What we've been up to.

Dear Friends and Family,
We are continuing to have a wonderful time learning and growing here at the MTC, we wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all of you who make it possible for us to be here, whether through prayer or finances. The deeper we get into the training the more acutely aware we become of our own weaknesses and shortcomings as well as of the great task ahead. We are so thankful for this training and all that is offered to us here and are doing everything we can to take it in, we know it will be invaluable as we look forward to going overseas. We have been so encouraged by you as you stand behind us and ultimately behind what the Lord is preparing us for, you truly are making an impact for eternity.
What have we actually been doing?
As far as classes go, this semester looks a little different than the last one with a smaller number of classes that run for a greater length of time and are targeting some practical skills that we will need to have/be growing in as we prepare for ministry.

First of all, we just finished up a class on “Communicating Cross Culturally” where we learned about different aspects of communication that we need to be conscious of as we head overseas. Cultures around the world vary so much and as we present the gospel the truth of it cannot change but the way that we present it will have to be different than the way we would here in America. During this class we were each assigned to give two speeches to our classmates. While this was a daunting (and slightly terrifying, if I’m being honest) task, giving those two speeches was a way for us to begin to grow in our speaking ability, a vital skill!
We have also been taking phonetics class and have just started our last week of the 6 week course. The phonetic alphabet has a symbol for every sound and a single sound for every symbol. It is especially important that we get a good grasp on this now so that, later, when we are listening to a language completely different than English with different sounds we will be able to write down exactly what we are hearing and then be able to read it as it should be said. I remember glancing over our text book before we started the class and being slightly overwhelmed looking through page after page of symbols I had never seen and having no idea how any of them were supposed to be read. But here we are, on week 6 and we are able to differentiate and accurately write and pronounce almost every sound on the vowel and consonant chart that we have been studying! We haven’t learned everything and next year we will do Phonetics 2 where we will learn even more. To be honest, I’m almost looking forward to it. I do have to say though that one of the side-affects of learning phonetics has been a decline in the quality of my English spelling, so if you find any typo’s we can blame it on phonetics 😄
Outside of classes we have continued to be involved in jail ministry. Andrew and his team goes weekly to meet with the men in the jail of the county we are living in and I go with my team to the jail in the next county over. These ministries have also been opportunities for growth in our speaking abilities as we present lessons to the men and ladies on various biblical passages or topics with only 30 minutes to an hour a week with the inmates it can be difficult to balance our desire to make the gospel clear to those who are only there for one week and to address other topics for those who are there for multiple weeks and months. We are thankful that we are able to be a part of these ministries and that we live in a country where we can to go the jails and talk with people who are at their lowest about the beauty of the gospel.
Skipping Classes?! Yes, we skipped 3 days of classes a few weeks ago but for good reason. We were invited to return to our old stomping ground, the Ethnos 360 Bible Institute that we both graduated from in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Ourselves, the president of the MTC, his wife and two of our classmates made the trip to speak to the students at the Bible School about the MTC. We were given the opportunity to be a part of a forum, speaking about our experience and what the Lord is teaching us at the MTC, host an evening of Q&A and spend all of our meal times mingling with, interacting with and answering the questions of the EBI students. We were really encouraged to hear from so many students who are also being challenged into missions and considering the MTC.
We’ve also been given some great opportunities for fellowship and fun within our MTC community in the last few weeks. I went to a lady’s retreat hosted by the MTC for both student and staff women and what a wonderful time it was! We enjoyed time spent in the Word shared by a veteran missionary who really encouraged us through her testimony as well as plenty of time spent in conversation around delicious meals and games. It was a time of fellowship with my sisters here, and time spent in the Word and I returned feeling encouraged and refreshed.
This past weekend Andrew went on a men's backpacking trip for 3 days with 3 fellow students from the campus here. They hiked and camped on the trail in Mark Twain National Forrest. He came back a little sore but had a wonderful time spent in Creation and with fellow believers.

In other news, we’ve officially been accepted into this summer’s Greek course along with 10 others. This means that we will be jumping straight from class at the end of the semester into Greek and have a shortened summer break. We consider this to be another valuable tool in our box that will be useful in many ways in the years to come. We will be taking it together and are excited to dive in in a few months!
We would really appreciate your prayers! Here are a few things that you can keep in mind as you pray:

  • More laborers – the task is huge and there are always more laborers needed, Jesus said that our response should be prayer. As we were at the Bible school we saw the Lord answering this prayer but there are still so many more needed
  • Pray that we would stay healthy – we’ve managed to avoid this year’s nasty flu and stay healthy which makes focusing on classes and the training possible, pray that we would continue to be able to do so
  • Pray for our jail ministries – that we would continue to be able to gain access into the jails each week and that we would have wisdom as we seek to communicate truth
  • That we would stay focused and attentive – in the day to day it can be easy to forget the importance and long-term value of all that we are involved in, we want to be listening, comprehending and applying what we are learning even now as we are in the training process 

Together in Christ,

-Andrew & Rachel
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