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Hello from Me to You: An Update from Cora

Edited excerpt from Cora's* October 2016 newsletter

It has been exactly one month since I arrived here in North Africa! As I look back on the last four weeks, I am so thankful for the smooth transition I have had since arriving. I know I still have a lot to learn and there are still parts of the culture that I will need to get used to, but I feel like I’m past the initial shock of moving to a new country.

When I was thinking about the reasons for my smooth transition, it came to my attention that the team here has taken such good care of me. Every one of them is so supportive and has such a heart for the work here! We share many meals together, travel together, and just spend time hanging out! I have also been attending the international fellowship here which gives a good sense that we are not alone in our work! Also, I have wonderful roommates! We all have different schedules, but we normally have supper together in the evenings and hear about each other’s days. It is a great support system and a lot of fun as well (especially when we go on adventures like stargazing on the flat roof and walking the length of the street on the apartment roofs, because they all connect!). I am continually grateful for all these people in my life and I thank God that he has worked out all the details for this stage of settling in!

“I am continually grateful for all these people in my life and I thank God that he has worked out all the details for this stage of settling in!”My biggest update is that I have started language study! I study five days a week for three hours every afternoon and then normally two to three hours of homework each day. Initially, before starting language, I felt intimidated by the challenge because I had never attempted to learn another language in my life. I asked you all to be praying for me and I am so thankful for your prayers. If you were praying that I would enjoy language and step up to the challenge, then your prayers were answered!

After our first day of language study, our teacher gave us homework; we had to go to a little shop and buy something! That was a little embarrassing because 1) we couldn’t pronounce the words properly and 2) there were multiple men standing around, waiting for their own things. But everyone was gracious and the owner knew a little English so he confirmed what we wanted in English. But I can now say I have successfully bought things from the shop since that time!

I ask that you continue to pray for me as I continue language study. Pray that my enjoyment would not turn to discouragement when I come to obstacles in the language and that I would persevere even when I feel that my brain cannot possibly take in any more information!

As you are praying, you can also ask God that I would sense his leading on my next steps of involvement here in the city. There are times when I feel like I am in a bubble, because I have language study here at my apartment, and if I go out, normally it is simply to get groceries or to visit Raleigh and Opal. I am still at a hard stage for building relationships because my language is so limited, but I want to be open if opportunities arise.

In the next month I will be doing a two-week homestay. This will include living with a local family and doing life with them. I don’t really know what to expect, but everyone says it will be a great experience to see authentic culture and learn from the locals. In this time I will build relationships with the family that I can continue to cultivate. One fact that will tell you a little bit about the culture here is that, the family only wants to know a day or two before I arrive. Even though we already have planned when I will start the homestay, it’s too early to tell the family. The culture is so laid-back and flexible…you just go with the flow!

I would appreciate prayer during the homestay, because it will definitely be out of my comfort zone. Pray that I can appreciate the things that are different in this culture instead of thinking them strange. Also, that I would be willing to make mistakes when talking to the family (who will only know the local language).

Thank you so much for your prayers and your interest in this journey I am on!

*Name changed for security