Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Review 2014

2014 Christmas Letter

It’s always interesting to look back at the last year and see a snapshot of how you’ve spent your time and energy. And this year is no exception! We’re grateful for good health and the strength God gives us to accomplish all that we do. So, peek into our lives from this past year and see a quick pic of all He has done through us as well as some of the highs and lows we experienced.

January: We started the year with frigid temps and deep snow, which my brother Gary braved to drive all the way from New York to help us remodel the bathroom for our bedroom…what a blessing. We also held our first Renewal of the year with a great group of missionaries coming “off the field” to head into Home Ministry. We love these special days we get to share with them and hear their hearts.

February: We were once again privileged to have sessions in Orientation Camp (the last step for missionaries heading off to their field of service). We also traveled a good bit to continue raising support.

March: This month brought joy as we watched our beautiful daughter, Jessica, join her life with our new son, Zac Hiser. Friends and family came from far and near to share in this fun and blessed day.

April: As many of you will remember, we were scheduled to leave for Africa on April 1, but the day before my sweet oldest sister, Brenda, started losing the battle she had fought so valiantly against lung cancer. We headed to South Carolina and hung out with her precious family at the hospital until she passed from this life to the next on April 5. To say our hearts were broken would be an understatement. She is so greatly missed by all of us. Just two weeks later we found ourselves able to smile again as Marlene’s niece, Amie (Larry’s daughter) was wed in a beautiful ceremony in Tennessee to her beau, Dave. Marlene’s mom also fractured her hip in April and needed surgery to repair it.

May: We traveled to Nevada to be with the husband of one of our retired missionary couples as he, (Les Madsen) was treated in the hospital for injuries sustained in an accident that took his precious wife, Ruth’s life. Their daughter, Priscilla Kunkle (WGM missionary to the Texas/Mexico Border), was also there and we were grateful we could be there in this time of great tragedy to hang out with them and try to be a support.

June: A visit to Dearborn, MI gave us insight into the ministry our missionaries have had there working with Muslims.
July and August: These two months proved to be some of our busiest yet. We spent July 4-12 in Bolivia to attend a Discipling Nations Conference with our missionaries serving in South America. What a great time to reconnect with them and learn as well. We got back to the States just in time to do another Renewal with a large group of our faithful servants. God always shows up at these and we love it. We also once again got to do a bit of training in CMS and Orientation Camp. Then, off we headed to Colorado so Marlene could be trained in our Child Protection Policies and Procedures. (She used the word grueling to describe it.) Then we headed to Nigeria to debrief two of our precious single missionary ladies who were robbed at gunpoint in their apartment as well as experiencing some physical trauma. What a challenge, but blessing, that we were able to respond to this tragedy and walk with them on part of their journey of recovery. When we returned from that trip, we spent several days out West traveling to visit champion supporters as well as visiting with longtime friends. At our friend Jo’s Band B in the Black hills of South Dakota, we celebrated our 29th anniversary. What a joy to still be so in love after all of these many years.

September: This brought us to our 3rd Renewal of the year as well as leading more sessions in Orientation Camp and CMS (Champion Building). We also had the blessing of spending nearly a week at Lake MI in our friend’s cabin, far from internet and cell phone service...ahhh.

October: October 10th found Marlene finally able to take the licensing exam for Indiana counseling licensure and passing! Apparently being licensed in MI for 10 years and passing the National Counseling Exam years ago was not good enough!
J Five days later we headed out for our trip to Kenya, Uganda and Spain. We were overwhelmed by the amazing ministries our hard working missionaries are involved with. To read more about this trip, see our link below. This month also marked my mom needing to start dialysis three days a week for continued kidney failure.

November: We came home from our almost 4 week trip overseas on November 9th and jumped back into our Stateside ministry. The third week of this month found us at The Member Health in Missions Conference in Angola, IN, learning and networking from and with some of the best in this type of ministry. Thanksgiving was spent in Ohio with Ned’s family and all three of our kids and son-in-law! What a fun time of hanging out, eating, laughing and, of course, watching the Buckeyes beat Michigan!

December: So, that brings us to this special time of year! A time for all to hopefully slow down just a bit and soak up the True meaning of why we celebrate! We started this month with The Gathering at headquarters. Missionaries who are home on Homeland Missionary Assignment as well as retired missionaries and office staff enjoyed several days of sharing together in sessions and meals.

Christmas will look a little different for us this year with Jessi heading to Florida to celebrate with Zac’s family and Josh only having Christmas day off. But, we’ll head to Ohio later that day to prepare to celebrate together with family on Saturday, December 27th to celebrate Ned’s mom’s 90th birthday and Christmas with our kids! Then, on to Florida to see Marlene’s family and speak along the way.

So, as you can see, we are on the go go go, but so very thankful for those of you who travel this journey with us through thoughts, prayers, encouragement, and even financial giving. Thank you seems so inadequate. We pray you have a blessed Christmas filled with laughter and joyful moments, even those of us who will be doing that with memories of loved ones who have left this earth this year. We love you and thank God for you in our lives.

And, as always, we love to hear from you, too!

Blessings, Ned and Marlene
Rev. Ned and Marlene McGrady
World Gospel Mission
Box 948
Marion, IN 46952
765-671-7240 for more information or to make a secure online donation.