park, Alberville.

Update on the Central African Republic

In our last update, we asked you to pray for the situation in the Central African Republic. The situation was tense, rebels were moving in on the capital, the US Embassy had closed as a precautionary measure, and it looked like the country was about to suffer yet another coup d’etat. Some of the missionaries on the ground opted to leave, others went to places outside the capital where there would be less disruption and less violence. But many people all over the world were praying and we can thank God that the government and the rebels have managed to work out their differences. Disaster has been averted and life is returning to normal. Isn’t God good in the way that He answers prayer!

In training for the 'Tour de France'.

Note on Kenya

We wanted to ask for some special prayer for Kenya. We have a lot of friends in Kenya and there will always be a special place in our hearts for Kenya. On Monday, March 4, Kenya will have their presidential elections. The last election was held more than 5 years ago and it resulted in massive bloodshed and violence. In 2008, more than 1000 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were uprooted from their homes. 5 years later, the country still hasn’t completely healed and the underlying issues of tribalism and corruption have not been resolved. Please take a minute on Monday to pray for Kenya that the elections would be peaceful and that God would spare the country from more destruction.

Our Prayer Requests

We would appreciate your prayers, too! We’ve managed to settle into life in France and we’re in the thick of language school.

  • Pray for us that God would open our minds, open our ears, and untwist our tongues so we can speak French. There are days that are especially frustrating, so pray that God would also encourage us and give us the determination to press on. Our goal is to leave here at the upper-intermediate level which means we have a lot of work to do!
  • Pray also that we would stay spiritually vibrant and alive. Since we are at the very beginning of our new language, it’s difficult to minister among the French people, at least with words, but we know that this is where God has us right now and we don’t want to waste opportunities to be His witnesses.
  • Finally, pray that God would continue to be Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides. We’re learning to trust Him to provide for us, but it’s a battle and it’s so easy for us to get stressed about things that are beyond our control. Our desire is to know and experience Him as our Heavenly Father, trusting Him for everything we need.

    Eric and Julie in a ski village.

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