All I want for Christmas

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

We have had a busy last several weeks. We traveled up to Kenya for the end of the school term so we could see Josh play in the Jazz Band. It was amazing and so fun to be there. Both boys were to play in the regular band concert but Josh got sick that night but it sure was great to see Drew play. They both play trumpet like their dad! We also got to play in parent versus kids soccer game with Rachel. Picture about 20 5th and 6th grade girls playing soccer against a bunch of parents, it was rather like playing against a swarm of bees…so much fun.

Jon’s parents flew out from the States for a visit so they also got to be around for some of the school events including the pine wood derby in which Rachel raced a car. She didn’t win a prize for speed but did win for design. They were also around for the band concert. We enjoyed taking them out on some day trips before school ended (we played while the boys had exams!)
After school got out, we went and spent some family time in a nearby cottage celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas together. The highlight was a trip out to Crescent Island to walk with the animals. Mimi and Pop Pop returned to the U.S. We traveled home.

Last week Jon was part of a survey in a town a couple of hours away where A.I.M. Hopes to place a team in a couple of years. The team leaders will be the couple with whom Rachel lived at R.V.A. For her first 2 years so their daughter Addie, Rachel’s “little sister”, stayed with us for a few days so that her parents could fully participate in the survey. Rachel did an amazing job looking after Addie who is only 3. The survey went really well and many questions were answered.

Almost as soon as Jon got home from the survey, we all hopped into the car for a trip to Dodoma and Jon went on to Dar on a bus. This is where the Christmas presents come in! We have two pretty special and valuable gifts this year. The first is an adorable little puppy named Badger. He is mostly German Shepherd and is 8 weeks old. He is valuable because he is a living creature and we have a responsibility to take care of him, to provide for all his puppy needs. The second gift is a new car. Yes, we now have the car for which we asked to pray regarding paper work a few months ago. It took some time but all went well. Thanks to all of our supporters who have been so generous over the last 10 plus years that we were able to purchase this new Toyota Landcruiser without needing to raise any additional funds. You are a blessing to us. This gift is valuable because it comes from loved ones and yes, it’s costly. But it is also valuable because it doesn’t really belong to us but has rather been given as a tool to use in our service to the LORD. So we also have a responsibility to you and to Our Father to take good care of this new vehicle and to use it in a way that honors God.

While these are special and valuable gifts and we are thankful to have received them, what we really desire, what we really want for Christmas is to see the lost come to Christ, for them to know that God loves them, that He sent His son, the one He valued most to pay the price for their sin so that they might receive the gift of eternal life. Please continue to pray with that the LORD would continue to work here in Usandawe and beyond that there might be an increase in the harvest. Pray also for workers for the harvest, especially for those whom would join us in the ministry in Magambua.

We are loving having our kids home for the school break. Our hope is that each of you will experience hope and joy and the love of Christ this Christmas season.

With love and thanksgiving,

Melissa, Jon and the kids

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