I am writing this letter as I sit in front of a crackling fire in my dimly lit living room with the glow of our Christmas tree lights sparkling as if they are singing along with the peaceful Christmas carols playing in the background….ahhhh yes the magic of the season that transforms a normal routine weeknight into a special evening.
And as I enjoy my coffee and Christmas cookies I am thinking of each of you…the beautiful dear people who receive our Christmas letter every year. Some we have known since our childhood (which at times seems so very long ago in this latter half of life), others who we have shared precious moments of living together for years as well as those who have just recently become a part of our life story and yes you whom we have blessed and become a part of our lives through the amazing technology of the Internet. As I ponder these relationships…and yes there are many…I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the warm and wonderful friendships and family members that we have been given in this short season of life here on this earth. We touch each others lives in special ways whether it is through daily, weekly or monthly interactions, planned or spontaneous visits, text, email or voice mail messages, facebook encounters, randomly running into each other, annual events, special occasions, milestone moments like graduations, weddings, babies, baptisms, anniversaries and funerals as well as this — > the awesome annual Christmas greetings through cards, pictures and letters that fill both my mailbox and inbox.
We love these Christmas greetings! As we sit around the dinner table and pass around the cards we receive each day…we are filled with joy and sometimes sorrow as we read your recent life stories, see pictures of your beautiful families and marvel at the changes from year to year (or for some of you who never age…the lack of any change!) and we smile as we reminisce about times we have shared together over the years. We have not missed sending out a Christmas greeting for 30 years. What started as a young college girl sending out a couple dozen cards, grew to a young couple who were youth pastors sending out a couple hundred letters and photos of our ever changing family. And with each passing year our Christmas card list multiplied as the Lord blessed us with a larger circle of loved ones through the ministry of Christian education and a growing home business where our clients and consultants became our dear friends. Yes, Christmas cards keep us all connected in a special way.
And this year is no exception….as we once again send you each a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year from the entire Lambdin clan!
With eight children it is always a challenge to give a brief update on each of them as their lives are very full of so many things but let me try to give you a glimpse of what 2012 brought to each of their lives:
Michelle is a recent graduate from The King’s College with a degree in Politics, Philosophy & Economics. She landed a job shortly after graduation as a Resident Director at TKC living in the heart of New York City and is loving it!
Amy is a sophomore at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas where she is studying Physical Education and tearing it up on the soccer field.
Kristen graduated from JECHS in May and is attending Cabrillo College in Capitola while she interns at Bloomsbury’s Tea House using her gifts and talents in the areas of baking, hospitality and serving.
Rebekah is a junior in high school where she plays soccer, is on yearbook staff and is the founder of The Movement Club to help orphans, which is one of her passions in life. She completed her Rite of Passage this fall and had a beautiful celebration ceremony.
Grace is a homeschooled 8th grader enjoying the “good life” of doing school in her jammies, going on lots of field trips, playing soccer and helping with her younger siblings. She got tall this year and now is competing for the second tallest sister!
Joy is also homeschooled and besides enthusiastically embracing everything and everyone in life she loves to sing and perform. She joined the Stockton Youth Chorale this year and is the star of the show!
Daniel is….the boy! (complete with a recent broken arm) He is in kindergarten but after a few short lessons he is ready to play “super heroes” or anything that includes a ball. He is being actively trained by his six older sisters to be the ultimate gentleman and man of God.
Christiana is truly the greatest blessing of our lives. She is now the cutest little three year old girl in the world and is adored by us all. She is sweet, sassy & spicy all rolled into one!
And then there is us – Dan and Beth…
….before we tell you about what 2012 looked like for us we want to take you back to 15 years ago when this same Christmas Card mailing list was used by the Lord to bring about what many saw as a miracle…something that couldn’t happen without divine intervention. Many of you were on the receiving end of a letter we sent out to our Christmas Card mailing list in the summer of 1997 sharing our dream of starting a unique Christian High School in our community. We had no funding, no grants, no large donors and yet we were passionate about going forward with our vision of founding this school. And the miracle began with you! Well over half of our friends and family responded to our appeal and offered their prayers and financial support to build the foundation of what would become Jim Elliot Christian High School. A year later the school opened their doors to 42 students and today fifteen years later the school is a thriving Christian High School with over 200 students, dozens of staff members and over 500 alumni who are out making a difference in the world. And it all began with our Christmas Card list…yes that list of our dear friends and family had the power to start something really big. If you were a part of that miracle those many years ago, we want you to know that we are still in awe of your love, generosity and faith in us and we hope that every time you think of JECHS or hear of one of its many accomplishments that you will feel blessed by the part you played in prayer and support. We thank you once again!
The Lord has been stirring in our hearts a new dream and vision over the past couple of years and in 2012 He nudged us to pull together the official beginnings of a ministry that we hope will be a blessing and a life changing resource for countless people during our remaining years in service and ministry! This year we officially incorporated our non profit organization called Inspire Ministries and once again we are in need of the foundation of prayer and financial support from our friends and family to see this new ministry prosper. We have big plans and even bigger dreams for this ministry that will start primarily with Beth at the helm but that we hope to see grow to a full fledged staff and ministry team who are inspiring, motivating and equipping people of all ages, cultures, walks of life, economic status and situations to live a life of passion, purpose and praise!
The Lord has already brought us people to minister to in abundance and we have faithfully walked along side them ministering in multiple ways – everything from counseling young people who are looking for direction for their future, couples in marriage crisis, impoverished families with basic needs to survive, pregnant women under stress as well as teaching life skills to young men who were raised in the foster system to encouraging and providing resources and inspiration to young families who need parenting advice or are looking for effective ways to raise their kids in the faith and implement meaningful family traditions. There have also been several speaking opportunities throughout the year. It has been exciting and exhausting, fulfilling and at times frustrating but the results have been amazing! We truly believe that this ministry will be life changing to many.
We need three things from those who love and believe in us and in our ministry and we are starting once again with you…our Christmas Card List:
1. We need your faithful prayers! Truly without the Lord on our side building this ministry it will come to nothing. Please lift us up in prayers asking the Lord to use us and provide for us in His amazing ways. We need the favor and blessing of our God.
2. We need monthly financial partners who will commit to supporting this non profit ministry faithfully. We know finances can be tight and that many are struggling with the economy (we are right there with you)…so we are not asking for a huge commitment. We are looking for families that can commit to $25 a month beginning in January 2013. (If you have the means to make a larger monthly donation, of course you can and it will be appreciated and used to fulfill our mission) We believe your investment in Inspire Ministries will have a huge return for you as you help us to make a profound difference in peoples lives.
3. We need some immediate one time donations. There are some larger start up expenses – website launching, our first quarterly publication, donor data base software, legal and accounting expertise – and we could use a few one time donations to get things rolling. We also have this compelling vision to purchase the house next door, that is currently up for a short sale, as a ministry house to those who need someone to literally walk beside them as they make changes in their lives. (and yes we realize that is a crazy God sized dream…the type we love just like starting a Christian High School from scratch!) Perhaps you are looking for a place to make a year end contribution…we would love for that to be us! You can make a secure online donation through our paypal account and we will send you a tax deductible receipt. Click here if you’d like to donate.
If you could fill out this response form it would be such an encouragement to us as we step out in faith with this new adventure. Even if you can not contribute financially at this time…we would love to know we have your prayer covering or if you would like to receive our quarterly magazine. Every response and comment is like someone cheering us on as we run the race…it motivates and inspires us to continue to carry on with our dream!
We are expectantly hopeful that the Lord will once again do a miraculous thing for us in starting something big like Inspire Ministries through the prayers and support of our friends and family…those that make up our Christmas card list! We look forward to sharing the miracles that you will have helped to make happen in our 2013 Christmas letter. Below is a more extensive explanation of Inspire Ministries and our mission and vision for those who are interested in the details.
We pray that you all experience blessings in abundance this Christmas season and a Christmas miracle as well! We hold you dear to our hearts and hope that our paths cross in the upcoming new year.
Dan, Beth, Michelle, Amy, Kristen, Rebekah, Grace, Joy, Daniel and baby girl (aka Christiana)
PS – If you are local and have the time don’t forget to stop by our annual Christmas Open House on Saturday December 22