Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Christ. I am so very thankful that God made a way for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven! I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I have been struggling to get back into the habit of walking each morning since moving to Florida. You would think with such good weather all year round that it would be an easy thing to do, but it’s been hard to get in a routine. However, this morning, as I walked, God blessed me with this beautiful sunrise! Do you think He’s rewarding me for my efforts?
I am, again, very blessed to be a part of this great ministry. It never ceases to amaze me to think of all the people around the world who have heard the Gospel and met Jesus because of Teen Missions. If all goes as planned, I may be going to Madagascar for a couple of months soon to help because they are very short-staffed there. Then this fall, I will travel to Indonesia and Cambodia to do some Motorcycle Sunday School Mission (MSSM) training. We have new Circuit Riders there and the ministries are expanding, so training is needed. I am excited to get to visit some Asian countries and to see our ministries and staff there.
Working in the MSSM Office is always enjoyable. We now have two new students in the afternoons—Annie Russum, who just spent a year in Cambodia as part of TMIs Gap Year program and Hannah Ferguson, who was a team member on my Australia team in 2014. They are both a blessing to the office and have learned very quickly the office routine. Keisha will be leaving us after this week to serve the rest of her internship in the kitchen and Erika will be with us for 3 ½ more weeks as she finishes up her internship after spending most of the last year in Malawi. A few things we have been working on recently, in addition to writing our reports for Sunday School sponsors and other normal tasks: We decorated a Christmas tree for the Merritt Square Mall again this year as a way to promote Teen Missions, we laminated a LOT of phonics letters, and we’ve been working on printing MSSM T-shirts, Overseas Boot Camp T-shirts, and Boot Camp T-shirts for the coming summer. In the end, we will have done about 2,500, most of which will be sent overseas for our Boot Camps there.
I got to visit my own kids this Christmas. We all converged on my daughter’s family in Milo, Iowa. Thank you, Justin & Emily for opening up your home to us! We filled up their beautiful home with grandkids. There are now 21 of us (including the adults) and this was the first time in a long time that we were all together. On top of all that, I dragged one of our Bible School students along with me for the holidays. Sherly, who is from Colombia, South America, needed a place to go this holiday and she was such a blessing! Thanks for coming along, Sherly!
At the end of my Christmas break, I had the chance to serve as a “doorholder” (volunteer) at Passion 2017. If you’ve never heard of Passion (this was their 20th year), it’s a conference for 18-25 year old students. It draws the top Christian speakers, as well as the top Christian singers. This year it was held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (one of the last events to be held there before they tear down the building) and my position was actually in the Dome so I got to hear Lou Giglio, John Piper, Francis Chan, Beth Moore and other speakers and also singers like David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, and Matt Redman among others. Carrie Underwood even snuck in and surprised us when she sang her song “Something in the Water.” There were 55,000 people attending so it was amazing to see the well oiled machine that Passion has become. They always have a project where they can do something good in the world and this year in partnership with Compassion, they sponsored every child waiting to be sponsored in El Salvador, Indonesia, Rwanda, and Tanzania, plus they made a big dent in sponsoring the children in Bolivia. What a blessing to be a very small part in this year’s conference!
THANK YOU so much for continuing to support me and also to those who sent special financial gifts at Christmas time. That’s always a time when funds get tight, so I appreciate the extra help very much. I pray that you all have the best year yet and that you realize how blessed you are by God and His grace.