MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
We are pregnant and thanking God for this gift! As of December 19, we are 12 weeks and counting. A big adjustment for us in this has been being pregnant after having had the miscarriage in August. Beforehand being pregnant was a natural process with nothing to fear. But since, we have become very hyperaware of the pregnancy where each symptom, and mood change is a guessing game as to whether things are still going well. Our prayers have been not only for a healthy mom and baby but also for peace of mind and the ability to trust in God no matter what is ahead in this 9-month process, remembering all that he had done/is doing for us!
Also, we are very grateful to report that we passed our 1st set of French exams! We completed a week of exams at the end of November that tested all of what we have learned so far. So, we will be moving on to the next level starting in January. Our next set of exams will be in March of 2017. And yes, we are already feeling the pressure. Thus, we’ve been grateful for the “down-times:” Lydia was a part of the winning team for a Bûche de Noël (a traditional French Christmas cake that resembles a “Yule log” -see picture below) for the school, and in the fall, we had a chance to make some very nice and fun small trips to Lyon, to a local cheese factory, and to a local fair with horse show.
In addition, we are glad to let you know that two out of our four proposed projects are complete. As most of you know, we had four projects we wish to champion during our 2nd trip to Togo. So, 21 PET carts have now been shipped to and are in the process of being received at the hospital. (Two have already been distributed.) And with the help of “Midwives for Haiti,” a proposal for a midwife training program at HBB has been submitted. (If it is approved we will be looking for 112 one-time gifts of $100.) We are currently working on the proposal for a cervical cancer screening program at HBB. (We hope to have this completed by the spring.) And once that is complete, we will work on a proposal for exercise equipment. We are grateful to the Lord as the PET carts’ costs were a lot lower than expected. The extra money from that project will be rolled over to future projects as they are approved. We have also been blessed by promises of support for the midwife training program if and when it is approved. Thank you all very much!
95% of financial commitments have been and/or are being fulfilled. This puts us just over 100% of our funding needs. We are also happy to report that we are living within our budget. We are very thankful to you all who are supporting us! We could not be doing this without you! All our supporters come from either Canada and/or the USA except for one who lives in England. This Christmas, we will have the opportunity to meet with our friends there for the first-time in 4 years. We are not only excited to see them again but are looking forward to the “French language” break.
Nathanael is doing well, so says the doctor. He is small for his age and is being followed to ensure he is growing well. And although he understands almost everything and is babbling constantly, he is not yet speaking. We are praying that by the time he turns 2 in March, these things will be progressing well. Nathanael continues to enjoy daycare 4 times a week. His caretakers have noted that physically he is a very capable. (Fred says he’s our retirement plan!) He still looks up to his brother, copying everything he does except in sleep!
Noah continues to enjoy his pre-k school. His teacher noted the other day that she only speaks in French to him now and that he is communicating back to her using some French words. We were surprised by this news but were happy to hear it. Noah started riding a bike without training wheels after only one or two tries and is starting to have more fun in playing handball. We were able to find Noah some ski equipment and are hoping to take him skiing in the New Year.
REFLECTIONS – How do we make lasting change?
This has been a question on my mind for years. While working for my dad, uncle, and others, I have often found myself in a position of turmoil. I use to believe “we could change”. As time went on, I lost faith in “we”, and found “hope” in God. Since then I have often thought about God’s example and how it encourages changes.
I have no doubt that of all Gods commands, love is the greatest. He loved us so much, He not only created us in His image, but He gave us free will. We are not robots programmed to follow Christ because He is our Creator. If we follow Him, we follow Him because we choose to. Choosing to love always produces better results than being forced to. I think this is in stark contrast to this world where we try to manipulate love, loyalty, and control.
Love is a powerful word. Within love are many other attributes such as voluntarism, liberty, intelligence, virtue, selflessness, impartiality, universality, etc. True love does not make us –as individuals and as a society –weak, it makes us strong. Unfortunately, today true love has been replaced with an artificial love, a love that is based on just “feelings”. It is here where we –as individuals and as a society –have failed. We all are willing to “give money” to a cause because we are loving and or non-loving people, but when we are asked for more –to understand, to invest, to decide, etc. –we justify the challenge as not ours. The “greatest generation” existed at the time of great need. They are remembered as such because they gave more despite themselves. This is the example that Christ emulates.
If I thought, there was a second greatest command, it is humility. If we look at Jesus Christ, what did he do? Despite His position (He is King), despite His power (He can do all things) and despite His role (He came to die for us), He chose to rest among us. And during His time with us, he was not threatening, controlling and/or manipulating, He was humble, not only in His role but in how He treated us. I do not believe it was easy for Him (The night before He was arrested, He was in the garden, praying to God the Father. His specific request at that time was “Papa, Father, You can –can’t You –get Me out of this. Take this cup away from Me. But please, not what I want –what do You want?” Mark 14:35 MSG).
Humility is like love, a powerful word and a word that has lost its meaning. Humility is not a sign of weakness, but strength. True humility has many attributes such as: we must remain teachable; we must be influenceable; no job can be too small for us; we do not always have to be right; we must live to help others succeed; we can’t be easily offended, etc.
As 2016 ends, I cannot but help reflect on the years passed: both for me, as an individual, and us, as a world. Comparing now to the 1980’s, a time where I was a teenager, I cannot say things are better or worse, but I can say it is not what I expected. It feels the same . . . the same struggles, the same challenges, the same issues. The sole difference is time and experience . . . I have been through it before and, thus, am not afraid. I think it is this way because we –as individuals and as a society –have forgotten what it means to love and to be humble.
· New Pregnancy
· Passed our first set of French exams
· 21 PET carts that made it to Togo
· Completion of a HBB Midwife training proposal
· Financial and Prayers Supporters
· Successful, healthy pregnancy
· French Studies in the New Year
· Safe travels over the Christmas Holidays
· Nathanael’s growth and language development
|How to contact us
· Webpage: www.fredandlydia.com
· email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· mail: c/o Centre d’Enseignement du Français, 50 Chemin des Galibouds, 73200 Albertville, France
· Donations: http://www.abwe.org/give (look at the left-hand column of the page); or ABWE Donor Service, PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8585 (Phone: 1-800-901-2293)
God Bless and thank you so much for your prayers and support.
Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael