Friday, April 1, 2016

March Update with Big News!

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Homer Newsletter March 2016

March Greetings

This update is a little later than I intended it to be. So much this last month has had me running and scrambling to keep up.  So many good and wonderful things happening, and so much on my heart. Let me start with a few updates and then I’ll get to that last bit.
We began the month of March observing a lot of digging in front of our house as Matt Hadden and Jeremy Mouw worked to get the water lines hooked up to the church and our home.  Then, one magical weekend, we came home on a Saturday to having fresh, clean water running in our house!  That morning Matt had taken out and capped the 30 foot well in front of our house (we got to glimpse the nasty brown water pouring out) and by the end of the day, the pipes had been flushed and clean water was in.  The girls have been delighted to have baths again, and even better, for the first time in years, we were able to baptize people in the church on Easter Sunday. Seven people were baptized, including Matt and Amanda’s daughter, Leah. God is so good and we are so thankful to have good running water in the church and our house. It makes such a big difference!
Over this month, the church has also had quite a face-lift. For those who have been out here before, you would hardly recognize the inside!

Also at the beginning of this month, we were startled with the news that our hometown of Waverly, VA, had been hit by a tornado. That tornado passed maybe 100 yards behind our house, and yes, there was damage. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but still a lot of clean up. We got word that the buyers still wanted to go through with the sale, for which we were very grateful.  Within hours, friends from MPBC (our church in VA) began arriving and assisting with the cleanup.  The tornado was Thursday, and by Monday all the debris had been removed and hauled away.  As of this past week, all other damage has been repaired. A new playset and shed are ordered to replace the ones that were destroyed and the insurance has finally kicked in so we can pay for all the repairs.  Josh and I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of help from our VA church family. The body of Christ is an amazing family to be a part of! Final closing date is still April 26th, although may be moved sooner.
In March, the Adorned Campaign took off. This campaign is the vision of Amanda Hadden and focuses on teen girls’ depression, self-harm, and suicide, and teaches them about their self-worth.  Amanda has been working with local schools to get the message out, and three schools have already committed to working with the program. Girls will be reached by being able to meet with a peer who has struggled with the same thing and hear how she has received help. Girls will be given a special bracelet and a t-shirt with the message “You are more”.  There are other special events planned for them as well. As a part of this, I am joining ladies from our church and two other churches this weekend for a Ladies Retreat in Rapid City.  We will be packing boxes and preparing bracelets for the girls and praying over each one. There will be about 200 to pack right now.  I highly encourage you to take a few minutes and look at the website. There is so much that I simply don’t have the room for in this newsletter.  You can help by finding out more at their website and sponsoring a teen girl here.  
Our last bit of update news is very exciting for all of us. At the end of September, we are expecting an addition to our family!   Lizzy is pretty clueless in all the excitement, but Shannan and Amberlyn are thrilled are asking repeatedly if the baby is coming “soon.”

Before I close, I’d like to share some things that have been on my heart the last couple months but have really hit this past week.  At the beginning of the year, when many of us consider New Year’s resolutions, I decided that my personal one for the year would be finding joy, or maybe more specifically, paying attention to moments of joy in the midst of a chaotic day. Let’s face it, as mama with three girls and homeschooling our oldest, my day can look a little crazy and very often, I miss the fun moments amid trying to get my to-do list done. I know our God is the author of joy, and I found I was missing a lot of that in my task-oriented mentality. It’s something I often have to purposefully consider during the day and lately I find myself frequently stopping to enjoy things a lot more than I used to. This past week, I received news that a good friend of mine from college lost her husband. This couple is the same age as Josh and I and they have a little girl not even 2 years old.  In a few moments, my friend’s world changed and now she faces a future without the husband she loved so much. I prayed and cried a lot the first couple days after I found out. I squeezed my kids a little more tightly when I gave them a hug.  We have no guarantees in life, other than Jesus. He is the only constant.  He is the source of our hope and joy and the One who defines our worth.  Without Him, you can’t find those things. This is why we are here. This is behind the Adorned Campaign.  This is behind the ladies in our church who meet on Monday nights and we spend time praying for our families.  Where are you looking for joy? I pray you are looking to the Source!

Josh, Jess, Shannan, Amberlyn, and Elizabeth
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HCR 49 Box 242, Porcupine, SD 57772