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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent: God With Us

Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.

O Holy Night

In a lowly manger lay
A child small and helpless
Surrounded by the stink of barn
And old and dampened hay.

Wrapped in clothes to keep him warm
The infant rarely stirred
The silent night on David's town
Enveloped Bethlehem.

Yet one cannot imagine 
The energy that night
The static in the air; the stink of demon's fright 
The Deliverer has come!

If you've seen Jesus, you've seen the Father
And even as he lay
A newborn helpless in the dark
The Light had come that day

To be rejected and despised 
Smitten and rejected
Pierced and beaten near to death
And still they'd call Him Lord

Did He hold back the angels then,
As the baby cried?
Keeping them from rushing in
An army to defend Him

God transcends the thoughts of man;
Surpasses understanding
And as the baby cried that night
Did He know I would find Him?

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
(John 12:44-45 ESV)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Christmas Letter

Friends and Family,

We're looking forward to Patrick's first Christmas! We'll remain in Oxford to spend time with Jonathan's family, but this also enables us to create our own Christmas traditions. We're up to any suggestions!

With it being Patrick's first Christmas, it makes me look at the many first of 2011 and all the wonderful God has led us this year.

We ushered in 2011 with a trip to Hawaii with my family. It was so much fun and a "babymoon" for us right before the baby. Jonathan enjoyed the snorkeling, and I enjoyed my time as a "beached whale." We were also able to visit the Mighty Mo- a highlight for the both of us.

February brought us the greatest joy as we welcomed Patrick David into our  lives on the 18th. We also celebrated the start of our 2nd year of marriage. Patrick is almost 10 months old! I just know he'll be one too soon. He's crawling almost faster then we can get things out of his reach. He likes to live life on the edge by trying to eat cords and play in toilets. He's also showing us his social side by talking to us (or really Dadadada) all the time. He also enjoys singing to anything on the radio. Patrick loves big boy food and  says "ummmmmmmm" whenever he eats something new or yummy. He pulls himself up on anything within his reach, and he's wanting to walk. We've been so blessed to have this constant reminder of God's love and the joy He must have in watching us, His children.

The majority of the spring was spent applying to be missionaries with ReachGlobal. We were accepted by them in October. We're headed to San Jose, Costa Rica to work with an International Youth Group. The group has about 45 students who are Missionary Kids, Third Culture Kids, and Costa Ricans. We're so excited about helping these students mature in Christ!

We had a wonderful summer visiting friends from all over. We went to Georgia numerous times and were able to go to Chicago, Indiana, and Michigan. We enjoyed Lake Burton as much as possible! Jonathan and I also took Patrick to the Red River George in Kentucky and learned how to lead climb. Patrick loved hanging out in the hammock.

In August we went down to Costa Rica to meet the youth group. We had a wonderful time visiting with the families of the youth, eating beans and rice, engaging in Spanish (or me attempting to communicate), seeing the beautiful La Cumbre camp, and Jonathan having the opportunity to speak at 2 youth groups.
 Patrick was quite the hit with his fair skin and large size. "Muy Gordito!" We fell in love with the students and hope to be able to return to Costa Rica soon to be the youth directors. 

In addition to the youth climbing team, Jonathan and I started teaching undergrad students beginner rock climbing. We've really enjoyed teaching a new age of students and can now say we teach rock climbing to Kindergartners to Seniors in college. Sadly teaching has provided more opportunities for instructing than for climbing.
The rest of the fall has been dedicated to getting to Costa Rica. We've been calling, emailing, and mailing everyone we know. If you haven't heard from us yet, please give us your address so we can send you our updates. We've had several open houses, Maggie's spoke at a church, and Jonathan attended a conference.  We know that God will get us to Costa Rica in His timing, and we hope to be in Costa Rica next fall.

We've had a great 2011, and we're excited about 2012-- a toddler, going to Costa Rica, meeting new people, and growing stronger in our relationship with Christ!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Thanksgiving-To-Now Update

On Tuesday, November 21, we made the long trek down to Duluth, GA to visit Maggie's family for Thanksgiving. It took ten hours driving through Cincinnati rush hour and some rain in the dark, but we made it in three pieces (Maggie, Patrick, and me, respectively). On Wednesday night we enjoyed an amazing Thanksgiving meal put on by Maggie's great aunt Kathryn. I enjoyed meeting new family I didn't know she even had, and catching up with some good friends, Tara and Joel Beauchamp. They are heavily involved with a halfway house for men struggling with addictions. Find out more about their faith based support ministry at It's really neat stuff.
Speaking of stuff, we stuffed ourselves that night, and then had to work it off playing some four square. My Culby 4 experience came in handy, and I dare say that a couple times I was singled out and every move (sometimes wrongly) scrutinized. But I showed them what C4 can nurture in a person, and had some great volleys.

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and we enjoyed some family coming over to Maggie's folks (the Finchers) house for dinner. We missed Kelley and Jean-Marc, but still had  good time. Patrick is a huge fan of anything served on Thanksgiving. Huge fan.

On Monday we had an open house at the Finchers where we talked about the International Youth Group in  Costa Rica and how the Spirit is leading us to work with them. We had great feed back from the group, and though prior to that we had been fairly discouraged, God used that to lift our spirits. It's great when He does little things that He doesn't have to do for us.

After working on developing ministry partners on Tuesday, we decided to hit up the Georgia Aquarium on Wednesday.

These are actually the first fish Patrick saw in the aquarium.

Maggie and Patrick at the Grand finale
 Lots of cool memories.

On Thursday I flew to Minneapolis for some training. It snowed four inches while I was there, and got to take advantage of it: my fellow trainees and I made a bunch of snow men looking into the window of our training room. Between that and the Mall of America, our evenings were covered. Fun Fact: If you visited every store in the Mall of America, it would take you 85 hours! Noooo thanks. 

Back in Georgia Patrick was making a run for it in his super-cool Jeep walker. Check this video out!

Maggie got to speak at Clayton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, while I finished up training and flew back to Atlanta. We left Monday morning and had to dive straight in to all of the work and emails awaiting us. What a great trip!