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A 2023 Christmas Letter From the Thiessens

Merry Christmas!

This season is a natural time of reflection as we look back on months passed and fix our gaze toward the year ahead. I scrolled through my journal entries reminiscing on the events of the year, moments of thankfulness, mercies unearthed in difficult places, and the abiding grace of God on our lives. As always, there's much to be grateful for.

Our new year (way back in January) kicked off celebrating at a hotel with friends, swimming and sliding. We were helping one of the younger boys practice jumping in the pool without being afraid, while the older girls ran up and down the stories of stairs.

A new seminary semester started with readings, lectures and assignments. Our church began a life group ministry, and these have become treasured times as we've been blessed to connect with this new gathering.

We took the plunge and went on a family vacation in the spring, a cruise to the Caribbean. Thankfully the ship didn't actually plunge. Ironically, my daughter's class was doing a history project on the Titanic the weeks before we were leaving, so we were sure to count the life boats as we got on. We had a lot of fun, with some great adventures ziplining through the rainforest and shark encounters.

Every April we visit the playground at CancerCare in the city, to meet with our youngest daughter's transplant doctor to review her bloodwork and check in with how she's doing. This was her 6 year transplant anniversary (!!!) and we couldn't be more grateful that she's healthy and doing well. We truly commemorate the grace of God in restoring her health.

I handed in (well technically emailed) my last research paper after the spring semester and enjoyed the moment with a sigh of relief. Technically I graduate now in December with my master's degree in counselling from Providence Theological Seminary, and I'll get my degree in the mail. However, we also plan to attend the convocation in spring. I wasn't really keen on going, but my family wanted to be a part of it, as a recognition of all the hard week we've all put into it.

Over the summer we built some great memories at the lake. The kids attended bible camp, swimming lessons and my oldest took sailing lessons for the first time. My husband's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary (we marked our own at 18 years).

The kiddos entered grade 7, 4 and 2 this fall at our local public school. They've enjoyed building friendship, playing sports, and learning (I think). Their teachers are encouraging and helping them grow in different ways. Brent turned the big 4-0 this year, which provided another good reason for the vacation. He continues his work at a local business doing logistics and appreciates the company and his colleagues there.

I'm still working part-time 12 hour shifts at our local hospital, as the mental health liason nurse, doing consultations in the ER for those in crisis. It's both a seam-ripping and rewarding work, one I count a privilege to serve those as the aroma of Christ in the darkest moments of people's lives.

The fall brings on a plethora of activities, the younger two enjoy Awana where Brent continues to teach and our oldest is in the youth group. Hockey, volleyball and jiu-jitsu are sports we've been enjoying lately. My writing and reading hobbies continue in full swing :) You can check out my collection of favourite books this year and you're invited to join my monthly newsletter

I've been a member of the Canadian board for Africa Inland Mission for the last couple years and was privileged to join some of the office staff on a trip to North Africa. It was a fantastic trip as we encouraged our workers there. We visited a handful of cities and were really blessed by what the Lord is doing in these places. (Some of my missional thoughts here)

As we enter the advent season, there's a gentle slowing down, but still a few things to do. The Lord's given me a renewed joy in this season, a contentment found in his presence and with a greater awareness of his grace and goodness in my life. The last few years, this scripture has been my prayer, and I pray it also for you:

"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:11-12).

Grace & Peace,

Amber (for all of us)



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