Our family photos from the year will display the many blessings of our lives. I cannot write a Christmas letter or an annual recap anymore without acknowledging all the ways God blesses, protects and guides us. We have much, much more than we need. Like scripture says, we lack no good thing.
We have our health, and opportunities to gain more health and live healthfully. Last February we went on a lovely, romantic weekend away in Leavenworth. We always seem to “pay for” time away from the kids, and I quickly got a cold and an ear infection that would not quit after our trip. A Z-pack got rid of the infection, but the symptoms never went away. For months I felt like I had just stepped off an airplane, no matter what I did, and I had lingering cold symptoms and a funky looking eardrum that led me to take a lot of medication and another round of antibiotics in the spring. Still no relief – just a diagnosis of eustachian tube disfunction. Obviously! The ear pain shadowed a lot of the wonderful things we did this year because of frequent headaches and stuffiness. But in August I started seeing a holistic chiropractor who was able to start a treatment plan for the neck misalignment actually causing my extreme eustachian tube disfunction. I am still doing treatment, but my ears are draining again! I praise God for this simple solution and the means to take care of it. Our family is learning a lot about why our chiropractor calls “stewarding your body” and I am feeling so much better. I am sort of looking forward to how I react to the plane trips we have planned this year.
In the spring, we had glorious, summer like weather that enabled me to do do a lot of outside homeschool and playing with the kids. We spoke at a youth event and a church in Colville, WA. We were so grateful to be able to share the blessings of pursuing missions with high school students there, and we added a partner to our team. We love every church visit and still pray that they would remember us when considering support for young missionaries.
In the summer we celebrated Susanna’s 4th birthday with a luau and then we visited family in Eugene for the 4th of July. My grandparents recently moved out of my childhood home in Fall Creek, so we had one last hurrah there. It was bittersweet because although I am glad my grandparents are closer to town for convenience, I will miss the acre of property in the country. Trees planted for me and my children are growing there, not to mention memories!
We shared our ministry with quite a few families over the summer, and God has granted a significant support increase over the year. We are now over 80% supported and looking to be fully supported and planning for language school by next summer.
In September, Austin turned 2 and we celebrated with “cars and trucks and things that go.” His advanced vocabulary is such a fun blessing!
In the fall, the kids and I resumed our ministry at Bible Study Fellowship, where we are studying Revelation. I say “our” because it is a family affair. I am a discussion leader, responsible for facilitating discussion group and connection among about 15 women. The kids attend the preschool program, where amazing BSF leaders teach them about the Lord and God’s Word in a fun environment. It takes a bit of time, a “sacrifice” of two mornings a week, and a lot of prayer. I love leading through BSF and I could not have imagined all the ways it is contributing to my preparations for Spain and ministering to women there. What a blessing. If you have a local BSF, January is an excellent time to jump into our study of Revelation. Check out bsfinternational.org. We’re not even halfway done. In addition to BSF, we continued homeschool with the Before Five in a Row curriculum and lots and lots of trips to the library, the fish hatchery, and the nature trail behind our house. Don’t you all wish you were in preschool again? It’s so fun!
Our Christmas was lovely and calm, exactly what I wish for. We visited Eugene early in the week, spent Christmas Eve with the Sihon family and Christmas Day with the Duryees. Early in December we took Susanna to PNB’s The Nutcracker, and it was a joy for me to start a new tradition with my girl after so many years of going with my Aunt Carol as a child.
I hope it’s alright to share a personal note here. My brother- and sister-in-law are expecting a baby who is (again) not expected to live. We are all very, very disappointed by this and honestly, eager to see the trial end. My sister-in-law Siri is my hero. After shedding some tears on Christmas Day, we talked about how we are able to pray that God would grant this child life. If he lives, this child and my in-laws will face many challenges, but life is a gift and we would be privileged to steward his. My sister-in-law shared that although she sometimes wishes she could be done with this heart-breaking pregnancy. But she said something like, “but then what is the point of it all? I have a job. My job is to carry this baby as long as God asks me to carry him. I wish I knew what God’s plan was and why He allowed this, but I don’t. I do know that I have a job right now.” Her simple faith in God’s plan, the reasons for which He may never reveal this side of Heaven, is astounding to me. May it encourage you as well.
We look forward to a blessed 2016. God is so good we expect nothing less! Specifically, though, we long to see three things: sufficient funds to attend Field Prep Seminar, full support, and a move to language school. If you’d like to be part of our calling to share the Gospel in Spain, please be in touch.