This past year has been such a stretching year in regards to all areas of our life. Our lives have been under a ton of stress and change and this has greatly affected our marriage, spiritual lives and our children. We have experienced the stress of a new culture, language and way of living. There was the problem with the water when we first got here, we have changed language helpers, babysitters, moved across town, changed churches and routines, the list goes on. In light of that, Jacob and I thought we needed to take some time to just relax and reconnect just the two of us for our 6th wedding anniversary. Our new nanny is such a capable young lady and great with the kids, so we felt comfortable leaving them for the weekend. We spent a great weekend together, eating good food, sleeping in air conditioning, showering in hot water in a quiet hotel here in Dakar. It was just what we needed. It was a weekend where I could really relax. It was a time to reconnect with God and each other. We praised God for this wonderful opportunity.
A day after we got back we went on a missions trip with our church to a village a few hours away. It was quite a contrast to our weekend and a stretching but good experience. Please read our last blog post to hear more about it.
October 5th was Tabaski here. It is the biggest holiday of the year and we were invited to spend it with our neighbors. We did this last year but this year was so different. We were with different neighbors. We were much more comfortable than last year. We participated in preparing the food and didn’t just watch. We were able to communicate and enter into conversations. We got to eat with them instead of in a room by ourselves. Our kids had a blast playing with their kids. They didn’t like the food as much this year because there was more pepper in it but they knew how to eat around the bowl with everyone. After thinking over the differences from Tabaski this year vs last year’s; it was so encouraging to see after a year of being here, the difference in our lives.
We came feeling so uncomfortable, unable to do much correctly. After one year, we are able to communicate quite a bit, enter into people’s lives, have friends and feel more at ease in their homes. Our kids came not knowing any French and in fact refusing to learn it. Now they both speak and understand most French spoken to them. On a practical level: I went from not knowing how to wash fruits and veggies correctly, or how to clean a chicken properly, to being comfortable with these things. Please praise God with us for the work He has done, and the work that He will continue to do in our lives. Thank you for your help in being here.