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A New Life Begins: an Update from Raleigh and Opal

Raleigh, Opal, and their children recently landed in North Africa. They are learning language and building relationships as part of a long-term vision to encourage a people movement toward Jesus. They hope to partner with locals and other workers in agricultural development and teaching English.

What can happen in one month?
The world can change, and yet remain.

One Day
Off the plane onto the tarmac.
The dusty landscape rolls away from the little airport.
Bluish olive and tall, thin cypress trees sprinkle the hills and valleys
sweeping away from our vehicle as we roll through the roundabouts to our city.
A friendly English speaker gives us a whirlwind tour of our new home,
including the...corner store literally around the corner of our house,
and the shop selling ‘complete’ chicken dinners for around $8
(we are talking a whole rotisserie chicken and trimmings).

One Week
We start reading and writing Arabic!
Our teacher is excellent not only as a teacher, but also as a friend.
We learn the lists and lists of proscribed greetings
(what to say when someone is busy or sick, for instance),
familiar verbs, family relationships, occupations, tenses, adjectives.

One Month
We know we live near the neighborhood called…
We know where to buy a chicken.
We meet the chicken while it is alive and bring it home a few minutes later,
ready to eat.
We’ve walked the streets and we’ve torn around in taxis.
We’ve celebrated one of the biggest festivals here—the killing of the sheep
in remembrance of Abraham’s (almost) sacrifice of his son
(Ishmael, in their book).
We’ve accepted innumerable hugs, kisses and candies for our children from strangers.
We’ve made friends with kind young men in the neighborhood
and started relationships with a few older women.

We’ve prayed a lot.
We’ve sung some.
We’ve read books to our children.
We’ve made oatmeal bread.
We’ve washed lots of clothes in our little washer and hung them to dry in the courtyard.
We’ve swept lots of cool, tile floors and made lots of coffee
(after finding a local roaster!).
We’ve created team with our childcare assistant
and another newly arrived young family with two young ones A’s age!
We’ve listened and received and begun to learn and even speak (haltingly).
We’ve thought a lot about you.
We’ve missed you, yes, and been thankful for you over and over.

What have you done?
You prayed that we would feel at home, and we did the first day!
You prayed for language, and we’ve LOVED our teacher and the time learning.
You prayed for our children, and minor disasters have passed and
opportunities keep appearing for them.
You prayed for friends and safety, and we’ve welcomed both.


Next Month?
Our intense language regimen continues.
We continue to learn about our neighborhood, and city, and make friends.
We continue to pray, laugh, sing, cry, miss, wash clothes, wash children…

Like you, we continue to hope.