Ohhhhhh, Chipotle!

There are plenty of things the Shaws love about our life in Congo. There is no shortage of people greeting us, willing to allow us to practice our new French skills with them, and possibly wanting a selfie with us. We have tried new foods, explored new landscapes, and tried our hand at homeschooling. The breadth and depth of new experiences seems limitless but sometimes we indulge ourselves and reminisce over the things we miss.

If you are reading this post, you are probably one of the people we miss. There are so many friends and family members who are thought about, prayed for and loved from very far away. We miss the simplicity of driving in a luxurious car with smooth roads and laws that protect drivers and pedestrians. We miss people being able to understand us when we go shopping. BUT, these are not the things we talk about around the dining room table.

 

What are we going to eat when we are back in the States? It has become a fun game to try and outdo each other in naming the most delicious, sorely missed foods that we can think of. UDF ice cream, a grocery store aisle dedicated to cereal options, asparagus (I don’t typically get any votes for that one 😊), Whits Frozen Custard, Chipotle and Mexican food, really good coffee, hummus, liquid milk that doesn’t cost a fortune and really all forms of dairy, chocolate chips, Chinese food, chips and salsa (do you feel a huge Mexican food deficit for us?), and so many other things.

s'mores
Happy Shaw boys

We are certainly not starving and have been so blessed to eat similarly to how we ate in Ohio, but we have found comfort in being honest about how we’re feeling. We all need to accept how important it is to share that we miss things. Food is an easy thing to be honest about and we’ve found it opens the conversation for the boys to talk about other things they miss. We have traveled so far both physically and emotionally in the last 8 months and the magnitude of that is worth acknowledging. We can’t eat ourselves sick when we visit home next year so we’re going to make a “things we’re going to eat” food map.

corb's s'more
Real Graham Crackers are SO good!

We’ve had several conversations about living in the moment. God doesn’t want us to yearn for yesterday or try and rush into tomorrow. We are very excited for what our visit to the U.S. will hold in store. However, God has asked us to be here, in this moment, serving Him in this way. Even when it is hard, enjoy it. Thank Him for all the moments in life that you learn something new and keep dreaming about that Chipotle burrito.

 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:18

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Supporting us:

prayer please

umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490

Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia

Social Media
Facebook- gotherefour
Instagram- reneeshaw5

Patience is a Virtue

Something I never would have believed 15 years ago was that I would learn to be a patient person. If I told the younger me that I would wait a week, a month, or longer for an important, life changing answer I would have laughed in the face of the”wiser-me”.  God certainly does work for His good and in ways that we could not imagine. I want to share what this big, patient waiting is all about. I am purposefully trying to share this information in a neutral, unbiased way.

The school where we serve, TESOL, filed papers to be an ASBL which in the U.S. we would call a non-profit organization. This was to gain status as a legal entity, however

img_20190204_092511
TESOL Kinsevere campus

the local United Methodist Church was not happy with this change and a legal battled ensued to determine who would control the school. Both parties, the TESOL administration and the UMC, are struggling to determine possession of the school properties and physical belongings, as well as the control over the decision making.

As UMC missionaries sent by Global Ministries we have been in a sticky situation, but by the grace of God and the support of our employer, have been able to remain out of the fray. Sadly, this has us waiting. Waiting to get onto the campuses to prepare the school, waiting to know when our four boys will be starting school, and simply just waiting to hear who will be responsible for the operation of the school.

 

Though I loath waiting, Nick and I have taken advantage of the time by playing games with the boys, working on some advanced math and reading, and taking a short trip to Zambia. We thank you all for the concern and prayers. It is not an overstatement to say that we are truly blessed by our time so far in D.R.Congo and pray that our time here continues to bless those God puts in our lives.

On a different note, if we end up homeschooling the boys for a short time, please pray that everyone makes it out alive. I would have been the first to say in years past, under NO circumstances am I willing or able to take on that task. However, God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

____________________________________________________________________________________

Supporting us:

prayer please

umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490

Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia

Social Media
Facebook- gotherefour
Instagram- reneeshaw5

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When Dorothy fell into Oz from the sky, she must have been totally overwhelmed. Her world was black and white and Oz was techno-colored. The Munchkins must have been startling and a woman floated out of a bubble and proclaimed that she was a “good witch.” I would love to say that I am as accepting and versatile as Dorothy, but come on, seriously Dorothy?!! Where is your freak-out moment?

As missionaries, strangers in a strange land, I have a new perspective on this classic story. I think it should have gone something like this…

Dorothy lands, killing an inhabitant in her new world. She cries hysterically, runs screaming from the Munchkins, and passes out when a woman-carrying bubble appears. After that she attributes the entire experience to a hallucination or some really bad take-out food and goes to therapy for the next 15 years.

Being new in a country where SO MANY THINGS are new and different is exhausting. It is also wonderful…don’t get me wrong. The reason I am reflecting on this, yet again, is that we have had the blessing and privilege to be on vacation in the lovely country of South Africa. In so many ways it feels like home. They speak English as one of their national languages, they have working water and electricity all of the time, and they follow set rules of the road. We soaked in the conveniences: Ubers, fast-food and malls.

It has been a wonderful, breath-of-fresh-air vacation. I feel recharged and yet hesitant knowing that we are going back to our “strange land.” The good news is that God has equipped us and this time as we set foot on the soil of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we will be greeted by a friend. He is picking us up in our own vehicle, Tina, and we even speak some French. Thank You, God for walking with us. You go before us, and we know You are at our backs, sometimes pushing us through the door.

The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

____________________________________________________________________________________

SUPPORTING US:

PRAYER PLEASE

UMCMISSION.ORG
RENEE’S ADVANCE #3022491
NICK’S ADVANCE #3022490

NICK AND RENEE SHAW
C/O UNITED METHODIST NEW LIFE CENTER
PO BOX 20219
KITWE, ZAMBIA

SOCIAL MEDIA
FACEBOOK- GOTHEREFOUR
INSTAGRAM- RENEESHAW5

Take No Prisoners

I am a pretty tough, no-nonsense woman and my independent, type-A personality doesn’t often run and hide from a challenge. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

I must admit that during our time in DR Congo I have felt a bit like a captive. We see beautiful African Grey parrots in tiny little cages, canaries, doves, and other birds being sold alongside the roads in our city. I have allowed myself to become a little like these birds but not anymore! Last week, after some pep talks and prodding, Nick insisted I get behind the wheel of our beast of a manual vehicle, TINA, the Land Cruiser.

tina
Meet TINA

I love to drive, l-o-v-e it! I have missed the freedom of being behind the wheel and knowing that I couldn’t drive even if I wanted to, made me feel like one of those caged birds. I also allowed that fear of driving on the unpredictable, pot-hole laden, congested streets to turn into tiny seeds of bitterness. It is difficult to never be alone. Even for an extrovert, knowing that I couldn’t go anywhere without a driver, escort, or my wonderful husband, was really suffocating.

I would not go as far as to say I’m a “free bird” now, but I have driven a half a dozen times in the last week. My heart has been in my throat when I have to stop and drop Tina back into 1st gear, but as soon as we hit 3rd gear I feel like we could fly- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style!

chitty chitty with renee

When we arrive safely at our destination I so appreciate the looks of amused support from our guards or the gardener at the school. The encouragement from the boys has been hilarious. After a somewhat difficult time getting into the parking lot at school Porter said, “I liked the bouncing Mom,” followed by Corbin laughing, “I hit my face on the seat!”,

This is not my first time being taught how to drive a stick-shift. Nick has attempted this feat more than once and there are some sad manuals that, if they are still on the road after so many years, still shudder at the thought of me grinding their gears.

The challenges before all Christians are many. Every time we faithfully answer a call to serve God we battle fear, self-doubt, and inadequacies. The devil wants us to admit defeat. Saying “I just can’t do it” is so much easier than doing the hard things that Christ calls us to do. Do it anyway. Take no prisoners- in His name!

renee driving- funky

________________________________________________________________________________________

Supporting us:

prayer please

umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490

Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia

Social Media
Facebook- gotherefour
Instagram- reneeshaw5