A Hearty and Warm Merry Christmas to All of You!
How glad we are to be able to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Glittering ornaments and beautifully wrapped presents become meaningless without the glory of Christ. With Him, everything is rich and meaningful. The older we get, the clearer these observations become.
Paul is especially thinking about these things as he has just transitioned to the 50+ age-bracket. Some might feel that the word ‘regressed’ is more appropriate. Good thing that Paul has been doing a special study on humility lately. Instead of feeling bad about being repeatedly offered a senior discount (not yet thank you!), he rejoices in the opportunity to allow Christ to do more in his life to compensate for his increased number of weaknesses.
Linda has taken on the challenge of bringing new and better (more nutritious) menus to our table and snacks. When Paul discovered that people had stolen the nutrition from breads by making it pure white, we started eating homemade whole wheat bread. We make four loaves at a time. Now we are beginning to check out the sugars and fats that the government and businesses have been using in their products over the past 50. These are just a few reasons not to be arrogant about how well our society is doing. We can’t even do the most basic things right!
Paul and Linda made a mad get away from the children to celebrate our anniversary. Leaving Elizabeth and Christy in charge, we went as far as Virginia. We had a wonderful time once we stopped thinking about how the children would manage. Our marriage is getting sweeter all the time. Each new level seems to max out the blessings of a great marriage until God just lifts us to a new level.
BBC (British Broadcasting Company) has hired a firm to do a special on parenting. Part of the reason for this was that people are rather nervous about how their children are growing up with terrorism on their shores. We were rather surprised to find that they wanted our family to be part of this documentary. We represent the Biblical model of parenting on this documentary. We are quite honest about our flaws and how the scriptures have given our family a whole new approach to parenting through simply applying the truths of the scriptures. We understand that this is a special opportunity that needs to be protected by prayer. Final filming will be in the early spring.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom has been doing well. God uses His great mysterious ways to provide for our family needs. This faith journey has been tough but wonderful. We get to see so many more miracles. It might be a jar of honey, a bag of clothes, gift of money or even a car (we just received a gift of a ‘91 Geo Prizm –great for today’s gas prices).
Paul got to visit India again this year. This trip was challenging because it started and ended with a hurricane (with many losing their lives in the latter). And yet God preserved each of the Pastors’ Training Seminars. God wonderfully provided for all the costs for about 600 pastors/church planters and evangelists to attend these three day training seminars (see report and video). More and more material is being developed and put on the web, included some translated works. We praise God that well over 1,000 people come to the BFF website each day.
We have left the cyberschool program and have returned to our regular homeschool methods. Things have worked out well. Of course, our children and Linda have suffered greatly from losing the four computers that were loaned to us. Sigh. But certainly our present format gives us the most freedom and the focus that we need at least for now. We hope for a flexible Christian cyberschool that can be paid through our tax dollars.
Elizabeth,26, has recently started working as a medical secretary. She started her own website to sell her self-designed, handmade cards and drawings but it did not provide a regular income. She and Christy have been able to travel to attend many of their friends weddings. Christy,21, has had a full year. She's still teaching Sunday School with the youth at our church. She has lots of ideas and hopes for the group and is slowly seeing God work towards some of those goals. It's wonderful to see God start working in something you have put your whole effort into! She and Elias are still enjoying the joys of courtship.
Allison,14, wanted a loft bed. Well we know that the store models are creaky and expensive. So Dad and the younger ones worked hard making one from a $10. web plan. Praise God for Allison’s ability to understand what goes where. We all had fun using the electrical saws and drills. Now the loft bed stands high above the double-size bed underneath it where her two younger sisters, Kathryn and Rebekah sleep. Allison loves her gerbils and takes good care of them. One of her dreams came true when she had the chance to care for and begin to learn to ride some horses right here in our city!.
Kathryn,9, loves to play with her Polly Pockets. These are tiny sized dolls that can be dressed in rubbery clothes. She spends many happy hours with her friend Lydia. She has just begun to master long division.
The cold weather has moved in. There is one special cold weather activity that can only be enjoyed when we have snow. Playing in the snow. All the children, including Rebekah, simply love going out to slide and building creatures out of snow. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) we do not recognize what they are building half the time. Their concept of creatures has expanded due to a web edutainment site. We pretty much stuck with Noah’s ark when we were little.
Daniel,12, Benjamin, almost 11, and Isaac,6, also love to play ‘Hide and Go Creep’ in our house with their friends and sometimes other siblings. We missed out when we were young. It is much like ‘Hide and Seek’ except one can change places during the game. Just don’t get caught! Why didn’t we think of this version? Meanwhile Kathryn will quietly draw or play with a friend out of harm’s way.
The biggest change around here is Isaac’s missing two front teeth!. Rebekah still loves to entertain us. She is most clever in imitating different sounds and emotions, especially of animals. She loves to play with her baby dolls. We have seen some improvement in clarity of speech but still have a tough time understanding some of what she is saying. We are confident as she gets lots of correction from the rest of the family.
We praise God for providing debt-free a church building this year for our Pittsburgh Chinese Church right in the university area of Oakland, This was a great gift to all of us. But there is no greater gift than Jesus, God’s Best given for us.