I struggled with my list of who to send out my family and friends Christmas letter to this year. I did the same thing last year and by the time I got done creating the send list it was St. Patrick’s Day and the point was moot. So rather than make the same mistake this year I decided just to make my letter a post and anyone who is a follower on WordPress, Facebook, or Linked In can read about the past year in Lillie-Put if they care to.
So 2016. What a wild and crazy year Ay? As my lead Pastor would say. It was full of busyness and blessing.
The kids? They are all doing fine.
Joe continues to teach in South Korea
He is travelling between four schools and teaching English and Western culture to children from elementary through High School. He loves it and is finding a home there. I do look forward to having him home for a week in January. We have some fun plans!
Amanda is living here with me in Winchendon MA and is working at a Dayhab in Ashburnham, as a one to one aid. She also got her certification as a minister with the Assemblies of God and is praying about her next steps in ministry.
She was also just given the post of Vice President of the Special Touch Ministry REACH New England chapter. She will be working with the leadership of this group to bring ministry to the disabled population of North Central Worcester County.
Melanie and her husband James continue to work and minister in their church in Saugus MA. Melanie is the Children’s Pastor and James is an assistant to the lead Pastor there. Both also continue to work in youth ministry and hold down full time jobs. They are very busy people as you can imagine.
My sister Brenda has returned to the Netherlands, her mission field, and is continuing to work with the theater ministry out of Ichtus Church in Zaandam. She is also going to language school and now sometimes when she calls she forgets I don’t speak Dutch.
She has a beautiful little apartment on an island farm on the outskirts of Zaandam. Amanda went for a visit last summer. I hope I get to visit before her job requires her to move.
As for me…I continue to work as the assistant pastor of Cornerstone Church in Winchendon MA. Amanda and I live with my Mom in the house I grew up in. Mom just turned 80 in September and is still pretty spry. I have to watch her or she’ll start shoveling the drive or lugging wood from the wood pile. She does let me cut the lawn and do the grocery shopping and the lions share of the cooking but she still insists on doing the laundry and the dishes and God forbid I should try to vacuum the rugs downstairs!
This year was a really busy year in ministry, especially the fall. In August I led worship for a week in Berkshires for Special Touch’s New England getaway. In September I was privileged to be a part of planning and running the Toy Town Fall Fest. We had about 3,000 people in attendance on the newly acquired Ingleside property. This was a culmination of three years of work on behalf of our committee to buy and create a makerspace in the center of Winchendon.
One week after the Fall Fest I was a presenter at our church network worship conference where I got to explain our artist’s collaborative to about 50 worship leaders from the Tri- state area. From there it was a mad dash to get ready for C.cada’s ( our artists collaborative) fall art show in October. We hung over 100 works by our collaborative, presented an evening of music and held several workshops for the public.
Finally in November Cornerstone opened its doors to Special Touch to do a regional Disability Training Conference. After that it was an end run to Christmas and here we are. The season has been full of parties and concerts. Tomorrow night we are having our annual Christmas Eve service and then on Sunday we have my favorite service above all other services. Christmas Sunday. It only happens once every seven years and while I am not sure why it is my absolute favorite service period!
The church is fully decorated. My teams are rehearsed. The special music is ready. All my Christmas food is bought. Now I just have to wrap presents.
To you and yours Lillie-Put wishes you a very merry Christmas!