Hey everyone, I'm sorry that things have been very quiet around here lately. Things have been very busy as of late, but fear not, things are going well.
Family life is good. Laura is in Jr Kindergarten, and Erik has started preschool. Both of them love it. Laura is turning into a little academic already, she has received one of two academic awards in her class. So if you're like me, you're thinking "What the heck? Academic awards in JK? What's up with that?" But yeah, she got one not only because she is learning really fast (four years old and she is becoming a voracious reader, she has learned how to sound out words, and is figuring out how to read new words on her own) but after she finishes her work in class, she'll slide over to sit beside another classmate to help them do their work if they are having trouble!
Erik is showing that despite being a typical boy, he also has a huge heart and cares a lot about many things and people. Just two days ago, he walked up to me out of the blue and asked what I wanted for Christmas. Totally on his own initiative, he really wanted to know.
Alla has been very busy lately, she has been knitting and sewing up a storm. Nice stuff as well. If you're interested, she has a blog as part of a handcrafts forum. It is in Estonian, but if you're interested you can a least browse the photos of what she has made. Here's the link: Rändlind. As well, Alla has become very involved in the Sunday School program at church which has been great as well. Not without frustration and stress at times, but it has been good and stretching as well.
As for me, work has been learning a lot, and still am learning. This is one change that I am very glad that I made. Leading the youth group at church has turned out to be more challenging than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. The heathy dose of humility was long overdue. But it is still going well. Part of the challenge lies in that the church is on the verge of some major changes, and I can see where it could be headed if things go well. And being very pedantic, I'd like to prepare the youth for these changes and help them to be at the forefront of the transformation. But at the same time I tend to be overly pedantic and forget that youth like to have fun as well. One final new experience at church for me is that I was requested to try leading worship for a Sunday service. I've never done anything like that before. I have been playing guitar for services for many years already, but I've never tried leading. It has been a stetch, but it seems that it works. It stresses me out, it is uncomfortable, I've never really sung before, and now I'm doing it for everyone to follow. But at the same time, it has become very rewarding. But it still freaks me out.
But in all, things are good. It's hard to believe that this will be our second Christmas here. But it's exciting as well. It has been a year of changes, growth and learning to trust God in new ways.
Our church has been on the verge of a transformation for a while. It is getting very close, we can all taste it. To be honest, most of our church is almost oblivious to what this is going to mean. They have been praying for change for many years. They adopted a motto of the church outside the box. This fall has marked some staff changes. The head pastor feels the weight of the situation and timing. He realizes that this is a very pivotal time for the church, and that God is leading the church to do things it has never done before. The pastor is from a very traditional background, and this is undiscovered country for him. This is a totally new experience for him to try to think of the church ourside of what the church has always done. I am relishing the view. But I am afraid of what this may mean for all of us. Complete and utter faith (almost blind), complete obedience to God and the authority He has placed over us, and the resolve to act on what we have been told to do. There is going to be a lot of very uncomfortable people. There are some who are going to be very unwilling to be uncomfortable, and I hope they find a place that will keep them comfortable and still growing in faith (incompatible states of being by definition, but then again our God is a God of paradoxes isn't He?). In the meantime, those of us who commit ourselves to this may be in for the ride of our lives.
Anyhow, take care all, and if I don't get around to posting something before then, please have a great Christmas!