Merry Christmas friends,
We are so happy to be experiencing a Christmas season with snow, woodstove, sweaters, and lots of hot tea. Its quite different than the tropical Christmases we celebrated in Papua New Guinea. This is the first time that Daniel (our 8-year old) can really remember playing in the snow!
The last few months have been a roller coaster as we resettled ourselves into our home in Nampa, Idaho, got kids off to college, made a trip back East to see as many of you as we could, and struggled with making decisions about what was next after MAF.
Our New Ministry Home
Starting the first of the year, Brian will be working for Relay Trust (www.RelayTrust.org), a ministry bringing quality training to grassroots pastors in Africa. He is joining the curriculum and course design team which produces courses that don’t need high education and literacy levels. We partner with the local churches to get them the training they want, in a way that fits their context. Brian is so excited to be part of a top-notch international team and continue to use the skills and experiences God has given him.
In this new ministry, we will continue to live in Nampa, Idaho, and Brian will collaborate with the global team and some local associates and making frequent trips overseas. We will be staying in Nampa to recover from our time overseas, to reconnect with family, and especially to be near our children as the four oldest are transitioning (or will be very soon) to college life here from a missionary or military life.
Our financial relationship with Relay Trust uses a different model than with MAF. With Relay Trust, we do not need to raise our living expenses (salary/benefits) as these are provided by Relay Trust. We are being asked to help fundraise for project expenses and travel costs. We are working out a way to do that and it will probably be ready in February or March of 2020 (please be patient with us). This would be a good time to evaluate your continued financial support for our ministry and decide if you would like to continue. No matter what you decide to do financially, we would so grateful for your continued encouragement and prayers. We will continue to send updates through email letters and Facebook.
Updates on the Children
Tyler (24) is living in Northern Idaho (Moscow) and going to school across the border at Washington State University (WSU). Tyler has had a girlfriend that he met on his ship for the last couple of years. We got to finally meet in her in person this summer when Tyler and Alexis met us in Bali on our way back to the USA. He proposed to Alexis Alexander on Oct 26th and we are so excited to welcome Alexis into the family. She is a gem and we are so happy for them both. Tyler has turned into quite the car mechanic and always has a project going on. Ty is studying Environmental Science Management and Alexis, also a WSU student, is studying Human Development. We are looking forward to getting to know them both better. Being away from Ty last four years, and often out of communication for months at a time was quite hard.
Grace (22) is a month away from starting a two-year conservatory degree in Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Yes, Grace will be living and studying in the Big Apple. The last couple years in PNG revealed a passionate and talented storyteller who is committed to helping those who have no voice reach a wider audience. It was also fun for Brian to coach her as she had an important job in our organization. We are sure Grace will quickly make new friends and be making an impact in their lives. We will miss the fun and laughter she creates in our home as she starts her life on her own. Look out New York, Grace is going to make an impact in the lives of people there.
Jennifer (20) started college at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, this fall. She is a communications/writing major but is soaking up all things academic. Jen was able to choose another missionary kid (MK) for a roommate and they have been helping each other with the transition back to American culture. Jen finds herself spending lots of time with the international students on campus and the conversations around life and religion can be quite stretching. She still needs to put that effort into practicing driving on the right side of the road and get her driver’s license!
Jonathan (18) has one more semester of school here at the Ward Family Academy (Brian is well-practiced now in creating transcripts for colleges). Jonathan is quite a mixture of someone who loves the outdoors, cooking, and orderliness in life. He has applied to enter the Outdoor Gear Design major at Utah State University (USU) in North Utah next fall. He will get to design and then craft/sew/weld his ideas into reality and test them to be used in camping/climbing/hiking. We think he will excel there. Whoever gets to eat his cooking and baking will be blessed. He has grown up (6’1”) into quite the special young man and we are really going to miss him.
Sarah (13) oh my. When she isn’t rolling around on her hoverboard, she is reading (sometimes she does both). She was so excited to pick up her friendship with the neighbor girls next door and they have lots fun together. Once Grace leaves, Sarah will be the oldest girl in the home, and it will be quite different for her and all of us. We also don’t want her practicing her karate on us.
Daniel (8) always wants to be not needing help, and already knowing that. He is a quick learner but can be a handful in school. He loves reading and building with Legos. Its going to be different when the last of the older kids (Jonathan) leaves and Mom and Dad are the lead entertainment again. We need to get into better shape!
Christy & Brian are ready to make connections in Nampa again. We have finally settled on a new church home and are looking to get plugged-in in the new year. We will also join a new homeschool coop that meets at that church. Friendships for us and the kids are a big need. We celebrated our 25th Anniversary in May!
We are so thankful for you,
• We need peace in our hearts as we have, and will continue, to go through so much change. Its so disorienting.
• Our kids will see God working as they experience new life situations and trust Him.
• Praise God for how he provided a new ministry and income and pray that we will continue to trust Him for what we need
• For our health to improve as our lives stabilize and for some answers to health challenges that Christy has
• Friends, deep authentic friends, who we can trust and
share our lives together.
——– If you need contact info for any of the kids, just let us know ——-
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