Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About the Boys

I often get asked, "How are the boys doing?" Let's see if I can pull the curtain back and give you glimpse into their lives.

A huge chunk of their time is spent at school. They boys are in College, which is the French equivalent of Junior High. They have classes from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays they have classes from 8:30 to 12:30. At first they spent the majority of their time in an adaption class for non-French-speaking students, but now they are almost fully integrated into regular classes.

As I mentioned in this post, the educational system in France VERY different from the educational system in the United States. The teachers often use shame as a tactic and SELDOM is heard an ENCOURAGING word. Understandably, this wears on their hearts and souls. Our main goal for putting them in the French school system was for them to learn to speak French at a conversational level. We are certain that that goal is being achieved, and we are proud of them for their perseverance.

In spite of the challenges, they can't help but let their brilliance shine through from time to time. Just last week, Graham received the highest grade in the class on a math test--and his score was significantly higher than anyone else's. Even this comes with a downside, as a high score seems to mean that the student is rewarded with higher expectations for performance.

In addition, the school is entirely godless--not that this surprises us. Graham has been learning about the origins of the universe in his Chemistry class. One student, who Graham knows is Muslim, asked the teacher about how religious beliefs, such as creationism, fit with the scientific theories that he was explaining. The teacher responded by belittling and mocking any such religious beliefs. He went so far as to say that if a student where to use theories of creationism in response to any questions on a test that student would fail the class.

Day after day our boys enter this secular pressure cooker, taking with them the light of Jesus. They are well liked by other students and appreciated by their teachers. They pray for their peers and educators; yet, they cannot help but feel isolated in their current context.

For these and other reasons, we are beginning to investigate alternative schooling options for the boys for next year. We would greatly appreciate your prayers in this matter.

On the bright side, they are growing by leaps and bounds. They are finding new depths to their faith and purpose in their calling to France. They have been able to look beyond their own suffering to see the brokenness of those around them. We are so very, very proud.

They have made friends with the children of other missionary kids that they have met at two different youth retreats. They stay in contact with these kids through facebook and e-mail, and we have found that GEM-Ks have a strong and instant bond with each other.

In their free time, they pursue their hobbies. Chandler plays and creates video games and reads. Graham plays guitar, practices cello, and sleeps. They have positive attitudes, they are helpful, and they are becoming incredible prayer warriors.

In the midst of all this, they still find ways to bless me each and every day. For my birthday, Graham bought me (with his OWN money!) this Skillet t-shirt. Skillet is Graham's favorite Christian rock band, and I like them, too. So here we are together in our Skillet t-shirts. Graham bought his at a Skillet concert last year. Nothing says "Fabulous and 40" like a gift like this from your eldest son!


  1. Keep it up! You got prayer warriors state-side backing you up! Great work on the front lines!

  2. I love France since I've been there las Summer. I'm follower

  3. My mom's heart goes out to them. I will include them in my prayers as well as next year's schooling issues. God bless you all!