Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Dear family and friends,

A merry hello to you all from the bottom of our hearts! This year has been a difficult one for us and for our country in many ways, what with various sicknesses and injuries, dangerous animals and animals dying, a serious drought (albeit not nearly so severe as last year’s), threats of skyrocketing gas prices, perhaps the most important election in the history of our country, and concern about what the New Year might bring in that regard.

What a comfort, then, to know that our God is both good and sovereign! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. . . . [He] will be exalted among the heathen, [He] will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11). So it is that we remember this past year with thankfulness and approach the next with the peace that only God can give.

Jedidiah, is now 12 years old and in the seventh grade. He has outgrown his mom and sister in shoe size, mows the yard by himself, and helps with our church’s video ministry. After mourning the disappearances or deaths of a few cats throughout the first half of the year, he cares for the two newest ones, Socks and Boots, all the more. Oh! Let’s not forget his beta fish either - his name’s Lucas, after one of Jedidiah’s new friends from church (of which there are several). Another of these friends gave him his first real gun, of which he is very proud. In the early fall, Dad and Jedidiah enjoyed a little camping trip together, taking time out for horseback riding and rafting on Owsley Fork Lake.

Caleb is 17 and finishing up his senior year in preparation for an internship at the state capitol in the spring. As to college, he plans to attend University of the Cumberlands with a major in Religion, then enter full-time Christian service; and so has been preparing accordingly with a Bible study at his former workplace, filling in for the youth Sunday School teacher, and preaching his first sermon. Earlier this year, he was saddened by the death of his dog, Lady. She was a very good little dog; but very old, too. Caleb has enjoyed some deepened friendships and fellowship with others at church and online, while his intermediate license has enabled several sleepovers, basketball games, birthday celebrations, and other fun stuff with his best friend Chris in another town.

Naomi is 19 and worked at Lee’s Famous Recipe most of the year; although lately she has begun teaching piano lessons instead. Naomi also teaches the upper elementary children in Sunday School and loves playing with them as well as the other children at church, particularly a certain three-year-old named Kaylee. One of the highlights of her year was a Youth Conference in Indiana with her best friend Hannah, whom she had not seen since their meeting at church camp five years ago.

Mom, 41, continues to homeschool Caleb and Jedidiah while ministering to the ladies of our church through visits, Sunday School, ladies’ fellowships, and instruction on “Once-a-Month Cooking” and other topics of interest. She loved finding a new thrift store and mini-library called “The Friends of Paint Lick” and has enjoyed making and decorating countless cakes for church family, Naomi and Caleb’s coworkers, and various birthday parties and weddings.

Dad, 46, still pastors Galilee Baptist Church and works at Creation Technologies. During the two revival efforts he preached in the community this year, he greatly enjoyed fellowshipping with the other pastors and church leaders he met. And the whole family has loved listening to him read aloud several classics, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates.

In addition, our whole family has enjoyed quite a lot of football, volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, and a whole lot more, both as a family and with our church (Caleb and Jedidiah often refer to the church’s “football league” and plan out depth charts for future games). The late summer found us at Lake Cumberland with a family from our church, learning to ride the seadoos, attempting to water-ski (haha!), and going inner tubing for the first time - a very fun vacation for all of us!

We look forward to hearing from and catching up with you all, and perhaps - hopefully - seeing you soon. Here’s wishing you and your kin a wonderful Christmas Day and season!

The Hetrick Family