Christmas 2008

Christ is Born! The manger, the cross and the empty tomb change everything! “But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.” (Galatians 4:4-5 The Message)

This has been an eventful year!

Event #1: On March 3, 2008 (Peter’s Birthday) Brently Owen Latcham joy and bo was born to Joy and Tony. He joins brothers Brady (6), Broc (4), and Brandt (2). They are a busy family! Tony is the CEO of State Bank of Bussy and Joy is a full-time mom.

Event #2: Ten days later, Lois and Jim left for New York City with the Choir and Band from Pekin High School. Even though Kari graduated in 2001 they continue to invite us to be involved. What a wonderful time seeing the sights, attending two shows, a back-stage tour of Radio City Music Hall, and some great food. It was a long motor coach ride to and from NYC but worth it to spend five days with a fantastic group of students and adults.

Event #3: Jim and Lois arrived home from NYC on Tuesday evening, March 18, and woke the next morning to a phone call from Jim’s Mom, Clarice, who had fallen. No one knows for sure what happened but Mom had a broken neck – the C-2. So at 84 yrs old she got her first helicopter ride from Oskaloosa to the University Hospital in Iowa City where she had surgery to inset four screws. There is no paralysis and she is able to move about with a walker for which we are very thankful!

Clarice spent the rest of March in Iowa City and was then transferred to Sigourney for rehabilitation. On April 17th she moved to the Manor House Care Center in Sigourney where she is now a permanent resident. (Clarice Eschenbrenner, 1212 S Stuart St, Sigourney, IA  52591) We were all thankful for Harriet, Clarice’s sister, who came for two weeks in April to help with the transition to the nursing home.

Even though the bones in her neck did not mend, the screws are holding and she only wears a brace when her neck is especially sore or tired. Manor House is providing wonderful care for Clarice and she enjoys all the activities, not having to cook (or cleanup) and being surrounded by a lot of people.

Event #4: Peter resigned from his job as a programmer just before Clarice fell and was able to be with Jim for most of the time family members were hospitalized in Iowa City. He is now a self-employed programming consultant and still living in Des Moines where he continues to be very involved in Point of Grace church in Waukee.

Event #5: Lois, who was helping Joy as she recovered from the C-Section to deliver Brently, was sick the weekend of May 17-18 with what she thought was the flu but the pain in her belly and the fever grandkids Oct08 just wouldn’t go away. On Monday, May 19, she ended up in the emergency room and within hours was checking in to the University Hospital in Iowa City.

The tests revealed cancer of the colon with a large tumor at the cecum with tentacles in the bladder, right ovary and right fallopian tube. Surgery took place on Thursday, May 22. Tests also revealed the cancer had metastasized to Lois’ liver but no surgery took place for that. You can read the whole story with all the details at under the category: Lois. If you don’t have internet access, write or call and we’ll send the narrative.

Lois has now received 12 Chemo infusions and is doing far better than expected! We praise God for this miracle even as we trust Him every day! The tumors in the liver seem to be dead and are no longer throwing off carcinogens to the rest of the body. We will have another day of testing and consultation with the oncology team on December 24.

The words of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego keep echoing in our hearts. (See Daniel 3:16-18) We know that God is able to heal Lois and take away all the cancer, but even if He does not, we will still trust Him; worship Him. That is our mutual commitment: Trust in the Lord.

Event #6: Tri State Camp, July 14-19 was, per usual, one of the highlights of the year. Lois was able to attend which became an outstanding testimony to both campers and staff. This is all about God; His power, grace, mercy, and strength. This was Jim’s 15th year at camp and 12th year as camp director.

Event #7: On Thursday, September 25, Natalie Jean Hamilton was born to Kari and Jeremy. She joins her big sister, Sarah (2) who is very The Family pleased to have a baby in the house! Jeremy is an electrical engineer at John Deere in Ottumwa and Kari is a full-time mom.

In Psalm 90:12 Moses pleads with God: “Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” (The Message) That is our prayer and plea, “Lord, teach us to live!” It would be so easy to just shift into neutral and coast but that is not what we choose!

Look up to the mountains;does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
Psalm 121 from The Message

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