Greetings from Alabama! We thought it might be a good idea just to look back over this past year to remind ourselves of God’s blessings in the busyness of our lives! So here’s how our year went!
Early January – found us in Ohio attending the wedding of our granddaughter Jordan Lewis to Chris Shughrue! Their unusual setting for the wedding and reception (Cincinnati’s Centennial Barn) was so……so….Chris and Jordan! It was beautiful and natural in its simplicity……and we loved it!
Mid- January thru May – we were back in the Philippines! God gave us the privilege of continuing work on the translation checking of the Old Testament…..working our way through the Song of Solomon, 1 and 2 Chronicles and the first 100 chapters of Psalms! Bob was also able to mentor our newest Consultant-in-Training, Sarah, as she did a check of 1 Chronicles for the Ibaloi Translation Team (neighboring tribe) . There are not adequate words to say how much we appreciate all the work of our Kalanguya Translation Team. They work hard and faithfully to translate God’s Word, lesson materials, and help in the mentoring of other groups in their translation efforts. Our 4 months in the Philippines included many speaking opportunities for Bob and the privilege of interacting with the Kalanguya believers and advising the church leaders in their God-given work of “shepherding the flock”!
May – we returned to the USA via Houston from the Philippines and got to see again Judy’s sister, Jeri who had “garaged” our car while we were abroad! On our drive from Houston to Birmingham, we stopped over a day in Louisiana to see our newest great grandson, Harper Vice, son of our granddaughter Kayla and husband Brad. He was just 2 weeks old when we got to see and hold him and play with his big brother, Greyson…..that is, when he would stand still for a minute! We made it home to our home in Springville, AL with just enough time to unpack our luggage, get some sleep, repack and make our way to Ohio by early June!
June – By this time, you can imagine our minds were still in a bit in a daze of jetlag and adjustment to the pace of US life……but by June 4th, we were up in Ohio and attending the wedding of grandson, Austin Lewis to the love of his life, Sarah Kinsinger which was more like a wonderful, joyful picnic than a wedding! But what fun it was. By mid-June, we were back home in Alabama, ready for some rest!
July – September Whew! We took some needed time off…..but soon Bob was back on the job, wanting to finish the last 50 chapters of Psalms that we did not get to finish while we were in the Philippines. The provision of an office at the Grace School of Theology in Birmingham has been a huge blessing – a great place to work that also provides interaction with men of our church who are also involved with Grace School of Theology.
One great event of September was the “Garage/Yard Sale” (only it wasn’t in a garage or in a yard!) that was planned and executed by the wonderful folks of our home church here in Alabama (Grace Community Church at Deerfoot) for the specific purpose of raising funds for the chapel that we plan to build in the Philippines next year! What a lot of work went into that……it boggled our minds to see all the things that were given to be sold……and the result was over $7000…..toward the building of that Chapel!! Other gifts, both from the church and individuals has made it possible for us to go ahead and get started on that church very soon!
October – back on the road and heading north to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia where we had the privilege of visiting 6 of our supporting churches, along with spending some quality time with Judy’s sister, Janet and brother-in-law, Jack……who are our “home away from home” when we are in PA! Thanks to them for their open house and reminiscenes of our shared past! And a huge thanks to those 6 churches (1st Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Wellsboro Bible, Charleston Baptist, and Mt. Ephraim Baptist, and Tabernacle) for faithful support over many years. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones! We are so blessed with the supporters God has given us…….we value your love and prayers and your sacrificial giving that enables us to keep going on!
OK, here it is, the end of 2016. Our Alabama family came to our house to celebrate a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving with us! And for Christmas, we will be headed up to Ohio to celebrate with the Lewis side of the family!
And then comes 2017!! When we return from Ohio, we will have 2 weeks to get ourselves together (literally), pack suitcases, try to remember all we need to take with us…….and get ready to board a flight back to the Philippines on January 11th! Yikes! I (Judy) panic a little when I think of all there is to do before actually stepping foot on that plane. But we’ll take it “a step at a time” (so says my non-panicking husband) and we’ll be ready!!
We’ll appreciate your prayers as we prepare for our 3 ½ month stay in the Philippines. We look forward to the final work that needs to be done to ready the Old and New Testament Scriptures in Kalanguya for printing (Hallelujah!!), to getting the work started on the chapel building at our Student Center that will be used to further train and mentor the church leaders and teachers, not just for the Kalanguya people, but open to all Christian workers in that area who want to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their knowledge of God’s Word and their abiity to share it meaningfully to those who need to hear. Pray for our health…..always a concern at our age! But we are so thankful that God continues to give us the strength and ability to keep going! Pray for the translators who will be working with Bob – for sharp minds and clear thinking as well as spiritual discernment. Pray for safe flights……another concern these days! And THANK YOU for all your remembrances of us…… for your support in so many ways!!