What a difference a few months makes!

Peter and Rachel Bittle are continuing with their language and culture studies in Asia-Pacific. They have also been learning what a difference a few months makes! They picked the kids up from school one Friday in the middle of March, and set off with some friends to a nearby city for a three day half term holiday. Little did they know that it would be the last day of school for their kids, and was soon to be the last day of complete freedom they would experience until the end of June!

Soon after they arrived home, they entered a period of ‘lockdown’ – no school, no house helpers, no ‘face to face’ language sessions, and no leaving the house (apart from urgent things like groceries). It was difficult to try to balance their time with language learning, home schooling, and the general chores of life, but God is good and showed His faithfulness in so many ways throughout ‘lockdown’.

They now have ‘most’ of their freedoms back, as the government has encouraged people to adopt a ‘new normal’ way of life.

Last week Peter, Rachel, and family travelled to meet some of the leadership team in another region to chat about a possible future ministry opportunity for them in that region They were able to travel a little bit within the island whilst there.

This is a big thing for them as a family on many levels. Pray for them as they travel home, as travelling at this time is not without its risks. Also, pray that it would be clear whether or not this is the region that God is leading them to next and that He would give them clear guidance regarding their future.

Pray for them as a family as they have to quarantine for two weeks once home.

They have just celebrated their first year in Asia-Pacific. Along with their American friends who arrived on the field at the same time they had a trip into the mountains, went out for lunch and then walked around some gardens. It was a great way to celebrate as they reflected on God’s faithfulness throughout the past year.

The kids are (still) keeping Peter and Rachel on their toes. They are mostly doing well, but do sometimes struggle with the lack of ‘English speaking’ social interaction. Please keep praying for them (and their families that miss them so much). Hannah has learnt how to ride her bicycle (with no stabilisers!), and is loving her new freedom! Naomi is almost a scooter girl! School work is definitely not Reuben’s favourite part of the day, BUT they have seen huge progress is his abilities during ‘lock down’ which is a massive answer to prayer!

Their church has started to meet ‘face-to-face’ again. There are of course some restrictions…children aged twelve and under are not permitted to attend, neither are adults over seventy years of age. Masks must be worn, and hands washed before entering the building. Seating is social distanced and they have to ‘sign in’ to the services because there is limited space. It was a joy to be able to sing together again for the first time in months. Peter attends the 7am service and Rachel the 9am service.

At the end of last month, Peter and Rachel had another language evaluation and they are both progressing well. However, there is a long road ahead and neither of them feels particularly confident in their communication yet. They feel like they climb one mountain peak, and then realise there is another one straight ahead. Pray for them that they would stay motivated and disciplined, and that they would have the confidence to practice more.