It’s the last day of December; time to write family and friends.
I continue to serve the pastors and leaders of Christian Union driving almost 60,000 miles this year and spending 141 nights “on the road.” It’s a challenging role and I look forward to God’s faithful direction as I strive to be obedient to Him.
The house I rented since August 2004 was sold on January 4 and I had to be out by the end of February. After spending almost three months living in the spare room at Kari and Jeremy’s house, I moved into a newly renovated two bedroom farm house. Years ago the place was named Doolittle Acres and I now call it home. It’s part of a farm that Tony & Joy purchased as an investment and they generously allowed me to have it remodeled and let me live here. If you need my new mailing address let me know by email.
The house is quite a bit smaller so I had to get rid of a lot including many books and some furniture. There is still a lot of work to be done in the garage and on the outside of the house but the inside is “like new” and I’m enjoying it. I use to live five miles south of Kari & Jeremy and Joy & Tony and all six grandkids. Now I live five miles north! Yes, I moved exactly ten miles.
Kari is a full-time homemaker caring for Sarah (6) and Natalie (4) while Jeremy works for John Deere. His job requires extensive travel – much of it international. Kari helped with two Vacation Bible schools this summer as well as helping me organize Tri State Camp and does a lot for the whole extended family.
Joy and Tony are in business for themselves providing risk management for farms and in some ways are busier than ever but have more control over their schedules. The activities of their family keep them on the go! Brady (10), Broc (8), Brandt (6), and Bo (4) are energetic and full of fun.
Peter lives in West Des Moines and continues to serve as the IT Director at Lutheran Church of Hope; a mega church with an amazing ministry. He enjoys his work even though it stretches him to the limit at times.
My Mom, Clarice, is still at Manor House Care Center in Sigourney. Arthritis continues limit her mobility and yet she is still intent on being faithful to the end. She will turn 89 on January 16 and I would really appreciate it if you could send her a card. Her hands are so bent up with arthritis that she can’t write back but she certainly enjoys cards and notes. Please email me for her address.
Highlights for the year include three opportunities to interact with teenagers; I find they are hungry for meaningful relationships with adults who are genuine. In March I served as the Head Chaperone for the Pekin High School Music trip to Memphis and Nashville. It was an exhausting 5 day, six night trip on a motor coach which included two nights of travel (no sleep). I enjoyed it but did not change my opinion that country music is an oxymoron.
In July I served with the leaders of Tri State Camp for the 19th year; as the director for the 16th year. It is a privilege to work with a group of adults who are fully committed to creating opportunities for God to work in the lives of teenagers. What a delight to witness God’s transforming power!
This fall I was invited, once again, to help with the Pekin High School musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. It was fun and funny!
For my birthday I traveled to Rome, Georgia for the CareGivers Conference – a gathering of people in ministry to people in ministry. That is always a great time of renewing friendships and challenging one another as partners in the Gospel.
I close with the words of my mentor and friend, Doug Webster from a recent message: “The Gift we celebrate at Christmas was not wrapped, it was crucified. It was not under the tree, it was nailed to the tree, and it was not opened on Christmas Day, it was opened on Easter morning.”