Dear Family & Friends,
This past year has been something of a roller-coaster ride for our family.Â But, through it all, the Lord has remained ever-faithful.Â We have been constantly reminded of His undeserved goodness, grace, mercy, and kindness to usâ€¦
In January, the proverbial â€œlight at the end of the tunnelâ€ was growing brighter with each passing day, as we eagerly looked forward to Jasonâ€™s graduation from seminary.Â He finished up the majority of his coursework last December, so he was no longer making the trek to Sun Valley for class.Â (However, Hannah and I began making almost weekly trips down there in order to take care of the many details that come along with graduation!)Â He finally had a regular schedule, continuing his full-time job with the Hart High School District, and working 2 nights a week at Mimiâ€™s CafÃ©.
On April 4th, Hannah turned one!Â We celebrated with a duck-themed party with some of her friends from church.Â She is now 20-months-old, and all girl.Â She loves to â€œdo hair,â€ cook with mommy, sing, dance, â€œread,â€ have tea parties, and color.Â She is a little bit of a neat-freak, and does not like messes.Â She has her own mop and broom, and loves to â€œhelpâ€ with the housework.Â Her ever-expanding vocabulary continues to amaze us, as she has become quite a talker.Â She knows her numbers (1 through 10), and the letters of the alphabet, but they rarely come out in the correct order! JÂ She has fallen in love with all things Elmo and Pooh.Â She has started praying along with us (and on her own!) before meals and at bedtime â€“ always remembering each of her grandparents and her â€œAuntie.â€Â She is still a little unsure about the nursery at church, but we are working on that one.Â She is a precious treasure, and a daily reminder of our need to be completely dependent on the Lord.Â
May brought both the best and worst moments of the year â€“ all within the same week!Â Â Near the end of March, we were thrilled to find out that baby #2 was on the way.Â However, on May 9th, we received the sad, and unexpected news that we had lost our unborn baby.Â Our doctor was unable to find the heartbeat, after several minutes of trying, and termed it an â€œincomplete miscarriage,â€ and I was scheduled for a D&C the next day.Â These days were not at all easy, but we were comforted by the many e-mails, phone calls, and cards of encouragement from our friends and family.Â Our wonderful Sunday School class offered to help out in so many practical ways â€“ by bringing meals, running errands, or lending a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.Â We were blessed beyond words, and thank the Lord for our amazing church family!
May 14th was the much-anticipated highlight of our year, as Jason graduated from The Masterâ€™s Seminary!!Â He spent the 2 weeks following the graduation ceremony completing his final class, â€œThe Pastorâ€™s Home.â€Â So, it took a while for the reality of this accomplishment to set in.Â But, his diploma arrived in the mail just a few weeks ago, finally making it official!
Over the summer we enjoyed visits with Jasonâ€™s family, both here and in Texas.Â Hannah did amazingly well on her first plane-ride, but found it difficult adjusting to the 2-hour time difference, and sleeping in a new place.Â But, she loved spending time with her grandparents.Â And, despite the lack of sleep, she was a very happy girl and seemed to enjoy touring daddyâ€™s hometown.
August brought about an exciting change, as Jason left the food service industry for ministry.Â After much prayer, and several interviews (both formal and informal) he is now on staff, part-time, the Care Ministry at our church.Â (He is also continuing his full-time job at the school district.) While the seminary was very strong academically, it did not leave much time for practical experience.Â This position has given him several opportunities to gain that much-needed experience!Â He has also started co-teaching our Sunday School class, and is loving it.Â It has been such a joy to watch him using the gifts that God has given him, and doing what he has been trained to do.
Since it seemed a little strange that no one in the house was going back to school when September rolled around, I took on a 10-week counseling class that was being offered at church.Â It has been a challenge, as I have found myself wrestling with some different ideas and approaches to this type of ministry, but I have enjoyed the processâ€¦and I like being back in a semi-academic environment. Â I have been using our time off these last few weeks to complete reading assignments, and I am looking forward to continuing with the next session of the class in January.Â I also started working in the church nursery 2 mornings a week, baby-sitting for some of the womenâ€™s ministries.Â It is nice to be bringing in a little extra money, while still spending time with Hannahâ€¦and a few friends.Â
As we look back on another year, we are once again humbled at the faithfulness of our God.Â We are so thankful that He has brought us through each trial and blessing â€“ using them to strengthen us, refine us, and, most importantly, bring glory to Himself.Â We pray that the same is true for each of you this year as well.
By His Grace,Â
Jason, Veronica, and Hannah WhitleyÂ Â