Pictures!

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Our family at the airport…yes, we all had orange shirts and it was the BEST decision I have made in a long time!!! No one came between our “family line” as we walked through the airport and we were given special privileges because people just looked at us and knew immediately we were all together then would put us first in line.

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Our beloved van that makes me feel like a truck driver. ūüôā

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the kids’ school

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Darrell and I on a Wednesday morning when the older kids have school and Shiloh and Darrell and I don’t! Wednesdays Rock!

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Love these silly girls.

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Yes, this view, it’s breathtaking! This was taken next to our house.

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Tea party time in our kitchen, thankfully we also have a large dining room to eat in.

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I love this picture. All of the Dads who commute to the school everyday with so many kids on bikes were stuck at the train tracks so Darrell took this awesome picture of everyone.

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Market time!¬†This was actually before we started school, we can’t wait to visit the markets again once we have a break in 4 weeks. ¬†Maybe then I can actually ask for what I want and then know what they are saying when they tell me how much it is!

Newsletter, Sept 18th

Here is our most recent newsletter!

Albertville, France

To attempt to put into words our first four weeks in France is a daunting task.  There have been so many great moments and so many debilitatingly overwhelming moments. I think the best way to convey our life here and our transition would be through pictures and high/low bullet points.

High: We arrived after an uneventful flight in Aug. to a 5-bedroom fully-furnished, wonderful 104-year-old house on the school campus.
Low: It can be hard to make a house your home when nothing in it is actually yours, it takes some settling and getting used to.

High: The kids have shocked us with how well they have adjusted to French public school. ¬†There have certainly been sad days and tears from¬†them, but overall, Darrell and I are rejoicing in God’s provision of friends for them and joyful moments at school.
Low: With school comes illness. Since class started two weeks ago Darrell and I have actually only attended two full days of class due to sick children. We have come up with a good system where each of us stays home half a day, but missing half a day of class over and over again makes it very difficult to stay on top of things.

High: There is a precious single woman here (a student at the school) ¬†who has felt God’s prompting to help our family. This has been huge…HUGE! ¬†She has come once or twice a week to help with dishes (we have no dishwasher so hand washing is taking a large amount of time each day)¬†and laundry. ¬†I don’t think I can even express to you how awesome this has been, such a gift from God!

High/Low: We had a sonogram of baby 7 last week with an OB in town.  He spoke English (bonus!) and was very kind, but we did find out that I now have placenta previa  (it was low lying before now) and a c-section is necessary.  We are rejoicing that we are in a safe place for surgery and for the medical care leading up to it, but it was still disappointing and not our favorite news to hear.

High: I, Becky, attended my first sewing class ever….in French. ¬†Our school strongly encourages us to be involved in the community. ¬†As you can imagine, that is very difficult for us, but Darrell and I each wanted to at least attempt to be involved. My sewing group meets twice a month to do a small project together. ¬†It was exhausting because of how little French I know, but even in that one night I learned so much just trying to communicate!

High: We prayed for God to provide a vehicle for us seeing as our kids go to a school that is a 20 minute walk away. ¬†For two weeks Darrell has been biking with a trailer with two little girls and then three big kids trailing behind him….4 times a day,¬†rain or shine.¬† French school has a two-hour break at lunch so you drop them off, pick them up, drop them off, and then pick them up again….it’s kind of A LOT! But we have found that two hour lunch break to be a great time to connect with the kids and touch base on how they are feeling emotionally and physically. ¬†All that said, God finally showed up the perfect¬†van to buy here in town. It was so cheap, so old, and works great (so far)! ¬†We are so thankful! (picture below) ¬†It will be such ¬†blessing to us to help us buy groceries and commuting children back and forth to school on rainy and snowy days.

I have to say, I am actually surprised the highs have outweighed the lows on this page. Even though living in France sounds so fancy (when they say, “Madame Baskin” at the hospital I feel like I should walk straighter and stand taller)¬†and you imagine sitting at cafes sipping expresso, it’s just not like that, at all, with 6 kids and two parents in full time language school. Darrell and I study at least an hour and a half most nights after we put all the kids to bed and do the dishes. ¬† We feel exhausted and overwhelmed most days and when kids keep waking up with fevers, it can be¬†very disheartening.

Please pray that we would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. That we would spend time with Him daily to renew our strength and rest in His peace. ¬†Praise God with us that our kids are doing so well in school and please pray that they continue to enjoy it and to make friends. Please pray that the last 5 weeks of this pregnancy would be problem free and that God would remove our fears and we could walk peacefully into the c-section on¬†Oct. 26th. ¬†And lastly, that our time here in France would be used by God to share the love of Christ with those who do not know Him. That somehow, with broken French, we could convey God’s love for the people of France.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and financial support.  We could not be here without an army behind us!

With Love,
The Baskin Brigade

Our First Three days of French public school….

Needless to say, I am far behind on blogging. I can never decide if it’s time for another newsletter or just a blog post, but doing both never seems to materialize. So here we are, exactly 2 weeks into our new lives as students in France. ¬†Our kids had their first day of French public school on Tuesday. ¬†To say that I was nervous about this day would be the understatement of the year….the decade. I was ready to throw up. I dreamed all the night before about missing classes and test and my stomach hurting so badly I needed to go to the ER and could never eat again! But on Monday night I sat down with my Bible and, as I often do I, was straight up with God. “Lord, I need a word here…a verse…SOMETHING to tell me that you see this and you are going to care for my babies as they go off into this place tomorrow.” ¬†I opened my Bible and read what was next on my reading plan, Matthew 18. ¬†Then I bumped into 18:10…”For I tell you that in heaven their (this would be children’s) angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” ¬†I was kind of stumped at this. I am not a “oh we each have a guardian angel” sort of person, I don’t think I have ever said that. But then I read that verse, then some commentaries, then a few more verses. ¬†“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11) ¬†And then I knew. I knew God was telling me that my kids, my 5 precious 3-9 year old kids were NOT going alone to French public school. God was with them, an angel was with them, SOMEONE was with them. Though I had anxious sleep that night, I still felt at peace, and really full of joy because God had answered my prayer to give me a word to cling to as I sent my babies off alone. And at drop off on Tuesday morning not a single one of my kids cried (a TRUELY huge miracle!) and I only cried for a few minutes….another huge miracle.

So, how did it go? ¬†Remarkably….amazingly…..totally unexpectedly….terrific. In France kids come home for a two ¬†hour lunch break every day, and on Wednesdays they don’t go back to school after that break. ¬†So only 3 hours after dropping them off on the first day I got to hug them and ask how they were doing. ¬†I was so nervous that I would have 5 kids in puddles of tears, but NO! They loved it. They were jolly and merry as they trotted away after lunch to go back. ¬†I was floored. Totally taken off guard. Seriously kids????? You actually liked be thrown into a school where they only speak French to you and you have no idea what is going on? Really? ¬†But they did, and they do. ¬†I don’t expect it to be a tear free year by any stretch but to have our first week go so well has been a huge answer to many prayers for us. ¬†Locksley, 3, has been crying a bit at drop off but so are all the other French 3 year olds.

In all, we actually really like the French system. ¬†Seeing our kids every day at lunch gives us a chance to check in and reassure them before they march back in to face 3 more hours of French. ¬†They are so courageous and strong, we could not be more proud of them. ¬†We also love that Wednesdays are half days. ¬†It’s the perfect time in the middle of the week to get extra outside playtime in and to build up the stamina to go back in for Thursday and Friday.

Some things that are different at French school:¬†Children start public school at 3, they go the same hours as their older siblings. ¬†The preschool classes have to have special inside shoes, like slippers, that they must put on before going into class. ¬†All their writing is on graph paper. ¬†Our boys will be taking swimming lessons once a week while at school….that’s cool! And France has a law that the streets must be quiet after 10:00pm….that is probably my favorite law ever. You can count on the entire town being silent after 10:00 so when your windows are open at night you aren’t disrupted by your neighbor’s party!

On other notes: We live in a beautiful, very old, 5 bedroom house on our language school campus. ¬†The elementary is about a 20 minute walk (with kids) away from our home. ¬†When you factor in the lunch pick up situation that makes for hours of walking. As it stands now, Darrell rides a bike with a trailer in the back while Seattle, Hudson, and Jack trail behind on their bikes. It is enjoyable for the kids but highly stressful for Darrell because of traffic. Thus, we are praying about purchasing a van for our time here that will ease some of that commute time to school. ¬†The kids will be crushed if we completely take away the bike riding option (which we won’t), but I think once the snow comes they will be happy to hop in a van. ūüėČ

Our flight over here was uneventful. Airports treated us very well and we were often allowed to the front of most lines. It was such a blessing. ¬†The actual plane flight was slightly painful, but not worse than expected with an 18 month old and a 3 year old…..and 4 other children.

I want to post a thousand pictures but I am afraid that if I don’t just get this posted then it will never be posted. ¬†So, I promise to try and post a blog of tons of pictures once time allows….which may be never considering things are sort of insanely crazy here!!!! ¬†Oh and Darrell and I start our full time class work tomorrow. We are nervous, excited, and wondering how this will all work out. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Baby girl 7 is due in 8 weeks, we are so excited to meet her and so far she is doing wonderfully in the womb, praise the Lord for a great pregnancy.

Blessings to you from France!

Our time at MTI so far….

Favorite Quotes:

Darrell and I at Red Robin, ‚Äúwe would like a booth‚Ķ.a booth that has no exits and traps children in please.‚ÄĚ

Hudson, ‚ÄúWe are SO popular here!! Everyone comes over to us. I think it‚Äôs because we have 6 kids and we are moving to Burundi.‚ÄĚ (Hudson is expressing how amazingly kind everyone is here. Families help us every day by getting us food, drinks, cleaning up the floor, and supervising our kids. Just yesterday 4 people helped us just during lunch (which is in a cafeteria). ¬†It has been a true blessing to meet so many kind people in one place. And once a week the families with older kids and singles babysit for all of the families with young kids. So Darrell and I have actually gone on two dates while we have been here!)

Our Frist Week at MTI: written a week and a half ago

After a two-day road trip that actually went quite well, we all made it here to Palmer Lake, Colorado, last weekend to begin our training at Missionary Training International.

When we first arrived, we were thrilled to see that they had assigned us three adjoined rooms. This was a huge blessing because we knew this particular month’s program was very full and that most families would have to squeeze into fewer rooms. (picture hotel rooms) So now the boys have a room with twin beds, the girls have a room with a double and a twin, and Darrell and I are sharing a room with Shiloh who is in a pack-n-play. It has all worked out wonderfully, and we feel like we have plenty of space to be comfortable for our 4 week stay here.

Our first week here has mainly consisted of language training. This seemed crazy to us that two weeks could be spent on language training while still being applicable to all the different missionaries who come here, but it’s amazing how helpful it is. We are going through the PILAT program that teaches you different phonologies and ways to make sounds with your mouth. They also teach us how to best use a language helper. So today I spent 3 hours with a Hindi tutor and Darrell with a Russian tutor. This was so that we could see how easy it was to use this technique even when we didn‚Äôt have a vested interest in learning the language. So now I know some Hindi!

The kids have LOVED their classes. I was nervous about putting them in childcare all day (we get them out to each lunch with us). We have had some bumpy times and I have certainly cried ‚Ķevery single day, but the older kids, Juliet and up, have really loved their class. My favorite part of their lessons has been how their teachers are mimicking some of our lessons but at their level. So the girls (4,6) have learned about how God made all languages and how He created each of us to speak language. The boys, (8,9) are learning how to identify when they feel nervous and how to express the yuck feelings and the yea feelings at the same time. They call it the ‚Äúyuck duck‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äúyea duck,” as in a “pair of ducks,” or paradox. The goal is that we each can walk through this journey allowing both ducks to swim side by side.

The next three weeks will consist of one more week of language training followed by two weeks of field preparation.

MTI week 3. Written today:

So here were are, much more quickly than we presumed, at week 3 of our training. I am already sad at the thought of leaving yet relieved to get back to a life of normal…..oh wait…no, that’s actually NOT what’s going to happen! Reality check: life will not be normal or settled for a very long time.

Today we talked about transition. The kids (ages 4 and up) joined us in class today for various bridge building and crossing exercises. It was so nice to have them with us so we could talk about chaos together. The stages of the bridge are: settled, unsettled, chaos, re-settling, newly settled. The activity was made out of chairs and then exercise balls (the chaos part) and teams had to work their way across. In each case, people on the side had to be used to balance and support those crossing. This brought out the fact that as you are in chaos/transition/mayhem, those around you will be affected. You will have to lean on your support system to cross this chasm successfully. At the end of all the discussion they added some rope to the sides of the ‚Äúbridge.‚ÄĚ The rope represents Jesus. His ever constant, always present, always stabilizing presence. What a gift that we do not have to begin this crossing alone! Darrell and I both feel like we are smack dab in the middle of the unsettled zone. Some of our kids feel like they are still in the ‚Äúsmiley face‚ÄĚ zone while one of them feels like he is closer to the chaos zone. Each of us will experience this differently as we enter our true chaos zone over the next two years. So what was the definitive message from today? That no matter what is going on around us God will always be with us. His word will not change. His peace will not waver. But we must look to Him, cry to Him, and reach for our guard rails each step of the way.

Pslam 63:7-8 ‚ÄúFor you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me.‚ÄĚ

The Pain and the Glory of our Move

I figured the best way to convey to you how our move went was to show you in pictures.  I have to say that I hope this will prove to be the most painful part of the process of becoming missionaries whose home is undefined for the time being, because it was probably one of the most difficult things we have ever done in our lives.

This was by far the most painful moment for us so far in the goodbyes catagory, leaving our golden retriever with our friends.  The boys cried, I cried, my mom cried, it was very difficult.  But we know he is in good hands joining a family with 5 kids and one on the way who live out in the country. He will feel right at home.  We also gave Mr. Nibbles, our benevolent hamster, to a friend; and our other dog will stay with my parents in Houston for now, which was a gift because saying goodbye was getting very old.

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This is a picture of our container. ¬†We were the first of three families to load our Burundi-bound items into a 40-ft container. This was the end result of multiple very hot and long days for Darrell and friends. ¬†Some items on there: mattresses for our family, one couch, some living room chairs, some rugs, and maybe some mac and cheese that doesn’t expire for a long time.

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I know that you can imagine, but really, it’s hard to fathom¬†how difficult it is to pack with children looming around taking items out of your goodwill bags and putting them into a bin for Burundi or France. It was just hard! But praise the Lord for so many friends who watched multiple children multiple times. We could not have done this move without so many people helping us.¬†IMG_5083

Here we had a friend loan us his truck, trailer, and time to take our first load off to the container on his land.

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House in utter chaos, enough said! At this point a friend had loaned us their house so thankfully we did not have to live amongst the madness.

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This is from March, but it shows so many of our neighborhood friends that came to Hudson’s birthday party. People we will miss dearly.

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Lastly, I wish I had a picture for this but in the craziness of this move I have misplaced it. We found out that our next baby, due Oct 30th in France, is another GIRL! We are thrilled, the girls are thrilled, the boys have some hard feelings but they are warming up to the idea. ūüėČ

Blessings to you this week.

Becky

PS, Today, we effortlessly sold our 11-year-old Honda Civic after someone from church approached us and offered to buy it from us at our price.  God has truly made every provision for us!

Our First Ever Garage Sale!

Well, after almost 11 years of marriage, we finally had our first garage sale. Darrell was conveniently out of town, I might add, but with the help of my parents we pulled it off! We made three hundred dollars, and I think it marked a milestone in our transition.¬† Post-garage sale, I now look at everything with a label on it: ¬†“France,” “Burundi,” “sell,” or “donate” ¬†Though I cried for two days preceding the garage sale, it actually ended up not being as bad as I thought. I felt so emotional about pricing items that I didn’t really want to even sell! I feel like garage sales are always people’s junk, but these are things that we really enjoy, they just have the wrong voltage intake, or size, or color. (white couch, NOT happening in Burundi!) People were much kinder than I expected and I even had one guy pay me $10 extra bucks for bar stools because he said the price was too low. I mean, really, that happens? I felt like God just poured out his mercy honestly. Our neighbors were an amazing help and it seemed like God brought the most unlikely people to buy things. ¬†(like the guy mowing the Ft. Sam lawns)

So what are we actually taking to Burundi? ¬†Here is the short list. Clothes…..clothes…..some more clothes…and some fitted sheets. ¬†With 6 kids and 3 years of clothes to pack for each of them, it is taking up quite a lot of space. So some of our original plans to bring mattresses have gone out the window, and now we are down to what REALLY needs to get packed. ¬†Kitchen ware, one Queen mattress, one easy to clean and very green couch, some cozy and thick rugs (hard to get in Burundi), and fitted sheets that are also hard to find there. So we are planning to fill 15 linear ft. of a 40 ft. shipping container that we are sharing with other families. ¬†Lord willing, our hearts will be loosely attached to our earthly possessions and we will be able to release them easily.

Things that won’t go. ¬†Mainly….everything. ¬†But secondly, our pets. ¬†If you are a pet person, then you know how hard this is. ¬†We have two dogs that we have had since they were 6 weeks old and Charlie, our cock-a-poo, we have had since our first month of dating! Talk about hard to say goodbye to! These guys were my first babies! I used to brush their teeth every night. ¬†Sam, our golden retriever, has a home with a family with 5 going on 6 kids. ¬†He has visited them frequently and it is the perfect match! Charlie, on the other hand, has yet to find a new forever home. ¬†Please pray that God will bring the perfect family for him. ¬†If he doesn’t get a new home we have family members that have offered to take him if need be.

Followers

Here is our April newsletter that you can receive via e-mail by clicking on the button under the main picture of the blog.

It seems like I’ve been reading a lot of books lately. ¬†So forgive me if I don’t remember which one asked me who I was following. ¬†But one of them did or maybe it was at an Air Force Pep Rally, aka Commander’s Call. ¬†At any rate, I actually thought about it (and then tuned out the rest of the talk…pretty sure it was a talk now). ¬†And before you read on, let me ask you the same question: ¬†Can you name someone¬†whom you are emulating/patterning your life after?

I have to say that if you pick Jesus, that’s totally fine, but it’s really hard to translate a man from 2 millenia ago into nowadays. ¬†I’m always asking myself, would Jesus have a twitter, fb or instagram account? ¬†or would he even own a phone. ¬†would he play videogames? ¬†what would he say to that¬†guy with the cardboard sign at the stoplight? ¬†what kind of smartwatch would he wear¬†ūüôā ¬†would he read this newsletter?? ¬†so pick your person¬†before you see who I picked, not that I’m worried that you’re just going to copy me, but as a thought exercise. ¬†also, totally fine if you pick your dad or mom, but that’s a little lame…just kidding Mom and Dad! ¬†but seriously, those three are off-limits.

so, many of you know that we named our second son Hudson after a missionary to China. ¬†so I picked him and George Mueller (and Abraham Lincoln), because I couldn’t pick just one, and Patton, but he’s often too vulgar to¬†quote to my children or to include in these newsletters, but that man knew¬†how to give a fine¬†speech. ¬†once you pick who you’re going to follow, it stands to reason that you should know more than the average person about their life. ¬†i’d only ever read a children’s book on him when I was young (not ashamed to say it was in my¬†college years), thus¬†i started listening to “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret,” and no, I’m not going to give the secret away here, but I can say I have been significantly challenged by that man’s actions and faith. ¬†My relationship with Jesus is not about duty (unlike the Air Force) or obligation (Air Force again), but Hudson Taylor spent very regular time with the Lord reading the Bible and praying. ¬†Becky and I have discovered that if you start getting up 30 minutes early to pray, so do the kiddos. ¬†Same goes for an hour earlier. ¬†Turns out that kids were doing this back in the 1800s too, so guess what Hudson Taylor did. ¬†He got up at 2 am local time and prayed/read for 2 hours then went back to bed. ¬†by candlelight mind you. ¬†when traveling and when at home.

my church (and Serge) are all about grace, and I’m with them, so the¬†last thing I would want to do is guilt anyone into chunking time away with God. ¬†But I will say this, that if bodily exercise profits a little (1 Tim 4:8), and i love to work out five days a week, then spending time at the feet of Jesus is an investment that will never lose its value or be taken away (luke 10:39, 42). ¬†If you’re intrigued by these thoughts, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of “The Divine Mentor;” Becky asked me to read it about a baker’s dozen times before I got through the first chapter, but then I just gave in and read it and am so glad that I did.

Some of you may be wondering how we’re doing in our preparations to leave. ¬†So am I. ¬†Please pray for us. ¬†I mean it, if you can’t think of anyone to pray for, please pray for us, we always need prayer, especially from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, CST. ¬†We love our children so much, we just want to eat them up, and sometimes we almost do, so please please pray for us to be wise, loving and patient parents. ¬†Pray for wisdom about moving/selling/giving away stuff (leaving San Antonio in late June for MTI). ¬†We are so thankful for all of the support we’ve received from friends and family. ¬†We are so blessed.

And finally, please pray for the people and the leadership of Burundi.  Elections are coming up in June and there are already a lot of protests in the streets (call me or email me if you want to know why).

May God be with each of you,
Darrell and the Baskinses

Documenting our journey to Burundi.