Merry Christmas to All of You!
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Dear Friends and Family,
In this Christmas season we greet you in the love of God through Christ!
How wonderful that God's love radiates as a bright star in this dark world through Jesus Christ. The beautiful peace and spirit of giving stands in stark contrast to the way many government leaders at different levels grab power, privilege and money. We affirm Jesus as the head of the nations. Jesus not only identified with our humanity but was willing to sacrifice Himself on the cross for our sins. God then highly exalted HIM far above all authorities (Eph 1:20-23).
Any good that we have experienced is wholly from His awesome kindness. This update, then, is a record of only a few of many blessings that the Lord has brought into our lives.
Blessings from God
Year of protection
While Paul was out of the country, our van's brakes failed again coming off the highway. The van was loaded with our children, but the Lord provided a safe place to stop, a car repair shop across the street and a nearby friend to take our family home!
Year of growth
Every year our children grow, but this year with four teens, deep voices, applications for driving permits and colleges and our smallest one already 8 years-old, the growth seems extraordinary. The nice part is that Linda and I can easily go off for our weekly date without thinking about baby sitting.
Year of bounty
What a pleasure for our family to be together at special times.
So many birthdays we get to celebrate together since our family all lives nearby. In February, we got to go the beach together including Christy, Elias and little Joshua. We recently were able to watch the 3D Christmas Carol together! It is a good thing we had heavily discounted tickets!
Paul & BFF Ministry
Biblical Foundations for Freedom (BFF) reached its goal of 2 1/4 million web pages viewed this year! Paul wrote two books this year, though not yet published. He visited Nigeria, Kenya and India on two different trips. Although tired from these very fruitful journeys, he felt better than usual upon his return. The discipleship training materials are being used of the Lord in amazing ways.
Paul is continually challenged to learn new te chnology and keep things organized. He is far behind the new e-book formats in the fast-developing e-book industry. He is now making plans for another trip to Africa in March with at least three seminars: two on marriage and one on discipleship training.
Linda has been busy since passing on the Children's Ministry Coordinator position at our church. She really appreciated the team that she worked with. She loved singing in the Christmas Eve choir. She hadn't sung in a choir for 30+ years. Linda also has assisted at Happy English Corner for Chinese students once a month. Homeschooling 6 children takes up most of the time, when she is not preparing one of her great meals.
This year has been harder because her knees have not been too cooperative. One knee is better but the left one is still quite painful at times. She has been learning about making several herbal remedies. They seem to work! The bean and tomato crop were great this year in Linda's garden.
Elizabeth continues to enjoy working at the doctor's office as a patient information coordinator, aka receptionist. She also serves as a Sunday School teacher for the 5-8th graders at church. This year she has taken up swing dancing and in her spare time finds no end to fun, artistic projects.
Elias, Christy & Joshua
Christy and her little family is doing well. They moved into a new apartment at the beginning of August after living at "home" for a month and a half after their ceiling fell in on their bed. Both Elias and Christy have rolled up their sleeves and started working with the church youth group. Joshua is growing like a weed and turned 2 in October. He enjoys "helping" and there is always another antic around the corner to make us laugh like painting his walls with Vick's vapor rub. Elias just started a new job, thankfully still in Pittsburgh.
Allison and Daniel have shared a number of significant experiences. They both were baptized in April. They each took a college class at the community college instead of one of their regular high school classes this past fall.
Allison has been busy applying to college, photoshopping (is this a verb?) and writing in her role play journals. This has developed into an interest in creative writing which she hopes to follow up in college this coming fall. She still plays the guitar on occasion for youth group and has been teaching herself the piano.
Daniel now in the 11th grade found his college intro chemistry course a good challenge. He rode his bike down to the college twice a week. Math is easier for him this year. He was stung several times by bees while on a youth retreat.
By God's grace he had learned from Linda's herb advice how to get rid of stings and their poison. He found the common herb and immediately applied it without any secondary problems. Among the many projects he helped Dad with were to make two rain barrels for Mom. They work pretty good. Once the winter passes, we will put them to good use again.
Benjamin joined the youth group named Oasis this year. So he, Allison and Daniel all belong! Benjamin is the creative one and we all benefit. We don't only mean the creative home stunt movies he makes with Isaac, but the many delicious deserts including various cookies, jello creations and cakes.
Kathryn and Rebekah just finished their first piano recital. They both are doing well. Kathryn is a good helper around the home always carrying about her sweet smile.
Isaac is one of those professional wrestlers, or at least it seems so. Half of the home movies consist of Isaac wrestling with Benjamin. Isaac now swims in the deep and loves making lego creations with his brothers.
Rebekah lost four teeth this year. Her favorite past time is to engage as many people as possible in conversation. During lunch time at church she goes around seemingly talking to everyone!
We appreciate hearing from you all.
Paul & Linda Bucknell