"To fulfill the need for theological education, Lesotho TEE seeks to bring biblical training into the context of the people, providing study books to work through at one’s own pace, in community study groups with other LTEE students, while continuing to serve in the ministry to which one has been called of God."
- LTEE Vision Statement
Happy New Year!
...from the St.Clairs in Africa! We hope you all had a blessed Christmas season with your loved ones. A new year always provides reason to reflect on the past and pray over the future in a new way. As we are only about a week away from our first anniversary in Africa, we are certainly recounting the blessings of this first year and looking forward with anticipation to what God will do through us in 2014.
In early December...
...Jonathan finished his third semester online with Liberty. He now has four more semesters to complete before he will have earned his Master of Divinity degree with a focus on missional studies. It was a long and packed semester with school, our move to Mokhotlong, and our conferences in Maseru for TEE and Johannesburg with AIM leadership. We're very thankful to have a break now from the pressure of assignments and due dates.
Life in Mokhotlong
We are still thoroughly enjoying our life here in the mountains. Jonathan works regularly with his language tutor and is making great progress on Sesotho, albeit a very tough language. Unlike Spanish, which has so many similarities to English, Sesotho is very foreign to us in its structure and sound. But taking time in the afternoons to spend studying and practicing Sesotho with a local man is proving to be effective for gaining understanding. Our neighbors and the people we come in contact with are friendly and welcoming and we feel very much at home here.
TEE (theological education by extension) will be launched here in Mokhotlong on January 11th. Jonathan is busying coordinating the details for the launch, securing a venue and making the necessary phone calls, etc. He was also to develop a full curricular plan (31 pages!) for LTEE as a final project in a seminary class. By now, he has visited nearly all the churches in Mokhotlong to make them aware of the program beginning. There is a lot of excitement from the Basotho for the program to begin. Our friend and local pastor, Ntate Ntsimane, told Jonathan recently that his church members are eagerly anticipating the start of TEE! Because the program will be led in Sesotho, Jonathan will be using a translator at least in the beginning. Weekly meetings, ministry outreaches and quarterly conferences will be some of the requirements for the TEE students. We are excited to begin!
Abby has made contact with our local orphanage and has been approved to be a volunteer there once things come back to normal after the holidays. Touching Tiny Lives is working primarily with infants who are extremely malnourished and have lost one or both of their parents. Once health has been restored for the little ones, TTL works with the local communities to place the children back into the villages with a new primary caregiver - typically an aunt and uncle or a grandparent.
We had a nice Christmas which we spent with our new friends from Holland and also our Unit Leaders from South Africa. We were able to Skype with our families back in the States and had a few gifts from grandparents for Kyle and Ellee to open. We enjoyed a fairly traditional Christmas dinner and it felt good to continue on with some of our regular traditions with our children. It was tough to be away from home on such a special day, and as parents we shed a few tears. But, we were surrounded by the love of our new friends and in all, we had a blessed holiday.
Both Kyle and Ellee are doing well and growing up faster than we can believe. Kyle is eagerly anticipating his third birthday on March 2 and talks daily of our upcoming trip to the US. He can't wait to see his grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins! We are looking forward to visiting with our family, friends and participating in the three conferences we have been invited to attend. We are also eager for our loved ones to meet Ellee; it's hard to believe she'll be 9 months old before she meets any of the St.Clairs! We arrive in Atlanta on Feb 19 and have a full month of conferences and travels planned. We're greatly looking forward to seeing all of you who are at Cornerstone and Millbrook!
Over the past few months, our support level has still been fluctuating between $300-$500/month short. However, we have been blessed by how the Lord has provided in unexpected ways. Still we pray that the difference will be made up and that our support level will become more consistent.
We thank God for all of you...
...who support and encourage us through prayer and finances and feel honored to have served here for a year already. In 2013, we moved ourselves and all our stuff ten times, which as you can imagine was quite exhausting. We were so blessed by how God provided a home for us in Mokhotlong even when it looked as if there were no homes available and are so thankful to now be settled once again. As of yesterday, we have finally packed away all our suitcases and actually have a wardrobe to put our clothes in. I (Abby) never want to spend another year living out of suitcases! We have seen the Lord provide for us, stretch us, change us and teach us during this year. Most exciting was welcoming our daughter into the world this year and watching her grow these past seven months! 2014 has a lot to live up to, but at least we hope the coming year will be more settled than the past!
- Jonathan, Abby, Kyle & Ellee St.Clair