Imminent Arrival

There are some things you learn, and then you learn again. We’re finding that happens frequently in our parenting. Most challenging yet encouraging are the ways parenting has taught us to appreciate God’s relationship with us. All those times we can’t understand why our children won’t just listen to us and follow our direction…. God must feel the same way with me.

In addition to deeper understanding, we find lots of illustrations of biblical teaching and theology in life experiences. Right now, imminent is on our minds. With our third child due soon – really any day now – it’s our third time to understand what it’s like to know something will happen and expect it to happen soon, but not know when. Sooner seems better than later at this point.

While we’re waiting for this imminent event, we’ve taken a break from deputation meetings and are spending the time at home. The break has given us the chance to do more work on Chinese. Learning the phonetic symbols we’ll use in Taiwan for language study (see last post) has gone well, with the help of our friend Wendy. As we continue to practice that, we’re also trying to do more listening to train our ear to Chinese.

 Wendy let us borrow a language program cartoon that our daughter is enjoying a lot since she can follow the story through the actions. She’ll probably pick up the words faster than we will! The cartoon has a song about greetings, and the part that sticks in our minds the most is good morning – zao shang hao. We’re going around singing good morning all day.

So while we wait expectantly, we’ll keep on working.

GFA Conference

We spent last week at the WILDS Christian Camp for our mission board’s annual conference. Last year’s conference came right after we’d been accepted as missionary candidates with GFA; this year we came with a little deputation experience behind us – 5 months of travelling now. Our time at the conference allowed us to get to know more of the GFA missionaries. The encouragement and fellowship from faithful missionaries and deputees was a benefit from the Lord. Helpful sessions and direct preaching provided opportunities to evaluate both our walk with the Lord and our ideas about missions ministry.

While we attended sessions and services, our kids had lots of fun in their classes. This morning at breakfast Bella told us that last week at the WILDS the girls in her class always asked to go on long hikes, and those made her tired. She was ready for naptime every day, and some days had a hard time finishing lunch. We did have a little time to relax at the conference, and there were things to do we don’t get to do at home. Tuesday we floated down the creek in inner-tubes. Bella liked that, but Emmett wasn’t sure he liked it.

We (Brian and Erin) actually had less free time than we expected – just during the kids’ naps and after they were in bed (almost as late as 10pm each night).  That didn’t allow us to do much other than get ready for the next day. However, we did finish learning all the Bopomofo – phonetic symbols the Taiwanese use to teach children how to pronounce Chinese characters. That’s a foundational step we’ve been working on for the past month, and we’re glad to know them all so we can start using them. If I needed any arguments for learning those phonetic symbols, I found it while we were online looking for audio files to listen to their pronunciation. We noticed several different ways of writing their sounds in Romanized script (English letters). Associating sounds of Chinese characters with phonetic symbols will help free us from having our thinking and pronunciation tied to English.

We left the conference early to travel to Pennsylvania for our last deputation meeting before the new baby arrives. The people at Berwick Bible Church were very friendly to us yesterday (Sunday). The pastor wasn’t there during the morning, but since we’re able to stay a few days past the meeting, we’re looking forward to getting to know him better. We’re also glad we’ll be able to visit again our friends at Emmanuel Baptist Church, where we had our first deputation meeting back in November of 2009.