Christmas Letter

Dear family and friends,

            It’s 4 AM and I can’t sleep, but this is the time I do some of my best writing, so…

            How has 2017 been for you? With the risk of sounding old, do you remember Image may contain: christmas tree and indoorwhen we wondered what it would sound like to say, “20..?” Now, here we are 17 years into this millennium and it’s sounding just fine! 🙂 and I’m so glad to be alive!  With the recent shootings in Texas, life has gained a whole new perspective! I find myself thanking the Lord that my family is alive instead of boohooing that they are so far away!

            The Lord continues to teach us new lessons every day. The joy of ministry has never been greater. Our little group of believers has their struggles, but we continue to enjoy a sweet spirit, which is another blessing I never want to take for granted. Do we wish for more growth, i.e., faithfulness, finances and victory over sin? Yes, but God knows what each of us needs and is continually molding and shaping each life in His time—not ours!

            So… what’s new in 2017?  Here we go…


Family news:

  1. Phineas James MacAvoy! On April  28th, grandchild # 7 arrived.  Now, at 7 months, he’s crawling, cutting new teeth and adorable. It’s looking like Cheyanne may have gotten her blond hair and blue eyes she’s always wanted! We were able to visit in June this year again. I still struggle with this new normal and would be glad for a new “new normal,” but God is always good and we trust these precious ones to His safekeeping. They had major hail damage right before we came ($15,000 worth!), so that kept Tom busy this summer! We’re looking forward to having them back in PA for the first visit since they left in 3/2016 next June. They also bought a house and are so thankful for God’s provision. No more second floor, two bedroom apartment! I told Cheyanne that she was living a modern day “Little House.” It was small and a trial to keep three children quiet enough not to disturb their neighbors!
  2. Seth lost his job in March and is now working for Black Creek—a construction company. That has been a learning/trusting God curve for their little family, but God continues to meet their needs. Jennifer’s photography has kept her busy as well as Norwex. She is a consultant and that has really been a great opportunity as well as financial boost. James and Samuel are growing like weeds and continue to be a constant source of blessing to Grandpa and Grandma! We “kidnapped” James a few months back, so now he comes to me OFTEN and whispers in my ear, “Don’t you want to kidnap me?” LOL!
  3. Nathan is halfway through his doctorate in Piano Pedagogy, which requires two recitals and a paper. He was able to broadcast his November recital, so we got to watch it with Mom, Jennifer, and Seth. Totally amazing! How he can memorize 75+ pages of music is beyond me! Martha continues to sew around the clock to keep up with orders on her Etsy site. They purchased a house June, and we visited in July (traveling from SD to SC!) and again in October, both times doing some work around the house. A gardener definitely owned the property at one time, and untangling all the growth has been a real treasure hunt!
  4. Tom and I had a baby in October. (Just wanted to see if you were really paying attention!) We’re just two old people living with an old dog! Pepper, Nathan’s black Cocker Spaniel is now 12 and nearly deaf, which has produced some changes in our living habits, but she’s still a spunky little pooch! We had a short but great time at Virginia Beach with Jennifer and the boys and then off to a MacAvoy “cousins” reunion. Great fun! Also witnessed our nephew’s wedding and love for his new bride at a beautiful spot in Dover, PA.


  1. February—2nd annual Ladies’ Retreat. We go to this absolutely gorgeous three-story log lodge and act like kids! The highlight for me was hearing the ladies’ testimonies, especially a young teen girl who trusted Christ within the year.
  2. March—our first 3 on 3 basketball outreach. What a thrill to see so many folks come from our local high school, play ball, and sit under the preaching of God’s Word!
  3. April—Charles Alsheimer, deer photographer and expert came to SVBC which was another great community outreach opportunity.
  4. November—I had the privilege of speaking at a Ladies’ Seminar of about 200. It was a wonderful time, and the ladies were so gracious! Tom was excited because I now understand his WEEKLY struggle labor of preparing to speak! I was able to sell quite a few books. (This year’s writings: Still Waters—a devotional on finding calm in this crazy world and seeing our powerful God, and Psalm 119—a daily devotional for each verse which includes remarks by C.H. Spurgeon. )
  5. December—International Christmas Banquet: This is new this year, but we are so excited! The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful gym/activity building, and it is decorated to the hilt! We’ll also have a little program with the Master Club kids and a nativity scene. It will be James and Samuel’s first “pageant” and proves to be pretty sweet! The theme is “The Light of the World is Jesus.” So true!

Well, that about wraps it up! As usual, this is too long— hope we didn’t bore you too much. May the Lord bless each of you as you walk this short walk we call “life” until we see Jesus face to face!

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2