Today is a very special day for Requisite Danger as we have a gorgeous guest author – the amazing E!
Yelp. She is so famous – she only needs one letter to introduce herself. 🙂
Dear Friends & Family,
Wow – it’s hard to believe that 2009 is over already…and that the last time we wrote a letter to all of you was nearly a year and a half ago after our last trip to Paraguay! Sorry we haven’t been better at staying in touch! The time since then has been eventful and life-changing, so we wanted to make sure we got out a holiday note this year to fill you all in.
In our last letter in Sept. 2008, we mentioned that our little church was facing big changes as we and our fellow VLI-grad took on the leadership of the church. Along with our new service time and name, the PRV has been growing by leaps and bounds since then. We’ve seen some turn-over in attendance as is expected when there are leadership changes, but we’ve been excited to see new faces and have been consistently having 30-40 people every Sunday. We still have a good core group from before that have been stepping up in leadership more and more. This summer we finally made the official break from the VB and became our own church entity and just this month we finished jumping through all the hoops and are an official part of the USA Association of Vineyard Churches. Of course through all of this my (E’s) job has gotten bigger with the addition of accounting and more paperwork, but with more people in the church taking on event organization, etc. it hasn’t been too hard to handle.
Another very exciting thing that has just fallen together lately (and completely without any organizing on our part) is a new community food pantry through our church. I’ve been a volunteer with a local community free “thrift store” where people can “recycle” old clothes and get new ones for free. Some of the folks from our church have been able to turn part of that room into a food pantry (stocked by the state food bank) and both parts have been exploding with ministry opportunities. With the economy today there is so much need and we’ve been able to throw open the doors to anyone in need. The rapidity with which it all came together is a total God thing and our new status as an independent church made it easy to put everything under the umbrella of our non-profit number. God’s timing is perfect! We also have a building fund slowly growing with the hope that we’ll eventually be able to stop moving in and out of the school building every Sunday. We’re looking forward to what God has in store for the church and the community in the coming year. It will be exciting to see it happen!
Another really big piece of news from this year (old news for those of you following us on Facebook) is that we are going to be adopting a newborn baby boy who is due on Feb. 3, 2010. We started filling out adoption application forms in April, got on the waiting list in July and matched with a birth mom in early December – while we felt like we were waiting forever, it all went very quickly in adoption terms! The birth mother lives in Boise so we’ll be able to get him almost right away. We’ve been waiting so long for kids that it hardly seems like this is really happening. I don’t think we’ll completely believe it until we have him home and he’s keeping us awake all night! 🙂 While my sister has been here for Christmas, we have been making plans to decorate the nursery and will be painting Curious George all over on Saturday before she goes back home. We have also picked out a name: Jadon Thaddeus – the meanings are the best part: “Thankful” and “Gift of God”.
Everyone keeps asking me about baby showers – there’s going to be one locally and one in the valley. Let me know if you’re interested and I can get you more details – I’ll be creating an event on Facebook and sending out invites there as well. We are going to try to keep the gift-aspect pretty low-key, though. We’ve been getting lots of second-hand stuff from different people and the biggest immediate need is fund-raising for the $10,000 needed to finalize the adoption. We’ve applied for several grants and loans and one of them is a matching grant that will hopefully match any money we can raise for the adoption. We don’t have the details yet for the fundraising part, but we’ll let you all know as soon as we get them. It’s all happening so fast, that it’s easy to worry about all the money coming together in time, but we are trusting that God knows exactly when our little boy is going to be born and will bring it all together in His perfect timing. Many of you have been praying for us throughout all of this and we have appreciated those prayers so much. God has sustained us through all the disappointments of the past and has blessed us so much. So, thank you and may the Lord bless you all richly in return!
As far as work goes, Ardell is still at the same company working in the brand protection department. The hour drive each way does wear on him sometimes, but he’s been able to work from home one day a week so he only has to drive into the valley 4 days a week. With the work-at-home capability, he’s also able to stay home on especially snowy days and still get his work done. At the beginning of this year, I quit the half of my part-time church job working with the VB’s environmental stewardship ministry in preparation for PRV’s 2009 goal of becoming an independent church. In May I was able to start working part-time for a small marketing firm as a Search Engine Optimization Analyst. It’s been a nice way to make a bit of extra money (which has come in handy as we’ve had adoption expenses along the way) and also stretch my mind and learn more and more about web sites, internet searches, and online marketing. The really nice thing is that I can do most of it from home and when I do go into the office, it’s a mere 35 minutes from our house (translate to “really close” in rural speak!) 🙂 As such, I’ll be able to keep doing some work after Jadon comes – from home and occasionally in the office with the help of grandma-built-in-babysitter (my mom is so excited!)
Missions-wise, we have still been able to stay somewhat involved in VB’s missions program, despite moving on in other areas. Ardell has passed on the education program to others, but we’re both still on the Mission Board and are heading up the Paraguay partnership. We’re hoping to take another trip to Paraguay in the Fall – hopefully with all three of us (last time we were there, they told us to bring a baby back next time!) 🙂 Ardell is still working on his Masters in Cross Cultural Studies and International Development through Fuller Theological Seminary. He’ll probably do about another 5 years of long-distance courses and then we’ll spend a year in California to finish it up on-site. So far he’s only been able to do 1 class a year, so it’s been slow-going, but he’s been reading and writing voraciously even when he’s not taking a class and learning a lot along the way.
It feels like I’ve already written more than most sane people will want to read, so I’ll leave it there for now. We’ll try to get better about sending out emails more often, but if you REALLY want to keep up with what’s going on with us, get with the times and join Facebook! 😀 Thanks again for all your prayers and for your friendship – you’ve all been such a blessing to us over the years. May the Lord bless you all richly in the coming new year!