Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!!

I had great aspirations to post our Christmas letter before the Mayan Apocalypse, but obviously that didn’t happen.  This year has been full of surprises.

Despite our protests, our youngest daughter Kelsey crossed over to the dark side – as you can see from our Christmas picture, she chose to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduating from NRCA with honors this year. She has really enjoyed her first semester and is especially thankful for a great roommate.

Meanwhile, Megan is making plans to graduate from NC State University this coming May. She is finishing up her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies – European Concentration and minors in Spanish and Arts Entrepreneurship. She has applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to continue her studies by completing independent research in Prague on how the arts can be used to facilitate inclusion among the Romani population. If the Fulbright doesn’t work out, she has several backup plans – all with the intent of returning to Prague.

Daniel is enjoying his last year in middle school. He is really broadening his musical repertoire – he’s currently first chair trombone, plays drums and jimbe in the Student praise band at church, and is teaching himself how to play a variety of songs on his electric guitar. He was thrilled to get an acoustic electric guitar for Christmas and is hoping to lead worship not only at church, but at chapel at NRCA as well.

Matt is in fifth grade – finishing elementary school. It’s hard to imagine that half of our children have now graduated from high school and we will soon have no one in elementary school. Where have the years gone? Matt was excited to sing in the Christmas musical at church and has really enjoyed starting band this year. He is playing the trumpet and picking it up quite well.

Randy continues to teach Pre-Algebra at NRCA and serve as Worship Pastor at Wakefield Baptist. This past year included leading his first international mission trip as he took a team that included Kelsey to Bolivia. It was not only a great time for the two of them, but a productive visit as well. They were able to spend quite a bit of time with students at the local university and built relationships that are continuing to grow through the modern technology of social media. Over 300 people attended their showings of the Jesus Film and as many as 90 became followers of Christ.

Felicia got a wonderful Christmas surprise in the form of a job offer! Starting January 7, she will be managing Compensation and Classification for the Division of Public Health. She is very excited about this opportunity and eager to see what God has in store. She and her friend Daphne were able to return to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May for the second time. Felicia was humbled and delighted to receive Second Place in the Young Adult Category for her first, as yet unpublished, novel, CzechMate. She is (slowly) working on edits and hopes to submit it for publication in the coming months. In the meantime, her contacts from the conference resulted in her second published story. You can pre-order a copy online now of God’s Provision in Tough Times at
 which features an encouraging true story of how God worked in our lives through difficult circumstances.

This past year was filled with several unhappy surprises as well. In March, Felicia’s father underwent back surgery and experienced severe complications. At one point, the doctors did not expect him to make it through the night, but we are very thankful that our prayers were answered and he is doing much better. We had planned a large 50th Anniversary celebration for him and her mom, which we ended up having to postpone until he was feeling better in October. Just a couple of weeks before the re-scheduled party, he had two more mishaps which included totaling their new car and getting a helicopter ride to Pitt Memorial. We told him we were going through with the party with or without him so he might as well get better and enjoy it, and that seemed to perk him up a bit.

 In December, we suffered a terrible shock when Felicia’s older brother, Hal, had a stroke. Hal is the absolute picture of health, and we are very hopeful that he will recover the use of his left arm and leg, but it was a powerful reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Whether it is the Mayan Apocalypse, an alien invasion, or simply our own mortality – this life will end for each of us and most likely sooner than we think. As you celebrate the Christmas season and look forward to the New Year, do you know the One we celebrate?  Our prayer is that you know the peace of God  through a relationship with His Son this season.

See you next year!