Bonne Nouvelle Année!

Josh and Beth Paulick on January 12, 2020

    As we have come into the New Year, we have been doing a lot of reflection.  I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they were going to choose a word for the new year and as I thought through, I thought, I guess the all-encompassing word that I keep coming back to is “Intentional.”  Our first Sunday back in the States, in our Sunday school class, we talked about fellowship and what that means and one of the words used to take about it was “intentional.”  As I thought about it more, I thought so much about how I wanted to make sure I was intentional this year.  That I was intentional about building community and friendships (and growing friendships).  I want to be intentional about increasing my knowledge in French to continuing learning.  I want to be intentional about my relationship with my husband and with our children (discipling them and teaching them).  I want to be intentional about healing.  Most importantly, I also want to be intentional about growing in my faith and my walk with the Lord.  
    Right now, I am sitting on a couch staring out the window at the snow in Michigan while we are attending a growth and renewal retreat.  We have kind of talked about it some, but we wanted to make sure we are working on our marriage and relationship in a very tangible way, making sure we are in a good place before heading to Togo.  Also, in a state of transparency, I have been struggling with post-partum depression and in a lot of ways, it was amplified in a state of so much transition this past year and a half.  We are praying this is really a time of both renewal and growth for us.  We are both encouraged and hopeful for our time here.  Our kids are learning a lot of the same things we are learning on their level.  Learning about naming their emotions, and learning about loss and grief (as they feel this too, with saying “goodbye” to so many friends they make.), and dealing with stress.  All things that are important for kids to know and understand as well.  
    So now, for our timeline.  Since we last sent out a prayer letter, we took our exams in France.  Josh passed his exams and is doing well with his language learning.  It will be a lifelong learning process, but he has really picked up a lot.  I did not pass my exams.  I have plans set in place though, for continued language learning once we get to Togo, so I have been encouraged in that.  This is a picture of one of the sunsets during our last week of school.  It took my breath away when I saw it.  We definitely will miss a lot of our friends and miss our time in France. 

 

sunsetalbertville Albertville sunset

    We left France December 23rd and had a whirlwind of almost two weeks back in the states before coming to Michigan for our retreat.  We had a good time over Christmas spending time with family.  Eli got sick after Christmas and although I don’t like seeing our children sick, in a way it was a blessing, because we were kind of forced to stay home New Year’s Eve and spend time as a family.  We are so disappointed though that we have missed being able to touch base with so many friends and family while we were back in Dayton.  
    We have three weeks here in Michigan and then will be heading back to Dayton for a little over a week.  We are so very excited to have plane tickets for February 4th to head to Togo!  When we land, we will be navigating the capital city with some of our friends getting phone cards, grocery shopping and trying to navigate through what we need before we head north to Mango.  We are so excited to be heading to Togo and Josh is very excited to be starting surgery again soon.  (He has definitely been missing that!).  Elijah and Avery will be starting school in the missionary school on the hospital compound and are excited to be going there.  I will be probably starting some work with Isaiah while also taking care of Owen and figuring out how to best run our household in the new culture.  I can honestly say I am excited, but at times a little intimidated by this, but also excited to have a sense of “home.”  Josh will have a little time to help with getting our home set up before he heads to work, so that will be nice.  
    Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words.  Your prayers have definitely been felt.  

Prayers and Praises
1.). We are so thankful for this time to step back and have this opportunity to grow as a couple.
2.). Please be praying that we would be able to leave this conference feeling refreshed and ready for the challenges of moving to a new culture and for our time here that it would be very beneficial.    
3.)  Praise for the step of intensive language learning is over and although it is an ongoing learning process, that stage is finished!
4.)  Please pray for our time of transition