Dear family and friends,
Now it's official. The deal is sealed. Though our citizenship remains elsewhere, here we are but straying pilgrims, resident aliens in Slovakia. And we have little plastic cards with official seals and watermarks in our wallets to prove it. If anyone asks, we can tell them that we indeed do have a right to be here and show them our cards, which say we have an indispensible function to serve. That's no boast in ourselves, mind you, for the residency cards even spell out our official status and social classification. We're not here on a work permit, nor for study. No, to translate, so far as our host country is concerned, the cards say, "Temporary residents; distinct function: entitled doers of goodwill." I like that. Don't you?  
 
Today we finished our first semester of Slovak classes. We have a little over a week off for holiday, really the first we've had off since we arrived.  
 
We're thrilled about the work and our prospects for the coming new year.  When a couple first wed, you know how it is. It takes a bit of time for the couple to figure out their roles and adjust to the new way of life. Beginning a new ministry relationship in a church is a bit like that. Our relationship with our coworkers and local church leaders is gelling together more and more complementary, and there's a spirit of genuine enthusiasm as we make plans and strategize for the future.  We're confident in God's faithfulness to every soul whom he seeks in every uttermost part of the world, and just thrilled he's invited people like you and us, broken and feeble, to join his mission.
 
The couple we mentioned in our last update welcomed their first child, a son, early this month. After a difficult birth, mom and child are recuperating and doing well. They send their love and many thanks for your prayers.

I know this note lacks many specifics. May you forgive us for now. Suffice it to say that God is opening doors of effective service for us--and we're busy trying to keep up with too many things here to list.  Please, continue praying that we will know how to speak as we ought and proclaim His excellencies to all dwelling in darkness. We're grateful for your support. God is not unjust so as to overlook your loving works.