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Strangers and Outsiders

The Lord has richly blessed your prayers for us! We mentioned in our September prayer letter that our former babysitter had left on August 4th. This caused us to need to pause our language school course until we could find and train a replacement. We had asked prayer for guidance and provision so that we could return to class and continue learning Romanian in a structured way. The Lord has recently provided a new Argentinean babysitter for the children named J.P., and she has picked up her responsibilities quickly. We are planning to start language school again on Wednesday, October 4th!

We are also grateful that during the unanticipated two month break we were able to discover some other language learning resources to supplement what we are learning in class. We developed our study skills to be more effective and deepened relationships with some Romanians that allows us to use what we are learning. We have also been encouraged by some recent obvious improvement with the language in speaking and understanding!

We are still far from where we need and want to be with understanding the language and unpacking the multi-faceted Romanian culture. The reality that we are still strangers and outsiders here is never too far away from pouncing. Whether it comes from someone speaking a quick burst of unintelligible Romanian, or watching something handled culturally that is very different than how we would handle it, there is the underlying current that we are still on the outside looking in. There is nothing unexpected about this, and it is part of the normal course of transition. We are fortunately both content and happy with where God has placed us and grateful for the many prayers warriors that fight on our behalf as we seek to flourish where God has planted us.

The life of Abraham, particularly his beginning steps as narrated to us in Genesis 12:1-9, has been brought to light for me in sharper relief lately because of this unique season in our lives. God gives this man an incredible offer that would require an incredible sacrifice. If he would leave his country, his success, and his familial network of resources, God would bless him and make him both a blessing and a great patriarch. However, he would have to abandon the known for the unknown, forgo the familiar for the venture of virtue, and sacrifice success for the pursuit of a promise. Would Abram respond in heroic faith or rely on his flesh?

We know the end of the story, and so we are tempted to skip over the fact that Abram knew neither how nor when things would turn out. We are grateful that faith triumphed, and that history pivots because of his faith in action. However, we can make it more personal, because God is offering us the same kind of venture - a venture that values the eternal over the temporal and God’s promises over the World’s empty enticement.

Genesis 12:1-9 has caused many days of provoking thoughts: Do I take to heart that like Abraham I am to always be a stranger and pilgrim? Do I take the call of Christ serious that only those that deny themselves and take up their cross can follow Him? Do I make my decisions from the foundational reality that the eternal always trumps the temporal?

While we can develop our understanding of Romanian language and culture to transition well, pray that we never lose sight of the lessons from Abraham. As Believers our lives our tied to the eternal. Any sacrifice made for Christ only opens up the road for further fellowship with Him. We are always to be strangers and outsiders of this world because, like Abraham, we can be called the friends of God!

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