After almost a month of family visitors one could say that the dust is beginning to settle. It is always a huge adjustment to make back to our normal routine and the quietness that then insues. Well, a return to the "quietness" that one can have with three little ones. The goodbyes were easier this time knowing that we will soon see each other again the end of May. What a tremendous gift to spend some great time with family and a soon to be family member(Michelle!). Cody and Michelle left on Monday and should arrive back in Iraq today. We so enjoyed hearing all that God is doing in their lives and in the country's. Stuff you can't communicate unless in person and we were truly challenged!
The dust is settling...but we are keeping things stirred up as we now begin to heavily focus on making preparations for furlough. Plane tickets are bought (March 27-September 2), contacts with potential churches are being targeted daily, schedules are set with supporting churches, family photo yet to be taken for a new prayer card, meeting arranged with Melissa (co-worker) to discuss our presentation desires (she graciously will be designing our whole presentation) and our list is growing of things to do.
On top of the furlough focus and check lists...we also are striving to finish well with our responsibilities and ministries here. Jonathan continues his study on Isaiah 2 or 3 times a month on our Thursday night meetings. We will be meeting weekly with our friends, Raffaele and Manuela, starting this Saturday to encourage them and deepen our relationship with each other. They are unable to attend the Bible Studies due to work schedule and 2 little ones. We are so thankful for them and their friendship and that they live here in Leini'.
Noella started back up with language lessons last week and will be working hard to then attempt the language exam before we leave for furlough. Lots of work to be done...so please be praying for her! Jonathan takes his driving theory test on Thursday. Most people fail on the first try so please pray he'll pass this first attempt as we are forced into a time crunch with having to leave in March. If he doesn't pass he will have to wait a month to retake it.
Along with the desire to have Jonathan's Italian driving license in hand before we leave, we are still waiting on Noella's and the kids' permessi. It has been a month and a half since the last visit to the Questura and we hope to hear some news by the beginning of February with yet another notice that they are "completed". It is crucial we get these documents before we leave the country. We really pray they get it right this time!!
The kids are doing well and seem to be almost fully recovered from the flu and colds. We are still trying to kick some lingering symptoms and hope that we are done with illnesses for the winter!
I will have to post some more pics from the holidays too but have to sign off for now. Ciao!