Don’t you love the traditions of Christmas? The music, the decorations, the lights, the food — sweet rolls, tamales and hallacas (Venezue-lan tamales) — and especially the family photocards and annual newsletters that give us the opportunity to catch up on you all and your families.
In the spirit of the season, here are some pictures of our kids and grandkids:
This is from our Thanksgiving celebration with Art, Marlene and Kaylene. They’re doing well, as you can see. Little 3-year-old Kaylene attends a Spanish immersion preschool, so she can converse with us in English or Spanish. Fun!
This woodsy portrait of Curtis and Esther Bergman’s family is from a warmer season of the year. Esther tells us that it’s so cold in Nova Scotia right now that the eggs from their chickens freeze solid (and expand and crack) unless they’re gathered shortly after they’ve been laid.
They’ve entered into a new and challenging phase of parenting now that their two oldest are in their early teens. Natalie (14) is in grade 9 (as they say up there), Reuben (13) is in grade 8, Kaylie (11) is in grade 6 and Kegan (6) is in grade one.
We just got back from visiting friends and family on the west coast. We’d chosen the dates and purchased the airline tickets two months earlier, with no idea what might lie ahead. In God’s sovereign timing, we arrived in Alhambra just in time to help Eida’s folks through a very difficult time. Her mom was suffering a lot of pain in her legs. When Vern took her to the doctor, they discovered that she had a herniated disc pressuring the sciatic nerve.
At that point, we decided that Eida should stay with her folks rather than going with me up to San Jose as we had planned. After I drove up the coast, her mother was diagnosed with “normal pressure hydrocephalus,” an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles (cavities) resulting in pressure on the brain and very unpleasant symptoms. The solution was to insert a “ventriculoperitoneal shunt” to drain the fluid from the brain to the abdominal cavity.
So, while I was visiting with my folks and sharing with the Ladies’ Circle and the Adult Bible Fellowship of Church on the Hill and with our friends at Neighborhood Bible Church, Eida was putting in 12 to 14 hour days accompanying her mom in the hospital, being her advocate and supporting her stepdad.
We’re happy to report that the operation went well and Mom is now in the excellent care of the Skilled Nursing Facility at Atherton Baptist Homes.
Several friends in California asked us what ever happened with the slab leak. Forgive me for not updating you sooner after having asked you to pray.
All things considered, things are turning out well. Our homeowners’ insurance provider sent out a crew to reroute our leaking water line through the attic. By the time they were done, 9 holes had been cut in the walls, but we had water again!
Then they sent a guy to mitigate the water damage, removing MDF baseboards, drilling holes in the wall to let air circulate, and setting up 9 fans and 2 dehumidifiers to run for three days and dry everything out. It was like living in a wind tunnel.
All this week, they’ll be patching up the drywall, installing new baseboards and repainting the affected walls and ceiling. We just pay the deductibles on the homeowners’ insurance and the home warranty. After seeing the actual cost, we’re very grateful for that!
Good news! Our SLR team was awarded another $2,500 grant for the project of translating A Translation for Translators to Spanish, moving us closer to the $40,000 goal. So far, the sections on Genesis and 2 Corinthians have been completed and work has been started on Matthew.
Also, I have been able to transfer all the Spanish titles from our old NTM Spanish resource site to the new Global Partners Sharepoint libraries. But I still need to go through all the directories in the SLR section of my hard drive to organize and do housecleaning. A big job.
Have a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year!
May you and your family have a wonderful celebration together as we all remember how God the Father sent God the Son to be our Savior. Our hope reaches far beyond the extent of these brief mortal lives. In this coming year, may we walk faithfully with Him and do what we can to share the Good News with those who have not heard.
Many, many thanks to each of you for your friendship and faithful partnership with us in this ministry of equipping Latin American cross-cultural church planters.
We love you,
Steve & Eida Irwin
Ethnos360 Spanish Language Resources
1009 Lantana Ct., Leander TX 78641
P.S. PRAYER REQUESTS FOR FELLOW MISSIONARIES:
Consuelo Jiménez, the Colombian missionary with cancer who is a former student of ours, has reached the point of only being able to move her head and arms. She is praying for the faith and strength to serve God faithfully while she waits to be taken Home.
We were shocked a couple of weeks ago when Mark Cain, the leader of the church-planting team to which Consuelo belongs, began feeling ill and doctors discovered a fast-growing form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma which had spread throughout his lymph system.
Mark is 70 years old — he and his wife Joyce are in the process of retiring while he putting the finishing touches on the revision of the Guahibo tribal language translation of the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament. He’d very much like to live another year to see that through and spend time with his family. Please pray for the Cains.