It’s hard to believe that it is already time for me to write our year-end update. The year went so quickly, especially the last few months since Gabriella was born! We were so thrilled to welcome Gabriella Joy into our family on October 3.
As we adjusted to life with a new baby, we also had some challenging health issues arise for Nick and Emmy. Emmy has had digestive issues for over a year now, and we finally got some answers last month. We found out that she has a bacterial infection in her intestines, causing a whole range of health challenges. In order to fight this infection and heal, she needs to follow a strict diet (including no eggs and no gluten) that follows a four-day rotation of foods. This makes for some complicated, creative meal planning and cooking. As we adjusted to Emmy’s treatment plan, Nick started breaking out in hives all over his body, along with other weird symptoms. It felt very overwhelming in the midst of the sleepless days of a newborn.
In the weeks leading up Thanksgiving, God challenged my heart about gratitude. Each day, I started listing things I was thankful for, no matter how small. It made a huge difference in my outlook and my ability to trust God that He would sustain us in each circumstance. On a hard day of figuring out what to make with limited ingredients, I thanked God that I found a 3-ingredient cookie recipe for Emmy that was dairy free, gluten free, egg free, and somehow still tasted good! It was so good for our family to develop a more thankful mindset. One day, we found a parking spot close to the store, and the girls exclaimed, “Thank you, God, for this great parking spot!” They helped me see God’s goodness in every part of our day.
Last week, we got answers about Nick’s health issues. In July, he walked through a nest of ticks and got bit over 100 times. After months of various health issues, we just found out that he has Alpha Gal, a serious health condition that comes from tick bites. It also will involve creative cooking (he has to avoid eating any mammal-based food), but ultimately, we are relieved to finally have answers. Our perspective of thanksgiving is a gift from God that has helped us as we face these serious health issues with Nick and Emmy.
So, as we look forward to Christmas and God’s amazing gift to us through Christ incarnate, I want to remain grateful. Grateful, of course, that Christmas reminds us of God’s good plan of salvation. Grateful that our family can open God’s Word and read truth to our daughters. Grateful that God has sustained us through a hard season of health challenges, and that He will continue to provide what we need.
Now, I will try to summarize our year of ministry! Here is what we are thankful for:
- Nick completed a large retaining wall project near student housing.
- He surveyed and provided estimates for needed outdoor projects to our campus development team.
- He did student evaluations with the men who serve on his work detail team, and he was blessed by the good relationships there. He is thankful for another year of investing in students and their future ministries by teaching them practical skills as well as a good work ethic.
- We can thank God for safety during multiple projects where Nick operated heavy machinery.
I am confident that the list continues, but that is just a brief summary of our “thank you, God” list regarding Nick’s past year of ministry as Head of Grounds here at the Ethnos360 Training Center.
I have so much to thank God for as well. I am thankful that God helped me through my months of pregnancy, even though they were difficult. He always provided what I needed—support from our coworkers, great medical care from my midwife office, and lots of care from my family. I also thank God that I was able to help families with their children’s educational needs. I had some great conferences with families after administering an early learning assessment called the Search scan. I am grateful to use my training as an educator by helping families and their children.
Our Ethnos360 co-workers around the world have praises as well. Here are a few recent update headlines from missionaries that caught my eye:
- “New Testament Nearly Ready to Print for North Wahgi People of Papua New Guinea!”
- From the YembiYembi people group: “We have about 10 families of believers who are fighting to have a consistent meeting with God each day through prayer and Bible Study. They are also doing family devotions about 3 times a week.”
- In the Maliyali people group: “We are gearing up to baptize believers here soon!”
How great to hear what God is doing around the world!
Finally, our family is thankful for each of you, our ministry partners. We could not do ministry without your partnership, and we are so thankful that God uses each of you to provide for us. Thank you for playing a part in reaching unreached people groups. Thank you for praying for us, supporting us, and encouraging us.
As we wrap up another year of ministry, we can clearly see God’s goodness in every day, every month, every moment of 2023. Merry Christmas to each of you, and we pray that you can see God in each of your lives as well. Keep in touch and let us know what you are thankful for and how we can pray for you.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17