Celebrating the Past Year
My daughter, Hannah, is almost 12 years old. She has grown to the point where some of clothing now needs to be in the juniors section. Not that she wants that; she says that she prefers the styles in the kids section. Thank goodness she is not rushing into adulthood!
Do you have children? No matter how old they are, can’t you still remember them as babies? I can still picture holding my daughter in the hospital room, cup feeding her formula. That memory, and many others, are cemented in my brain. I’m sure you have similar memories of your own, that you’ll never forget.
Since time travels quickly, and speeds up the further along we go, we must regularly take time to reflect on the joys and celebrations of the past. Joy is made more full by dwelling on it, and by sharing it with others.
The past two-and-a-half years in Allendale have flown by, and the past year even more quickly. For our own sake of remembering God’s blessings, and for the sake of the many people who have supported us financially and in prayer, let’s take a moment to celebrate the great things God has done since last summer.
Celebrating the Past Year
Although God has given us many things to celebrate over the past 12 months, here are the main ones:
- Coaching football. Without a doubt, one of the best decisions I made since I moved to Allendale was accepting Coach Ford’s offer to join his staff. I would never have imagined just how much relationships form and strengthen through coaching, with other coaches and with the players.
- My job at USC –Salkehatchie Leadership Institute. I began this in January 2013, and wrote about this job here. Besides getting paid to be involved with two things I love (youth and science), this was the first regular job I had since May 2012. From June to December, I only coached (for an end-of-the-season stipend) and did work for the school district as a community liaison and special needs shadow, but this was only occasional contract and part-time work.
- Financial support. Despite my lack of regular employment, we were never in need, thanks to the generosity of family, friends, and a church body.
- My wife’s growing involvement with the schools. In January, Joanna started eating lunch with a 5th grade class, every Wednesday. She saw the level of intimacy and trust with the kids grow throughout the rest of the year. And this past summer, she volunteered to prepare, arts and crafts for summer school. She led this separate from any work I did.
- Elevate Spring Break Camp. Even though we were not overly excited about it just before the camp started, we were thankful that we had this opportunity. Not only was it a camp where kids had fun and were engaged, but we saw how volunteers (especially from Grace Church) built meaningful relationships.
Celebrating the Summer
Besides what happened over the past 12 months, June and July were especially busy, with more things to be thankful for:
- We had fun connecting with a wider and more diverse group of kids, through different camps and activities, including those that focused on football, soccer, arts, science, and church.
- We were happy to get others more connected, including local and out-of-town churches, and a family that returned to Allendale for their second summer.
- Kids heard the gospel. During Elevate Summer Camp (in 2012) at the school, we were restricted from preaching the gospel. We were understanding, but we were also glad to know that in the two weeks (this summer) of camp at a local church, kids were presented with the gospel and other Biblical truths.
We want to give a HUGE “Thank you!” to everyone who has:
- supported us financially,
- prayed for us,
- visited us,
- encouraged us (verbally and with notes and emails),
- pushed us and loved us when we were emotionally drained.
Without partners like you, we would have much less to celebrate. And even more, we give glory to God for all that He has done is continuing to do.
I would be most encouraged if you answered this question in the comments: What has happened in the past year that you are celebrating? Tell us 1 or 2 (or 3, or 5) things.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
- Summer Plans 2013, and How You Can Help (May 2013)
- Celebration the End of the Summer (July 2012)
- “How Are You Getting Along with Your Co-Workers?” — Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 8