Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas Greeting

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Dearest Family and Friends,

Emmanuel! What a proclamation! God with us. He truly is. He is with us on the mountain top, the valley below and even in the desert wide. In those places He manifests Himself so that His purposes may come about; that we may come to know Him better and grow in closer intimacy with Him. Please let me share how He has been “Emmanuel” in many ways with us this past year.

The Christmas season 2006 was hard for us. Right around Thanksgiving we discovered black mold in Nadia's room that necessitated our finding a temporary living space. Some very good friends offered to put us up for the time it took to remediate the problem; which ended up being 6 weeks. (Thank you friends!) We got back in our house right before Christmas with a fully decorated tree and gifts waiting from an unknown source. (Thank you friends.) Our insurance came through for us and we weren't out a dime. Thank you Lord Jesus.

That December Andrew also received approval for pastoral ministry within the Eastern Region Conference. This was an encouraging bright spot for us. Thank you Jesus.

In January Andrew and I celebrated our 4th anniversary and we also got a call about a small country church in the Northern District of ERC. It was a part time position but they wanted a full time pastor. Andrew felt God leading him to full time work so we continued to pray and wait.

A few days before Valentines Day Nadia's room was finally finished. The remediation process had left her room carpetless and with a huge gaping hole in the ceiling and wall. Andrew worked evenings and weekends on it while Nadia slept in her crib in our room. He did a fine job on it and we were happy for it to be Nadia's room again.

Then in April the family went back to PA for the annual Eastern Regional Conference. It is this conferences custom to license all ministry candidates at their annual conference. We went to that conference feeling very low. God met us in so many ways and encouraged us through many people. We left encouraged and with a possible ministry interview.

After ERC we started to have more contact with the little church up in northern PA. Since we were interviewing at the end of may with another church in PA we decided to candidate with the northern church as well. The northern church, went very well. We left energized, encouraged and very eager to pursue the next step. The other church was not in God's plan. We continued the process with the northern church, having a second candidating Sunday in June.

But just before we found out of their decision, a very good friend of mine, Sara, got married. She wed July 4 to a wonderful, Godly man, Joshua. It was a family affair. Andrew was the photographer, Nadia was the flower girl (Sara is her Godmother.) and I was the Matron of honor. I also made Sara's wedding gown. That was an awesome accomplishment. I am forever grateful to Sara for her encouragement and faith in me. She looked beautiful the day she walked down the aisle, but not because of the dress. It was a beauty that radiated from within. Thank you Sara and Josh for allowing us to be a witness of your marriage covenant.

After that we heard back from the northern church. They had unanimously accepted Andrew as their pastor. We were overjoyed. We accepted the position and started the moving process. The date of August 6 was set to move and we had lots of things to do in the time frame of about 5 weeks.

I was still working part time for the office and after they found my replacement I started to train him. We also had a laundry list of home projects we needed to get done to sell our home and we had to put our home on the market. Never mind we also needed to pack. It was a busy but a long awaited time. Nadia handled it very well and surprisingly we got it all done. August 6 found us with an empty house, a very full moving truck and a 'For Sale' sign in the front yard (by the way, as of this writing, that sign is still in that front yard, please pray for this.) and two heavily weighted down cars. Andrew's father, Bob, graciously helped us with home projects and the actual moving to PA.

We were greeted in our new home by a band of workers from the church, a full dinner and a birthday party for Nadia. (Her birthday was in two days.) Along with many other blessings received from the church, we were warmly welcomed and began to settle in to the parsonage. Andrew's Mother, Norma and his elder brother, Brian were also there to help us settle in. Andrew started officially pastoring two weeks later.

October was a busy month for us as well. Midway, Andrew was officially installed as the new pastor at the church. It was a good day. A day we had waited two years for. We definitely feel that God has prepared us for this particular body of loving, imperfect believers, and prepared them for us, an imperfect family who loves them.

We also welcomed someone new into our family, by way of marriage that is. My elder brother, John, got married on October 20 to a lovely lady I am pleased to call sister, Heather. It was a wonderfully simple wedding. We were blessed to have been there. I am excited at this new union.

Nadia throughout all of this has been doing well. She is growing and so smart. She is quite a talker and given the chance would talk the legs off a brass kettle. She loves music, loves to sing and dance and enjoys reading. She is a beautiful, healthy girl and for that we are grateful. She has been a continued blessing and a source of joy, even if she is growing all too fast.

And that has been our year. It's been a full one, but a good one. Thank you all for your prayers, we appreciate them and we felt them! Continue to pray for us as we figure out this 'pastor' thing. We continue to pray for you all as you are brought to mind.

Christmas blessings and may you know anew the true meaning of this season.

Merry Christmas!

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