Dear Family and friends,
We arrived home shortly after midnight from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, after attending Sue Bell's funeral on Monday. Our lives have been saddened by the death of my nephew, Jeff Troutman, in late September, the passing of our dear friend Jewell Bouchard in October, the death of Jim's sister, Ruby, in November and the death of Sue Bell this month. While we grieve, "it is not as others, who have no hope." (1 Thessalonians 4:13) We know that death is inevitable, but there is life beyond the grave, and we find comfort in this chapter as we look to the future.
Jeff and I had a special relationship in the late 80s as we were both in college and spent time studying together. He was a brilliant young man and although I had not seen him recently, we will miss him. Jewell Bouchard was a special friend from 1978, having met her and Bob at church in Newport News. We had opportunity to renew that friendship when they moved to Madisonville, Ky. She was a gracious lady, and an encourager to all. Jim's sister, Ruby had been residing in a nursing facility for several years in Morristown, Tennessee and we visited her when we were enroute to our quarterly ministry board meetings and other times. Sue Bell was Jim's secretary for the 18 years that we resided in Murfreesboro. She was like a member of the family as the office was in our back yard. She was a woman of deep faith, she loved people and was like Dorcas "full of good works and charitable deeds." (Acts 9:36) We will greatly miss each of them.
Many of you have already sent Christmas cards and newsy letters which we greatly enjoy. The year has gone rapidly. Did we really have 365 days in this year? Those of you on the Reflector mailing list know that Jim had a productive year of ministry in South America, Africa and Cuba. It was his joy to celebrate the anniversary of 50 years of overseas ministry in Cuba in September.
Our children and their families are doing well. We continue to enjoy helping with the care of Maggie (four years) and Willow (seventeen months), our two great granddaughters. I was blessed to be a part of a ministry team from our church to Macau in May.
We have experienced growth in our church and have missionary candidates ready to go abroad to serve Him in 2011. We are very thankful for our pastors and staff.
What does 2011 hold in store for us? The challenges facing our world behooves us to follow Paul's advice to the Galatians to "not grow weary while doing good...as we have opportunity let us do good to all." (Galatians 6:9-10)
We are abundantly blessed with family, friends, and ministry partners and are very thankful for each of you. You enable ministry and are such an encouragement to us and we thank you.
Have a "Happy Holy Birth" celebration (the Chinese definition of "Merry Christmas") and blessings in the New Year as you walk closely with Him.
Sue and Jim
Proverbs 3: 5-5