Our family also took a quick trip to Vinnitsa, and attended their church's 14 year anniversary celebration! It was fun to celebrate with them not only the times from the past but also their "God moments" from throughout the year. We heard many amazing testimonies and spent time building relationships with the leaders of the church in that city.
At the end of the month, we decided to surprise Ree's parents and my mother for the holidays by coming in earlier than scheduled! We had told them that we would arrive in January to begin our furlough, but we bought tickets for Dec. 23 (along with a ticket for Ree's sister, Catlyn, who is studying in Manila). With the help of some wonderful friends, we were able to completely surprise all of our family, plus a few friends along the way. We surprised Ree's family in John Day for Christmas, a few days later, attended a wedding, and finally drove to Billings, MT to surprise Joseph's mother, who was visiting family, for New Years.
Christmas, one of our favorite times, is a time where we both anticipate the Second Coming of Christ, but also a time to reflect upon the incarnation and the wonder of God's gift to humanity - namely, Jesus, our Lord.
Blessings to all of you, and we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!