Saturday, December 27, 2014

Finishing Strong

December 27.  Another year is essentially gone.  Normally, I would say where has all the time gone?  I am glad this year is nearly over.  I want it in the history books.  It has been an awful year.  Through the awfulness and through the sadness, a lot of good things have happened.  I choose to remember the good about this year.

I will start with the good things in my personal life.

After studying the Bible for many months with my sweet granddaughter, I not only got to be in the States for her baptism, I got to baptize her.  Tears of happiness still flood my face when I think of that joyous day.  It was Easter.  Both of my kids and their families were together that day.  There are very few opportunities for me to be with both families at the same time. 

I was at Nathan's house when Julia found out she was expecting another baby.  And now, I get to close out this year with them and the new baby, celebrating Christmas and Camille's birthday

In September, I got to visit many churches and many friends and family.  I was blessed to visit with some very old friends and some I have known for not so long.  Some of those friends I was reconnecting with after several years.  It was a delight.  I went to my class reunion.  And, I helped Nathan and Julia move to New Hampshire.  It was work, but I had fun being with them and helping them.

I was loved on and encouraged by family and friends.  And groups.  I received an outpouring of love from everyone and I needed it.  I allowed myself to receive that love. 

Baptisms. Babies. Celebrations.  Holidays.  Family.  Friends.  Love.  All important and good things, but the most important of all, my walk with God was strengthened.  Who could ask for more?

I was not sure I had the strength to continue.  Yet, we saw an outpouring of blessing on the ministry as well.

In March, Fernando was baptized.  And, what a difference that has made in him.  In July, after a drowning accident, we witnessed Brayan make a complete recovery.  We stood at his bedside in the hospital thinking there was no way he could survive this.  We serve a great big God

My friend, Donna Griffith, has made three trips to Honduras and is teaching the girls to sew.  The older girls made an outfit and then modeled for us.  They were so proud of these garments.  These girls need this skill and need the self-confidence that came by learning to sew. 

Five of our children graduated from sixth grade.  The children were challenged to make 85% or better for the year.  Two of them rose to this challenge and were treated to pizza and ice cream.

Through none of our efforts, two new churches were planted.

In Santa Ana, Ojojona, Los Pinos and Lomas Diamante, ladies Bible studies were started.  Our friend, Michelle Goff did ladies' seminars for these ladies. 

Fewer and smaller groups came.  And they were ready to work and share the good news of Christ.  There were men's workshops, marriage seminars, VBS, Bible studies.  It was an exciting time and most of the churches were crying for more.

In addition to sharing the good news, our groups showed Jesus as they built houses, fed in the dump, distributed food in poor communities and loved on children at Casa de Esperanza, the feeding center and every community in which they entered.

Our devotionals were rich with singing and sharing and fellowship.

Some new churches and some new individuals became supporters of this ministry, blessing not only the ministry, but themselves as well.

The employees of Casa de Esperanza and Honduras Hope have always stepped up and done what was necessary.  This year was no exception.  Richard and Yesenia and Dorian were willing to do whatever they needed, whenever it was needed.   And still are willing to do whatever.  But, I just do not think we would have survived without Luis.  He went way above and beyond the call of duty.  He is a valued employee.   And friend.

I cannot say enough about the job Matt and Nicole did.  They stepped into the roles of leading and organizing the groups in a tremendous way.  Yes, they are my kids, but I would have been proud of the job they did no matter whose kids they were.  I had no idea my fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants-daughter could organize anything.  She did an amazing job.  Matt and Nicole brought a spiritual focus back to the groups that had been missing for far too long.

And none of us could have accomplished anything without depending on God.  He made this a great year.  I am thankful for the blessing of this year.  I look forward, with eager anticipation, to see what God will do in 2015.

Thanks to each and everyone that prayed, encouraged, and/or contributed.  You helped to make 2014 a great year in spite of all the bad things.