We’ve been in Mongolia for a month now.  We’re into language study and, despite  some fears and a busy schedule, we are actually finding that we enjoy it — for now!  It’s a lot of fun to be with Larry and Krista Lain in class, although that probably won’t be the case after next Tuesday when we’ll be in classes of two instead of four.  It will probably seem a lot more like work after that, but praise God that we’re able to start off together and enjoy the learning process.  Since Larry and Krista are living out in a ger district at this point our classes are one of the main times we get to hang out together — they’re really awesome, too, so we’re glad to have them around.  Because we’ve only been studying for 9 days now, we can’t say we’ve made a dent in the language learning yet, but we can say that we know a lot more today than we knew last Monday!  It’s great to actually be able to understand a few things here and there as well as say a few phrases, at least enough to buy some groceries on our own.  I feel good about being able to hear and understand to some degree, while Mark is doing really well at going out of his way to practice speaking.  Maybe since we have different strengths, we can help each other . . .  one can hope anyway!

Toby is very happy spending his mornings with Levi and Miriam, some of our upstairs “neighbors”.  The Liberdas have graciously invited Toby to be with their kids and their new caregiver, so this has been a huge blessing to our family.  Knowing that he is happy and well cared for gives us such peace of mind as we go to class each day.  We’ve already written some about Annika starting 2nd grade, and that’s still going great.  She has a wonderful teacher and a fun bunch of classmates.  We’re really thankful that both the children seem to be adjusting so well.  Thanks for praying for us — don’t stop! 

We also want to give God praise for helping us, the parents of these happy children, to feel settled so quickly.  (It doesn’t hurt that our family and friends are loving us by staying in touch with us and sending us care packages!)  There’s still a lot to do to make the apartment our “home”, but our teammates –as well as many generous friends and family members –have greatly helped us make a good start on that aspect.  A recent visitor to Mongolia was commenting that he was looking forward to going home, and as he said it, it struck me that I felt total peace and contentment knowing that this IS home now.  This is God at work without a doubt!  There will probably be many days, or maybe weeks or months, to come when I won’t feel so contented, so I’m hanging on to this time as a precious gift that will hopefully sustain me through some of those tougher times. 

When I titled this blog I had in mind to write about some of the little things that encouraged me today, such as the fact that I’ve actually cooked some meals that tasted good (to even the picky eaters) using ingredients found here; such as the fact that I had time to clean the bathroom and do some laundry today even with classes, studying and cooking; and that the kids went to bed so easily tonight.  As I started writing, though, I realized that there are some gigantic blessings going on in our lives.  These aren’t just “small victories” but the things that reveal God’s hand at work, the things He uses to shower us with love, and the things that we can turn back into praise for our loving, faithful heavenly Father.  He is amazing!       

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