Monday, September 27, 2010

A tale of two worlds

 "What would prompt a young woman such as yourself to leave the US and a lucrative career as a physician to work in Africa for little to no money, with people you have never met, for people who you do not know?"   
    Each week there have been new students in my french class. This last week, a 22 yr old from New York state joined my class. Originally here to start a masters at the University, she learned upon arrival that her courses would be in both french and english, thus she has joined us for a few months. She joined us for lunch last week, and on thursday, joined Kathryn (another American) and I on a trip to Morat, a nearby city. On our return, I walked with her back to her hotel room in order to pick up my backpack I had left there. The time allowed us to have a very interesting conversation. 
      As we walked, she asked me the above question. See, to her, the idea was quite foreign. She comes from a first generation American-Russian Jewish family. Her father's world view, in her words, is to "bend over backwards for family, do anything, spare nothing, but for those not related to you, they are on their own." She acknowledged her father's way is not necessarily the best, and found my plans intriguing. 
      I explained to her my reasons: being called by God at a young age to be a doctor and a missionary, Jesus command to help the poor and needy, my love for others because Christ first loved me. I'm not the most eloquent or evangelistic person in the world, but it was wonderful to be able to share this with her. I hope there may be more conversations down the road, all with the same philosophy-duty and obligation gain us little, but love-to quote a popular song-THAT's what it's ALL about.

1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

Monday, September 6, 2010

First day of school

The Concept

“Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning and critical participation in the contemporary world.”
When I went to Spring Arbor University for college, the idea of being a lifelong learner was an idea often pressed upon us. I never thought I would ever stop learning, I just thought at some point I would stop formal schooling. But c'est la vie. I am now entering my twenty-fifth year of schooling (counting residency and my masters). I do like to learn. But I HATE feeling like I don't know anything, which is how I feel right now. Two year olds know more French than I do. I can barely ask "What is it?" (Qu'est-ce que c'est?, pronounced "kay-es kuh say" yeah, they left out a whole bunch of consonants). How will I know enough in three months to get by in Congo? The Wycliffe ladies who are here take 14 mos total of language study! Be praying I learn quickly.  And so, I should go do homework-devoir
Au revoir!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


My luggage-there is still another suitcase not in the picture.

For all of you wanting to know, I made it safely to Switzerland. Unfortunately, I currently feel 30+ hrs post-call, with that wonderful queasy stomach feel one gets when overtired and awake far too long. Sleep on the plane was difficult at best, but I did get in a few hours. I am blessed to have one piece of luggage not make it through to Zurich. It will be sent to Neuchatel via train or post. I say I am blessed because I do not know how I would have made it through the airport with one additional piece of luggage. I would have needed a second cart, which would have been impossible to make it onto the elevators needed to get to the train. 
Having literally thrown my luggage onto the train just before it left the station, it took a few minutes to really take 
a look around as the train pulled out of the station. My first realization was not the scenery (which wasn’t spectacular at first due to industrial appearing buildings), but that I was sitting in first class on a second class ticket. My prayers have been answered, however, and my ticket was just checked and nothing mentioned about sitting in the wrong class. Whew. I did not want to move my luggage. Now I can enjoy the scenery. 

Would you like to hear a description? There are houses, trees, cows, buildings, electricity lines, hills, cars, busses, etc. Sounds like the US, eh? Ha ha. They all do have a Swiss/European flair to them (well, maybe just the man made things.)  Perhaps a picture would do better justice.
View from the train
View from my window
I've now met Hermine (pronounced er-meen), the woman I will be living with for the next three months. She is quite nice, has a wonderful flat with a great view of the lake. Tomorrow I will take a walk to explore things a bit more, and share a few pictures of my surroundings. From what I understand, there is another woman here taking French courses that just arrived today, as well as several others who have been here for a few months. One is leaving tomorrow. Apparently there are quite a few who come here for language training with Wycliffe Bible Institute. 

Oh, I almost forgot the best part-there was a box of Swiss chocolate waiting for me on my bedstand on my arrival. Fantastic! Tres Magnifique!

Leaving on a Jet plane

I knew leaving my family would be difficult, but I did not imagine just how difficult that would be. Add that to the stress of packing and trying to spend time with them the last week before leaving, and you’ve got an emotional overload in the making. I’m thankful to all my friends and family who have  been praying for me during this time. I really needed the prayers, and could still use them. 
For those fellow PRP fellows, packing and saying good bye are the hardest things to do. I was trying to finish up the last of my packing Thursday night when I hit a wall. A brick wall, head on, full force. I could no longer function. As I lay on the floor sobbing, my mom came and prayed with me. She, my dad and my sister helped me to complete my packing before heading to bed for a few brief hours. In total (for my final destination of Congo) I have 6 trunks (possibly 7 by the time a few things get rearranged), two duffles, a suitcase, a carry on suitcase, a backpack, and my camera. However, I only have two of the trunks with me currently. How the rest get to Congo is yet to be determined but there are several ideas, contingent on a few things. They will get there. The other pieces of luggage contain mostly things for Switzerland-its difficult to pack for three seasons. (late summer, fall, and winter).