Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Program

Faith, Titus, and Caleb were in their school Christmas program last Tuesday, "Three Wise Men and A Baby".  It was so precious...and such a blessing to hear the gospel proclaimed. Faith was the narrator and did a GREAT job. Titus had  solo that started a bit rocky...but he really does have a great voice! Little Caleb has been gifted with a beautiful voice, too, but his favorite audience is still the bathroom! ;) 





Can you see little Caleb second row from the top on the end? :)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Electronic Christmas Letter!




Dear Family and Friends, 

I’ll be honest, we planned to pass on writing a Christmas letter this year.  In fact, as we look back on our last couple of Christmases in Canada, they have been void of Christmas greetings, too.We pray that none of you felt unloved by our lack of “Christmas Cheer”. 

Living in Canada made many things just a little bit more difficult....and a little bit more expensive! We tried to do most of our shopping, mailing, and banking in the states...but getting across the border could often be time consuming and a bit stressful! 

There are many things we miss about living in Canada...especially the people!!!...but there are many things that we are thankful to not have to deal with anymore. When you are not a citizen of the country you are living in, it’s amazing how difficult it can be...how many times our living was “interrupted” by the legality of our temporary residency. It was, on the other hand, a beautiful reminder that THIS world is not our home...our true citizenship is in Heaven!!! 

It was some of those legal issues that brought us back to the United States in March of 2012. We were in Canada just shy of 2 years when Bryan, along with other staff, resigned from his pastorate. It was certainly not what we had ever planned. We had begun to think our kids would grow up, marry Canadians, and stay in Canada! But when the purity of the pulpit is not upheld, the decision, though painful, is clear. 

And boy was it painful. We have had to leave other churches in the past (and we have learned much about what to do and what not to do in the process), but this was the first time that, in resigning, we also had to leave our home, as well. Yep, legal stuff! Our residency was attached to Bryan’s job. No job, no residency.
We were thankful, though, to be able to stay until our residency expired on March 1st. 

Things looked really bleak, but God is forever faithful. He encouraged us over and over and over again through the people we had ministered to, become friends with, and served alongside of. He met all of our needs those 3 months that we were still in Canada and Bryan was without work. Through the financial gifts of others, a part of a cow to fill our freezer...and even a turkey for Christmas Day; He gave us hug after hug through His saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ. My eyes well up, even now, as I think about the kindness and love that was extended to us.  

We loaded up a “container” the last week of February, expecting to store most of our possessions and move in with my parents for a season.  The day before we left Canada, though,  a house (owned by a couple in my parent’s church) opened up for us to move into. What a BLESSING from the LORD!  My parents house was small...and it would have been very TIGHT! :)

God’s faithfulness is great, both in the good times and in the dark times, and we continued to feel the rays of His grace upon us. Mid April, after being brought forward by the search committee and the elders, Bryan was voted in as a pastor at my dad’s church, First Baptist Church (of Hood River, Oregon). Our hearts continue to be so full of thanksgiving at God’s timing, His provision, and the precious church body that we now get to call “our family”.  After that, my parents put their house on the market....an offer was made on it 5 days later and then we all put an offer on a big house about 15 minutes outside of town, which was accepted! 

We moved into 2880 Bear Ridge Drive the third week of June and, though the house is set up perfectly for 2 families living together, it took the rest of the summer to get our lives “in order” and get used to a new routine. Though most think we are crazy, it has been a sweet gift to live so close! I am not sure many can call their parents and “in laws” amongst their closest friends, so it’s a blessing to have that privilege!

In July, thanks to my grandmother, my whole side of the family got together for a summer vacation in Sunriver, Oregon. Included in the group was my brother Paul’s new wife, Sarah! Their wedding in May was just beautiful...but it was a quick weekend and we were so excited to know that we would all be together again in July. My grandmother, aunt, and cousin flew out as well to be with us. Sweet memories and good times of rest is how we remember our vacation with each other...which is pretty impressive when you think that there were 20 plus people together for over a week! :)

August brought a change of plans and direction. I was preparing to order all my curriculum for homeschooling the kids when I received a call from the Christian school in town, Horizon. They were in need of a teacher’s assistant for the 3rd and 4th grade class and wanted to know if I would be interested. 

In all honesty, my first thought was not elation but tears. I had been working at home for the past 12 years and the thought of making a shift to outside the home just sounded overwhelming. After much prayer and seeking the council of others, we decided that this, indeed, was a gift from the Lord for this year and this season of life. We had made our plans...but the Lord was directing our steps a bit differently! 

The kids are doing great in school...both academically and socially. We have also seen sweet spiritual growth in some of them that just blesses are socks off. But,  I’d be lying if I said it’s been “easy as pie”. It’s hard and tiring working all day and then coming home to more that needs to be done. I am so very thankful that I was able to stay home with the kiddos during their early years....years of critical foundation laying! Bryan, too, has stayed super busy. He is so thankful for the blessing of being able to minister at First Baptist.  He has also been refereeing volleyball, and now, basketball which takes him out most nights of the week and some Saturdays. 

All that said, if you have found our email responses to be a bit slower, my blog posts to be much more sporadic, and our availability to be slightly restricted...please bear with us. It’s a season of adjustment for all of us!

In closing, our family has been focusing on the Incarnation this past month. Ask any of them, and they should (hopefully!) be able to tell you what that means. :) Jesus, who was and is fully God, became fully man. 

The Creator came as One created. The King of kings and Lord of lords came as a servant, rejected by men, and well acquainted with sorrows. He grew weary, but never impatient; tired but never irritable; accused but never defensive....for you and for me. He did it to appease God’s wrath and make a way for us to be a part of His family....children of God Almighty and heirs of His grace, mercy, and eternal life. Apart from Him we have no good thing and in HIS light do we truly see light. In the light of His Word, the eternal becomes clearer and the temporal matters less. What a gift it is to celebrate Jesus and all that His life accomplishes on our behalf! 

We’d love to hear how God has worked in your lives this past year! Our email address is: pichurak@gmail.com. Our home address is 2880 Bear Ridge Drive, Hood River, OR 97031 and, of course, there is always Facebook and our family blog: www.justtheclay.blogspot.com

Merry Christmas and much love, 

The Pichura Family