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julie portrait3BW[From Julie]  We had a wonderful worship service at Tintern on Jan 1st.  It was a terrific way to start the new year as a church family.  Three men from different age groups were asked to present where they saw God in their lives and in their church in the past year.  It was encouraging, touching and made us thankful for all that we have been blessed with.  It also made me realize that I didn’t bring enough Kleenex to church that day and I wasn’t wearing waterproof eye make-up.  Thanks for that guys.

First Martin did a photo presentation of 2011.  He reflected that it was like the best of times and the worst of times.  We started last year mourning for a beloved elder and a young father who had both died suddenly in late 2010.  It was the worst of times for many of us.  Martin reminded us that as time moves on we were able to celebrate many things together.  We welcomed six new babies into our family, partnered with a new church in Tennessee to produce another wonderful Bible Day Camp, sent mission trips to the BC interior and to Nicaragua as well as several other soul nourishing classes and trips.  We reflected on our history and where we are going from here.  By far the most significant event for Martin was the birth of his first grandson.  He is on cloud nine let me tell ya.

Jamie presented next and spoke about how blessed he feels in his life.  The focus of his thoughts were what he was thankful for this past year.  Simple things like being healthy and having a job were important in light of the fact that many people don’t have those things.  Jamie spoke highly of his wife and the fact that she understands him and helps him be better.  He was thankful for his precious girls and the joy that they all felt this year when they welcomed the last member of their family, their son.  Family was central to his thoughts and his prayers of thanksgiving.

Jordan told us how life changing 2010 was for him.  He moved out of his parents home and bought a car and started a full-time job.  He was also part of the team that went to the BC interior to serve the first nations people there.  It was on that trip that he decided he wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him.  Talk about a trip with lasting impact.  Jenna of course said yes and they are now in the midst of wedding plans.  Jordan spoke of how overwhelmed he is at the prospect of becoming a husband and his prayers are that he can love Jenna the way Jesus does.  You are off to a great start Jordan.  I can’t wait for the two of you to start this adventure together.  2012 is going to be an amazing year for you guys.

Our service on New Year’s Day was the perfect way to start the year.  A look back to be thankful and a look forward to where God is taking us.  What impressed me was that we have some wonderful men who aren’t afraid to let their feelings show and express how God has been good to them.  Family and marriage came up in all of their presentations.  Martin was thankful that he and Colleen are enjoying their grandchild together.  Jamie is thankful that Stacey is by his side during these wild years of babies and toddlers.  Jordan is thankful for his parents guidance and he is now ready to become a husband to Jenna.  Whether we like or not, marriage counts.  It can be one of the most fulfilling relationships of your life or it can be a trial for all of your days.  That’s part of what led us to purposefully decide to make a goal for 2012 for our marriage.  We want to always be living together in step with God’s will for our marriage and our relationships with others.  May you feel God’s presence and power in 2012 as you work on your relationships too.