Between Christmas and New Year's, my cell phone inbox has been continuously full of text messages like the one above! I can't believe it's 2009. This time last year, I had no idea I would be in Vietnam! I always wonder what might come in the year ahead. Last night we celebrated by making mexican food for dinner, and brownies for dessert! We pulled up some YouTube videos of the ball dropping in previous years... and then did our own countdown as Karen slowly dropped her big blue exercise ball. It was quite something! Of course we also toasted with some sparkling grape juice (another special treat and splurge)... although I almost lost an eye when opening the bottle. Oh, dear.
Christmas was a great time. We had parties galore for neighbors, faculty, and students. It was tiring, but definitely worth it. I got teary a few times, but was so thankful for the opportunities to share about the 1st Christmas with students- and that made it worth being away from family and friends back home. I wrote more about the parties in my next newsletter- but there are also some pictures you can check out by copying and pasting the link below:
We went to a student's village for Christmas Eve (1 hour bus ride away). It was definitely an experience being the 2nd foreigners to ever visit! During the service at their fellowship, our team of 4 sang Silent Night... let's just say I was really relieved when that was over. We had lunch after the morning service, and then visited with our student's family in their home. They gave us gifts of traditional wedding necklaces and rings- so we are thinking this may be the year for the Dalat girls to find someone special... :) Everyone was so kind and hospitable. It was so interesting though because the village was so different from Dalat- very simple lifestyle. Vietnam is an incredibly diverse country, and it's great to see more of it. They sent us home with pineapple, corn, and bananas from their farm!
On Christmas Eve night we went to the service at our fellowship in Dalat. We enjoyed sharing that time with some students who translated into English for us. It was so fascinating to hear their translations... to hear how Vietnamese believers tell the Christmas story, to hear it from someone who is speaking English as their second language, and to hear it from people who are listening to the story for the first time! One student, who had never read or seen the Word before, took my 'book' and started reading it- and couldn't stop. How exciting! I'm anxious to see how the Father works in his heart next semester. He's definitely thirsty for truth.
Christmas day, as you can see from the pictures, was full of special food and gifts and team. I am thankful for my Vietnam family!
Today, the first day of 2009, I continued my reading in the book of Nehemiah- chapter 9. As I read, I made a list of the qualities of our Father- and filled two pages in my journal! You should read it!! Anyway, as I read, I was in awe of who He is. This year has totally blown apart every "box" that I've put Him in. I've seen new parts of His character that floor me. He is truly beyond description, and more powerful and active than I ever realized.
Even though I am a "goal" person, I have given up on New Year's resolutions :) I think I gave up the year I tried to be "perfect" and messed on January 1. Ha, ha. So instead, I made a simple list of some desires of my heart for 2009:
- to be a person of the Word and PR.
- to hope in Him alone.
- to know Him more deeply.
- to find worth in Him alone.
- to learn to love like Him.
I don't know what this next year holds, but I do know that if in one year, I can look back on 2009 with a sense of growing in each of these areas, 2009 will be the best year yet!