Dear Family and Friends:
The more opportunities we have to share about what the Lord is doing through the various ministries of Teen Missions, the more encouraged we are about being part of His work here. Our latest endeavor is in cooperation with the Christian music group New Song, who runs Winter Jam! Our West Coast representative, Ryan Fast had the opportunity to represent Teen Missions at a few of the Winter Jam concerts last fall. We now have a Teen Missions rep traveling with the East Coast tour for the next 27 concerts! Then we will be at the 11 concerts on the West Coast also! We have the opportunity to share about TMI from the stage and have a booth to promote and give out information. There can be up to 12,000 at some of the concerts, so we praise the Lord for the opportunity and being able to get the word out about Teen Missions. Jessie recently went to the one in Orlando and loved it! We are excited with this adventure and will be part of it next year also. You can check out the concert dates and locations at www.jamtour.com.
We had a great time in PA over the Christmas holidays. We really enjoy the quality family time. You just don’t know when the next time is that we will all be together. We are thankful for every minute we have. The temperatures were a lot warmer than usual while we were there. It made it nice traveling around, not worrying about icy roads. We did get a skiff of snow after the New Year so the boys were able to play their game of football in the snow. The boys also helped grandpa split wood for his wood stove. We all had a fun time at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg; over 20 acres under roof with farm animals, exhibits and the high school rodeo. Brandon was bored after the first few cows (can you tell he is a city boy?)! He said “cow…cow…oh, there’s another cow…!” Then we moved on to the horses, pigs, chickens and bunnies! 🙂
We were very busy seeing a lot of people. We had dinner with one of our team members, Justine Nolt, who went with us to Israel last summer. Shawna’s brother and his family came down from Ontario for three days and we went to Lancaster and did the sightseeing thing. We toured the UTZ potato chip factory in York and the Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel factory. We enjoyed our yearly dinner with the Bittermans and were surprised when Nathan and Esther Strite came to Anthony’s church presentation. Both couples are on the board of TMI and volunteer each summer. That was a nice surprise. We appreciated the fellowship and hospitality of many of our supporters, family and friends.
Brandon was able to play two games for the Air Hill Church basketball team. He loved it. They lost one and won one. He was a little timid the first game but scored big in the second game. He and Jessie have made good friends up there in the youth group, so it was hard for them to leave.
The headquarters is now busy with volunteers who are making puppets, building a walkway, printing t-shirts, collating memory verse packets, and many of the jobs needing to be done to prepare for Boot Camp, which is really not far away! We are grateful for the number of people who come down for Spring Break or take other vacation time to help us get ready. We couldn’t do it without them. One of the groups that volunteers each Spring is a youth group from Turbeville, South Carolina. Last fall, they asked Anthony to speak for their youth retreat at a camp in the mountains. The kids were off school on the Friday so we were all able to drive up and spend the long weekend together. We enjoyed the cool weather and beautiful surroundings. Anthony shared four times over the three days and we were all blessed. What a wonderful youth group and leaders. We had such a fantastic time getting to know them and look forward to them coming down in March.
During January, February and March we have adult teams serving at our bases in Malawi, Cameroon, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa. They will be helping the bases in whatever is needed which could include sewing school uniforms for orphans, giving out clothes from the containers we send over, cooking, building widow’s houses, etc. These trips are usually two to three weeks long and are a great help to our staff overseas. If you cannot get away for a whole summer to be part of a team, this is a great way to get involved! At this time, Anthony’s parents are scheduled to go on the Zimbabwe Adult team. We appreciate your prayers for them as they prepare and raise the necessary finances.
At this time, Darin is busy playing flag football and Brandon is trying out for the tennis team at school! Brandon has his driver’s permit and Jessie is working on getting hers. They are busy with school, Brandon (grade 11) Jessie (grade 10), and Darin (grade 3). Pray for wisdom for Brandon as he will be a Senior next year and is not sure what direction he would like to go after he graduates.
We are blessed to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in March! Do you believe it!? Who would have thought we had to come from Pennsylvania and Ontario to meet in Florida! We are thankful for each other and hope to have many more years of serving the Lord together.
Once again, we have the responsibility of staying home to help run the office this summer. Staying in the office during the summer is a challenge, as there are over 35 teams to be responsible for! Many decisions come out of this office that need the Lord’s wisdom, even in the summer, while the teams are on their projects stateside and overseas! It is encouraging to receive, first hand, the reports from the teams. Anthony will be the Debrief leader for the four Debriefs between July 24 and August 12. He will also be in charge of the outside work for the few who are left here. Shawna will be helping in the office with many responsibilities and then cooking for the Debriefs. Darin will do whatever he can to help, and have some play time too! Brandon is praying about what to do this summer and Jessie has a number of opportunities before her this summer. She is waiting on the Lord to see which way He leads.
In May, we are planning on having three life-size replicas of the Old Testament Tabernacle open for tours. They will be in Toronto, Ontario; Hudson, Wisconsin; and Orangeburg, South Carolina. At this time, Anthony is scheduled to lead the group going up to Toronto. If you would like more information on the Tabernacle or would like to book a tour, please go to our website at www.teenmissions.org.
We want to thank you for being part of our team this past year. Your prayers, support and encouragement are invaluable to us and we couldn’t do it without you. Please tell us how we can pray for you. God is faithful. May He bless you richly in 2012! If you are in this area anytime, please drop in and see us.
Blessings, Anthony, Shawna, Brandon, Jessica and Darin
Praises:* safety in travel over the Christmas holidays * God always meeting the needs of our family * our special support group of family and friends
Prayer Requests: * to know God’s will for us on a daily basis * quality time with the Lord and each other * that our children will continue to grow in the Lord * additional financial support