Happy 4th of July to you all!
Hope you had a wonderful day with family and friends celebrating our country and the freedom that we live in here. We enjoyed the Waxhaw Town Parade in the morning, complete with fire trucks and tractors, and went go to a friend’s house for swimming and a BBQ in the afternoon. Plus we watched fireworks in Waxhaw at night so we hit all the 4th of July traditions.
The 4th is is our 2-month anniversary of arriving at JAARS so we thought it would be a great day to write and update you all. Honestly, these 2 months have felt so long that we can’t believe it is really only two months since we got here. We have been getting used to the humid weather here and everyone says that it has been much cooler so far this summer than usual so we are appreciative for that every day! Not to say that it isn’t hot, but it isn’t unbearable. There have been thunderstorms rolling in most afternoons, which bring many puddles for Hunter to splash in. There are also a ton of critters to get used to here – fun ones like lightening bugs and turtles and a few gross ones (we’ve learned not to leave wet shoes outside on the porch or frogs will make their homes in them).
Phillip is already very plugged in and busy with his work in GTIS (Global Technological and Information Services). He is supervising a team spread across Dallas, Waxhaw, and Orlando and even met a visiting programmer from New Zealand that he will be working with. He met the team in Dallas during our trip and has plans to visit Orlando in the fall. The main project he is engaged with now is creating a new API architecture that will enable partner organization to integrate with data systems and applications of Wycliffe. He has also begun to plan for a tool for the Language Planning Teams to use in the field that has unique constraints related to the remote nature of their location, lack of connectivity, and need for security. He enjoys the weekly team lunch and prayer meeting, feeling blessed to be in a work environment where they seek the Lord’s guidance and pray for each other.
Melanie is the one of the family who has ventured most off the JAARS campus to explore the area, to get groceries and go to appointments. We live about 12 minutes from Waxhaw, 20 minutes from Lancaster, South Carolina, and 35 minutes from the south of Charlotte so those are the areas that we frequent the most. When preparing to move, Melanie felt convicted about taking the best possible care of our health, so we took advantage of having absolutely zero food to start eating clean – whole, unprocessed foods without any preservatives. So much of her time has been dedicated to trying new recipes to make almost everything from scratch, finding where we can buy organic and farm fresh food, and doing the hours of dishes that come from all this cooking without a dishwasher! Any recipes using only whole foods would be appreciated – especially for ranch dip made with yogurt – can’t figure out one with the right seasonings J So doing that along with establishing our family with new doctors, dentists, etc. has consumed most of her time but is worthwhile. It is definitely different getting used to a rural lifestyle where you have to plan ahead on everything and every errand takes a good chunk of time. She has met with her future supervisor at the counseling center twice and will begin a counselor training course specific to working with missionaries possibly in the late fall when her supervisor’s schedule allows.
Hunter is definitely enjoying life here at JAARS. He goes to Missionary Kid Station (the preschool on campus) three days a week and enjoys his new friends there, all of the outside play time on their playground, and learning a garden theme this summer – doing crafts and learning about a different fruit or vegetable every day. They also have missionaries come in once a week to teach the kids about music, food, and customs of the countries they have lived in as well as the Bible translation work that is happening there. They also go to the JAARS pool once a week as a class. He has really taken to bike riding (still with training wheels) and scootering since we have been here, inspired by the many neighbor kids that are out doing the same. He is always watching out the window to see when they are outside or at the playground and that is fun to see him enjoy playing with other kids so much. True to our word, we got him a fish tank when we arrived (free from a fellow missionary – thank you!) and after a few fish causalities as the water was getting to all the right levels, we know have three fish members of the family – Goldie, Ninji and Robie that share Hunter’s room.
We are enjoying getting to know other missionary families here at JAARS and have been the recipients of much hospitality. We are attending a non-denominational church in Waxhaw of about 1,000 people with modern music and solid teaching and will decide for sure if that is where we want to commit to in the fall. We have also been out looking at a few homes to get an idea of what is out there. There are such a variety of homes – from out in the country with land to the traditional subdivision, brand new homes or older ones. We aren’t planning to move out from the apartment at JAARS until the fall at the earliest but it is fun to look around. At this point, everything in our life is “we’ll do it after ICC”. ICC is Inter Cultural Communication training that we will begin on July 17th and complete on August 16th. This training will require our full attention so Phillip will stop working and Hunter will attend MK five days a week. We’ll also have cultural events to experience and a church of a different culture to attend on Sundays. Please pray that we will be open to all God has for us to learn and experience during this training and that our family will be at peace during the busy schedule.
We are so at peace that God has brought us here to serve Bible translation in the roles that He called us to and in His perfect timing. We rest in that daily through the challenges of adjusting to a new lifestyle, new environment and being away from all of you. Our biggest prayer request is for patience and wisdom – we are so eager to be settled in a home, at a church, in friendships and community, and in a family routine but know that all of it will come together in God’s perfect timing, just as this whole journey has. We miss each of you and the fellowship and comfort that comes from being around people who know you so well and love you. Now that we are here at JAARS, we plan to use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheShipleysInWycliffe) and our blog (http://theshipleys.org) to post more frequent updates and only send occasional emails to our full contact list. So like us on Facebook or follow our blog if you want more frequent updates or catch up with us in September when we’ll send our next newsletter after our ICC training. Thank so much to each of you who have written to us – sorry that we haven’t been able to get back to each of you personally yet but know that we so appreciate your thoughts and prayers!