It is impossible to summarize a year in just a few paragraphs, but as we have celebrated Advent over the past four Sundays it is symbolic of what has happened in our lives during 2007. Six years ago the course of our lives took a drastic change as we stepped away from ministry in Peru and embraced the Big Apple. We had no idea what living in the way of Jesus would look like in Manhattan. Honestly, much of that time felt like "spinning our tires" on slippery pavement, but the certainty that we were where we were supposed to be was something that we could not deny. In our time of transition of frustration, God took us from expectation, to confirmation that our Lord was working in our lives and in His world, to joy in the waiting, and finally to a realization of His peace.
Over the past eight months God has revealed that we are exactly where He called us to be--to participate in the establishment of His Kingdom in this city and beyond. We are thankful for the people He has brought into our lives and the opportunities He continually gives us to minister. The celebration of Christmas is all the richer this year as we harmonize with what God is doing in His world!
Our youngest, Eric, turned 18 this month! He is a senior in high school and anticipates graduating in June from the High School of American Studies. He works two days a week at Barnes & Noble, is active in F.A.T. (Faithful, Available and Teachable) Kids, and plans to go to India in February with a group from our church to minister in an orphanage of children from the lowest caste.
Michelle is home for Christmas after being away last year. She was appointed by Global Partners in August as a career missionary to continue working with the Karis people. She spent the fall months in Holland, Michigan. We are thankful for her life and commitment to minister in a very needy part of the world. Her plans include leaving the U.S. in the spring. Right now she is enjoying spending time with her niece Sophia.
Kristina, Jose and Sophia have had a busy year. Kristina continues as the office administrator for APA International and Jose is the merchandize manager at the Rockefeller Center J. Crew. Sophia is 20 months old and amazes us with her vocabulary. She know how to brighten a room and put a smile on your face. Grandma and Grandpa love every minute we spend with her. Sophia and her parents made a couple of trips to Peru in 2007 for two weddings and she was able to get better acquainted with her Abuelo and Abuela Torrejon. She also recently visited her great-grandparents Lawn in Pennsylvania.
Charlotte is having a growing impact as head nurse in the dermatology practice where she works. This has been a pivotal year for her to see how God is using her in that setting. Gary finished his first year as a manager in the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble. God has opened doors for touching lives there. One of the biggest things has been the community into which we have been privileged to worship and minister. Origins Church will celebrate two years of ministry at Easter and God is using it in a significant way. There is not enough space to tell what God is doing there, but we are thrilled to see the vision God gave us for Manhattan come to be through our involvement with Origins. We have been leading a Life Group since September and in 2008 will lead a missional community in Upper Manhattan. You can learn more about the ministry of Origins at www.originsnyc.com.
Had God reveled to us how He wanted to use us in Manhattan six years ago, we might have had second thoughts because it didn't fit our concept of ministry or how we had "always done it." Six years later we can see the wisdom of God who gives us hope in the darkness and gives us joy in the waiting, and fills our hearts with peace. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the wonderful opportunity He gives each of us to participate with Him so that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven, our prayer is that you will be filled with His hope and peace. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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