Brothers and Sisters,
We’ve lived in France four months already! It’s amazing that a third of our time here has already come and gone. Rebecca and I completed our first French trimester with week-long exams in March. We both passed and are now moving on to the second level in our language studies. Learning this language has been a predictable struggle for me, but I put in many hours of study and have seen progress. Rebecca excels in the area of language, but her heart is in mothering and teaching our children and so she also looks forward to putting language class behind us (someday…). We have been blessed, however, with a wonderful teacher. It is amazing to see the way our God orchestrates things in our lives. Those who work in this school view their work as their ministry to prepare us for our own mission work. It is evident to us that our teacher takes this work very seriously and she expects the same from us. Every assignment and every correction (which are frequent) are given in resolute love and with a desire to see us grow. Our classes were given partially in English for a few weeks, but we are no longer allowed to speak English in the school and all lectures are fully in French. In a few weeks, I will be giving the morning devotions to my class in French with Rebecca giving them the following week.
If you follow us on facebook, you’ve probably seen some of the pictures that we’ve posted of our surroundings. We live in a smallish town completely surrounded by green slopes and climbing mountain peaks, many of which are still snow-capped despite the onset of a vibrant spring. There is some rain, but most days are fair and many flowers are in full bloom right now. There seem to be bakeries on every other corner which give off the scent of fresh-baked bread. Each weekday, the children attend an old school downtown after an invigorating fifteen-minute walk. They have made friends and are picking up some of the language. Our days here are very full, but we continue to make time for one another despite all the studying and daily requirements of life. We have met with more illness here than expected as our bodies try to adjust to germs from a different region. We seem to be past the worst of that, yet would appreciate your prayers for our health and strength.
|Photo of Albertville taken in January|
We see things here that remind of home sometimes, but where is our home? Our house in Michigan sold a few weeks ago (praise God with us!), but Michigan, although a supremely awesome state, is no more our home than France. Our French brothers and sisters will sometimes refer to God in prayer as “l’Eternel” meaning The Eternal or The Eternal One. Sometimes we have a deep sense of longing for home or for times gone by, yet those times and places would not satisfy if we had them again, because our true longing is for our true home, which is wherever The Eternal One resides. To dwell with Him is to obey Him and live in His will, and that is why we are excited to toil here now and why we look forward to our labor in Togo.
Please remember us in your prayers and feel free to contact us to let us know what you are praying about or if there is something we can lay before the Lord on your behalf. We have been teaching our children to pray, and it is such a joy to see them grow. You can pray for our health, for strength to persevere in our studies, and for diligence in our daily walk with the Lord. Pray that we would be an encouragement to the other missionaries here and that we would know how to be a blessing to the French people that we are coming to know. Pray also for Togo and the ministry that has long been underway there.
Don’t forget that, for more frequent updates, you can follow us at facebook.com/mallays or at mallaysonamission.blogspot.com (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Love from France: Seth, Becca, Arwen, Caspian, Elora, and Gwynevere