Merry Christmas from Germany,
We hope that during this Christmas season you are able to take time to rest and enjoy family, friends and the celebration of our Savior’s birth. At church and during our Bible studies, we’ve talked a lot about what it must have been like during that first Christmas and how it probably wasn’t as neat and clean as our Christmas pageants portray. Heather and I were able to watch the movie “The Nativity Story” and were moved by how hard it must have been for Mary and Joseph. In a video on youtube by “The Skit Guys” one of them describes a time when he had a newborn at Christmas, and his son was Baby Jesus in the nativity play. He recalls sitting in the front row and watching a teenage girl come out holding his son. During that moment it hit him, “This is what God did, sent his son to be taken care of by a teenage girl, to grow up and die on a cross to save us from our sins.”
Our family has continued with our season of growth with fostering. This season has stretched us so much and it is amazing to see what you learn in those difficult times. I (Scott), have learned to let go of the things I have held a little too closely. With the baby, I have not been able to run for almost 2 months. For someone who ran consistently for nearly 10 years, this has been hard. However, running can become an idol just like anything else, and when that becomes my consuming passion and my source for happiness over God, then it is time to learn that it is not. It is a gift God has given me, and I hope to be able to continue to run soon, but in the meantime, I trust God with what he has for me right now and know that he is good.
The good news is that a long term home has been found for Leon. Last week Thursday, Heather got to meet the new parents but she wasn’t told their names ahead of time. When the couple arrived with the workers from Social Services, she was surprised to meet Charly and Anja. Charly and Anja used to go to our church here in Weimar, and they were one of the first people to invite us to their home to share a meal with them. Since then, Charly and Anja have changed churches and go to another church here in Weimar, but are still connected to many people from our church. When we first met Leon our prayer was that he would go to a family that loves Jesus and will train him in the love of our Lord. We cannot be more thrilled with the family God has chosen for him. Now we face a new difficulty, letting go. We have spent nearly 3 months bonding with this baby, and now we have to give him away to a new family. The process for this handover is slow, and Leon will remain with us until the end of January. In the meantime, Charly and Anja are coming over several times a week to hold Leon, bond with him and ask lots of questions on how to be parents. We have this special role in teaching them what we have learned as parents over the past 11 (almost 12) years.
Here are some fun things that have happened over the past few months.
Holly (9 1/2 yrs) had her lower school play performance in the first week of December. She played the Giant in a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. She was the best if you ask us.
Stanley (11 1/2 yrs) participated in the First Lego League, which is a Lego robotics competition. His team was second for teamwork and Stanley was in his element working with Lego and learning how robotics and programming work.
Stuart (now 7 yrs) continues to thrive at his school for kids with special needs. The teachers love him and he is learning so much at his speed. During the big kids’ first two days of Christmas break, I took them to go ice staking. At the market, Stanley spotted Stuart with his class. Stuart was so happy to see us and his class even stayed a little while to watch us skate.
Samuel will be four on New Year’s Eve. He is becoming more and more independent and loves kindergarten. At his Christmas party, Heather was amazed by how focused and on pointe Samuel was during his performance.
Heather continues to host Mama Mittwoch at our home every Wednesday morning. She has had an amazing friend come early every week to help her clean the house in preparation for the group.
Our Sunday youth Bible study has finished for 2019 and we will resume January 12th. During the months of November and December, we had our most consistent string of weeks all school year. We were able to read Ephesians, and then do a Christmas advent for the first three Advent Sundays.
Our Monday Bible study has also had a good feeling of consistency these past months. We did have to say goodbye to Mary, who was only with us for a little while and is now going to spend the next seven+ months in Norway.
We have been really blessed with visits from several friends these past months. Urska delighted us by traveling from Slovenia just to be with us. We love her so much and she really is a special aunt who visits us each year. Muyiwah, who was part of our Bible study for six years, visited us from Frankfurt. Sara, who was part of our Bible studies last year, visited us from Scotland. It is encouraging when people who you have invested in choose to come back to visit.
Christmas was a wonderful time for our family with Stanley, Holly and Stuart all participating in the Christmas play at church Tuesday evening. We enjoyed Christmas Eve just as a family unit and watched “The Star” together. Christmas morning was full of joy as we celebrated together. We did have a few moments where tempers or emotions rose up but we chose not to let the enemy steal our joy and chose forgiveness and grace instead. Also on Christmas day we once again attended the English service at the local Lutheran church, and I was able to do the Bible reading from Titus 3:4-7. I was also able to make an announcement for our English Bible Studies. Afterward, a student named Godfrey came up to ask about it. He is from Nigeria and is in his first semester at the University. He shared that he is been very isolated this semester spiritually and was praying for a group where he could study the Bible. We exchanged contact information and then I invited him to join us for our Christmas dinner that night. He was overjoyed! That evening we had 20 people in our home for a Raclette dinner. We had a family of four from Iowa, a new teacher and her mom from Oregon, a new family of three from Italy/UK, our friend Muyiwah and Godfrey (Nigeria), Vongani (South Africa), and Anna from Bible study and her partner Mario. It was wonderful to be able to host such a big group and let Christ shine. A big blessing for us was that Leon’s future family babysat him that evening so we were freer to host and take care of our guests. We felt like it was a great Christmas for our family.
Here are some praises and prayer requests.
Praise: How God showed his sovereignty and response to our prayer with a new home for Leon.
Prayer: For strength during the next month in continuing to work with a fairly fussy baby, and in letting him go to his new long term home. Prayer also for his future and wisdom for his new parents.
Praise: That God gave us strength during this very busy and stressful fall and has brought us into Christmas Break.
Prayer: That we will be able to reach out to and connect with those who need us. We have been able to connect with the new family from Iowa who will be here until next August. There are always others who could easily miss the radar.
Praise: For those who have said yes to supporting us through Be One Together. Our monthly support is halfway to our goal. We also are at 5000 Euro saved/raised towards a car.
Prayer: Without a car, it is really hard to travel to purchase a car. We are waiting for the right car to become available in Weimar. We know that God will make it happen when it is time.
Prayer: Our rental property in Sandy is requiring some major repairs. Pray for God to lead us to the right choices.
Thank you again for praying for us and supporting our family. We are excited to see what God has in store for 2020.
Serving Him in Weimar, Germany,
Scott, Heather, Stanley, Holly, Stuart, Samuel, and Leon