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Batts Abroad Update
April 2021
A few weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I left our house by myself to go to the grocery store. It was the first time in a long time that I was out solo and to be honest, I kind of enjoyed it. 

Up the street from the grocery store, there's a clothing store called Senegal Fashions. I had wanted to go in since the first time I saw it, but was nervous. It marketed itself as an Urban Wear store and let's be honest - I'm not urban. At all. I'm a thirty-something work-from-home mom who wears more sweatpants and slippers than name brand and sparkle. But since I had an opportunity outside the house by myself, and a big opportunity that weekend to share about Togo, I pulled up outside the building...

...and waited in our Jeep for 10 minutes, trying to psych myself up to go inside. Finally, I worked up the courage to go inside, but only after sending video messages to several friends, scrolling the store's Facebook page, and asking God to help me be brave. 

When I opened the front door and stepped into the cool air conditioning, I could tell the owners thought I was in the wrong place. But I walked to the front counter and asked, "Do you have any traditional African clothes?" The employee walked me over to a rack of men's shirts and I picked one for Allen (see the picture below). Then I asked if they had any skirts. The employee pulled out a box of skirts, which were all beautiful, and I picked the one I liked. 

Meanwhile, I mentioned we're getting ready to move to Togo, after we learn French. He explained he's from Senegal and moved here a couple years ago. We said a few more things in French, and then I lost confidence when I didn't understand a word he said. 

Eventually, I paid for Allen's shirt and my skirt, said, "A bientôt!" and walked out.
We're in an interesting season of learning French full-time while in a predominantly English-speaking community. We're doing all we can to surround ourselves with French throughout the day, but it's still a challenge. And yet, this month, we've seen God provide new opportunities to learn French, grow a deeper understanding of West African culture, and connect with like-minded believers. 

Why did I stop at the Senegal Fashion store when I did? Well, that weekend, we were traveling to visit friends from Kodiak, Alaska to share at their church about Togo. All our African clothes are on our shipping container, but we wanted to wear something that represented our future home. So I stopped, shopped, and made a new connection with a West African.

And then - God is so good - we met a Togolese woman who attends our friends' church. Over dinner together, we practiced French some, heard about her life growing up in Togo, learned more about the culture and life there, and were able to ask some questions about what we could expect.
We had hoped to be in France last fall or Quebec last January. And instead, God planted us in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We don't know exactly why, but God is starting to give us glimpses of why He led us here for such a time as this. 

We're thankful and excited to see what He does while we continue language learning, wherever that may be.
April 2021 Video Update
Pictures:
1. After sharing at Point Pleasant Baptist Church, with our new friend Lebe. Check out Allen's shirt and my skirt from the Senegal Fashion store!

2. Kids heading to church with me while Allen was in Alaska for a memorial service for our dear friend and partner in ministry, Ken. Ken was also a mentor to Allen. He and his wife Cindy are so special to our family and we rejoice that Ken is whole before the Lord today.

 
3. An aerial shot of our Thursday night Life Group. 
 
Other Updates:
- Click here to read about our first term at Parole de Vie, which ended at the end of April (and watch a fun video of me and Ruth practicing a French memory verse).

- We've been running again! It's so nice to be enjoying the spring weather here in Tennessee. Allergies are in full effect, too, but that only adds to the experience, right?!

- Our support need increased and we're currently about 92% funded. 

- Hudson's arm is healing from his buckle fracture earlier in the month; we have a follow-up appointment on May 25th.

- The growth plate in Clara's toe is healed from a scooter incident earlier in April, and she's running around like nothing happened.

- Click here to read our most recent prayer requests.
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