DECEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER
Ah, another Christmas, and how blest we feel that we can celebrate it in Ukraine. We started this year (Jan.) in Oregon visiting with 3 of our children (Esther, Matt, Sam) and their wonderful precious children over the holiday season. And we do love being with our family! Yes, it’s all a delight. But to be at home here in Ukraine. To decorate a tree. To decorate the house. We even brought back some of our Christmas decorations from the USA this summer knowing that it is unlikely we will ever decorate again there. And so it is a different kind of Christmas from the past few years.
And this year of 2019 has been a mountain top! Yes, we minister for the Lord and there are always battles to be fought. There are disappointments. There are sorrows. You always want to see more fruit. And whether you are a missionary or not, life has all of those. But this year with the opportunity to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with many friends and relatives, and spreading that out over 3 months—what can we say! Then in October we had the opportunity to go to Vienna, Austria, and celebrate BEE’s (Biblical Education by Extension) 40th anniversary. This is the organization we started out with, working in Eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union in those now faraway days of communism. We saw many old friends and coworkers there and just rejoiced to see what all God has done in many areas of the world through this ministry.
And now in this month of December we will make a quick trip to Australia to attend the wedding of our oldest grandchild, Jesse, son of Priscilla and Daniel. Yes, we have reached that stage of life. And so the generations flow. Our 15th grandchild was born in June, little Theophilus, to Matthew and Anya. Each and every child a wonder. It is unlikely we will make it to that child’s wedding!
We are thriving in our 70’s and rejoicing that God has given health and strength to continue ministering in Ukraine, the place that has become home to us. We have minor aches and pains, but try to be good stewards of our bodies. This year we have developed a very regular routine of exercise. We both spend at least 30 minutes 5-6 days a week doing exercises and also walk from 40-60 minutes 6 or 7 days a week. We consider it on the same level as needing sleep and eating regularly. We did some biking this year. We hope to pick up a little ice skating again just for variety of exercise. And every day we thank the Lord for His graciousness to us and ask Him to help us be faithful to Him.
So that is a little on the personal side. As we think of Christ’s birthday which we will celebrate in a couple weeks, I have been meditating on what all that means. A book I have been reading (A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas) brought up the idea of preparing for a Happy Death Day. I know—that sounds grim! But isn’t that what we actually want to have? We want to reach that day and know that we have loved our Lord and served Him as good as we knew how, that we have loved those around us, that we have influenced them for the Kingdom of God. Jesus Himself was born for that “Death Day” and we are told that He endured the cross “for the joy set before Him”! His joy, to open up the doors of Heaven for everyone who comes to Him in faith that He paid our debt of sin!
Jesus is all about eternity, from that simple and humble beginning to His sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. Eternity. That’s what Christmas is about. That is why our hearts are filled with joy. That eternal Gift that will never disappoint. That eternal Love that will never stop.
We pray that you may be filled with all these blessings of Christmas and that you will make your
highest priority that of seeking the eternal in the New Year!