I pray that you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. Mine was so refreshing. I got to see my dad, my dog, and my family. It was so much fun and a very busy time. Usually there is a day or two to downshift and do nothing, but not so this holiday—but that is OK too. In fact it is perfect, because that is just what the Lord planned for me. I love it when His plans turn out to be so much better that what I had anticipated.
Looking back, December was an EVENTful month. I'm not entirely sure I can remember everything that took place. I know that we have a wonderful turn-out at the Community Christmas. That is where our church and several other churches in the area put together a play and music program and then we serve lunch here at the school to the community. We also had Christmas at our Chapel—we all exchanged names for gifts and once again had a big meal. My favorite Christmas though was School Christmas. All year people send new toys, games, hats, scarves, toothbrush, tooth paste, stuffed animals, etc here to the mission. Then a few weeks before Christmas, two faithful ladies (Becky Knopf and Ruth Bloom) work hard to divide all the gifts up into a bag for each student. The last day before Christmas break, we have a chapel message with John Bloom and then we go back to our class where each person was handed a huge back full of gifts. It was so much fun for me to watch my students open their bags. You could hear their shouts of joy all through the halls. One of my students said that he was going to put all the gifts back in his bag and then open it again at home on Christmas (in front of his younger brothers and sisters!).
All the week of before Christmas we had been memorizing Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We just began to memorize it, and we are continuing it even now. Please pray for us as we try to memorize this verse but also try to grasp what it means. It seamed that many of my students either don't realize that they sin or don't want to label it as SIN. They did seem to begin to see the connection between baby Jesus and the gift of God—but I want to really study this verse more in the coming weeks. Pray that I will explain it clearly. I don't want to simplify it so much that they miss the message, but neither do I want to add conditions to the gospel that God never intended. Pray also for soft hearts to hear the message. Pray for everyday situations that I can use to point out the wages of sin and the gift of God. Pray for Star, Bill, Joy, Tia, Shantel, and Shane to open their hearts and accept the gift of salvation.
Thank you all so much for your support and prayers. It was very nice to see friends and family over the break and have you ask about my class and my life down here. Even the ones I didn't get to see send emails and letters of encouragement. I love to see the body of Christ work in such an obvious way in my own life.
P.S. I never expected to see so much snow in Arizona. It snowed twice before Christmas—and then today we got at least 4-6 inches!
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