Springing into Summer
54 MISSIONARY GRADUATES!
99% of us have experienced a graduation at some point in our lives. For some, this is in junior high, and for others, high school, college, or maybe even a post-grad program. This graduation was like no other. Not because of what has been already been accomplished, but with great expectation of what will be accomplished. We stood in the back of the auditorium as we watched some of our dearest friends walk across the stage, receiving a "right of passage" as they begin the next (and likely most challenging) stage of their ministry careers. 54 missionaries graduated this past Saturday morning and are preparing to move to over 10 different countries around the world that are unreached and desperate for the name of Jesus.
TRAINING AT A GLANCE
We are 3 weeks away from finishing up our first year of training; our final class of the Spring semester is May 18th! We will then break for summer until August 14th. During this break, Michael will be taking a Greek course (see more details below) on campus as we prepare for our son, Nash, to be born in the middle of June.
The past few months have been incredibly busy with travel, classes, and ministry, so we apologize for any lack of communication. This semester has been filled with courses and teachers that have challenged us and made us so grateful for the training we are receiving. These courses include Phonetics, Animism, Communications Practicum, Honor and Shame, Overseas Safety Training, Grammar, and CLA (Culture & Language Acquisition - we usually try to avoid using acronyms, but this one is worth learning!). Continue reading below for a brief overview of a few of the courses!
GRAMMAR ON A WHOLE NEW LEVEL
When was your last grammar class? 10, 20, 30 years ago? The title of our class is a bit deceiving though, as we aren't analyzing English grammar structures, but those of languages around the globe (Russian, Vietnamese, Bolivian, etc). What are the rules, combinations, and patterns that make that language unique? Where do morpheme and word breaks occur? Why on earth are some words 54 characters long? We always thought that the noun-adjective flip-flop in Spanish was hard enough! Unfortunately, that is only the tip of the iceberg in solving these linguistic puzzles, but we are thankful for the preparation in order to one day solve these same puzzles in the tribe.
HONOR & SHAME
Did you know that shame is mentioned in the Bible 10 times more than guilt? Guilt is associated with one's actions, addressing the question "What I've done," while shame addresses the question of "Who I am." Back in Genesis, man was created in the ultimate position of honor (image bearers of God) and lived in perfect shalom with Him. Once sin entered the world, however, shame plagued our existence and is still something we battle today. Shame is prevalent in the US, however, there are people groups around the world that are known to live in predominantly "shame-based cultures." These are the contexts we are heading into, and we just had the opportunity to take a class about the complexities of ministering in this type of context and the reality of the Gospel on the lives of people in these places.
We are 33 weeks pregnant (due on Morgan's birthday, June 16th!) and ready to have our little man outside of his mommy's tummy! He is healthy, very active, and giving his momma quite the range of emotions lately. Lots of ups & downs, back pain, and tears for no reason I can explain (thank you, hormones)! Side note: we are still thawing out as Spring is finally blooming!
AN IMMERSIVE APPROACH TO BIBLICAL GREEK
Translating the Bible is a huge responsibility, and not something that we take lightly. The opportunity to learn Greek this summer will allow us to translate directly from Greek to an indigenous tribal language, deepening our understanding of the Scriptures and skipping English as the middleman when possible. The 8-week course will run from May 21st to July 13th, 8:00am-2:30pm daily. Our instructor best described it as brainwash!
Our instructor for the course is a top Greek scholar, and one of very few instructors in the world with the knowledge to teach Greek as a living language (Living Koine Greek). We will be utilizing an "immersive" approach that focuses on listening, comprehension, and speaking in order to learn the language how it was learned back in the first century. This is very different from the traditional methods of Greek that you would learn in a university setting. If you want to see a demo of this type of approach, check out these pre-class "warmup" exercises we are doing!
WHEN WILL WE BE BACK HOME NEXT?
We are coming back to CA at the end of July for about 2 weeks! We are planning to be at Chino Valley Community Church on July 29th as well as Oceanside Christian Fellowship on August 5th. We would love to see you on either of those days! We will be heading back to Missouri on August 12th to begin our second and final year of training!
We covet your prayers and are so thankful for the team that God has given us to support us in this way. Please pray for perseverance and diligence to finish well as the semester comes to an end! Not only for us, but for the 54 new missionary graduates that are beginning the process of moving overseas and transitioning into a foreign context. They are headed into places that are new, uncomfortable, and spiritually very dark. We thank you for your prayers for community and church fellowship; we have been enjoying making deeper connections with families at our local church in Missouri. We are so grateful for this body of believers, and excited about the mission they have to reach their community - locally and globally. Michael also had the opportunity to teach at church this past Wednesday night on Colossians! Last, Morgan has been having a rough time physically and emotionally with this pregnancy and is ready to enjoy Nash outside of the womb :) Pray for meaningful time spent together as we transition to a family of three!
We praise God for you. Seriously. Especially those that read to the end! May the Lord bless you and keep you in this current season of your life. He is faithful and so so good to us.