Thursday, January 5, 2012

What a Year!


This past year was an incredible year for the Atha family. Here's a small list of this year's events that came to my mind as I gratefully considered all that the Lord God did for us in 2011...

Byron and I started teaching ESL classes outside of the home. This was a mixed blessing: lots of work and not as much reward as we'd hoped. It did expand our circle of acquaintances around the town and for this I am grateful.

Dona Neia moved into the head cook position for most of our camp retreats. She is a joy with whom to work. Look back to my "Happy Family" post to hear more about the others who began working in the kitchen this year.

William and Byron were able to make an incredible trip together to visit the town where Byron's parents worked years ago. The spent almost two weeks in Sao Miguel do Guama along with Granny Atha in May working on the church building and parsonage there.

William participated in his first missions trip. He went up to Crato in Ceara to help Jim and Julie Leonard with a missionary team from the States in June. He translated and helped with the children's work and an English outreach.

Also in June, I was the speaker for a ladies' retreat out on the island. It was a lot of work preparing over many months and being in charge of the kitchen as well, but it was a good experience for all who attended.

In July, William and Dalton attended their first of what we hope to be many more - Sacred Music Week. It was held at the seminary in Crato. They spent an entire week learning about music theory and participated in an orquestra at the end of the week. Very rewarding for them both.

The boys enjoyed the finished go-kart/sandrail/dune buggy that they started working on in 2010 with Uncle Tim all year long with lots of back road adventures.

William designed and built his own bike this year.  Dalton took up skateboarding and is doing lots of great tricks.  Greyson became an avid reader of all kinds of books.

William crashed his BMX on an outing with boys from Sunday School in October. He was badly injured, but thankfully he recovered quickly and we all learned some valuable lessons.

We all started going to the Juazeiro 8 work on Sunday mornings this fall.

Old Blackie dog survived surgery for a tumor at the back of his mouth and even got a little spriter!

Grandaddy and Grandma Beckner came and spent the whole month of November with us. It was one of the best trips ever for them and for all of us.

The Sobradinho church began to see better numbers in attendance this year. We witnessed the return and restoration of a member who had left several years back. Our Christmas program included an adult choral group with 5 men and 6 women, a 20 minute play with persons of all ages participating, a children's musical presentation, and special music by my boys and a friend for all the congregational hymns. About 50 people were present on Christmas night for the holiday service.

I'm sure there's much more I could have concluded. They were sad times, those times that help us grow. But I chose to leave out most of those. I want to remember the good times and be thankful for the happy memories of another year.

We'll be back out on the island all week long this next week for the annual deaf camp.  Think of us and pray for safety of the campers and staff.

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