Happy 2014! This New Year’s Eve our family did something different. We had read a quote or saying that said “Right before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, make sure you raise your left leg, that way you start the year off on the right foot.” So, we all stood on our right feet to start the year off! While that’s just a cute saying and funny thing to do, God really does want us to start the year or even each day off right with Him. Maybe 2013 was not so great for you, but it does not mean 2014 cannot be a new beginning. Forget your mistakes/failures of the past, learn from them, make some changes, and keep going—never giving up. God promises to be with you. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 Please pray for our family that each one of us would start each day right with God.
Since the writing of our last newsletter in September, we have continued working in our same departments. One new thing that Don did was plant a garden at Teen Missions and attend the Master Gardening class. This was a new class for the Bible, Missionary & Work (BMW) Training Center students and any interested staff to help train people to help with gardening overseas. Pray for a good harvest. He also worked many days on repairing and putting a floor in a trailer. He was gone a little over three days when he went on a road trip with another staff member to Windsor, Canada to deliver the 2014 Summer Team Brochures to be sent out to Canadians on the mailing list. Melissa was involved with the brochure mailing. Most staff helped stuff the brochures with inserts, but the finance department was mostly responsible for getting the tabs and addresses on it. There were over 90,000 brochures and many of them had to go through the tabbing machine three times and the address machine once before being mailed out.
Many people worked together to get your brochure mailed out to you. There are over 460 team members registered for the 2014 teams. Please pray for them as they raise their support and prepare for the summer, and pray that many more youth would have a desire to go on a team this summer. We were approved to take two weeks of our vacation/deputation time in December since we did not take all of it in September, the normal scheduled time after the summer. We had a wonderful time with family in Ohio and Pennsylvania during this time. The day we arrived in Ohio there was ice and snow, and it was very cold. Tori and Joshua were very excited! While in Pennsylvania, we got six inches of snow, so they had fun sledding, snowboarding and Uncle Steve let them ride his snowmobiles. We are sorry that we did not get a chance to share and fellowship at Don’s home church. Due to the weather, the church service was cancelled. Hopefully, we will see all of you next time. While in Ohio, Tori and Joshua were privileged to attend their old school for a day. Joshua spent the entire day in a third grade classroom with his friends. Tori helped Aunt Lori in a first grade classroom and ate lunch with her sixth grade friends. (Sixth graders were having exams that day.) Another highlight of their time in Ohio was riding horses at Miss Tina’s.
That’s always fun! Please pray for them as they both miss Ohio. We enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s in Ohio with Melissa’s family. Melissa’s dad and Tori were both sick on New Year’s, but we were still able to enjoy playing games. Tori was still sick when we traveled back to Florida, and Melissa soon got sick the day after we returned. Melissa seems to get sick when we return to our trailer after it’s been closed up. Please pray for a healthy year for our family. Around the world different Teen Missions Overseas bases are preparing to have or are running their Boot Camps. These include the bases in Australia, Honduras, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar. Please pray for the staff and students as they oversee everything and all the youth that come to participate in mission opportunities in their own countries. Pray that they would go out and spread the Good News and that many lives would be transformed for the glory of God. We enjoyed our time up North and had a good time sharing with some of you about the ministry of Teen Missions and getting caught up with what is happening in your lives. Once again we want to thank those of you who pray for us and support us financially. We praise the Lord for each of you and pray that you will grow closer to Him throughout this year. What a Mighty God we serve.
By the time you receive this letter Joshua’s ninth birthday (January 19) will have probably come and gone. We remember his birth well. It was a very peaceful and special time. God’s presence filled the room. When the nurse took Joshua to clean him, weigh him, etc., he was crying. Don said his name as he walked over to him. Joshua heard his daddy’s voice and stopped crying. This year, 2014, will you hear your Daddy’s voice and listen or let “all of the noise” in your life drown it out? Take time to be still and listen to God’s voice. Please pray that our family will hear God’s voice and be obedient. Happy 2014!
In His Love,
Don, Melissa, Tori, and Joshua Derstine
Ephesians 5:17, Joshua 1:9