“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs;
The early rain also covers it with pools.”
~ Psalm 84:5-6 ~
We currently reside in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas. The valley is long and deep, yet the ground is extremely fertile. The valley is part of the floodplains for the Rio Grande river, which provide hydration for the vegetation, especially during the extreme heat. In fact, the Valley is said to be a prime location for vegetable and citrus production in the entire state.
This aspect of fruit in the valley provides a striking parallel to the Christian life. There are many times when we must go through valleys. They can be long, deep and dark. Yet, because our strength is in the Lord, we can continue to bear fruit, even in the deepest valleys. As we physically dwell in this valley, we know that there will be many challenging days when we feel the heat of life. Our prayer is that God will help us to make this valley “a place of springs,” and that we would continue to bear fruit.
It's hard to believe that it has been one month since we began our transition to Texas! We left Pennsylvania on January 5th and arrived in Edinburg, TX on January 9th. Thank you so much to those who prayed daily for us. Over all, the trip was very smooth, and we praise God for His help and safety. We received a warm greeting at Seminario Biblico Rio Grande and were welcomed with open arms.
We walked through our first “valley” during the first and second weeks of classes. Jeff and Simon came down with the flu and were out of commission for a week and a half. It was not the way we were hoping to start out the semester. However, even in that "valley," we saw great blessings and were able to "bear fruit" because of the attitude towards the sickness. We know that many have been praying for us in regard to illness, and God has answered your prayers!
Classes are going smoothly and we are learning much in the classroom. We have classes in the morning, tutoring in the afternoon, and then the rest of the day is used for homework, interacting with the Latin students and day-to-day tasks. We’ve already met several students from Ecuador, and we are enjoying getting to know them. Part of the requirements of the ICS (Inter-Cultural Studies) program is that we must choose a Spanish-speaking church. There are many churches to choose from, and we ask that you pray for us as we make this decision.
Right now, we feel like we are learning more outside the classroom than inside. Finding a balance in dealing with family dynamics as well as doing school has been a challenge, especially in regard to parenting. God has certainly been showing us how much we value our time. While we are here to learn Spanish, parenting Simon cannot be pushed aside. We still need to teach and instruct Simon “in the way he should go." Pray for us that we would be able to have this balance.
Thank you so much for your faithful, continued prayers for us! God has given many reminders that He is for us, and He has brought us here to make us better servants for His use. We humbly thank Him for using us in this way!
Simon Says: Simon has adapted very well to daycare (La Guardería). After the first week, he was walking into his classroom all by himself! His loves teacher, Mine (Mee-nay) because she is very animated. She has taught him to say “agua” (water) and “mas” (more). Simon’s blonde hair and blue eyes draw a lot of attention. Many of the Latin students love to touch his hair and comment “que lindo” ("very cute"). Even as we go into town, Simon draws people in. This reminds us that children can be very helpful in building redemptive relationships with others.
Praise and Prayer:
1. Praise: Smooth transition to Texas 2. Praise: Sickness has subsided 3. Pray: Selection of a Spanish-speaking church 4. Pray: Balancing family life and language study
For a printable PDF, please click HERE.