Sickness and Bravery
Missionaries in Congo
Wow, the picture above seems like it was taken such a long time ago, and yet it was three and a half months ago that we were packing our bags for France (and Congo to come). First, let me (Katrina) thank you for your patience in hearing from us. We have been focusing much of our energy towards language learning and settling our family into a new culture. On top of that, our family caught an untimely and long-lived flu (la grippe) that has made it's way through each of our family members. As I write this, I'm so thankful to hear four happy congestion-free voices coming from our living room! There is still an occasional cough or sniffle, but we are all in much better condition.
In France, children have a two hour break for lunch in which parents can pick them up, have lunch as a family and drop them back off. Eating at school is also an option. We decided that eating at school once a week would provide a good cultural experience for the kids and give Kyle and I time to go to the crowded fresh-air market without distractions.
This is the first year our five-year-old, Eli, has been enrolled in public school. He has a wonderful teacher who speaks English and takes time to make sure he understands what is going on in class. Apart from his first day jitters, he has really enjoyed school. However, there is one thing he has been reluctant to do and that is inform his teacher that he will be eating at the cafeteria every Friday. This hasn't come as a surprise to us as he has a tendency to shy away from the spotlight in social situations. We went through the phrase Eli could say to his teacher many times, but until the week before last I had walked up to his classroom with him to make sure he was signed up.
The Friday before last we were running late and I told Eli that I wouldn't be able to walk up to his class with him and still make it to my class in time. We didn't get very far before Eli said, "I have to say, 'Je mange à la cantine,' to my teacher, right?" I affirmed that he would need to inform his teacher and we went on walking for a while. It was easy to see the hesitation he was feeling, but with a little reassurance he set off into school on his own. I knew that if we didn't get a phone call during the lunch hour, he had had the courage to speak French to his teacher.
When I asked how it went after school, he seemed like it wasn't a big deal and last Friday he went in by himself without hesitation.
We will all face situations that push us beyond our comfort zone and can all learn something from Eli's experience. As we follow Christ outside of our safety net, we learn that he is trustworthy in every circumstance. As difficult as our circumstances may seem, Christ by our side makes our impossible His possible. God doesn't promise that we will be comfortable or even safe, but he does promise to be with us wherever we go.
Thank you to all of you who have been the hands and feet of Christ supporting us as we walk towards Congo. The encouragement we have felt from you has brought us much comfort especially in the times that this journey has pushed us beyond our comfort zones.
Your co-workers in Christ,
Kyle & Katrina Williamsaste