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|
|Courtney English and Jonathan Berndt with Groves family relatives|
|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|
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.
|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