We thank the Lord for a great ending to 2022. After hearing, on my birthday of all days, that Canada had officially lifted its restrictions on unvaccinated travelers crossing the border, we spent the last quarter of 2022 preparing sporadically for our first trip back in three years to see family for Christmas. We were quite excited, knowing that if we left Canada to spend any time in the States, we would for certain be allowed back in. In the midst of preparing for this trip, our teens got to attend a special Youth Conference that, up to this year, wasn’t possible because of COVID restrictions that were still in place. It was a great trip, with good decisions being made and many young people (some of them our teenagers) taking a pledge of purity, for which they got certificates to bring home with them to commemorate their pledge.
A personal favourite activity that we did to end the year was our Christmas caroling activity. It started out as an idea for a youth activity that grew into a church-wide family activity, and I’m glad it did, because it only got better with more participation! GLBC teens did play a pivotal role in one aspect that made it sweeter, literally. We asked them to bake cookies or sweets to give out to those we visited and sang carols to. Again, they knocked it out of the park and made some impressive creations to give to our “carolees” (I may have invented a word there). We went in two vans to several houses, singing Christmas carols, inviting them to our Christmas program, and giving them the Gospel. It was a sweet time of fellowship as we all sang for the Lord and proclaimed the true meaning of Christmas.
December was crunch time to nail down all the things for the Youth Christmas Program. This year we did Christmas by the Book; 90% of the lines were just direct quotes from the Bible. The young people worked hard to memorize their lines (Bible verses) and to hone their speaking parts. We had a few new participants to the Christmas program who were a little nervous, but they did great. The video is available to watch on our church’s YouTube page if you’d like to see it. I was also privileged to be able to preach the Gospel that day after the play was over, which I thoroughly enjoyed studying for and delivering.
We closed out the year by heading across the border. It was a surreal experience crossing the border again after not being able to do so for such a long time. I would’ve grabbed a handful of dirt to commemorate being on U.S. soil again, but the ground was frozen and covered in snow! We had a blessed time being in church on Christmas morning with my wife’s family, and then we headed to Louisiana to spend the first part of the New Year with my family. Pray for the Gospel seed that was sown in my family. Pray for the Gospel seed that was sown in our Christmas caroling and our Christmas play. Pray for a new Iranian family in our church; there is a new teen named Aeen attending our youth Bible classes on Sundays and Thursdays (pronounced like the Ein of Einstein) whom I was able to witness to recently, but we’re taking it slowly because language comprehension is still an issue. As he continues to attend the youth group and as we continue to show the love of Christ to him, pray that the Gospel seed planted will bloom into a soul saved to the glory of God! We’re looking forward to a great new year with exciting goals in sight.
His servant and yours,