It was a beautiful day as we drove onto the campus that was to be our temporary home for the next eight weeks. Our job training began January 21st and ended on the same day in March, a week ago. For these two months we were provided with three meals a day and a cozy little apartment within a house that held three other apartments, and thus, we called these houses “quads.” Our fellow quad mates were incredibly interesting families, all of whom were going to South Asia, and one couple had already worked there as singles and were returning with a 13 month old and a baby on the way!
Everyone we met during training had the most amazing stories and it was exciting to be able to share in this peculiar adventure of relocating elsewhere in the world with others. The knowledge that we were not alone in this transition made the scarier implications a little less frightening.
Thus our training started every weekday at 07:00. Most days we got off work at 15:00 since that’s when the provided childcare ended, and some days one of us would have to stay until 17:00, and a few days one of us would have to work until 20:00, but never later than this.
Our workday consisted of several sessions: the morning session, lunch, 1st evening session, 2nd evening session (and child pick-up), diner, and the occasional night session. During these sessions we learned the intricacies and various exceptions of our company’s policies, their overall expectations of us, and what our expectations should be of them. We were given personality tests (MBTI) and led through team building exercises. We met the company leaders and heard many inspirational stories of both success and failure.
Some sessions were held in a large auditorium with the whole group while other sessions had us split up by destination, age, marital status, number of children etc. and were conducted in smaller amphitheaters.
While it was exciting to learn the finer details of our company, we were much more thankful for the opportunities we had to draw closer to Christ and to each other. Never before had we spent so much time together, even while dating. Hitherto, there was always somewhere one of us had to go, be it work or school. It was such a blessing to get up together to pray, read Scripture, and talk over coffee, only to leave for work together to work together!
It was also very nice for little linville to go to classes designed just for him. His teachers were amazing and there was only one time that he cried after being dropped off and he had good reason to cry after falling and bonking his head on a bench in his mad dash to get to class. Little linville loved having other little people to play along with and he seemed to flourish in the classroom environment. Like Mr. linville, he seems to thrive on social interaction. His teachers went beyond arts and crafts and taught him about flying in airplanes, riding in rickshaws, and introduced him to the animals of South Asia as well. Little linville learned how to walk in line and how to sleep on his own little cot and how to sit in his own little chair. His teachers often had funny stories to share with us about little linville, for he had a habit of sneaking into the bathroom to play in the water or sneaking out of class to play with the older kids. Nevertheless, despite all his fun, he never failed to run into our arms at the end of the day yelling “mama!” or “papa!” with a big grin on his face. We were so thankful that he loved school so much.
There is no way to share everything that we learned from our training. The practicality of it all was so reassuring, especially for a family that has never traveled internationally. To summarize, let it suffice to say that we have been taught how to survive the trip, how to expect the unexpected, how to avoid most diseases, how to stay relationally and mentally healthy, and how to adopt a foreign country, language, and culture so as to make it our country, our language, and our culture, and therefore, our new home.
For us, as Christians, we also learned something that will greatly help us in the days to come. A loving brother taught us a new way to see the Scriptures using the acrostic: S.P.E.C.K.A. It breaks down like this, as you read the Scriptures you ask yourself: “do I see any sins, any promises, any examples, any commands, or any knowledge, in this passage that I can apply to my life?” In the end, it’s nothing more than a simple way to avoid skimming over Scripture. You will always be more observant when are looking for something than when you are not. There are many more helpful Bible study tools out there, like the inductive method, but this is a simple straightforward tool that we have enjoyed using as a family.
We are so thankful for everyone’s prayers for us during this time of learning and growing. So much has happened in just the past month that it’s hard to think straight. Even now, as I right this, we are driving back from Florida where we were blessed to be able to attend the funeral of Mr. linville’s grandfather who passed away on Sunday. Thank you so much for your prayers! We desperately desperately desperately need your prayers.
For those who have been praying for us to receive our visas, thank you so much. I spoke with the Embassy today, but to no avail. It breaks our hearts to admit this, but it does not seem likely that we will get our passports back in time to depart on Sunday, as scheduled. Nevertheless, we rest in God’s timing and esteem His plan much better than ours, praying, as Christ taught us “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10); and we are empowered by Christ’s words in Matt. 18:19&20 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”