Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2020

 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 

John and Linda Worden December 25, 2020

 Dear Family & Friends,                                               December 2020

Mathew 1: 21

“…She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, 

because he will save his people from their sins.”

Psalm 62: 5

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” 

Isaiah 40: 31

“…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

This is the year we all need our Savior because He is the one in whom we can hope knowing that He is able to save us from our sin, give rest to our troubled soul and renew our sapped strength after Covid-19. 

January and February were normal months for us.  Linda continued her part-time job on the hospitality team at Laity Lodge for several retreats and her occasional receptionist days in the Kerrville office of the H.E.Butt Foundation.  John continued to enjoy his new joints with his membership at the Center For Fitness and their opportunities for maintaining his strength and mobility.  Medication still controls his Parkinson’s right side tremor.  Therapy is helping strengthen his voice.  

 On March 4th, we loaded our Toyota minivan and began a drive to MN for the March 7th wedding of Linda’s nephew, Jonathan Berndt.  The first day’s travel put them 500 miles on their way and into Oklahoma.

 Day 2 had them planning for their scheduled night at lodging in Iowa near the MN border.  But a huge deer had other plans for their trip. After being struck by the front grill, the deer soared onto our windshield, shattering it, deploying our airbags, getting thrown off and bringing our vehicle to an abrupt stop.  My first words to John were, “I don’t think I’m hurt,” and he replied, “I don’t think I am either!”  Neither of us was hurt (thanks to God, airbags, seatbelts and auto construction) and we were able to see out the passenger window to get off I-35 and onto the shoulder.  While I called 911, John was able to see a mile marker.  Within minutes, a fantastic Iowa Highway patrolman drove up behind us.  He was calm and very helpful.  We were 14 miles from our hotel which was next door to the tow company which was called to pick up our car.  We waited in the car with the patrolman.  He made arrangements for towing.  John called our insurance provider and they set up a rental for us.  Before long we were getting items from our vehicle which was stopped at the front door of our hotel where we were being dropped off.  We slept well and our rental company had a person pick us up by 8am the next morning.  Enterprise had another minivan ready for us so we were soon able to finalize things with the tow company and say “Good-bye” to our faithful Toyota minivan which had been totaled. We were then on our way to all that was scheduled for the wedding weekend.  We are grateful that God was so gracious to us and faithful in His care of us.  We now happily drive another Toyota minivan.

On our way to Red Wing, MN, we had a delightful lunch with Linda’s dear high school friend, Karen Brandhorst Larsen, who lives in Rochester, MN.  We forgot to take a picture but our sharing was very sweet.    

Christopher, Jonathan, Margelyn & Bob Berndt
The festivities of the Berndt/English wedding began with Friday evening dinner with the wedding taking place on Saturday afternoon.

Courtney English and Jonathan Berndt with Groves family relatives

So wonderful to have our family enjoying and making lots of memories.
John and Diane

Son John and his wife, Diane, joined us for the wedding weekend.  They continue to live in Richmond, VA where John is employed with
Good Feet.  Diane continues to teach Kindergarten at Veritas School.  Phillip will complete his undergrad degree at Virginia Tech in May.  Stephen will complete his undergrad degree next Dec. at Messiah College in PA.  Joanna continues course work leading toward a degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.  Her biggest news is engagement to Michael Zaronas whom she has known since their years as students at Veritas School.  A late summer 2021 wedding is being planned.

Lydia is a senior in high school at Veritas and is hoping to play a sport in college but not sure where just yet.

James and April



Grandma Lee & Tirzah
James, April, Ari, Constantine and Tirzah continue to live in Detroit, MI.  They all had Covid in April but have recovered well.  James continues to work assisting all administration and staff at Charlotte Mason Community School.  Tirzah is 18 months old now.  We enjoyed her visit to TX for Thanksgiving with her family and us very much.  She is sweet and adorable with a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder called TBR1.  It is not a hereditary condition but is responsible for her developmental delays.  She is being helped immensely by her very loving family and the therapists who come to work with her in their home.  The big news in that home is that there will be a welcome addition to their family sometime next July.


Sarah continues to live in San Antonio, TX where she is in her 11th year as the librarian at Fort Sam Houston Elementary School.  She is coping well with the uncertainty of Covid-19 related decisions.  Currently most of the student body is coming on campus for instruction.  She is a source of great joy for us as she quite frequently comes to Kerrville for overnights during her weekends.  She is also a help to us as we navigate life.  

Winnebago Country
 Following the weekend wedding in MN, Sarah joined us and we drove to Loomis, NE with a brief drive into & around Forest City, IA where my paternal Grandmother had been born and raised.   

John and Linda in Loomis, NE

The first church John pastored was in Loomis, NE.  We lived there for 3 years – Sept.1972- Jan. 1976 – and that’s where son James was born.  We became friends with Dr. and Mrs. Embury during those years and stayed at their home in nearby Holdrege during this visit.  We certainly enjoyed renewing our friendship with them and visiting the Loomis church which continues to serve the Lord’s work in that community.  What a delight to chat with friends made during our years there who remain involved with the church. 



As we arrived home in Kerrville in mid-March, Covid-19 was shutting down the world.  All retreats and programs of the H.E.Butt Fdn were canceled and remain closed almost completely through May 2021. Linda’s part-time work there ended and retirement has begun.  Our church moved to virtual services and reopened minimally in September.         

We are remaining healthy and engaged with family, church and community on a more limited basis.  We sang with the church choir as they presented a Christmas musical called NOEL.  That brought us joy and voice therapy.

 We have tackled some long delayed purging of saved things from the past.  Sarah was a huge help to her Dad as they enjoyed boxes of things from the Worden family.  Sarah discovered some portraits she has now hung in her home as well as other items from past generations.  There is some more of that to work on during the next year so hopefully our energy and resolve will hold for a while longer.  Linda is planning to use some of her retirement time to write some family stories.  She was gifted a subscription to Storyworth for her birthday this year so hopes to add a story a week to that project.  We expect to be doing more traveling in 2021 as there will be big events happening in Richmond with graduations and a wedding.  Detroit will also present opportunity for travel as the new baby arrives.

We are grateful for good health, harmony in our extended family and opportunities to remain busy being useful in work we feel the Lord wants us to do.   One of the best things we do is to sponsor a Moldovan child through the work of CERI.  Emanuela is now nine years old. She is the 8th Moldovan girl we have sponsored.  She hoped for a family for herself and her three younger siblings and this year she has been able to move into the home of a foster family along with her siblings.  Our sponsorship will continue for her which brings us great joy.  There are about 100 children waiting for Sponsors through CERI.  We are confident this is a reliable, godly organization that cares deeply for children needing care.  We highly recommend their work and urge you to explore their sponsorship opportunities.  Some of the precious children who are waiting for sponsors are pictured on their website. 

May God continue to provide you and our world with His hope and renewed strength during 2021 and beyond.

   With Love & Gratitude,   John and Linda Worden  


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Worden Christmas Letter 2019



Dear Family & Friends,                                           December 2019

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Jesus is the child that was prophesied about hundreds of years before his birth.  We celebrate his birth and believe that the Bible is inspired truth which shares His story providing us with the redemption plan for all sinful humans.  The original sin was committed because Satan’s deceitfulness was believed.  

Hebrews 3: 13

“…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, 

so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”


I have called our year, the year of surgeries.  John has been in an operating room six times this year but can now report that all is healing very well and he is able to resume all of his usual activities.

1.      March 26, 2019 Left hip joint replacement – most bone spur Dr. Veurink had ever seen

2.      March 27, 2019 Left hip dislocation manipulated back into place

3.      March 28, 2019 Left hip joint replacement completely redone – Additional bone spur removed

4.      August 5, 2019  Right knee joint replacement

5.      Sept. 17, 2019   Right eye cataract surgery –John’s one eye with useful vision

6.      Oct. 15, 2019    Left knee joint replacement surgery


Dr. Veurink was his surgeon in Kerrville for all orthopedic surgeries and we are very pleased with him.  Cataract surgery was done in San Antonio and we were pleased with Dr. Lehmann also.  There have been quite a few home visits for Physical Therapy and many more sessions of PT at a local facility.  These workouts have brought a new appreciation for the excellent work of PT professionals.  John has diligently responded to their work so that he has excellent range of motion and mobility with his new joints.  Dr. Veurink’s words:  “I couldn’t be happier!”

Other highlights of our year are the following:


     May Veritas graduation of Joanna Lee Worden (Freshman at Campbell College in NC) in Richmond, VA.  Brothers Phillip (Junior at VA Tech) and Stephen (Sophomore at Messiah College in PA) returned to TX with us to be summer staff for Laity Lodge Family Camp.  Son John continues with Good Feet which is rapidly expanding in VA.  Diane continues as a kindergarten teacher at Veritas School.  Lydia is a Junior at  Veritas.  We will be spending a week with them for Christmas this year.





  June 14th was a very special day because that is when Tirzah Sophia Worden arrived in Detroit.  We were on our way there when we learned of her birth and arrived the next day as she was arriving home from the hospital with her grateful parents, James and April and adoring big brother, Constantine Worden.  Tirzah is 6 months old now and we’ve just helped her celebrate her first Thanksgiving as we flew there for a few days of sweet family time.She is wearing glasses in order to provide developmental help for her far-sighted crossed eyes.  She’s off the charts for length and low in the charts for weight.  Seems she will grow to be tall and slender like her godly, beautiful Mother. While in Detroit, we also celebrated Christmas with James, April, Cozzie and Tirzah.  Ari is now 18 years old and lives with friends outside of Detroit.  James continues as administrative assistant to the principal at Charlotte Mason Community School.  He is busy as a deacon at Hope Church and active in helping April manage their popular AirBnB – the attached quarters on the other side of the duplex they have fixed up as their comfortable, lovely 100 year old home.  He has also decided to enter a Master of Divinity Program with North Park Evangelical Covenant Seminary.  Many classes will be on-line with some on-site in Chicago.He will begin in Jan. with an intensive week long class on site.

3.    4.      In late June, Sarah and I flew to Estes Park, CO.  This was a very special trip for me as it was 55 years since the first summer I worked there following my freshman year in college. I wanted Sarah to meet a very dear friend of mine who still lives there.  Joyce Bennett took me under her wing during the summer of 1964 and has remained a life- long encourager and godly woman mentor for me.  God orchestrated many memorable things for Sarah and me to experience in our few days there.  It was a taste of what I expect heaven may be like.  Doing the trip with Sarah, in her 10th year as the librarian at Ft. Sam Houston Elementary School in San Antonio, made the trip even more special.


John and I are continuing to live in our home of 30 years in Kerrville, TX.  We are very grateful for the remodel work we had done a year ago.  The wider doorways and more convenient bath area have been very helpful to John in his recovery weeks following his surgeries.  We continue to serve at Trinity Baptist Church in a number of ways – especially in ushering and greeting during services.  I continue to work part-time for the H.E.ButtFdn which operates Laity Lodge, the adult retreat center where I work some weekends as a guest care attendant.  I also cover some days in the Kerrville office for a gal who works a 4 day week.  Each role provides me with opportunity to continue being involved in very meaningful work with a wonderful ministry that serves many families and individuals of all ages throughout the year. 


We look forward to 2020 as we think joint replacement surgeries are over though the right hip could need attention at some point.  2019 has been a year of finding out what “in sickness and in health” means in our marriage vows.  We are grateful for the life we have together and trust that God will continue to show us His path for continued Kingdom work in the future.  John will continue to gain strength as he returns to more frequent use of the Center for Fitness where he has a membership and enjoys their swimming classes and work-out machines.  He also exercises his voice by singing in the church Prime-time choir.  He continues on one medication for his Parkinson’s disease and that controls his right side tremor. 


We are very grateful to have our daughter, Sarah, live in San Antonio so that she is often able to spend weekends with us.  She has been very loving and helpful this year by taking time from her job to be with me during the surgeries.  She also came one weekend with all the supplies for at least 4 crock pot meals which she made and put in our freezer to provide delicious, thoughtful support for our “year of surgeries.” 


      With Love & Gratitude,               John & Linda Worden