A Hearty and Warm Merry Christmas to All of You!
This year just seemed to start, and yet within days it will be over! Another year full of wonderful memories and challenging experiences etched into our lives. We are glad, with the quick passing of years, that the Lord took time to actually pick one year and send Christ Jesus into the world. How desperately we need a Savior! May more people know Him well!
"And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
After our trip to visit Paul's parents in Florida and a Chinese seminar Paul spoke at, everyone got into high gear planning for Christy's wedding (Click the photo for a bigger picture). How thankful we were that the rain didn't come until just after we finished putting away the last canopy! Soon after the wedding, Paul was off on another wonderful and challenging trip to India.
Life is a bit different now for Linda without a child in diapers. One would think that she would have more time on her hands, but life for her has accelerated. Yes, having a television crew film a documentary at your home for several weeks, regular homeschool duties, husband far away for weeks at a time and the wedding was insufficient. At the height of business, she took on another engaging project.
Linda loves being the church's Children's Ministry coordinator. We are all amused at how one who knew nothing about computers a few years ago now can't get off it! Six more fingers running across a Bucknell keyboard. Because of her CM responsibility, she enters into a 'crisis' about every week or two but soon finds a fix by God's grace.
Family ministry has continued. We taught two parenting classes at the church this year. We also had a few classes on raising teens (that was new). If you are wondering about the documentary, it is finally finished. They took about one hour of video for less than each minute of programming. Channel Five (UK) plans to show it early next year. It might show up in America after that. Considering all the possible negative factors, we are quite happy with the program. We are glad for the British family that they had paired us up with. The focus is on biblical parenting with a side emphasis on homeschool. Numerous countries have already banned physical discipline and other countries like the UK are discussing or voting on whether to outlaw spanking.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom continues on by God's awesome grace. We are always amazed at how He provides at the right time for our family needs as well as for ministry. We should reach our 2006 target of 1 million pages viewed this week (that is over 7 million hits in one year. We now offer 7 full-sized printed publications with another coming soon. We know that offering the reading free online doesn't increase sales, but our main objective is to train those around the world, and many overseas just cannot purchase materials.
Paul's three 3-day seminars in India were challenging as always. We were thankful for good weather as we traveled to more remote areas. It was so special to see the eager hearts of those who attended the Pastors' Training Seminar. The needed monies came in at the last minute while in India. God's Spirit was seen and felt at work. Not a few traveled six to eight hours to get there. One place stated with pleasure and pride that this meeting of pastors/evangelists was the biggest of its kind in their district. They want us back! (See online version for short movie). Pastor leaders in other countries are also requesting Paul to hold similar seminars.
Elizabeth continues to enjoy working as a receptionist in a doctor's office. She works full time, but the job gives her enough flexibility to stay active with her many activities and interests. She was able to complete several paintings this year, in addition to restarting piano lessons and doing some traveling. She teaches a 5th-7th grade Sunday School class every week.
Christy has had a very exciting life since the last Christmas newsletter. She got engaged and married all within a year's time. She is currently thinking about starting a monthly game night for the 5th graders at church. She hasn't been teaching the youth class, but still helps. She's hoping to move to teaching the younger children when another girl can step in to help the youth class. She's enjoying being a homemaker and playing hostess for the cell group Elias leads. Elias is enjoying married life even more than Christy because he has someone to come home to now. He's working hard at work and going on his third year there. Christy and Elias both love married life.
Allison, 15, is taller than Mom now. She had two great things happen this year. The first was an answer to a long-awaited prayer. She had been praying over a year for a dog. Since we have allergies, it had to be a hair rather than a fur dog, but they are expensive. So we joined her in praying for a free dog. In a special and surprising way, Riley showed up 'on our doorstep' through a neighbor.
Allison also was able to go with Daniel to Miracle Mountain Ranch horse camp for a week. They both loved the horse training and making new friends. She regularly participates in art contests on a virtual pet site, and keeps her page on an art site updated. Allison is already hinting at getting her driver's permit next year.
Daniel, 13, has been playing a lot of chess. He plays people around the world on Yahoo chess. Anyone that knows Paul well knows that this is probably something that has been passed down. Daniel has even beat Dad a few times. Paul has learned he has to be more alert. Daniel is improving. Daniel loves his carved sticks.
Benjamin, almost 12, has been growing stronger and now helps chop and carry wood. He especially likes to draw. Daniel, Benjamin and Kathryn rode their bikes to the Point (downtown Pittsburgh) with Paul (see fountain below). The children often use their 1/2 hour computer time doing something on Neopets. Although Linda has them carefully schedule their half hour of computer time on the fridge each day. Things are not so smooth, however, when Paul or Linda need to use the computer.
Kathryn, 10, is becoming a young lady. She takes her time in doing her jobs. Lately, she is really enjoying puzzle making. She has been reading a series about owls.
Isaac, 7, is growing up and will now occasionally go and play away from home with his older brothers when invited. This makes him feel very happy. His reading ability has taken off this year. He likes to read his little Bible and lots of other books.
Rebekah, 5, is our little laughter. Rebekah keeps us amused with her constant antics. She is a very good helper in household tasks and really likes to try new things.
Please do keep in touch!
Paul, Linda and family