Friday, December 25, 1998

Christmas Card 1998

I can’t believe that it is already December. Our family is getting older and a year goes by much quicker. I hope you all are enjoying God’s kingdom on earth as much as we are.

Adam started pre-kindergarten classes in the fall. He has the same teacher that Carmen had two years ago. Adam has matured significantly since starting school. He really enjoys learning with the other children three mornings a week. He is quite the artist. Everything is a creation to him; he may be an architect some day. He sings, dances and acts better than either of his parents. He asks his father to pray for him nearly every night. Occasionally, he moves his parents and grandparents to tears when he prays before meals.

Becca is talking but still sucking her fingers. Adam and Carmen imitate her and claim they are “doing the Becca”, but it doesn’t look near as cute. Her hair is so blond it is nearly white. It was just long enough to tie up in a sloppy one inch pony tail this year. She is still cute. She runs around the house chasing Adam all day saying and singing everything he says and sings.

Carmen can color like nobody’s business. She won a coloring contest and has been coloring more since then. The principal has selected some of her work to be displayed in an album to remember this school year. She is reading this year, too. She will read to anyone that listens. I especially like to watch her read to Adam and Becca. She is also developing some of that same antagonistic edge that drew her mother to her father. This part of Carmen’s personality is not so endearing when Jackie has to deal with the kids by herself all day.

Jackie has had what I believe is probably one of the most difficult years of her life. The Lord has blessed us financially the last few years as we have raised our family in 1280 square feet. Up until this year we have both agreed that God wanted us to become debt free. We had also hesitated for the last few years to look for a house because we were unsure of the direction He wanted us to go. In January, we both felt comfortable looking for a larger house in this area. Jackie was burdened with most of the looking. She rarely was even interested enough to show me a house, still, we drove around just about every Sunday afternoon for a season. In July, we gave up and decided that since God hadn’t shown us a house, He wanted us to be debt free. So we are still here and it looks like we will be paying off the mortgage in January 1999. All of these decisions have been stress producing, and it looks like 1999 may offer more of the same as we begin looking this spring. Please pray for us.

The last several years have been very difficult for our church. Until this year, we seemed to be shrinking in every measurable way. We are just now recognizing a turning point. God’s provision is so unexplainable. He has provided us with encouragement this year.

Our family has experienced first hand the desperate nature of a homeless young con man. I don’t know if you have ever read the book “A Man Called Norman”, but somehow God called us to help this young man for six months until we had to have him arrested to face the consequences of his actions. Adam and I picked him up several nights a week during the spring and summer after he got done cleaning a restaurant and would take him to the church to sleep. There were glimpses of hope in this young man that promised he would stop using people for his gain but ultimately there was too much hatred stored up in his life. The mistreatment that he received loomed much larger in his past than any helping hand or friendship in his present. I admit being afraid at times, often wondering if what we were doing was beneficial, but I believe a seed was planted in his heart and I know that God taught us to appreciate our family. This young man is still in our prayers.

We didn’t have a “vacation” this year but had several retreats to refresh us. We camped over Labor Day weekend at Mammoth Cave and visited our dear Bandy friends in Greenville. We also finally got to visit Bob and Kim Warren in Hardin this fall.

YMCA soccer was new this fall for Carmen and Adam. I coached Adam’s team and had a ball with a great group of kids. It only lasted six weeks and it went by fast. Carmen is playing YMCA basketball right now and is the only girl on her team. That doesn’t stop her from being the best defensive player and ball handler. The boys only teased her before the first practice.

Y2K has invaded almost every magazine, newspaper, newsletter or organization I am associated with. If I didn’t know better, I would think that there is nothing going on other than Y2K and our federal government’s self destruction. So here’s my take. Please be prepared to guide your families and organizations through this next year in a Godly manner. Don’t depend on anything other than God. And by all means, do not let anything else distract you from your relationship with God.

I have tried to raise my children as Boilermakers but it is very difficult when my wife dresses them like this and their friends wave NCAA championship banners in their classrooms.

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