Merry Christmas to all of our dear friends and family. We are celebrating our fourth Christmas in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan with much to be thankful for, not the least of which are our beautiful children. Moses (11) continues to grow in his love for the Lord and worship through singing and playing guitar. He is an avid reader of books in the fantasy genre and also loves history. Both boys play soccer and baseball and are very involved with our homeschool group’s co-op. The highlight for all of us at co-op this year was our drama which I helped to direct and they both played a part in. Asa (9) is constantly amusing us with his antics and funny faces. He has decided that reading is ok but tearing things apart and science experiments are better. He also seems to have a knack for drawing. Aravis (5) is hanging in there as best as she can with two older brothers. A social butterfly, co-op days and church are her favorite times of the week. She would love to have play dates every day of the year. She has started Kindergarten and is learning how to read. Kyrie (2) is a delightfully dramatic personality and adds a lot of sparkle to the already lively atmosphere around here. She is a big talker and copies everything her sister says and does.
As an added blessing, we spontaneously adopted a foreign exchange student this year. Serge (17) is from Hamburg, Germany and is spending the school year with us. We are enjoying having him with us and learning from him as he also learns about American culture a la Leiningers and Mt. Pleasant, Mi. It’s amazing to think about the wide variety of people and culture within our own country not to mention the wide, wide world. Serge is attending Mt. Pleasant High School and enjoyed playing football this fall. His time on the wrestling team this winter was short lived as a dislocated elbow at practice put a halt to it. Bummer. I am constantly amazed at his ability to speak three languages fluently. The first half of his life was spent in Kazakhstan so Russian is his native language and after being here for 4 months English is second nature to him.
Another addition to the family is Jason’s tractor-Allie. This year he restored an Allis Chalmers D-19 tractor that belonged to him as a teenager and has attached to it many good memories. It turned out beautifully and you can read more about it on his blog at http://revduke.blogspot.com.
On a more sorrowful note, this fall we said farewell to our good friends the Schantz’s who moved to Grand Rapids, and our dog, Delta who was unfortunately hit and killed. Additionally, the church has experienced turbulent times this year as a discussion ensued this spring about whether or not we are “emergent”. This resulted in many leaving our fellowship. It was difficult for everyone, but thankfully God has worked in our midst and we are beginning to experience a healthy unity and purpose. One of the exciting things that is happening within the life of the church is the upcoming missions trip to our Free Methodist church in Nogales, Mexico. You can read more about that on Facebook (Central Michigan Free Methodist Church to Nogales Mexico). With the difficulty and loss I mentioned above, it was suggested that I write a country song about my experience! I haven’t done so but it strikes me that life is a journey full of both happy and sad all at once and it is good to remember God with us-Emmanuel.