When we arrived in France we had a one year student visa and we knew it would be necessary to renew the visa for our additional time in France. After a bit of a struggle we did in fact receive our renewal earlier this year. However, on our way home we looked carefully at our renewed card and realized that rather than giving us another full year (something we wrongly assumed they’d do), our newly acquired renewal was set to expire in July. At that time we still thought we’d need to stay until October or later so we knew we’d need to try to once again renew our visa. After getting the green light to go to Togo this August we began communicating with the French consulate to see how to simply extend our visas the extra month and a half in order to remain in France until the end of August when we are planning on departing. This extension is necessary in order for me (Ethan) to take the summer course I’m planning on taking at school, to take the TCF official French language exam, and to reenter France after packing our container in the US. The consulate advised us that we may have to leave the Schengen Region of Europe, stay at least a day outside, and reenter with a 3 month tourist visa. Unfortunately this would have been expensive and a hassle as it would have meant Melissa and I would need have needed to fly to somewhere like Morocco or London with Ezra and leaving the other 3 boys with someone while reenter with a 3 month tourist visa. Even though Melissa is no longer a student, we decided to press forward with an attempt to get an extension on our student visa until August 31st. We weren’t sure it would work but decided to try all options before looking at the leaving the country option. Today was our appointment with the officials for the renewal of our student visa and armed with a letter one of our language partners had help write listing all the reasons it was necessary that we stay in France until the end of August, we got a much more positive response than we had dreamed possible and it looks like our renewal will be approved through the 5th of September. While we still need to mail a couple pieces of supporting documents in, unless they find another problem with our application it seems we’ll be allowed to stay until our August 31st flight to Togo. We are very thankful and relieved for this outcome and appreciate those that have prayed for this process.
So I’ve never watched any of her shows but if you said the name Paula Deen to me and asked me to tell you the first word that comes to mind, I’d probably say “butter”. In an effort to find a recipe that could use up some of the leftover French bread loaves that seem to get pretty tough after a day or so, I found a recipe by Paula Deen called Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup. This recipe does contain more than its share of butter but hey it’s important not to let our bread go to waist right?
Today Aaron was excited to be getting a shot… It turns out he preferred getting out of school in the afternoon and getting a shot to going swimming with his class. I guess the swimming adventure in his required French swimming gear, and with the other French factors is not something he looks forward to each week. Tim and Angela went with Melissa as she took the boys to the local doctor for another set of shots today. We appreciate their help and their visit.
Today was another trip to the public health department at Chambery for more vaccinations. We’ll be back one or two more times but we’re on the down-hill side of getting all our vaccinations needed for the move to Togo. Today felt like a light day as Eli and Ethan each got two shots today but everyone else just received one today. Here they are awaiting their shots in the waiting room. All of them do very well getting shots now. Aden cries and fights it while he’s in the room sitting in “the” chair, but almost immediately after his shot is finished he turns it off like a switch and is back to his normal cheerful self as he watches his brothers get their shots.
So I plan on finding out what danger this sign is warning us about… Any guesses? Today we saw this sign while driving and took a picture so I could ask someone what I should have been looking for. I’m not sure what is says about our sense of caution that we took the photo and continued on without too many worries.
UPDATE: Thanks to a tip and link from Trevor, the mystery is solved. This sign prohibits the transportation of flammable liquid on this road.
The boys needed to get rid of some energy tonight so we took a short hike and along the way passed another of Albertville’s “Insect Hotels”. I think there are 4 or 5 around town maybe we’ll have to visit all of them. Other than ants, this one didn’t seem to be very flooded with customers.
Happy Birthday Aden! This little guy turned two today. Since he moved with us to France when he was just over 7 months old, he has lived longer in France than in the US and probably before we return to the States he will have lived longer in Togo than any other country. This guy is a complete blessing, lots of energy and loves being outside.
Well our time in France is winding down. We recently were given clearance to make our move to Togo this summer. We will be arriving in Togo on Sunday, August 31st. This is very exciting for us but there remains much to do… Between studies, exams, my (Ethan’s) quick trip back to the states to shop and get our container shipped off in late July, and packing up our Albertville appartment, I’m sure we’ll stay busy.
Apparently there has been a lot of activity on the construction of our house in Togo recently. We are so thankful for the many teams and individuals who have worked so hard, to help with the hospital project. Here is a recent photo of a couple of ladies from a team working on painting the upper portion of our home.
Melissa will finish up her classes with Ezra in-tow. This will be Melissa’s last week of formal classes. However, she will continue to meet twice a week with language partners and continue to work on keeping up her vocabulary while watching Ezra and Aden.
Today Baby Samuel came home! We have heard from several of you that you have been praying for baby Samuel. He is the baby that was born to one of the students who live one floor below us. He is the 4th of 4 boys and he was born on April 2nd but because of medical problems has been in the hospital until today. He began having problems shortly after birth and was transferred to a bigger hospital in Grenoble (about an hour away from Albertville). More testing showed he had Hirschsprung’s Disease (a problem with how his large intestine worked). After a several week wait, he had surgery to remove 22 cm of his large intestine. He recovered well from his surgery and he and his mom (who has stayed with him in Grenoble for the past 6 weeks at a Ronald McDonald house) returned home to the Center on today. They still have many follow-up appointments and will likely go back to the States after classes are finished this summer. They are not sure how their plans to move to Africa will be affected at this point. Please continue to pray for healing from the surgery and that God will give them wisdom as they make big decisions for their family.