As I write these words we are exactly a month away from the wedding of our daughter Michelle and Bradley (BJ) Haas. Michelle and BJ met in Central Asia. BJ is from the Buffalo, NY area. They will be getting married Saturday, February 20 in St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manhattan.
Our lives and the lives of our family have been busy this past year. We would love to catch you up on some of the main events.
We officially became empty nesters and saw our run of 16 years of having a teen-ager come to an end. Eric, our youngest, celebrated his 20th birthday in December. In September he moved to Long Island City (Queens) and has been sharing an apartment with a couple of young men from our church. At the end of August Eric was hired as a concierge/doorman at a midtown hotel. He keeps very busy, but enjoys the challenges of the hotel industry. He is very good at what he does (words of his manager!). He took it pretty hard that the New York Jets bounced his Cincinnati Bengals out of the playoffs.
So Michelle is getting married! BJ popped the question in June after our visit to Central Asia in May to see where Michelle has been for most of the past four years and to meet the young man who had created a stir in her life. One of the significant events of that trip was when BJ officially asked me for Michelle’s hand in marriage. After the wedding the future Mr. and Mrs. Haas will be in the U.S. for a few months until they return to their posts. Michelle is developing a new love for the intricacies of hockey (must be a Buffalo thing!).
We continue to enjoy having Kristina, José, Sophia and Nicholas so close (West New York, New Jersey). We had some memorable times together in 2009: watching the first year of Nicholas’ life, Grandparents Day at Sophia’s school, a rainy day at the Aquarium in Brooklyn to celebrate Sophia’s birthday, Sophia and Nicholas dressed as Fiona and Shrek for Halloween, Nicholas’ first birthday, the special times of going back and forth across the George Washington Bridge over Sophia’s favorite body of water “The Hudson River,” and of course a wonderful time together at Christmas. Kristina and José both work in midtown Manhattan. The Torrejón family was very excited about the New York Yankees’ 27th World Series Championship.
Charlotte continues her work as head nurse at a dermatology practice on the Upper Eastside. She keeps busy meeting with women of our church in a mentor relationship. Together we provided premarital counseling for several couples in our congregation. In June we became facilitators for Dynamic Marriage and led our first eight-week workshop of 11 couples in the fall. At the beginning of 2009 Gary left Barnes & Noble after five years and joined the staff of Trinity Grace Church as Pastor of Justice & Care. One of the highlights of the year was attending the Mobilization to End Poverty in April sponsored by Sojourners in Washington, D.C. Pastoral counseling, benevolence work, coordinating premarital counseling for numerous couples, and serving as an elder at TGC along with justice issues keep me busy.
Our trip to Central Asia was the first time either of us had been away from the Western Hemisphere. We learned the true meaning of jet lag and discovered that Spanish did us no good as much as we wanted to use it. We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in August and our seventh year in New York City.
We look forward to 2010: seeing Sophia and Nicholas continue to grow and babysitting them occasionally; watching and waiting with Kristina and José as God continues to lead them; welcoming BJ to the family; and celebrating Eric as he moves steadily into manhood. We are so thankful for the privilege of serving God through Trinity Grace Church as we gain further perspective on why God led us to this city in the first place.
We are very thankful for the love, prayers and experiences we have shared with you over the years. In spite of challenging times we enter 2010 with optimism and commitment to see God’s Kingdom come in our lives, in our neighborhood, in our city and in our world. What a great time to be alive!
Because of Jesus,
Gary and Charlotte
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