Vast Armies
Batts Abroad - January 2023

Eating ice cream after playing outside at the playground.


At our last update, the leaves were still golden yellow and the air, though crisp, wasn't cold yet.

Now, we look out our patio window at several feet of snow and trees that are only halfway through their "bare" season. The snow and temperatures are both falling steadily this weekend, and we're anticipating some of the coldest temperatures ever experienced here in Quebec (-58*F // -50*C).

In some ways, life in Quebec has gotten easier over the last few months: we can navigate everywhere we go regularly without our phones. We can carry on conversations in grocery stores, the park, church, community center, etc. with little to no stress. We're navigating most of the processes of life in Quebec with relative ease (though maybe don't ask about paying for Allen's driver's license renewal...).


Lots of snow by our back patio!


And yet, some things are like armies before us. Vast armies, that we aren't sure how to face: Cultural nuances. Acquaintances who are hesitant to become friends. High cost of living. Emotions that run high and run the gamut.

Maybe it's like Jehosaphat in 2 Chronicles 20, when he hears that a huge army is coming to attack Israel from Edom. He gathers all the people for a time of fasting and he cries out to the Lord for help. He ends his prayer like this in verse 12:

"We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Jahaziel stands up after that and boldly announces, "This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s!'"

And the next day, the people marched down to face this advancing army. As they went, they sang praises to God, who meanwhile worked behind the scenes to set up ambushes by Himself that would defeat the entire enemy army. (I love the image of God setting up ambushes. Isn't that delightful? Spring-loaded catapults and precariously balanced rocks come to mind, like something our 4-year-old son would imagine defeating the dinosaur armies he plays with.)

Jehosaphat and his men were amazed when they walked into the valley, prepared for battle, and instead saw the utter destruction of their enemies... and they spent the next three days simply gathering more plunder than they could carry. The story starts to wrap up in verse 27:

"Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies."

A vast army, defeated by God's ambushes, initiated worship and joy.


We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on January 10th


This week alone, my prayer has echoed that of Jehosaphat multiple times: Lord, I can't face this vast army that is approaching. I do not know what to do. But my eyes are on You.

We're still waiting for Him to ambush a few of our "vast armies" here. We're waiting for that deliverance to come. But we're already marching into the valley, singing and praising God, knowing that He will come through.

Below are some specific prayer requests for a few of those armies we're facing. They are vast, even if the brief description does not seem like it. We value and feel each of the prayers that are lifted up for our family. We aren't facing these vast armies alone and we know God will set up all the ambushes we need.

Thank you for your faithful support, friendship, and encouragement. We love you.

Allen & Melissa




Prayer Requests:

  • We made the very tough decision to begin homeschooling Ruth at least through the end of the school year. Please pray for direction for us in this transition and for the respite that Ruth so desperately needs right now. Clara will continue to attend school as before.
  • For our French to continually improve so that we can be effective in life and ministry.
  • For depth of relationships, both with believers and not-yet-believers. We want to invest well in those God has put around us. Specifically, please pray for J, G, C, L, and K.


Typical family Christmas photo from December 2022



Here's what is coming up in the next few months:

  • February: Sharing about living in Alaska (in French!) at a local community center on the 15th. Parenting conference at ABWE headquarters in PA the 16th-19th.
  • March: Hospitality Sunday on the 5th, where every family in our church plant is encouraged to invite a non-yet-believer to lunch in our homes.
  • April: Easter in Québec!
  • May: Melissa's birthday.
  • June: End of the school year and the start of summer break for our kids.









Our mailing address is:
120-3775 Avenue des Compagnons
Québec, QC G1X 5C3

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