It is so hard to believe that this year has come and gone. I know we probably all say that every year, but this year has been filled with so many unique and memorable moments for me personally.
Susan and I had the opportunity to travel to England together this year. I had always wanted her to be able to experience England so that she would be able to know a bit about where I spent some time as a teenager. We really had a tremendous time! That is also where I decided that I was going to lose some weight. Thankfully, as of right now, I have lost 20 pounds this past year.
In April, Patrick Carmichael and I had the chance to go to North Carolina to speak at a singles and youth conference for Jay Boyce in Asheville. I was very humbled by the opportunity to be used of God in such a fashion. I never feel worthy to stand and proclaim God's precious Word.
As summer approached God showed me once again how powerful He really is. Roland Lavoie came to trust Christ as His Savior. Of all the things that God accomplished this year in my ministry, I would have to say that this was the highlight. I never thought for once that Roland would be interested at all in coming to Jesus, but God has a way of getting us all to the point that the Holy Spirit can have His free course to draw us to Himself. To now see Roland, Angie, and Ben in church every time the doors are open and to watch them grow in the knowledge of Christ is truly the joy of my ministry.
God personally worked in my life during the month of June and on June 14 God performed a miracle in my soul. It is so deep and personal, but I am thankful for the change that He has brought in my heart.
Then came Africa. Michael, Tony, Travis, and I went to Togo to be with a missionary for close to three weeks. We saw poverty and despair on a scale that I will never forget. I have witnessed poverty in Haiti, but Togo seemed to be much more about hopelessness. Thankfully, God is using missionaries to reach men like the chief I met in a remote village. Small churches are being built to minister and reach these people. My contracting malaria taught me how to pray for the hurting and the suffering. It taught me complete dependence on God. It also made me focus on the love that I have for my wife and children. How desperately I needed them!
No sooner had I returned from Africa that school began. It has been a very difficult year with changes that have taken place. I have resolved however to let God use me as He sees fit, but I will not tie myself to another ministry. To do this would be to neglect the ministry that God has given me.
Susan and I were able to spend a week together on a cruise to the Bahamas. I am truly grateful for the gift of a wife that God has given me. Never has a woman fulfilled the text of Proverbs 31 like my wife. She and I also decided that the next cruise we take will be with the whole family. The kids would definitely have a blast.
This year also brought heartache in the loss of Susan's precious grandmother Kathy Rose. This dear lady served God faithfully next to her husband Gerald in South America for almost 50 years. Only Heaven knows how precious a treasure this world has lost. I am grateful however for the promise of our reunion with her and our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
My children have grown this year, and I often find myself wanting to hide them from this world. I know that I must prepare them for the days ahead, but selfishly I want them to never leave. My prayer is that I might be an example of love to them. I hope that they know how wonderful Susan and I really believe they are. They were excited this year, because Susan and I gave in and got them a dog. We are now the happy owners of a long-haired dachshund named Dolly. The kids are in love with her, and I think she is pretty happy about them as well.
So, what does next year hold? I have no idea, but I know that God has already gone before us to prepare they way.