Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanksgiving/Christmas 2008 Letter

Dear family and friends,

Change is a big part of this letter. We have realized that our children are becoming adults and the Lord is moving them on to places where He can use them. They are hearing God’s call as Isaiah did and responding in like manner too. (Isaiah 6:1-8) It is time to put revolving doors in this house with all the movement that is going on. Read on to see what Jesus is doing with each of our children.

Justo is 27 and has enjoyed his work at Industrial Automation Engineering. He is challenged and fulfilled in what he is able to do. Personally, he did get his cruise control working and is now hooking up a touch screen and computer with GPS for his car. Justo is a missionary under the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations and is serving in Ecuador for 9 months. A congregation in Ecuador has invited him to help set up a pioneer work in home schooling as well as work with the church and Christian school. He has shared his heart for the Lord in many ways here and is excited about this new opportunity in Ecuador. (See his prayer letter.) Justo is taking a new position and status at his company during this time and working remotely from Ecuador about 4 hours a week.

Jessica is 25 and serving the Lord right now in Ghana, Africa through Lutheran Bible Translators for 2 and ½ months. She is helping a family with 4 young children living in a very remote village. She will help them get started in home schooling and with other needs in the home and village. She hopes to start nursing school here in the New Year. She works at the Nursing Home in activities and as a CNA, and ministers to families in the area. She bought her first car as she is on the move so much.

Lucas is 23. He graduated in May from Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. We praise God how He supplied work etc. to help him pay for all his expenses. We were blessed to be there as a whole family for his grad and to hear former Governor Mike Huckabee give the address. Lucas and Jessica went with a group from PHC to Mexico right after grad to serve in various capacities along side a missionary there. Lucas is now serving as a campaign manager for a conservative republican running for a U.S. congressional seat. He is recognizing the spiritual battle. He is living in Madison, WI at least through November.

David is 21 and has achieved well in the Marines. We are thankful for his witness for Jesus and the fruit from it. He has gotten 2 meritorious promotions so he is now Lance Corporal. In February, we were able to be with him for his graduation from boot camp in San Diego, CA. His Uncle Noel went with us and the Tonning family of 14 came from Apple Valley, CA. What a wonderful event for all of us. David is in the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) and has enjoyed the rigorous training. He has also taken scuba diving. He has had Christian fellowship with a fellow marine and at different churches off the base. He is in Norfolk, VA at present, but will be shipped out by the end of the year. He has been home a couple times, the last being Labor Day weekend. We hope to see him at U.S. Thanksgiving.

Peter is 17 and over 6’ 1”, equal to Dad’s height. He is still a permanent fixture at home taking his last year of studies, grade 12. He has been helping a lot at the Olson’s dairy farm, which he enjoys. He is still into hunting and has also been doing computer technical support for different people. He was fieldwork coordinator at the strawberry fields and many of us were out there as usual for the picking season. Peter is looking into Law Enforcement and has already done some ride-alongs with police. Again we are blessed that his life in Jesus has had a big part in his pursuits. He also got braces, which was a blessed gift. It has already made a big difference.

Matthew is 14 and stands at 5’ 9”. He is in 9th grade. He worked hard in the strawberries and in growing his own sweet corn again. It was a good year for both. Matthew has been enjoying baseball, along with Peter. We have gotten together with other families for all-ages baseball games. He finished Confirmation and gave testimony of his faith in Jesus at the church we attend. Matthew enjoys farming with the Olsons, hunting and is the most consistent in our Nursing Home ministry being the youngest. He flew with Jessica to CA to spend over a week with friends before meeting up with us for David’s grad.

Paul and Josie are challenged in their 50’s. Josie has just been diagnosed with a heart condition, atrial fibrillation, and is undergoing tests to see what needs to be done. We have other health issues too, but we are thankful for all we can still do. Volleyball is still our favorite family sport and we do get out camping once in a while. Paul with the three Nursing Homes and Josie with the home demands are kept quite busy. Josie flew up to Canada to visit her mother for about a week. Josie was pleased how well her mother did while she was there. It is hard to believe that we have lived in this house for over 10 years. It was an answer to prayer and continues to be a great blessing.

That reminds me of a favorite hymn we will often sing at the Nursing Home. It is a good reminder for us all. “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed; When you are discouraged thinking all is lost; Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” The psalmist iterates a similar message: “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:1 This house to live in, our godly children, the continued family ministry, God’s provision in so many areas, His great salvation so rich and free are all blessings we can take for granted, but we acknowledge them here. As you communicate with us, please share some of the blessing God has given you. We will rejoice with you. And please be in prayer for us in all our locations and needs.
We will not be sending another letter that is usually sent between the two Thanksgivings. Therefore, have a blessed season of thanksgiving for Jesus into the New Year.

Because of Jesus,
Paul & Josie, Justo, Jessica, Lucas, David, Peter, Matthew

1 comment:

marie uden said...

I just read this - December 31st. I read a similar letter somewhere else - one you sent out? It is so amazing, your family. I agree ou have so much to be thankful for. We rejoice with you. I sent a letter to David. God bless.