Hello, friends! I know it's been rather quiet around here lately, so here I am breaking the silence with bullet points.
*James and I are both enjoying the ReadScripture app put out by The Bible Project. Read through the entire Bible in a year (while enjoying long passages of text free of verse number clutter) and learn and grow through some unbelievably creative videos. All free, all amazing. Just the other day I read through the story of Joseph and his brothers. The story of their reconciliation makes me cry. Every time. Hope you're making time for reading the bible this year...if you need a push, get the app.
*The girls thoroughly enjoyed the holidays and yet are glad to be back at school. It's a sweet season of friendships that are simple and straightforward and fun...and school is just challenging enough to be enjoyable rather than stressful. Caroline is learning how to read, and is looking forward to joining her sisters on the bus come July (which will be here sooner than we can imagine).
*Haoping loooved having her grandfather, parents, and aunts visit in November/December and has survived/enjoyed many "firsts" that this time of the year brings - finals week, below freezing weather, Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, Christmas, laser tag, and now the start of a new semester. She is doing great at school, and continues to make great strides with English. We're really proud of her and glad to see that she seems to have adjusted to life here really well.
*Coming soonish will be my very own store on TeachersPayTeachers, a website where I'll be selling materials I've developed for parents and teachers to teach the bible to kids in a way that's fun, interactive, and theologically rich. It's been good fun for me to work at developing these, and I look forward to sharing them. I'll be sure to post a link when it's open.
*James is generally doing really well - his cough sometimes seems worse, sometimes seems better, often seems rather stable. He is in less pain than before (where he used to commonly have cancer pain) and is sleeping better. His energy continues to improve, and most days it's almost hard to remember he's a cancer patient. On the other hand, he's been dealing with stomach pain for the last 2 months. Some days the pain has been so unbelievably unbearable James has hoped for death. Thankfully, it's only been that bad a few times. Staying away from dairy, drinking ginger tea, and adding probiotics have helped.
Doctors have checked for cancer, ulcers, gallstones, liver malfunction...and all tests have come back negative. Tomorrow James will do a HIDA scan to check gallbladder function. We're not expecting the test to find anything, though it would be nice if it did because the fix is pretty straightforward. In the meantime, we continue to pray, and see that God is answering in granting James perseverance if not total healing.
*Chinese New Year is coming soon...and James is heading back to China to celebrate! He leaves next Tuesday and will be back here on Valentine's Day, the day before his next CT at the oncologist. New Year's is the biggest holiday of the year, and James will have ample opportunities to see people as everyone has time off. We are really thankful that James's relative good health intersected with a holiday which intersected with crazy cheap tickets. Join us in praying that God would bless the time, that he'd be an encouragement to many and have opportunities to speak and share.
Until next time...enjoy the start of a new year, and if you get a hankering for authentic Chinese food, you know where to find us...
lots of love,
~james & kristen