Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Carter Family!

I can only hope that everyone has had as blessed and joyous Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as I have had. I sit here typing this post while munching on lemon pie!

Our whole family is here including the two new granddaughters God has blessed us with this year. Aliza will be 6 months old on Jan. 12 and Ariana was 4 months old on Christmas Eve. Their mothers (my two daughters) and their husbands are here with us for the holidays.

Beth, Chris and Aliza, along with our third grandchild, Isaac who was 2 years old in September, are here from Alberta where they serve as missionaries with Africa Inland Mission. While living in Alberta they serve a Provincial Mobilizers and Chris is a student at Prairie School of Missionary Aviation as he prepares for service in Kenya with AIM as a pilot.

Becky, Dennis and Ariana live in Toronto but are traveling frequently to Germany this year as Becky does research for her Ph.D. in German history. Dennis is on paternity leave to look after Ariana as they travel and Becky does archival research.

Stephen is home from his church work up north with a Fellowship Baptist Church plant in Iroquois Falls, Ontario.

Our house is full of laughter, baby noises and conversation. How beautiful these three children and how they fill our lives with joy and blessing. Thank God for digital cameras!

After the kids are in bed, we are trying to watch the Lord of the Rings movies because Isaac is too young to watch them. We plan to go the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the theater in shifts tomorrow with half of the adults acting as babysitters so the other half can go! We will all be together until the end of the first week of January, when Becky, Dennis and Ariana leave for Germany and Beth, Chris, Aliza and Isaac leave for Alberta.

At our Christmas Eve service we had people from our congregation from all over the world reading the Scripture in their own native languages with the English translation on the Powerpoint slides. We had people from India, Brazil, Peru, Greece, China, Malaysia and Korea reading in Hindi, Tamil, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Cantonese, Malay and Korean. We even sang Silent Night in Korean using a phonetic version of the Korean version on Powerpoint.

Two of the speakers spoke of the persecution of Christians in their home countries. One couple just returned home from two years of work in Mainland China. Since they spoke the language, they were able to get to know ordinary people, some of whom were members of the underground church. It was extremely moving to hear of the concern for these dear, persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ for us in North America. They pray for us that we would be faithful. It was humbling.

Another moving part was the person who read in the Malayan language from a Bible that has just been translated for the first time into that language. She just got it this week and it is the first time she has ever read the Bible in her native language. The Malaysian government, which is Islamic, has banned this Bible because it used the Arabic word "Allah" for God. They have recently confiscated and burned thousands of copies of it; there is no religious freedom there as in much of the Muslim world. I fear we take what we have far too much for granted.

The feast today was wonderful - mostly thanks to my wonderful wife, Bonnie. The huge turkey was a gift from friends in our Church. What a great local church we have at Westney Heights Baptist.

We have so much to be thankful for: wealth, family, health, friends, a ministry - and most of all our dear Lord Jesus Christ who has given his life to save us from sin and give us eternal life. We wish these blessings for one and all this Christmas season. May God help us all to be like Scrooge after his conversion so that others say of us that no celebrates Christmas more enthusiastically than we do.

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