Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters. (Proverbs 25:13)
Seasons Greetings from Kent! What a start to the holiday season we’ve had: all kinds of crazy winter weather in the week before Thanksgiving… then the Thanksgiving Break break from school and work, including a one-week visit from my brother and his bunch from Texas, as well as a one-day visit from the rest of my side of the family… And now, we’re staring December in the face! I find my heart simultaneously pulled towards enjoyment and anxiety. Snow is a perfect example. The season’s early snows strike me as especially beautiful: sticking to the newly-naked tree branches, creating a cloud-like covering on the front lawn, prompting the season’s first listening to Andy Williams’ “White Christmas” (a tradition inherited from my mother). But when it comes to burst water pipes on the street in front of our house or getting the car out of our inclined driveway, the snow and ice are not nearly as pleasant! This holiday season, I’m hope to focus my attention more on the joys and less on the stresses.
It’s been two full years since our family moved into our home here in Kent — and our family is doing quite well (I hope you enjoy the enclosed Prayer Card, complete with a new family picture: also magnetized this year for easy refrigerator application!). Ministry is also doing quite well. It’s remarkable to see how far H2O Kent has come in just the last two years, since we got involved after our years in Amsterdam! Over the course of this school year, I’ve been especially encouraged to see what God is doing among the current freshman class, international students (with whom Marci and I have worked especially closely), and the new H2O at the University of Akron which has been boosted by several brand-new believers. We hope you will feel encouraged and refreshed to know that your faithful prayer- and financial support have facilitated such fruitful ministry.
Back in Amsterdam, God continues to do His work. I’ve been very encouraged, recently, to hear positive reports from our family’s old friends at Amsterdam50. Since we moved back to the United States in 2012, I’ve maintained regular contact with the leadership team there on the ground, and I’ve even continued to serve on the Board of Trustees for Amsterdam50. In the past several months, the church managed to navigate some tricky leadership- and financial transitions. Fortunately, these transitions seem to have turned out well. Better than I might have expected, honestly. When I talk with my old friends from Amsterdam, these days, it’s clear that morale is up, ministry influence is increasing, and personal progress is happening. God is good!
In both Kent and in Amsterdam, we trust God for continued growth and development in the year to come.
At the end of this calendar year, we wanted to let you know that we’re trusting God to help provide some extra funds to meet our year-end goals and position us for continued progress in the year to come. Our goal is to raise $5,000 in special gifts. Would you please think and pray about helping to meet this goal? We would be honored by your consideration at this strategic time of the year, when holiday bonuses are provided and year-end giving is determined. We are very grateful for what you’re already doing to partner with us in life and ministry. As you feel led, though, please consider helping us in the following ways:
- A special gift. An additional gift of $500, $300, or $100 is a tremendous blessing at the close of the year, and it will be especially strategic in providing the means for pioneering new ministry initiatives in the year to come.
- Giving via LifeLink. If you give regularly by mail, please consider a switch to this automatic, secure service. It saves significantly on administrative costs, ensuring more goes directly to Gospel work.
- Increasing your regular giving amount. A new year means a new missionary budget. You can help meet important and necessary increases for 2014 (primarily caused by giving attrition).
As Kent State University’s Fall semester wraps up in the next couple of weeks, I hope to give you a call — both to catch up as well as to see if you’d like to help in any of the ways mentioned in this letter. In any event, though, I just want to say thank you for all your support throughout 2014! We look forward to everything God will do in the year to come. We’ll be in touch…