Saturday, August 13, 2005

Prayers Needed

It's the end of of the week. One more week has flown by. Today marks the five-month anniversary of our arrival on the field. Our inaugural service gets closer and closer and the workload and number of meetings get bigger and bigger. One part of me wishes we could open our doors tomorrow, the other part is completely terrified of all that will mean (and realizes that we don't even have doors to open!)

We're all starting to feel the effects of culture shock. Let me rephrase that: we are all overwhelmed by culture shock. I think. See, that's part of the problem. Culture shock isn't like chicken pox or some physical disease with set and clearly defined symptoms. It doesn't limit itself to one area of your life. Instead, we're all feeling it in different ways. Some people get moody, others tired. Some feel depressed, others just feel cranky. Some need to be around people, others need to be alone. At times, we don't even think we're experiencing culture shock. Instead, we blame it on our moods, our teammates, whether we got enough sleep the night before. I'm not writing as someone detatched from the situation- I have found myself in tears several times this week for what would at any other time be nothing. So, I ask you, our friends and family (and kind strangers) to keep us in your prayers.

Pray that we successfully manouver through this time. Pray that Satan doesn't use our feelings to drive wedges between us. Pray that we don't kill each other, or at the very least, don't wound each other verbally. Pray that the couples on the team find ways to help each other cope. Finally, pray that this time will make us hungrier for God and more desparate for Him, and that we will turn to Him to meet our needs.

While you're talking to God about us, please mention our financial situations. When we came on our survey trip last year, the exchange rate was about R$3.00 to US$1.00. All of our budgets were set using those figures. When we arrived five months ago, the exchange rate was R$2.75. The drop was difficult, but not too drastic. In the months since our arrival, the exchange rate has dropped to and hovered around $2.35 (and sometimes lower). The past two weeks have shown huge swings, with the value of the Real dropping and rising R$0.10 several times. It's made things like taking out money and paying bills very unpredictable. Budgets are becoming insufficient- they have dropped by a couple thousand Reais a month!

I thank the Lord that Russell and I are doing okay. Our finances aren't as good as we would like, but we feel abundantly blessed. (Though if the exchange rate continues to drop it will affect us greatly!) My concern is for others on our team. Money concerns are being brought up more and more as prayer requests. Families are finding it hard as more and more expenses keep popping up as budgets get tighter and tighter. I know that God is taking care of them, but sometimes I wish I had a better answer- one that would help them pay their bills on time!

I'm being quite candid right now, and I apologize if it bothers anyone. I am not bringing up the fact that people on the team are struggling financially to embarrass them. I am asking for your prayers. We need every member of this team. God brought us here to do an amazing task. I don't want us to be defeated before we get started. Please pray that the exchange rate will go back up and stabilize. Pray that new money is found so our teammates can relax and focus on the task at hand.

I'm so thankful that we serve a mighty God who is able and willing to supply our needs! Thank you for going to Him on our behalf.


Anonymous said...

Culture shock I kind of get but money shock I totally understand. No matter what theough you and your team are always in my prayers. My not-having-val shock is hard too especially with Riley so close to coming. Miss you terribly. Love, Jenny G

Court said...

Val, you and your team definitely have my prayers!!! I understand so well what you are going through, both with culture shock and with financial struggles. Nine years ago, I thought moving from West Germany to Oklahoma was difficult......But over the last 3 years, I've found that the Oklahoma to (former) East Germany transition has been even more difficult. I don't even know if it's "normal" culture shock, or reverse culture shock, or something even more complicated!

I spent our first 2 1/2 years in a deep depression. I was one of the I-want-to-be-alone people (still am, sometimes), which isn't exactly conducive to helping people. What helped me the most was that I started talking. I told my weird culture shock tale to anyone who would listen, whether they understood what I was talking about or not.

As for finances.....with the dollar steadily dropping against the Euro, we lose more money every month, too. But the Lord provides. We're not out on the street, and we still have enough to eat, enough to pay bills. I'm confident that God will bring you the help that you need, as much as you need, for as long as you need it!

So take heart--you and your team aren't alone in this! We're all in it with you!

(P.S. Sorry for the novel-length comment.) ;o)

Valerie said...

Thanks for your prayers, guys.

Courtney, I never even realized at the time that you were going through culture shock upon arriving in OK (though I was quite aware of my own!) Thanks for your encouraging words. (Anytime you get confirmation that your life is normal is great!)

Heather A said...

I know this comment is nearly a week late, so I don't even know if you will check this comment box again, but I wanted you to know that you and the whole team are in my prayers every night. After being with you guys for two weeks and seeing what you face and struggle with daily, I understand a lot more about how to pray for you guys. I know God has some amazing plans for all of you, and He will not let money issues and culture shock keep you from doing His will. I will keep bringing all of you before His throne daily. I love you all sooooooooo much!