Happy New Year to everyone! We are already 9 days in . . . we hope your 2018 is off to a blessed start. Although I do find this time of year very dark and a bit dreary (in our British corner of the world), at the same time it’s a blessing to have a brand new year to think about, a fresh start in many areas of life.
We had a special December. Here are some photos for you:
I planned a couple special outings for the kids in December. I took them to the Bath Christmas market in early December. It was also so special to see some old friends while we were there. Our evening turned into quite an adventure when all the trains were canceled and weren’t able to get home. A trip to Bath we won’t soon forget! At the market, the children bought a didgeridoo (as you do!) just to add to their collection of musical instruments . . . and it turned into quite the source of entertainment as we waited for 2 hours in a huge queue of people for a taxi to get us home! Once I was able to stop laughing at them playing it, I did tell them to tone it down so the people in the queue wouldn’t be tortured with the sound of their amateur playing (similar to a dying cow I think!). It was hilarious.
Look what we bought at the market!
Imagine the crowd of people watching this!!
The following week, I was able to take the older four Meadlings to a special event in London put on by Open Doors. If you haven’t heard of this wonderful organisation, they help to support persecuted believers around the world in various practical ways. We were able to participate in a photo stunt they did in Parliament Square to raise awareness about the Hope for the Middle East petition. We all dressed up like Mary and Joseph to represent the point that there now seems to be “no room” in the Middle East for Christians, just as there was “no room” in the inn for Mary and Joseph all those years ago.
The larger group was a little heavy on females, so a couple of us ladies got to be Josephs.
While we were having fun dressing up in Parliament Square, not far away, the petition (which was signed by 750,000 people around the world) was presented to the prime minister in the Houses of Parliament. We pray God will use this petition to spur the UN and the UK government to act on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are suffering so greatly in Iraq and Syria.
Photo credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
After the photo stunt, we decided to take advantage of being in London and spent some time in the National Gallery. What an enormous place!! We enjoyed the art (well, some of us more than others!) and then were able to use our Tesco vouchers and have dinner out before we went home. It was fun making memories with my four older children. We talked at dinner about where we think everyone will be in five years . . . wow, they are growing up so fast!
There are always some unique characters outside the National Gallery!
The Gallery was all decked out for Christmas.
Having dinner . . .
In the underground station . . . love these Meadlings so much!
Back in Chippenham, a team from Trinity worked very hard for weeks to prepare “The First Christmas” live nativity experience. By God’s grace, it was a wonderful success! The weather was good and we had lots of friends and family members come to join us. The experience included multiple scenes, sheep, cows, and donkeys, walking through a field past the shepherds, an angel appearing in the “sky” and warm drinks and treats in the sparkly decorated barn afterwards. It was wonderful. Many people said how impacted they were by it. Please pray for eternal fruit to come out of it and for wisdom as we think about doing it next year.
Being in the stable with Mary and Joseph and Jesus, the shepherds and the wisemen coming to worship, was a very moving experience. This photo doesn’t do it justice.
I think Peter surprised quite a few people when he appeared in the “sky,” not least Jessah, who kept saying, “Daddy, angel!” I think several church children thought he was a real one!
The rest of December was filled with quite a bit of illness, including croup for Jessah (they sent an ambulance out to her one night – thank you Lord, that she was OK), cold/flu for Peter and a tummy bug for most of us (it seemed to be the Christmas cheer we were sharing at church this year!) Not too fun! However, we were able to enjoy our life group social, a few cookie making sessions and Christmas film night in our home, a visit from relatives, lots of game playing, New Year’s Eve life group morning in our home and a ceilidh in the evening in a local village hall. Whew! Looking back, it was pretty busy! Peter and I were able to get away together for two nights last week using Christmas money. It was so good to be together and talk and talk (without interruptions!), make plans for the coming year, and remind ourselves of the reasons we love being in ministry (we filled two notebook pages with our list!). I am married to the best husband in the world.
A few more photos for you . .
Kaylah and Jessah waiting for guests to arrive for our life group Christmas social . . .
Mariah with our kissing Christmas bears.
Couch bunk beds . . . do you think this could take off as an idea?
Aliyah cooking with the little girls. They LOVE to help!
Mixing up pancakes for our traditional Christmas Eve pancake dinner.
Traditional opening of stockings on Mom and Dad’s bed . . . well, they don’t all fit ON the bed these days.
Jessah wearing Mom’s new hat and scarf.
Hang on, what season is it?
Playing games with Grandpa and Grandma . . . it’s so nice to have them close by!
They don’t all fit around our little Christmas tree these days . . .
At a Manchester United game (Christmas present for Joel and Peter)!
We’re ready to dive into 2018!
What a joy to know we are walking into a new year hand in hand with a Father who loves us.
A few prayer requests:
*My migraines have been awful this past month. Please pray it was a blip and I will be more stable in weeks to come. It is easy to become fearful and anxious and wonder when they will hit next.
*Please pray for Peter as he preaches this month at Trinity Chippenham on the power of God’s Word in our lives. You can listen to the sermons here. Pray for us as we try to shepherd and care for the people around us.
*Hannah will be taking a big exam in early May that will affect her scholarship opportunities for university in the USA. Please pray for her as she studies and also prays about her next steps in life after she graduates in 2019.
We send you much love in the Lord and hope we’ll be able to connect with you soon. Thank you for praying for us!