1. As those of you following Rachel on Facebook will know, we received our Alien Residence Cards this week. Contrary to what I had understood, they are valid only until mid April, as they are tied to one aspect of the College's registration. Essentially this means that we are only currently guaranteed to be able to stay here until mid-April, at which time our registrations and permissions will need to be re-processed so that we can stay longer. Of course, this was the situation 6 months ago when we had to leave. The general atmosphere of registrations and permissions seems better at the moment, but obviously we don't want to be forced to leave again in mid-April
2 . As our last newsletter spoke about, I have quite a teaching load at the moment, around 14 hrs face to face a week. It take me at least 16hrs or more to prepare for those lessons. It also involves teaching a Hebrew exegesis subject which I am enjoying, but Hebrew is not a strong suit in my myriad languages. Another one of these subjects is a left-over from my incomplete last semester, and it takes considerable time to prepare (New Testament theology). It is scheduled to finish up in a few weeks before our Spring Break. But it will be replaced with a 4hr a week evening class for the second half of semester. In this regard you might pray for general endurance and ability to get my work done and not be overburdened.
3. We are involved in two churches here, an English-language and a Mongol-language church. Our English language church is currently in the process of re-registering. As you might have gathered, all this registration is burdensome and uncertain for practically every organisation we know of. We serve on the steering committee of this church, and registration at this stage is vital in order to issue a visa for a full time pastor who is scheduled to come. As a number of key leaders are leaving shortly, we would very much like this to happen so as to avoid me becoming some kind of de facto pastor of the church!
4. In March I will accompany a team of students from the college on a mission trip to Zabhan province. I am looking forward to the gospel being preached, believers being encouraged, and students engaged in ministry. I am nervous about a 10 day trip in the countryside living 'Mongolian-style'. It is well out of my comfort zone and dietary practices. Pray for God's sustaining grace, provision, and protection.
5. Lastly, and related to point 2, I am not only a full-time teacher here, but I am also a PhD student. So it's incumbent upon me to make steady and faithful progress in my research, which happened while I was back in Australia, but certainly I've achieved nothing in the last 2.5 weeks here. Please pray that I can carve out solid and sufficient time, and have very good mental focus to do some very solid research this semester, as I am at a point where some good forward progress and written material needs to be made.