Who am I, O Sovereign Lord,
and what is my family
that you have brought me this far...
How great you are, O Sovereign Lord!
There is no one like you, and
there is no God but you...
2 Samuel 7:18 and 22
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR:
That God has been good to me is an understatement this year! This has been one of the happiest years of my life. I feel that God has used me in wondrous ways. Working at Missions Resource Network has been a great joy
At York College the best part of my day was chapel, especially when it was a Praise Chapel. The best part of my day here is our daily devotional. Invariably I get to hear what my colleagues are working on and doing. We pray about everything. I work with the most wonderful people! They are supportive of me and any one of them would step up to the plate to be there for me, should I need them. In this ministry I also get to hear about the good things happening in our brotherhood. Most of you who know me well, know that my passion is missions. That passion is getting fed in this job. Missions Resource Network has blessed many and has been blessed by many.
Another thing that makes this year so special is all the ways I have been able to grow intellectually and emotionally. I’ve attended different conferences and spoken at a few, written different research papers and general articles and worked personally with different missionaries and congregations. That means I have had time to read and to study and to learn new things. What a joy! That also means I have been able to interact with others one-on-one and in groups. I am amazed that no matter where I go, there are those God-arranged-appointments I didn’t know I would have. These coincidences bless my life is such surprising ways!
I struggled with different things when I was trying to make the decision of whether to move to Texas and take this job or not. Could I leave my house? Those of you who have visited me know how beautiful my home in Nebraska is. It's one of those lovely, big old-fashioned homes built in 1923. Could I leave teaching? I love students and love being with them. Being in a classroom brings me a special kind of joy. Could I leave the Counseling Center? Helping people solve their problems and seeing young people grow made me feel glorious! I spent many years jumping through the educational and legal hoops to get those licenses that hung on my wall. Could I give that up? When I went in to resign from York College to work at Missions Resource Network, I left with a leave of absence. That was a beautiful gift! When I moved to Texas, I literally walked out of my house and left it as it was – furniture, china, crystal, silverware, wall clocks, sheets on the bed, etc., everything is still there. I have a lovely young couple house-sitting and taking care of all my things. Right now they are busy shoveling my walks! I followed my son’s advice. He suggested I look upon my sojourn in Texas as a camping trip. I just brought what I needed, along with personal pictures and mementos. These decisions have literally allowed me to grow spiritually. And that has been my greatest blessing for the year 2005.
My small apartment, which I think is erg gezellig, an almost untranslatable Dutch expression which means cozy, homey, comfortable, welcoming, hospitable, lovely, warm, gracious, etc., has been just right for me. I was feeling it was a little small one day when I was expecting 12 people to come by for the evening, when it occurred to me that I raised four children in an apartment this size when we lived in Holland. We even had other people live with us from time to time in that small apartment and it all worked out. I had to admit, I had gotten spoiled. One of my better decisions when I moved here was not to get cable. Of course, without cable, I miss my “most favoritest” program, Monk, but Steve Moore, who used to teach at York and who now teaches at ACU, has kept me in Monk tapes, as it’s one of his “most favoritest” programs, too. Thank you, Steve!!! Of course, I still watch Mystery – my other favorite program. So, with little to watch, I have had time to read lots of books – about one a week. I listen to tapes, especially sermons, and I have spent a lot more time in Bible study. At York I was heavily involved in the Master's Apprentice Program. Here I take my turn at facilitating a weekly neighborhood Bible study, am involved with the prayer ministry, and am getting involved with the peacemaker ministry here.
My life here is literally filled with good things. I took some returned missionaries with me to corporate worship one Wednesday night. After services we walked around trying to find someone they knew, but as we walked I began introducing them to people I knew. That night I realized how many people here I know now and how many of them are very dear to me! I feel so blessed! When I first came here and walked into the huge building where the body of Christ meets, I literally drew in my breath. I thought to myself that I would never make it here, but just the opposite has happened. I have never been so happy. I think people get tired of hearing me say, “I love my church,” but I do. I have never been so well fed, so encouraged, and so proud to be a part of the body of Christ. Everyone, regardless of background, is welcome here. There are countless ways to help people here, also. This body of believers really believes that the grace of God is bigger than any sin or mistake and they also believe that the power of God is bigger than our limits (these are words out of my preacher’s mouth). As a result I pray more, I study God’s word more, and I reach out to others more. This has been my greatest blessing in being here. I would not trade the spiritual growth I have experienced this year for any of the things I left behind.
This is getting to be a long Christmas/year end letter. I have not told you anything about my children and grandchildren. Well, they are all wonderful and I’m looking forward to being with them all this Christmas season. My grandchildren are now 17, 14, and 3. My Dutch children will be arriving in the states on Christmas eve and I can hardly wait! Steve and my grand-dog are driving down from Nebraska for Christmas and of course, my Texas children will be around. My apartment will struggle to hold us all – but it will! The walls will sing with joy. Who am I that I should be so blessed? 2 Samuel 7:18.
To all you beautiful people whom I love, who seek and save the lost in many different areas of the world, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year.
God is great and greatly to be praised.