Dear family and friends,
Currently we are in the middle of our Christmas celebrations, both in the ministry and with our family. We have for a couple of years begun to celebrate the season of Advent with Isa and Tali. These have been enriching times for us; on Sunday mornings both of the girls now ask, “when are we going to do Advent?” This year we painted a few art boards and hung them up on the wall. For the first week of Advent, our art board of “hope” is a lively collage of wildly-mixed paint and some flowers and leaves. Every Sunday morning we do an Advent reading, which Isabel of course participates in, and Natalia is in charge of ripping the windows off the Advent calendar (thanks Bob and Linda!). This is just the kind of grunt work that she loves so much: just don’t try to help her. It is HER job, and she lets us know.
We also celebrate Natalia’s Homecoming day in December. We actually met her on the 11th at the orphange in Iquitos in 2006; since that morning she has been under our care. We love her lots; she loves her mommy a lot as you tell from the photo. She also is learning to swing her hips latin style from her pre-school. We ask her, “show us what your teacher does at school” and are treated to a fluid, but rigorous display of hip shaking. Isabel, as many of you know, also thoroughly “likes to move it move it.” It must be in the water here. What are mom and dad drinking though?
The second and third weeks of January we will be leading the community through our yearly strategic planning meetings. These are stressful for us, yet necessary and very productive. We finish those two weeks with a staff retreat. This year we are going to be blessed by having Silas West, a Word Made Flesh community leader who served in Nepal for 10 years, join us. We are really excited about this opportunity to share experiences and work through some issues that he has been trained in, specifically Critical Incident Management.
We have been encouraged by the level of vision ownership and leadership that our Peruvian co-workers and Board Members have shown in the past few months. Despite all the problems, losses, and financial struggles, we are very much witnessing a vital and thriving group of Peruvians committed to WMF Peru. That’s why we are here!
Our family is already beginning to make plans for our summer 2010 trip to the US. We have a tri-annual staff retreat we will be attending in Nebraska in July, and also visiting family, friends, and supporters in Ohio. As has been the case for numerous years, purchasing our plane tickets has been a consistent struggle. In our previous few letters, we have communicated a challenge to all of you to help us raise $10,000 which will cover our trip to the US and repay loans we incurred during 2009 when our support account went into the negative. We are trusting that God will provide for our needs through your generous and sacrificial gifts.