Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reflections from 2016

Happy New Year!
Another year has passed, all too quickly…so here it goes – 12 months of quick review for each of you. Matthew and Michael played basketball once again so we spent lots of time going to ballgames. They had an excellent season that ended with several trophies including Back-to-Back 1A State Champions! Just today, as I was working on my blog post, Matthew and his whole team received a free pair of shoes and a Nike shirt from LeBron James!!! How cool is that!?!? Matthew received his 1 year license to preach from our association on January 9, 2016 and turned 17 on the 20th. He has had the opportunity to preach lots of places since then. He wants to be a Youth or Children’s Pastor and attend Welch College. (as I finishing this post, on 1/7/17 Matthew received a recommendation from the Social Band Association to be ordained as a minister!) God is go Good, ALL THE TIME!

February was exciting because my Dad, Bobby, turned 68 and we all chipped in and bought him a German Shepherd puppy. My mom made all the grands chip in $1 each so we would ALL be in trouble together! He acts like he doesn't like KiKi much, but she rides the mower, tractor and everything else with him!

Gum Slough Adventures
March winds blew in Kevin’s 43th birthday, Matthew’s baseball season and him running off the levee and hitting a tree. We are thankful it was just a truck that was hurt! He learned the valuable lesson of driving fast on gravel and after he and Kevin done all the body work themselves, he learned how hard it is to get a truck fixed. He calls if he is late now, instead of trying to beat the clock! Michael, Nathan and a friend also learned some lessons, like not canoeing down t he Gum Slough when water is not high enough to float you, especially without cell phones, and while using shovels as paddles on a cold, muddy day! They scared us, but once we found them it was funny.  

April showers followed Kevin and I to Atlanta for the Operation Christmas Child Connect Conference. It was a wonderful event and so exciting to meet Year-Around volunteers from everywhere! Kevin helped lead Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey at our church during April also. Matthew continued to preach at surrounding churches and had his Junior Prom. 
Connect Conference Atlanta

May flowers blossomed into both boys finished school with A’s again this year. Both received many academic awards again this year. Matthew, Sydney and one other student are on track to tie for Valedictorian at Bay. Graduation will be May 5th, 2017 at 7pm. May 13-14th I went to the Minister’s Wives Retreat and had a blast once again. Mother’s Day was a SPLASH with Michael falling into the St. Francis River after an exciting boat ride with MeMe, Matthew, Dustin and Uncle Glenn to see the jumping carp! We realized how busy of a summer we had approaching so as soon as the boys were out of school we went to Disney World May 29-June 1st. It was a magical time, as always. 

Mother's Day 2016
Disney World 2016
Lima, Peru June 2016
Instead of “June Bugs” we had June Busy—on June 9th-29th Matthew was part of E-Team Cuba and I went to Lima, Peru on a Dental/Mission Trip. Poor Kevin and Michael were left home alone to paint and clean house!  
Mathew leaving for E-Team Cuba
In July we celebrated our 7 year anniversary at First Free Will Baptist Church. God had been so good to us and blessed our family beyond all comprehension. It is amazing how much He loves us and takes care of His children! Matthew was a part of Truth & Peace Leadership Conference for his 3rd year. Kevin and I went to the FWB National Convention in Kansas City. Michael skipped this year, but agreed to apply to Truth and Peace since he didn’t go to the NAFWB this time. Michael turned 14 on July 29th and got his driver’s permit! So far, no crashes with poles in the church parking lot, which puts him a step ahead of Matthew!

August brought on our 22nd wedding annivesary and we celebrated by Kevin and the boys re-roofing our house while under a crazy, hot heat advisory!  They said NEVER AGAIN!  Dustin, our bonus son, moved back in with his mom right before school started.  School started back with the boys in 12th and 9th grade! We can’t believe how fast time passes. They are growing up to be Godly young men too soon. Harvest started early so by the end of August I started my “normal fall asthma sickness”. Michael is on the golf team this year and really enjoying it, especially the new golf clubs instead of mine and Kevin's from the attic!In September the leaves were starting to change and changes were beginning in our lives. Both of our boys applied to Truth and Peace and later received letters of acceptance! We started cutting out, sanding and painting wood cross door hangers as a fund raiser for them. Matthew also applied to E-Team and Welch College. He was also accepted to both. During September Kevin started talking to the Pastor Search Committee at Sutton Free Will Baptist Church in Pocahontas, Arkansas. At first we did not think about God ever leading us away from where we had been the last 7 1/2 years and really since we got married, but you never know what God has in store for your life, until you completely say, Here I am, send me.

In October, Michael and I went to Sutton and looked around, met a few of the trustees, made sure my asthma would not go crazy in the church or parsonage...and I done really well. Matthew kept taking the ACT, he still needs 1 more point for $16,000 in additional scholarship money (pray for his last two testing dates - February 11th and April 8th if you will). October was also YOUTH HUNT!!!! Matthew was too old to go, and Michael didn’t see anything, maybe next time. Both boys and Kevin had an unsuccessful deer season this year…no meat in the freezer from them!

  November meant basketball was in full season with lots of games and lots of wins! It also marked the day Kevin went in view of a call to Sutton. On November 6, 2016 we went and he preached both services. The next week they called us to let us know that he was voted in with only one “no vote” as pastor. We knew without and doubt, with even more confirmation that Sutton was where God was calling our family to move. This was no easy decision; it was difficult for our families, friends, and First FWB, but we want to do exactly what God calls us to do. Michael will begin attending Pocahontas High School in August 2017 as a Sophomore. At the end of November we went over for a service to Sutton and Kevin was blessed to be able to baptize 5 people! God is so good! As soon as National Collection Week for shoeboxes ended we headed to Dallas to take the boys and my Mom to the Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Game and then we worked in the Dallas Shoebox Processing Center for my 41st birthday…it was a fabulous trip! We found out Matthew’s E-Team trip 2017 will be to Kazakhstan, June 8-28th, please keep him and the rest of E-team in your prayers.


December was a hard month. We had to say good-bye to First Free Free Will Baptist Church on Christmas Day, after Matthew and Kevin both preached and Michael was an usher. It is never easy to say good-bye, to so many people you love, so it is until we see you again.  We had a blast at our traditional Gillis Christmas Gathering. The Haag Christmas was cancelled due to Uncle Johnny being sick. Our senior high basketball team won the NEA basketball tournament! We skipped the Gillis New Year’s party because we were moving into the Sutton Parsonage (5489 Hwy. 62 West, Pocahontas, AR 72455). It was crazy-busy, sad and exciting all in one month!  Life can get a little crazy, but it is always exciting!

Please keep our family in your prayers as we strive follow God's will for us. We are very thankful for all He has done for us and look forward to being involved in all God has in store for us in 2017. We are blessed to have each of you in our lives and are thankful for all the wonderful friends and family we have. We pray that you had a blessed Christmas and will have a prosperous 2017.

We love you and hope to see you soon!

Kevin, Jennifer, Matthew & Michael

“The Lord will be with you, wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

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