I have to admit that we’ve entered into what is surely one of my favourite times of the year. There is a definite chill in the air here in Middle Tennessee these past few days. The Christmas trees have gone up, as well as lights everywhere and green and red en masse. The radio is filled with music of the season. Christmas will soon be upon us. For someone who is known for being a bit stoic and not particularly demonstrative with my feelings, it surprises some people that I’m such a fan of the Christmas season. But it’s absolutely true; so, I feel very much in my element at the moment. I’m looking forward to spending Christmas itself with my family, though I have to say that I am also missing Christmas in Wales this year (no mince pies here in America sadly).
As I know you all must already be very busy with all of your Christmas and New Year’s plans, I’ll jump in with my update and other information. As usual, I’ll be sharing some of what’s going on with me personally as well as some of the updates for our ministry in general.
Not a great deal has changed since my last update. I remain in the parsonage of Green River Baptist Church (GRBC) in Waynesboro, Tennessee, which is my home town. I’m very grateful to GRBC for their generosity in allowing me to use their parsonage as a home during this time, and also as a base of operations during my time back in the USA. It’s hard to believe that I’m getting close to the halfway mark of my time back in the USA. The time has flown by. I know that the rest of my time will also move very quickly. I still don’t have a completely clear picture about where I will be when, but I am still working on it. I’ll let everyone know, when I know more.
One of the things that has made it difficult to plan is the car situation. Last month, I shared the good news that another one of our former students had generously offered the use of one of their cars. Unfortunately and due to circumstances far beyond their control, picking up that car was delayed, because they’ve had a terribly difficult time in moving the registration of their vehicle to a new state. So, up to this time it has not been possible to pick up that vehicle. During this time of waiting on the registration, I decided that it would be better given the car situation, the holidays, my mother’s health, etc., for me not to plan any major trips away until sometime into January. I realise that it might sound like I’m joking, but I’m actually very serious when I say that I think that the Lord has kept me here in this area for a reason, and most likely that reason has been to spend time with and help my mother as much as I can, while I can. I have to say that I’ve cherished this time to be near her. However, as of yesterday, the car that is graciously being offered to me is now registered and available, and I’ll be going to pick it up on Saturday. Praise the Lord!
In terms of health, I have been relatively well during this time. I always seem to suffer with sinus, allergies and upper respiratory things, but this has been the norm for years. I was also able to resolve the situation with my COVID booster (3rd injection). I had been wondering, if I would be able to go ahead and get that here in the USA and about that time, I received my letter and text in Wales that it was time for my booster shot there. I could never get through over the phone (and calling from the USA was expensive, as their automated response would pick up each time just to tell me that no one was available to take my call); so, I sent my doctor in Wales an e-mail to say/ask that (1) I would not make my vaccination appointment there in Wales as I’m in another country, and (2) would I be able to get my booster here in the USA and send them all the details to get my file in the UK updated? You see, the problem is that I had my first two shots with Astra-Zeneca, which is common in the UK but not so much in the USA. I wasn’t sure if I could do a different vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna for my booster shot, as both of those are much more common here in the USA. My doctor from Wales responded that it would be fine for me to get the booster here in the USA as they were going to give me Pfizer as a booster in Wales anyway, in spite of my having only Astra-Zeneca previously. So, I’m pleased to be triple vaccinated with the Pfizer booster.
I’ve enjoyed being involved in a few more ministry opportunities both locally and even within the Church here. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to preach here at GRBC on the morning of the 28th of November and to give a more detailed report of the work to the Church that same evening. A number of opportunities of this nature have presented themselves over the past month. I also have enjoyed more specific meeting opportunities with representatives of Churches and other organisations, who would like to know more about us and the possibilities for partnership. I’m sure that there will be more to report on these developments over the months to come.