I have 13 children

Delicious food, magnificent castles and exciting places to explore are just some of the things we have enjoyed in our spare time...

But the reality is that most of the time we are knee-deep studying French. For Julie and I and our kids, this means taking classes during the week where there is no/minimal english spoken while try to learn new vocabulary and grammar. Sometimes just trying to figure out how to ask a question is a challenge. Then there is trying to speak. Today I told my barber that I had 13 children. Her eyes got a little wide till I realized my mistake.

Each night there are a few hours of homework where we try and consolidate what we have learned. It's very much like exercising in that it doesn’t feel good at first or the second or third time but with continual practise, you begin to see some progress. And like exercising, when you take too much time off, it hurts to start again. 

Recently our kids figured out the words Julie and I would spell to each other in English if we didn't want them to know. French is now our new cryptic way of talking around them without them knowing. And even though it is coming, don’t expect a newsletter in perfect French yet!

Most of our down time has been spent exploring our community and the surrounding areas. We are blessed to have a car that we can use and it has dramatically opened up our world. We generally go visit castles because, they are fun for the whole family. It is amazing to look at the rocks (yes the rocks), cut and placed together that have held for hundreds of years. 

As a family we often imagine what it was like to live during “castle times” Seija dreams of princesses, Kaden dreams of dragons and soldiers, Julie dreams of delicious banquets... but someone has to be the realist so I dream of all the firewood needed to keep the walls (13 ft thick in some places) warm in winter. And who was hauling all the stuff needed for the princesses, soldiers and banquets way up this mountain anyway? I have also pondered the immense time and energy placed into constructing these monuments of history. Vast quantities of resources and sweat was expended often over hundreds of years to make what stands today. 

Today we visited Chateau de Chantemerle, now abandoned, overgrown with plants with its glory fading with each passing year. I was challenged to think, am I investing in things that are going to last and I was reminded of this verse:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matt 6:19-21

We haven’t found any buried treasure in any of these castles yet but we am so grateful for the time we get to spend together as a family. I am grateful for the vision we have shared with many of you and for your prayers and financial resources that are allowing us to prepare to serve the people of Burundi....
By Jesh