Christmas Letter 2012 version

Every year we debate about who is writing the family letter.  This year’s version is courtesy of Jeff who was more inspired than I….

We are home and the room is a buzz!! We are setting up the Christmas tree and living room decorations (about 5 days late as far as Rori is concerned) a little early this year (to Rori’s glee).  The fire is started, I love natural fireplaces, the smell and crackle is perfect.  The music is pumping and the girls are making a whole lot of noise, questions, statements and just a touch of quarrel.  It almost sounds like the average day in our house.

What a year it has been.  We were so blessed and busy.  In January the whole family was in school; me in 1st year carpentry, Nadia working on her Masters in Divinity, Kiara half done Grade 3 and Rori half done Grade 1.  Like anything else there were parts that we loved and parts that we struggled with.  In the spring we went to Keats 4 times to help get the camp ready for the summer.  We loved it!  In the summer we had Joseph VanderKuip come visit, it was awesome and we had a ton of things do.  We went surfing in Oregon, to Creationfest in Washington and a mission trip to Peace River, Alberta. Nadia also spent a week in Camden, NJ to help a friend from Edmonton lead his youth group on a missions trip and then to Ontario to the cottage (this was my first time back in 18 years, I loved it).  In Peace River, Alberta we stayed with an amazing family that taught the girls a few new things. We went for a tour of the area on quads, van surfing on the dirt road and swimming in a man made water hole.  We were told that all these things would help us understand “Red Neck” culture; the girls thought it was cool.  The fall has meant back to school for the girls and Nadia.  Nadia needed to travel a few times, a couple of weekends and two different weeks.  I also traveled for a week as well.  The girls were troopers and went with the flow.  We also had a visit from Uncle John and Uncle Henk from Holland for Oma Therese’s 65th birthday.  And in a couple of weeks we are off to Ontario for Christmas.  Very busy!!!

Kiara, is now 9 years old (WHAT!!).  I can’t believe it.  She is a little woman and we are trying to treat her more and more that way.  She finished grade 3 very well and we are proud of how she’s doing.  She is also moving through her levels at swimming lessons.  When we went surfing in Oregon.  Kiara was in the Pacific Ocean right beside all of the adults for eight hours over two days.  She love the crashing waves, we would duck under them or jump so that our heads stay above.  At Creationfest we got “all access” passes and went right up to the stage to see Switchfoot and The NewsBoys.  She has reached the age where we were able to embarrass her in Peace River… her parents spoke in front to the 208 youth!  Grade 4 has started and this year begins “letter grades”.  We just got her first report card and she is doing well.  Quite Proud.

Rori, is now 7 years old and using all my old tricks to charm the world.  She is very sneaky.  It is a lot of fun because she is so young to try these games.  I am hoping she is unable to perfect them anytime soon.  She finished grade 1 and did well.  She also had charmed the teacher so that they were good buddies by the end.  She too is swimming well, but on longer swims she normally jumps on my back.  In Oregon she played on the beach more than in the water, but that was mainly because her wetsuit was a little too big.  In Peace River, Alberta she was the cute little girl that the teens would play games with in their off time.  In Ontario she had a great time with her cousins, running around playing games.  Grade 2 started and she is winning over the teacher right away; such a charmer.  She did well on her report and is always helpful when called upon.  Quite Proud.

Nadia has had a busy year.  She was away for about 10 Sundays because of preaching or work functions.  Some of them around the lower mainland and the rest further away.  If you get a chance to catch one of her sermons, I guarantee you will be forced to think.  Her Masters in Divinity has kept her busy as well.  She has been very impressed with her professors. Her preaching professor was particularly a blessing.  In Oregon she was able to get up on the surf board and ride it in a few times.  She truly enjoyed being with family and friends.  I loved watching her on the stage in Peace River as we spoke to the youth.  You could see her connecting with them and them with her.  How she weaved words and made them become more clear and down to earth was fantastic.  In Ontario at the cottage she went on a number of kayak trips with a family member or two.  This fall she has been training for a 10km run in Hawaii, a trip with 3 girlfriends.  She managed to do a very tough trail run in 1:14min.

I started the year in school and am now finishing the year in school.  I will have finished the second part of my apprenticeship.  At work we have had a couple of cool jobs, building a second floor over and around the first floor of a house and building a barn.  Both were very different and that’s why I enjoyed them.  So much to learn and figure out!  My boss is great because he not only teaches me how to do what I am doing, but also challenges me by give me something to do and leaving me to figure out the smaller details.  This summer was fantastic; I could not have planned a better one.  Surfing in the ocean, serving God in Peace River and being His witness, praising Him with 25,000 other people at Creationfest and then heading to the cottage I grew up going to… amazing! Since the beginning of the year I have been looking forward to going to Ontario.  The cottage has been a favorite of mine since I was young and my big legs could not take me up the hill. I got to tube, be thrown off, water ski and swim to the island a couple of times.  I loved it!!!  This fall was going well until I got in an accident.  The accident was not my fault, but has resulted in the death of a man.  It has been very traumatic and I am still not quite myself.   For more of the story, check Nadia’s blog: www.thoughtsfromthefrontstoop and look for a blog post called Closure?

The really big news that has come out of Nadia’s visit to Camden is job offers for the two of us. Neither of us have ever felt really settled in suburban life and have been praying these last couple of years that God would call us to the place and ministry that He wanted us to serve. So we are going full circle, the place Nadia and I met will now be our new home and ministry. I will be the Director of the Boatworks program, building boats with teens and kids.  Nadia will be working with UrbanPromise International as a Director as well. Her job will involve travel to the various sites around the world.  The girls and I hope to join her on some of those trips.  We are still in the process of working out visa issues, but are looking at moving as early as Jan 26, 2013. Again, check our blog for updates and ways you can pray and support us.

We are very thankful to God for another year.  We hope your family had a great year as well.

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