January 27, 2010
We’ve settled in and are doing well in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Our apartment is the first floor of an old, sub-divided, 3 story house in Lancaster city (you can see pictures here). We enjoy the city – it’s old and full of character (founded in 1730!), full of little one-of-a-kind coffee shops, restaurants and markets, and the people are friendly. Our apartment is across the street from a coffee shop/ restaurant that we frequent, and within a 5-10 minute walk of 3 couples we’ve befriended from our church out here (Crossway Church, which is a part of the Sovereign Grace family of churches).
Heather is teaching a Spanish Immersion Kindergarten class, and Donovan is working at an after school program for Kindergarten through 6th grade. We’re both enjoying our jobs – and being stretched by them too! We’re learning a lot that will be helpful as we prepare to care for orphans in South Africa! : )
Donovan is studying with CCEF (the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation) and is quite amazed at how helpful the classes have been. Such a blessing! He has completed or is in the midst of: “Dynamics of Biblical Change” (a class on how people change), “Helping Relationships” (a class on how to come alongside others and help them change), a “Counseling Observation” class, and “Essential Qualities of a Biblical Counselor” (about the character and skills required to counsel well). Upcoming classes include, “Counseling in the Local Church” (learning how to equip and encourage entire congregations to come alongside and help each other effectively), “Marriage Counseling”, and “Human Growth and Development” (which is a class on both child development and how to counsel children).
It’s been great being near Heather’s family! It had been 6 years since Heather had lived near them, and Donovan is enjoying getting to know them better. We get together with Heather’s parents at least once a week.
Time with the Hollingsworths has also been an immersion into Spanish language and culture for Donovan… As most of you know, Heather and her family lived in Spain for several years, and her dad continues his ministry in Spain through summer and winter trips. Well, there are 5 Spaniards studying at Lancaster Bible College, where Heather’s dad now teaches: 2 of them are staying with the Hollingsworths, and the other 3 are often over. Heather’s one sister, Rachel, is living at home, and her other siblings and 2 of her cousins (who all lived in Spain too) each live just a few hours away and come visit here and there. The result: 8 or more people speaking in Spanish, often about Spain, often very loud and with lots of laughter, while Donovan smiles, nods, and occasionally says, “si”! : ) He’s loving it though – it’s fascinating and always a lot of fun, as well as a great way to learn about that aspect of Heather’s world! : )
Thanksgiving 2009: A Spanish get-together!
We continue preparing to serve as missionaries in South Africa (being near Heather’s parents has been a huge help in this, as they have a lot of wisdom and experience to pass on). Tentatively, we’d like to leave for South Africa in the Fall, but we’ll see how things develop. One hurdle we needed to overcome before leaving was paying off all our school loans. We were able to do this much sooner than anticipated, and are now completely debt-free! This is mostly due to the very generous send-off gifts you gave us – thank-you all so much! We’ll keep you in the loop as the pieces come together… For information about 1Hope, the ministry we’ll be working with, and Living Hope, the church we’ll be a part of in South Africa, please see our website: www.drewsministry.wordpress.com. You can also read the recent 1Hope newsletter here.
We so wish we could have been in California for the funerals of loved ones, baptisms of youth, births of babies (Kristin Spicer, due tomorrow!), and our favorite Bethel Grace events (like the End of Summer Bash, Turkey Bowl, and Christmas Tea), not to mention the blessing of simply being with you every week. We love you and miss you very much! Lord willing, we’ll come and visit for a few weeks before we leave for South Africa: we look forward to it!
We’re so thankful for God’s evident provision for Bethel Grace in Alvin and Jenny Colston, and we have been very encouraged (at times to tears of joy) to hear of the many ways God is working in individuals, families, and the church as a whole (not the least of which being the many ways you loved and supported Pastor Jeff and Kristy in their difficult season of trial). Continue to pursue loving Jesus, His Word, and one another, more and more: God is at work within you to that end! : )
Much love, in Christ,
~Donovan & Heather
P.S.: We are hosting Rod, Kristin, and Jacob Gomez in April, and we would love to host anyone else who wants to come visit some time! Amish country is right next door, and Washington DC and Philadelphia are only a couple hours away… Just let us know when you want to come! : )
August 14, 2009
Well, we’re safe and sound in Lancaster, Pennsylvania!
It was a good trip! The days were long, but we enjoyed ourselves. To help pass the long hours on the road, we listened to the Chronicles of Narnia on audio book and kept a look-out for different state license plates (we saw 42 states in total! ). We really enjoyed seeing the country… The road from Arizona to New Mexico is gorgeous! Filled with amazing rock formations and landscapes. And everything from Arkansas on was incredibly lush and green and treed – many of these states are far more beautiful than I would have thought! We saw deer a few times and a tortoise once (actually, I very nearly smushed it!). The biggest blessing of all though was the opportunity to visit with several dear friends. God was very gracious to us!
We’ve been very busy since arriving in Lancaster. We got new phones (Pat has our new numbers), and have been looking for an apartment (mostly), a new bank, and a car. We put in an application on an apartment this morning… : ) Heather has very much enjoyed her induction and training this week, and is excited to be working in this school district. We’re busy, but blessed!
Chris and Jessica Herring - Surprise, Arizona
Heather’s “Black Mama”, Cooky, and family – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dave and Stacey Hare, Louisville, Kentucky
(If you think of it, please pray for them – they hope to finalize their adoption and bring their adopted son and daughter home from Ethiopia in the next couple months)
Okay, that’s enough pictures for now. We’ll post them all on-line at some point and let you know so you can see them if you’d like to. I’ll write a little more next week…
We love and miss you all! Blessings to you!
~ Donovan and Heather
P.S.: Did I mention that we saw Billy Graham in Nashville?