Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Dawn of a New Year

The Dawn of a New Year...
As 2016 comes to a close we reflect back on what God has taught us this year in our ministry and family life. Hebrews 12:12 summarizes it well: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” This year has been a year of learning perseverance - joyfully pressing on with homeschooling and support raising; patiently waiting for injuries to heal; praying for ministry opportunities and grace for each day.

In regards to ministry, I (Ben) did not travel as much this year due to low support, which meant a less active year in the advancement of our creation care initiative goals. My heart’s desire is to teach the church about the biblical stewardship of creation and I’ve spent countless hours praying for opportunities to share with the church in the US. My role at TEAM is very broad and I have been praying for others to join me in helping to organize trips and handle some of the detailed logistics. There are so many creation care needs around the world and this past year has been a time to pray through how God wants the ministry to grow and what countries and projects I need to focus on. I need to persevere in prayer and wait with joyful hope for what God is going to do.

Becky and I have also begun co-leading a small group from our church, meeting regularly in our home with an average of 10 adults and 16 children! It’s a full house on Tuesday evenings, but we are so thankful to be building deep, lasting relationships and putting down roots in Tennessee.

We continue to “joyfully” homeschool the kids, which takes lots of prayer, patience and overall perseverance. Caleb is in 3rd Grade and loves drawing and anything art related. Samuel is in 1st Grade and is really enjoying Math and figuring out how things work (often by breaking them and trying to fix them). David is our Pre-K athlete who loves sports and is excited about “building words” now that he knows his ABC’s.  Lilianna is our girly princess who loves to wear pink and play with her babies, but can “hold her own” with her big brothers.

We have begun “team” homeschooling with Ben teaching the core subjects to the boys while Becky prepares the materials and handles the extra-curricular activities. Due to our low monthly funding, Becky has returned to work at the hospital as a part time nurse to supplement our income. She has been working night-shift for the past year, but by February will be switching to days. Becky is thankful for her ministry opportunities at the hospital— and if you know her, you know that the light of Christ clearly shines through her smile, kind words, and compassion for those she cares for.

Yesterday morning as I was sharing with the kids, we talked about how God cares for us and we can be content in all situations because we have Christ. We have an Acappella song that we like to sing from Philippians 4:19 that says “and my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches, found in Jesus Christ”. That is what we cling to as we continue to serve Him and His Kingdom. Here is a link to the song:

So, as we head into 2017 we will persevere, committed to the Lord’s call on our lives to lead the Creation Care Initiative around the world, to minister to our kids, and to shine the light of Christ at the local hospital here in Maryville, TN. We look forward to what God is going to do and are thankful for your faithfulness in prayer and in giving. We hope you are encouraged to press on this coming year, regardless of how wonderful or challenging the past one has been. Our God is faithful and he calls us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer”.