Dear Family and Friends,
When Billy Graham was asked what he wished he would have done differently in his life he said, “I would study more, I would pray more, travel less…I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him and I’m looking forward to the time we are going to spend together for eternity.” How humbling to hear this incredible man of God say he didn’t pray enough or study the scriptures enough! Do I pray enough…or read God’s Word enough? One of our highlights while traveling north for Christmas was going to the Billy Graham Library and museum. We felt the presence of God as we walked around the grounds. They did a great job at showing Mr. Graham’s life of ministry and how God used him around the world. We were truly blessed.
We also stopped for a few days to see some friends in S. Carolina. We got in late Wednesday night and Anthony and Darin got up early the next morning to go deer hunting. Yes, Darin wanted to experience sitting in a deer stand with Dad, getting cold and seeing no deer! That’s why it’s called “deer hunting” not “deer finding”! They had a fun time though seeing three turkeys! That night we went Christmas caroling with their church (Turbeville Southern Methodist Church) and enjoyed hot chocolate and goodies around a campfire.
It is always great to get together at Anthony’s parents’ home on Christmas Day with the rest of his family. It wasn’t a white Christmas, but we had fun going for a hayride and playing football before dinner. It is nice to see all the cousins together enjoying each other’s company and catching up on lost time. We so much enjoy getting the family together—that’s when special times are made and remembered.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Sight and Sound in Lancaster, PA, you will be blessed. It is a Christian drama presentation and was excellent. The show we saw was “Moses” and it was great to see how the actors showed the love of Jesus and really meant what they were portraying.
January 2 was a special night for us to be able to be a part of our sister-in-law, Amy, getting married again. It was four years this past November when Lynn died of ALS. Amy has done a great job with raising their five kids, but God saw fit to bring a wonderful husband and father, Keith Weaver, into their lives.
Jessie has wanted to go to Washington, DC for a while now, so we decided to take a day and go there. We toured the Capitol building (the dome is getting a makeover), the Library of Congress, and saw the Washington Monument and the White House. It was really nice at Christmas time. We enjoyed our day there just getting away, and we learned a lot! There is still a lot to see so we hope to go back.
We were able to touch base with a lot of friends and family during our two weeks in PA. It was enjoyable to reunite friendships and create new ones. We know we didn’t get to see all of you, but you are in our thoughts and prayers. We praise God for an awesome group of supporters and prayer partners that make it possible for us to be here ministering for the Lord. It is hard to believe that Anthony has been here serving the Lord for 23 years and I have been here 32 years.
It sure is different having two kids in college! It has taught them responsibility, as well as how to manage their time. We are thankful that they can live at home as the school is close. Darin is playing flag football again and he will soon start Upward Basketball. Anthony and Brandon will be coaching his team. We are so thankful for our children and are blessed to see them growing up.
This summer, we are scheduled to go to Vanuatu. Where is that? Well, we had to do some research, too! It is a set of islands in the South Pacific, just west of Fiji and above Australia. It consists of 82 small islands. We will be on Pentecost Island in the village of Lonoroe. We will be renovating the Ranmawot Health Center for Ranmawot Mission. A few TMI teams have been there in the past so this is not the first time Teen Missions has been there. Darin will be going with us so we will need to raise about $3000 for him to go. We are already praying for the team that is still signing up and for the missionaries we will be working with.
Brandon and Jessie will be staying home this summer and hope to go up to Pennsylvania for a few weeks. For those who have not heard, Jessie will be taking a few semesters off school starting this fall, and has been accepted to attend the YWAM DTS program in Tyler, Texas. Youth With A Mission has a Discipleship Training school and she will be in Texas for approximately 2 ½ months for the intensive Bible training, then she will go overseas for the remainder of her involvement. The location will not be known until she gets to Texas and they decide together what is best for her and the ministry. She is excited about this new adventure. If you would like more information or would be interested in helping her raise the needed funds, please contact us or email her at [email protected]
My brother and sister-in-law came to visit for a long weekend as they were in Orlando for a conference. My twin brother, Steve, and his wife, Gloria, also plan to spend a few days with us on their way down to Miami for an anniversary cruise. Anthony’s parents also plan to come down later in the Spring. His dad is having shoulder replacement surgery in January, so we appreciate your prayers for quick healing. If you are in the area, please stop in or give us a call. We would love to see you.
Teen Missions is also part of Winter Jam concert tour again this year. We have representatives at the 47 cities over the next few months. Teen Missions is the featured youth ministry being represented, and we have had great contacts and have been able to minister to many. Former team members are able to help at the booth and share about TMI, too. If you are interested, contact the office.
On May 2, AIDS Orphans and Teen Missions will be hosting a MUD RUN to raise funds for AIDS Orphans. This will be new for us, but we hope to be able to make it an annual event. It is a 5K run with 30 challenging obstacles going through lots of mud, swamp and water. Yes, people pay to do that! There will also be a junior/kids race which will be two miles with 10 obstacles. We will also be having an Open House of the offices and Tabernacle as this is Teen Missions 45th year of ministry.
Anthony made an unexpected trip to PA the end of January as his uncle passed away. He was glad to be a support for his mother and see how his dad is doing following shoulder surgery.
Thank you for being an encouragement to us through your prayers and financial support. God is good.
Anthony, Shawna, Brandon, Jessie & Darin