Another year, another Christmas letter! Merry Christmas from us both to all of our friends & family out there.
As I’m writing this, the snow is flurrying in the wind, soup is bubbling in the crock pot, and a cup of steaming tea sits by my elbow…life’s little blessings are so good. And yet this year we have also been blessed in big ways as well as small, in challenging and painful ways as well as joyful. Ben and I have been spending Advent reading through the daily prayers from The Divine Hours, and it’s been so profound to spend time praying towards the coming of Christ together, anticipating the echo of his second coming, which we all long for in this crazy life!
To highlight some of the big events in our lives this year:
- Jenna has begun writing more for several online publications & blogs, expanding her “justice” interests from simply anti-trafficking work to many other areas. She has also joined the writing team at her church, helping develop women’s study curriculum.
- Ben is still working at CIS Oregon and auditing fun classes at PSU on the side. His interests in urban development, politics, and social justice continue to grow as well.
- We began a new adventure by “adopting” a refugee family from Iraq this July, along with a team of seven others from our church. It’s been eye-opening and a blessing, to say the least!
- We traveled to Minnesota to be with Jenna’s side of the family after the passing of her grandfather this fall.
- We traveled to Asia (specifically Sri Lanka & Indonesia) to visit some good friends (and eat a lot of delicious food!)
- We’re continuing to learn what it means to love others & listen well, befriend the “other,” and spend ourselves on behalf of the needy.
In other news, it looks like we’ll be headed back to Europe in Spring 2017! Jenna will be assisting with the Shine Seminar this year, and Ben will be working remotely and being amazing support as always. He’ll also be coordinating technology for the Mobile Ministry Forum’s 2017 conference in the Netherlands.
Our first few years of marriage, Ben and I used to joke that we could give ourselves slack, because we were simply “baby adults,” trying to figure out the world together. Now, however, we consider ourselves moving into the “toddler adult” stage–starting to form stronger opinions and wills of our own, yet constantly running up against our own limitations and inexperience. We’ve tried a lot of new things this year, and learned a lot along the way. We’ve also made a lot of mistakes, which I suppose is part of the process. I’m so thankful the grace of God is big enough to cover over it all and redeem it into part of His Story.
In the midst of a world that feels harsh & increasingly polarized, and the consistent desire we feel to be doing good & life-changing work, we keep coming back to 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love.
Merry Christmas, everyone! May you be blessed by the faithful love of our Lord, who is with us in the midst of our pain and our questions, and redeems both our sorrows and our joys for His Glory! We are so thankful for each of you!