Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Newsletter

April 1, 2017 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter

From Laura, 18 … I have had the joy this year of experiencing teaching piano for the first time!  It's something I've wanted to try my hand at for probably over a year, but I had no students until just a few months ago.  My first experience with a beginner was with the woman who came to live with us just after the first of the year.  She quickly showed an interest in learning to read music and play an instrument, so I gave her free piano lessons throughout the duration of her stay.  It was very beneficial for me as the teacher as I learned a lot about the process of learning for someone just starting out.  Then, just over a month ago, I was approached by a dear friend who wanted to use me to provide piano lessons for his grandson!  I was honored by the request and the trust he put in me and my ability.  Now that we've had a couple of lessons, I am thoroughly convinced that teaching is one of the greatest blessings.  The thrill I get from seeing him progress and knowing that it's me who has helped him get there compares to nothing else I have experienced.

From Becca, 20 … For my last week or so in Costa Rica I got to be with my friend Caro and her mom and Grandma.  Our gracious hosts, the Ramirez family, took us all on a road trip to see some other parts of Costa Rica.  We got to ride a zip line high above the river and we went to a beautiful beach with black sand and crystal clear water.  I rode a horse and milked a cow for the first time.

It was so hard to leave at the end of the month.  I felt torn in two because, while I wanted to see my family, I wasn’t ready to leave Costa Rica.  I didn’t know I could feel so at home in a place that was so different from my home.  Praise God for the body of Christ that gives us family in all the countries of the world!

From Seth, 24 … In January I started working a couple of hours a week as a mechanic at the on-campus bicycle shop.  It's been a blast interacting with customers, getting greasy, and working with my hands.  Fixing bikes makes for a good re-energizing break from desks and computer screens.

From Michael, Anna, and baby … We spent this weekend on a mini-vacation near Austin.  We stayed in a studio apartment right on Lake Travis, so we were able to enjoy a relaxing weekend eating on the patio, kayaking, walking by the lake, and enjoying sunset views.  The weather was perfect, and the lake was beautiful!  We were both glad to have some time away together.

The pregnancy continues to go well!  We're officially in the third trimester now, which is hard to believe.  It's still kind of surreal that there's a third person in our family now.

From John, Megan, James (5), Ezra (3), Joy (1), and baby … One of the exciting things in our life right now is that our small church is considering merging with an even smaller church.  We are two weeks into a six-week trial period of combined services, at the end of which we will have a vote to determine whether or not we will move forward.  We have been having a mixture of people from both churches over for dinner every weekend to get to know them better and facilitate the same for others.  It's been a great blessing to expand our circle of fellowship and to share life with a new group of people who are also living for the gospel.

Otherwise, our life hasn't had any major changes in the last month.  Joy is starting to say a few recognizable words.  Ezra is enjoying doing a little bit of preschool and learning his numbers.  James is enjoying knowing how to read.  Megan's pregnancy is going well, but she is very ready to have the baby on the outside.  I'm continuing to get new knowledge, skills, and responsibilities at work.

From Ray, Katie, Peter (7), Samuel (5), Andrew (4), Grace (2), and Benjamin (1) … 
We enjoyed a visit from Ray's dad in late February, with lots of games, stories, and playing outside, plus a tour of the Houston Ship Channel.

We were blessed to find an excellent new eye doctor for Benjamin, and a good plan for treating his lazy eye.

In school, Samuel was excited to discover that he can now read his name (Sam). Peter is excited about starting to learn to play the piano.

From Judith … The woman we took in at the beginning of the year has moved on.  We saw many “red flags” in the new situation she went into, but she was convinced it was God’s provision.  She was with us for two months, during which time seeds of biblical truth were planted.  God used her time with us to provide many blessed conversations about the truths of the Bible.  There were also sweet moments when visiting grandchildren heard some of those conversations at our table during family worship.  We have no regrets.  Her stay with us wasn’t about her or about us.  It was about following the path God had placed in front of us for his purposes and for his glory.  We leave the outcome to him.

By God’s sovereignty, I’ve not been sick very often in my life.  (I’ve had “structural” problems, but not “germy” problems.)  Well, last month I was given the opportunity to grow in my sympathy for those who suffer with frequent or constant illness.  I was knocked off my feet by a full-blown case of influenza for a few weeks.  My dad had a lot of physical suffering in his last years, so I thought of him when the flu gave me symptoms similar to his.  In the latter stage of my flu, I was nauseous for several days, which brought Anna and her severe morning sickness to mind.  I’ve almost fully regained my strength now and am grateful for how God uses difficult times for my good.


From Gerald … I recently had the opportunity to teach God’s principles related to money.  Our pastors asked me to teach a Sunday school series, so I spent three Sundays teaching the Biblical principles and a Saturday morning follow-up with practical applications.  It has been over a year since I have taught any of this material; it was rewarding to do it again.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February Newsletter

From Laura, 18 … Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed experiencing some of my first tastes of independence.  I turned eighteen recently and earned my driver’s license just a week before that!  I was permitted to drive independently to a couple of places even before I turned 18.  Oh, the thrill!  I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but right now it's all new to me.

In addition to the independence, I have also, for the first time, experienced some "only-child-ness".  Just after Christmas Seth and Becca (note: my only single siblings left) went to Indiana for a missions conference for a week.  I was very aware of the fact that I was the only one home with my parents.  Now, with Becca in Costa Rica for a lengthy period of time, I'm having similar sentiments.  While I'm not the only one home, it's still a foreign feeling to be the only daughter and have a large bedroom to myself.  I really don't mind it, but I do miss Becca's company.

From Becca, 20 … I have been in Costa Rica for three weeks, staying with friends.  I'm trying to think how to squeeze all the wonderful experiences I've had into one paragraph.  I give up—I'll just tell you some of my favorite things.  Most of all, I love my friends here.  They are full of joy and passionate about sharing the gospel.  Their sweet grandparents and all the church members are so loving and welcoming.  I know enough Spanish now (thanks to my ever-patient teachers) to be able to usually catch the drift of the conversation.  I love the laid-back culture here in Miramar where people sit on porches, eat abundantly, and honk at friends.  And I love the astounding beauty here.  The sunset in the mountains took my breath away, with all the layers of green mountains bathed in golden light and the shimmering blue sea beyond.

From Seth, 23 … Over the winter break Becca and I took a road trip to Indianapolis to volunteer at a missions conference.  It was a great trip... wonderful fellowship with friends along the way, and inspiring, Christ-centered preaching at the conference.  The refrain throughout the conference was that "Jesus is worth it".  Because Jesus is worthy, we strive to serve sacrificially, pray expectantly, battle our sin, love our churches, take risks for the gospel, and make disciples.

From Michael, Anna, and baby … We’ve enjoyed several opportunities recently to have other people in our home.  Hospitality is something we talked about quite a bit before we got married and which is important to both of us, so it is exciting to see that aspect of our life together starting to take shape.  

Speaking of life together, this week is the one-year anniversary of when we officially started our relationship!  It’s been such a joy-filled journey.  We’re grateful for the solid foundation that we’ve been able to build over this past year, and for the ways that we continue to get to know each other in deeper ways.

The pregnancy continues to go well!  We had our second trimester ultrasound a couple of weeks ago.  Everything looked good, and it was so sweet to get to see the baby moving around and count fingers and toes.  We’ve decided to wait until the birth to find out the gender, so no big reveal yet!  

From John, Megan, James (4), Ezra (3), Joy (1), and baby … (by Judith) John and Megan learned that the baby coming in late May is … a girl!  Mother and baby girl are continuing to do well.

John’s new job with the locksmith company has been a good fit.  They recently offered him a full-time job which began this week.  He still has remodeling projects to finish up on his Saturdays.

John and Megan had the excitement of a trip to Canada last week for Megan to be in a friend’s wedding.  It was Megan’s first time out of the United States.  They left the children with us for the 4-day trip.  It was the longest they have been away from each other, so it was quite the happy reunion when John and Megan arrived back!  The children really did very well.  A few video calls perhaps helped with that!

From Ray, Katie, Peter (7), Samuel (5), Andrew (4), Grace (2), and Benjamin (10 months) … Our two oldest enjoyed singing in church with a children’s choir at Christmas time.  They still march around the house singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”  Samuel started kindergarten, and is doing well so far.  I’ve found, though, that he’s going to be the kind of student who gets a picture of a mailbox and, instead of telling me what sound it starts with, laughs for five minutes because when he holds it upside-down it looks like a tree in a bathtub.  Benjamin is as happy and chubby as ever.  He’s starting to try solid foods, trying to stand up and walk around the furniture, and getting some curls that are too cute to cut off.  As for the others, Peter is becoming unbeatable at Monopoly, Andrew wants to wear his new dinosaur pajamas all the time, and Grace wants to do everything herself, including get in and out of her crib. Never a dull moment around here!

From Judith … At the beginning of January, we took in a needy 30-year-old woman.  A few other times in our married life, as the Lord led, we engaged in opening up our home.  In Ft. Collins a friend came to live with us for some months as we explored Christian community.  In Glenrock, Wyoming, we had a foster daughter for about four months.  Now God has brought into our lives another live-in situation.  Our new friend is very hungry for the things of the Lord.  She is reading the Bible every day and is often amazed at what she is finding there!  She willingly shares in our family worship each morning and evening and attends church with us.  Along with discipling her in the Christian faith, we are also mentoring her in her life skills.  We’re beginning to explore with her what her future path will be.  For now, she is contributing to the work here and voluntarily submitting to the rules of our home.

From Gerald … Our church is doing a 12-week Bible study titled “Behold Your God.”  We are in the third week now.  It is an excellent study.  There is a workbook with daily lessons to complete at home and then a video lesson with discussion on Wednesdays at the church.  The theme (at least so far) is getting to know God, as opposed to just knowing about him.  It is exciting to see many of the church members participating.  

With love from the Pedersen clan