The #1 question I get is "How are the kids doing?" The kids have handled this transition very well, in spite of the challenges. Living in a foreign culture where you struggle to speak means that you are always two steps behind the rest of the crowd. Willy's experience is an example. We put him and Abigail in a pre-school, so that they could meet friends and continue learning Spanish. Willy's class had planted seeds as a science experiment some time before he joined the class. After a couple of weeks, the other kids plants were sprouting, but Willy's was nowhere to be seen. He compared their plants to his dirt and was sad. I was sad, too. It was an image of his life in Latin America. I encouraged him, saying, "Don't worry Buddy! The other kids got a head start on you. Your plant is coming. Just wait."
When I left, my heart was breaking. I felt his pain. At times, I'm fed up with waiting. People do not want to wait for us. They understand social situations and speak quickly. So, one minute you are with a group of people in a circle and you are thinking, "I'm starting to fit in." Then, they all laugh at joke you didn't understand, then they all turn and leave at the same time. Everyone caught a social cue that it was time to do something else. You're left standing alone, wondering, "What was so funny and where am I supposed to go now?" That is tough for adults, but it’s twice as tough to watch your son go through it. Why couldn't his plant grow like everyone else’s?
Time passed. We had to travel to Southern Peru and Chile, in order to complete the kids' residency papers. When we returned to Willy's class, his eyes opened wide and he ran to the window sill. His pile of dirt had become a lush, green plant. It took time, but it happened. He was so happy. I silently prayed, "Thank you, Father, thank you!"
In Hebrew (and in Spanish) the word for wait and hope is the same. Isaiah 40:31 says, "those who hope in (wait for) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." By faith we are waiting and hoping for the day when God makes us truly fruitful in this foreign soil. He has called us and is faithful to do it.
(By the way, Willy is doing very well in school. Thanks to all who ask!)