April 2, 2016 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter
From Laura, 17 … My three unmarried siblings and I were able to go on a weekend camping trip together earlier last month! We had a blast planning it (although, with no one in charge, it took a couple of weeks to settle on what to eat). We had never gone on a trip with just the four of us before. Life holds many changes, so I was glad we could do this together while we are all still living at home and available to each other. It was nice having it be just us and being able to do everything together: cooking, eating, hiking, singing, and even being cold! On our hikes we enjoyed beautiful sunsets, gorgeous views, and an enchanting, out-of-this-world (or Texas), 100-foot waterfall.
From Becca, 19 … In February I took an ESL tutor course so that I can teach English at the library. I haven’t started teaching yet, but I am excited (and nervous) about this opportunity to meet new people and gain experience. In March I had a lot of fun going camping twice. I also drove all the way across Houston by myself in bad traffic with a major road closure, an experience which may have included arguing verbally with the GPS, praying, reassuring myself out loud, and singing praises to God after seeing a correct road sign. On the business front, I made my first successful sourdough bread after several weeks of playing with sourdough starter (I’m still trying to get rid of all my extra not-very-good starter!)
From Seth, 23 … This month our church has been reading a really good book called Church in Hard Places by two pastors, one from Virginia and one from Scotland. The book is about how the discipleship, evangelism, preaching, membership, and discipline that occurs within a community of believers (a local church) is absolutely vital for transforming the lives of those living in poverty. The emphasis of the book was on how the local church brings life to the poor, but it really applies to everyone. Even if you are "well-off" or "posh" you are not so very different from someone who is "poor". The book inspired me to be committed to my local church and to invest myself in other people's lives through discipleship, evangelism, and friendship.
From Anna, 26 … I went to Florida for a week at the end of February. I spent the first few days with a sweet friend who showed me around to all her favorite places, including the beach, a historic lighthouse, and a wildlife refuge. At the end of the week, I attended Ligonier Ministries’ annual national conference. Their theme this year was the Gospel, and the speakers were all excellent. It was so encouraging to spend two whole days marinating in the glory and the mercy of who Christ is and all that He has done for His people.
From John, Megan, James (4), Ezra (2), and Joy (8 months) … Our remodeling has not progressed a whole lot other than some drywall repair being done. This past month we went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, San Antonio for a performance with Uzori at the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival (both John and I performed), and Huntsville for the bi-annual campout. Joy is now pulling up on things and is cutting her two top teeth! She will be 8 months old in a little over a week! James turned 4 in March! In James' words: "I lost my three now that I'm four. Then I'll be five, six, seven!" He is in a big hurry to grow up.
From Ray, Katie, Peter (6), Samuel (4), Andrew (3), Grace (1), and baby (due April) … Ray’s dad came to visit us for about a week in February. We went on some outings to a barbecue restaurant, a park, and a military museum. It was fun to show him some different parts of the city. We also enjoyed visiting and playing at home. He and the children had a great time together, although they wore him out. It didn’t help that we adults kept staying up too late playing Monopoly!
We are getting excited to meet our newest family member, who is due in two weeks. I’m really ready to let someone else hold the baby for a while!
From Judith … We had another close view of death recently. (I don’t mean to be gloomy, but death seems to be a glaringly regular part of life.) One of our guests at our neighborhood open house Dec. 26 was a 62-year-old man in a wheelchair with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His wife and 17-year-old twins (son, daughter) were with him. On that day he said he hoped to live long enough to see the twins graduate in May. After the open house we wanted to then start inviting the attendees (household by household) over for dinner and thought we better start with this neighbor and his family. They came over on Feb. 12 and he died 10 days later. He didn’t make it to May for the graduation.
It was poignant to be sitting at dinner becoming better acquainted and briefly sharing life with a person we didn’t expect to see alive again -- and with his wife and children as they were living with his soon-to-come death. Yet in the midst of all this was an amazing peace and joy as this man, who had long since repented of his sin and placed his faith in Christ to save him from the judgment of God, looked forward to eternity with the Lord. His hope in Christ was clearly sustaining him through his physical suffering, giving him security in the face of death, and directing his priorities in what he said and did in his last weeks and months. Death is truly awful but, for those who trust Christ, it is not to be feared.
From Gerald … The big news for our church is that after 10 years in a rented facility, we have purchased a building. It was an existing church building, so we were able to move in quickly and begin holding services the very next Sunday after the closing. There is still much work to be done, but there is a great deal of enthusiasm among the members and many are pitching in to get things accomplished. We have only been here two Sundays and have planned a big anniversary celebration for this coming Sunday.
We are excited to see how God will use this facility through us to accomplish his purposes in our lives and those in the surrounding neighborhood.
With love from the Pedersen clan