Dear Family and Friends,
As I sit down to write this letter, Anthony and Jessie are on their way to Texas for her to start her time with YWAM. She is so excited to finally be going and starting this chapter in her life. She has many friends out there and is looking forward to the ministry God has called her to be a part of. She will be helping with the childcare in the morning so that the staff and students can look after their responsibilities. In the afternoons she will be working in admissions helping prepare those who are coming with YWAM. Pray for her as she gets settled in and that she will continue to bless others.
Another change in our family over the past few months was Brandon and Brooke (Esbenshade) getting married on November 18th in Pennsylvania! It was a beautiful wedding, which was inside one of the Esbenshade’s greenhouses. We also had a great time getting to know Brooke’s family better. Brandon and Brooke are now living in Lititz, so it is nice to know Anthony’s family is not too far away! We were able to be up in PA for Thanksgiving, and Anthony was able to speak at his home church. We are thankful for Air Hill BIC Church and all their prayers and support for our family.
We drove back down to Florida and less than a month later we headed back up for Christmas! We spent Christmas Day with Anthony’s family (Brandon and Brooke came, too) and drove 10 hours up to Ontario the next day. On our way up, one of Darin’s football buddies and his family were at Niagara Falls for the day. We were driving right through there so we stopped and waited until they arrived. That was fun! The Falls are beautiful in the winter especially when partly frozen over, however, it was COLD. We definitely got our fill of snow and cold! The morning we went to my home church to share, it was -30°F! I am not sure I even remember it getting that cold when I grew up there! We are thankful for the many years of prayers and financial support that Emmanuel Baptist Church in Barrie has given ever since I started in 1983. At that time, I was joining staff for three years, and they have been faithful ever since! It has also grown from a few hundred members to a few thousand since I went there. They really take care of their missionaries and have been a real blessing to many. We stayed with my brother, Len, and his wife, Teresa in Collingwood for four days. We had dinner with my niece, Shawna, and her family as well as met with the missions committee at my home church.
The rest of our vacation time was spent in PA visiting family, friends and supporters. We went to the Bible Museum in Washington, DC, and while there, we ran into three Former Team Members! One was a leader with us to the Philippines. FTMs are everywhere! We highly recommend going to see the Bible Museum. Jessie and her YWAM group were taken on a tour while it was being built, so it was fun for her to see it completed. Darin went skiing for the first time and really enjoyed it. We put over 5,000 miles on the van during our two trips north and are thankful that we had no problems, and we were safe on the roads.
We are now into basketball season (which runs until February) with Darin. He is also playing flag football, while keeping up straight A’s. Jessie completed her two year AA (Associate of Arts) at Eastern Florida State College and graduated on December 14th. We are proud of her sticking with it, before going to Texas.
We have so many things going on in the ministry at this time. We are preparing for the 4th Annual Mud Run for AIDS Orphans which will be May 5th. It has been a great way to raise support for medical expenses and supplies for orphans overseas.
January through March are busy times here with volunteers coming down to get out of the cold weather. There is a lot to be done to get ready for the summer and to keep things going on a daily basis. We are also still cleaning up from Hurricane Irma including rebuilding the Tabernacle here in Florida. At this time we have over 350 team members and leaders registered for the summer teams. This summer we will be staying home to help run the office. Pray for Darin as he decides what to do this summer.
We would appreciate your prayers as we have our Teen Missions International Annual Board Meeting March 20-22. Anthony and I are on the board and count it a great responsibility to be a part of making decisions for the direction of the ministry. Please bathe these days in prayer for us.
We have been staying pretty healthy. I had a cold that lingered on for almost three weeks, but we have been kept safe from the flu and other things. Anthony’s Crohns has been under control for the most part and he is feeling good. Anthony will be turning the big 5-0 on February 2nd!
We look forward to a number of visits from family this Spring, including Shawna’s brothers and their wives, as well as Anthony’s parents. If you are in the area, please drop in and see us, even for a few minutes. We would love to show you the ministry here.
We appreciate your prayers as we adjust to our new “lives” with our family spread all over from Pennsylvania to Florida to Texas. The kids were dedicated to the Lord when they were young and it is exciting to see them grow up and follow His leading. Thank you for your encouragement to us in many ways.
Anthony, Shawna and family