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December 2022: We wish you His joy, peace and contentment as we go into 2023

December 8, 2022

Dear Friends,

Advent is upon us as we again prepare our hearts for celebrating His birth. . .

November 28th found us heading back to Ecuador for a brief trip. Diana, from our el Floron church, was graduating from a five-year government nursing program that we supported. Finally, the date for the graduation ceremony was given just a week prior. Through the last several months she repeatedly asked if we could please be there, but no graduation date was forth coming. We then ultimately made a last-minute trip to arrive early morning the day of the graduation.

Prior to the ceremony Diana gathered six of her friends to meet us.

After the graduation program, we were invited back to her parent’s home in Floron. . . very humble and the perfect setting for beginning the Advent of Jesus birth. I recalled all the tears shed as Diana navigated those five years. Even with my encouragement I prayed but wondered if she would finish. Now she will be sent to an underserved medical location in Ecuador where she will work for one year. I inquired if in one year there would then be job opportunities available for some 150 nurses that now graduated. Dra. Silvia said, “absolutely not.”

Diana and parents Diana and boyfriend “Pepe”

(Carlos-head of the church music ministry)

At graduation home celebration everyone gave words of congratulations of Diana’s accomplishments.

The all-night flight home produced rippling thoughts flowing through my mind...returning to our overly decorated home with all the same decorations used each year would bring precious memories. And now, we could add the joy of being able to be with Diana, her family, and many friends from her church that time that would otherwise not allow us to see. The simplicity of Diana’s home and graduation celebration somehow seemed to bring me closer to Jesus’ humble birth and surroundings.

Jesus, your birth, resurrection and sent Holy Spirit is what united us. . . No words were necessary; nor could any Christmas decorations enhance our gathering; we are His blessed children.

That is our wish for each of you this Advent. . . that the joy of Jesus’ birth and the peace that surpasses all understanding will unite you and your family and friends in the humility of His birth. . . and how that birth over 2,000 years ago still ignites awe, wonder, and the reconfirmed faith and hope. . . a faith and hope that supersedes all events of this broken world.

Merry Christmas! Wishing you His joy, peace, and contentment now and all of 2023.

Our love and prayers,

Richard and Elizabeth <><

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