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Dear Praying Friend,

"Mommy can I go to language school today?" These are the excuses a two-year old missionary kid uses to get out of naps. For the past 6 months our focus has been on language learning. By God’s grace we have now passed the mid-point of our curriculum, finishing book 3 out of a total of 6. That also means that Lord-willing we're on track to finish our course on time.
Learning Tagalog has also opened up specific ministry opportunities. I am now able to use some simple Tagalog in preaching and we can have very basic witnessing conversations. Language makes a huge difference! 
I thought it might be helpful to share a basic view of what our daily schedule looks like. Sarah and I are studying Tagalog together because it’s critical to us that our entire family be able to minister effectively.  So every day we split the morning—Sarah watches the boys while I study for several hours. Then we switch places so Sarah can study. At 1 PM we put the boys down for their naps with a babysitter and head out for language school. Our teachers are incredibly skillful and knowledgeable, and every day we work one on one with grammar, vocab and conversation.
These are probably not the classroom settings you're imagining. Our teachers sing songs, play games, converse, laugh, tell stories, and do everything in Tagalog. We've been continually amazed at their resourcefulness and skill, as well as their ability to keep it fun on a daily basis.

When we get back from class, the boys are just waking up from their naps. We have supper and family time together. When they go to bed, we have a few more hours for work and study. Sometimes we try to study together and turn it into a game.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of learning Tagalog and learning it well. Soon after we arrived I came to the conclusion that the effectiveness of our ministry here will be directly limited by how well we know Tagalog. For instance, several months ago a Jehovah’s Witness taxi driver began trying to convince us that Jesus is not God. We couldn’t really answer him because we didn't understanding what he was saying. 
But that has started to change. More recently, the same kind of conversation happened again in Tagalog. Our Catholic driver asked us how it’s possible to find the true way when there are so many different religions. With my very limited Tagalog, I did my best to explain that the Bible is the only true authority. No matter what any religion teaches, Scripture is the final arbiter.
We left him with a tract and offered to meet again for Bible study. The answer for him, of course, isn’t ultimately me or anyone else, but the power of God’s Word alone. I’m so thankful that God has revealed His word to us in a way that transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographical boundaries. Whatever our background or need, the Word of God gives answers that never change.
Thank you so much for your support, encouragement and prayers. 

Joel, Sarah,
Jeremy & Zachary Arnold
Special thanks to Rebekah K. from Newport, NC for drawing our header!
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