Happy May 2017
Reflections – Mathew 8:23-26
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
I think there are two perspectives to this narrative. First, there is God’s perspective. He is God. He is all powerful and knowing. He is with us during it all. We are not to fear. Then there is the disciples’ perspective. They are human. They are experienced fishermen. They are in a severe storm and things are not looking good. They are afraid and they need help. They reach out to God and He helps them. It is interesting to note that God did not rebuke the disciples for waking him or for asking for help. He instead challenged them at the level of their fear especially since he is with them.
I have faith that God will help us. Yet I have fear that we will drown. I am left to question what the disciples would have done had Jesus not physically been there. Would they have simply accepted what was coming and or would they have turned back? In turning back, would this have been seen as prudent and wise, and or would it have brought into question the depth of their faith?
It is an interesting dilemma. On the one hand God asks us to trust him, God asks us to have faith in Him. Yet on the other hand, God has given us the ability to process and critically analyze information as the disciples did. Their fear was a result of this analysis. I am not sure that one can exist mutually exclusive of the other. Critical thought and fear is what told the disciples they were in danger. Yet faith is what told them to reach out to Jesus.
In the absence of critical thought and fear, we would be oblivious to the things around us and possibly extinct. In the absence of a faith and, thus, a belief in Jesus, we would live in a society constrained by our abilities, our biases and our preferences. We would be so much less.
We are at 32 weeks into the pregnancy and counting as of May 9th! We continue to pray and thank God for a healthy mom, baby, and pregnancy. Yes, we have already chosen a name for her. And yes, like the grandparents, you will have to wait until July 3rd . . . sorry 😉.
For those that have not heard, we passed our second set of French exams! We completed a week of exams at the end of March that tested all of what we learned so far. So, once again, we have moved on to the next level of French. Our next and last set of exams, will be from June 22 to June 27th. We are expecting these to be tough and would much appreciate your prayers!
At the end of April, during a two-week break, we had some down time and traveled to Switzerland to visit friends and some of Fred’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a nice break from the daily routine of learning French. We were blessed by Franz and Renate who provided us a place to stay, for the aunts and the uncles who got together in Kussnacht, for Markus and Maria who organized a small cousin reunion, and for Beat and Elizabeth who drove us around for a day.
During the first week of May, our language school here in France celebrated 50 years. During this time, they have participated in the training and sending out 2,603 missionaries from 31 countries to 36 francophone countries. It is an amazing history. 2,603 persons who choose to live different lives, to go to new countries, to help people in need, and to spread the message of Christ. No one can say this school has not had an impact.
ABWE’s two hospitals in Togo, HBB in the south and HOH in the north, continue to be busy and in need of additional medical providers. Over the last few months, they have experienced some unexpected challenges. They continue to face tough decisions as how to maintain the present level of services with less medical providers. It is a difficult job in the face of many needs.
We have flights scheduled for August 17th, 2017 to the USA. For those who are not already aware, we have extended our stay in France secondary to our pregnancy. Up until the birth of the baby we will be studying French. After the birth, we will have 6 weeks to get the baby a birth certificate and a Swiss / USA passport. From there, and if all goes well, we will be flying to the USA for a few weeks. During this time, we will be visiting our sending church, visiting family and making a few presentations. Then near the end of September we will be flying to Togo.
Nathanael celebrated his 2nd birthday on March 19th and Noah celebrated his 5th birthday on March 26th. We had a combined birthday party for both on the 18th. It was attended by 20 kids -from both missionary and French families! There was lots of fun to be had by all.
In addition to the party and between our travels to Switzerland and learning how to ski, Noah and Nathanael enjoyed the spring. Noah continues to play handball every Saturday morning and has recently taken up riding bikes with dad (Thanks Mr. John!). We recently had a chance to see him in an “ocean” school parade and song production. Nathanael continues to babble. Though he understands everything we say, his words are slow to come but are coming. Physically he is very capable and although small, he is growing appropriately (praise the Lord!). His excitement over the cows and sheep in our recent trip was hard to match!
Projects #1 PET CARTS –> 21 carts have been received at the hospital and few have been distributed. Here is the email we received from one of the distributions: “Just wanted to send you a picture of the wheelchair we were able to give to our neighbor, Valentin. He was so happy he was on the verge of tears. He was willing to come back to talk with Honoré this Wednesday. Honoré is hoping to start a Bible study with him”
Project #2 HBB MIDWIFE TRAINING PROGRAM –> a proposal has been submitted and the reviews have been positive. We are waiting a final decision from the hospital.
Project #3 Cervical Cancer Screening –> all information has been received. We are presently in the midst of putting the proposal together. We are hoping to finish by July 30th, 2017.
Project #4 Exercise Equipment –> research is in progress. Will focus on this project after project #3 is done.
Project #5 Books for Togo –> We have met with one school in France that has books for Togo. We have a list of contacts for 5 other schools. Waiting on feedback from contacts at HBB and Paris.
· Nathanael is growing
· Relaxing and refreshing trip to Switzerland
· Passed our second set of French exams
· Distribution of Pet Carts to persons in need
· Financial and prayer supporters
· Continued prayers for a successful, healthy pregnancy
· 3rd set of French exams at the end of June
· Nathanael -language development
· Noah – normal follow up lab work and ultrasound (Noah is being followed for swollen lymph nodes)
· Trip back to the USA on August 17th
· Trip to Togo at end of September
· Medical providers for and at the HBB / HOH hospitals in Togo
|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)
Fred, Lydia, Noah, Nathanael, and girl 😊