Happy Hannakah, Awesome Advent, Merry Christmas, and Ecstatic Epiphany from the Bostians!
We hope this letter finds you enjoying the winter holy-days and possibly even winter weather (it feels a lot like Spring here in North Texas). 2006 has been a big year for the Bostians, full of all manner of awesome blessings. What kind of blessings, you ask? Well, here is a quick list of all the cool things that God did in our lives (or at least helped us endure!).
2006 came and Elise was off and running… quite literally. She figured out how to run, thereby increasing our band-aid budget for the next 12 years or so. When February came, Kim had to face her nemesis: the standardized TAKS test that all teachers and students in Texas are forced to do battle with every year. A phenomenal percentage of her students passed the test, despite the fact that many of them are, shall we say “English challenged”. This, of course, earned Kim a pie in the face from each of her students who passed. A little teacher humiliation can provide a great deal of motivation!
2006 was also Nate’s (probably) final year in youth ministry, since he has now become the Episcopal College Chaplain at Southern Methodist University. In 2006 he led his junior high and high school students to do several service projects, lots of retreats, dozens of Bible studies, discussions, and Starbucks sessions, and a mission trip to New Orleans. The New Orleans trip was probably the best mission trip he has ever done during his youth ministry, even though it was not easy to help students deal with the physical destruction and spiritual devastation that Katrina wrought upon “the Big Easy”. Later that summer, Nate also helped co-lead a team of students from the Diocese of Dallas to go to Uganda on a trip that was part mission (they helped build an orphanage and worked with needy kids) and part diplomacy (they met with all kinds of church leaders and even made the evening news in Kampala, Uganda on several occasions).
However, in August Nate was asked to apply for the college ministry position at SMU, and after a long series of interviews, lots of tears, and even more prayer, he was chosen to become a “college chaplain” in late October. It was an odd time to start at a university, since everyone was in the middle of mid-term exams (including Nate!). But, over the course of the semester, Nate made several contacts and more students began coming out to Canterbury House worship. The ministry has an incredible amount of potential, many opportunities to grow, and several challenges to overcome, but we have a lot of support from a great board and a great Diocese. In fact, we are building a new chapel and ministry facility across the street from SMU, which should be ready in June 2007.
2006 was also a year of travel for the Bostian family as well. We went to Hot Springs, Little Rock, and Mount Petit Jean in Arkansas, as well as Sea World in San Antonio. We also went on a train tour of Dallas-Fort Worth and went to the Dallas World Aquarium. They were wonderful trips, with lots of natural beauty. One of the little-known facts about Sea World is that they serve free “sample” beer (since they are owned by the Anheuser-Busch Companies). So, Elise saw a dolphin, then Daddy celebrated with a beer. Elise saw Shamu, then Daddy celebrated with a beer. Elise saw the Walrus show, then Daddy… you get the idea. It was a great vacation!
About the end of summer Elise learned how to string together sentences, and she discovered two words that will get her a long way in today’s consumer economy: “Mine!” and “No!” Yes, she is definitely, and defiantly, two years old! We celebrated her birthday in October, and she fell in love with Elmo (just like every other toddler in America!) Is there a twelve-step recovery group for Elmo obsession, because we may need that before long… Anyway, to celebrate her birthday Mommy and Daddy gave Elise a brand new home office and bookshelves from IKEA. Elise was not so excited, so Mommy and Daddy will be using it until Elise goes to grad school.
And did we mention that our smallest dog, Alex, was growing a smaller dog on his neck? Well, he was: a huge benign fatty tumor. A few hundred dollars and 9 ounces of dog removal later, we have one dog again instead of Siamese twins. He is happy. And so is his dog-brother Petey.
More recently, Kim was nominated to be “teacher of the year” again at Herbert Marcus Elementary. She lost a close election, but she’s still “teacher of the year” in our house! She is co-teaching math and science with another teacher who teaches English and social studies. Her co-teacher, Mr. Singh, is a really nice, very intelligent, committed Christian who is 27 and single… so if you know anyone, we are looking to set him up! One of the interesting things about school this year is that several of her students have asked questions which have allowed Kim to share her faith with them. Not only is she teaching the “three R’s”, but she is ministering to her kids as well.
Elise started school this year too: Primrose educational childcare. She loves her class and her teachers, and they love her too. And, yes, Nate is STILL in school (will it ever end?!?). This is his last year for academic work, and the 2007-2008 school year will be his “supervised internship” as a college chaplain. After this he will graduate with his “Master’s of Divinity” degree (ain’t that the most pretentious name for a degree ever?). Anyway, with that diploma, and successfully passing the Episcopal “General Ordination Exams” (GOE’s), he will be eligible for ordination to holy orders. So, sometime around summer 2008, God willing and the bishop ordaining, Nate should be wearing a collar.
That’s about it from us. Hope 2007 finds you blessed and growing into all that God has made you to be. May God the Father protect you and yours from every assault of the enemy. May the Lord Jesus Christ heal you from every infirmity in body, spirit, and soul. And may God’s Holy Spirit bless you to bless others, and guide you to be whole. Amen+
Lots of Love,
Nate, Kim, and Elise