But we know that's not what you want to know. What you really want us to tell you is all the exciting gifts we received. Well, this year presents were abundant! Tash received tonsillitis, and a bout of vomiting on Christmas day! Yay!!! And what did Nathan get? The State of Alaska gave him a week of jury duty (really only one day, but a week sounds so much more dramatic). But the kicker was what gift he "received" (or rather, the opposite) the Monday before Christmas: he was robbed! While away with his mom and Tash, two thieves broke into his parents' home, stealing his fathers firearms, their 55" LCD TV, two laptops (Nate's and his mom's), his brand new DSLR camera, and to top it all off, the church's money.
While this was particularly unfortunate and quite inconvenient, God provided for this loss by means of homeowners insurance. His camera was replaced the day before we came back to LA, and his laptop is currently being built and will be on its way shortly (we hope!). We identify now more than ever with Christ's words in Matt 6:19: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." It's quite a violation, but we know there will be justice, if not here in this life, then surely in the life to come.
However, we didn't allow these "gifts" to spoil our time in Fairbanks. After all, we only get three weeks in Alaska. How could we waste them pouting over events we can't control! We had a wonderful time with friends and family, and especially with our two little nieces, Maddy and Miriam.
Life, as you know, must go on, and so must school. We returned to LA on Jan 8th to a group of excited kids ready to have Tash home. It was good to know that we were missed on both ends! After a final get together with our favorite couple for dinner and a game, we are now settling into the upcoming semester. But this time is different. December marked Nate's final semester as an M.Div. student. He completed his first master's degree and went home a satisfied (and tired) TMS graduate (well, graduation isn't until May, but enough with technicalities). Now he is beginning the first of three semesters for an advanced degree (Th.M.) that will prepare him for teaching, for doctoral work, or for whatever the Lord might have in store for us.
Unfortunately, Nate's stolen camera was the means by which we were going to take lots of great photos of our time in Fairbanks. Thus we don't have much else to share except our final shot in the Fairbanks airport and the last few activities before the start of the semester.
"I don't want to leave Fairbanks!"
The final shot before leaving AK
"Welcome home, Ms. Natasha! Here, come sit in this dirt mound we made you!"
Nothing like ice cream and a game night