Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family, December 18, 2013

Christmas is here! Can you believe it? Where did the time go? This year, we just didn't have time to take family pictures, so instead, we thought we'd do a newsletter instead.

This year has been quite the year for the Copeland Clan. Chris continues to be super busy at work. His job duties increased, and he got a Service Blueprinting Certificate to help with a University-wide project on the student experience and retention. Joi started a new job in March for ESA, Executive Scheduling Associates. She is able to work from home, which has been a blessing when the kids are sick or have a snow day. Joi works about 25-30 hours per week, and loves her job! The boys are doing well in school. Garrison has done a fantastic job at his Accelerated Reading points. He had the most points out of all the sixth graders in his school, and continues to pray he will beat the second place girl from last trimester. So far, she is beating him by 30 points, but he is focused and reading a lot more than usual! Garrison also got braces this year. Our oldest is growing up. Gage is growing by leaps and bounds in his school work, despite his learning disability. He is border-line advanced in Math, if only he would pay attention to detail. His IEP teacher is amazing and continues to work one-on-one with him. He volunteered to be in the Christmas program at our church and was very proud to be the only Copeland child in the program. Gavin continues to shine in school, as well. He received the citizenship award for his class. His teachers often sing his praises. Both Gage and Gavin are also performing in a school play called “Dig It” which runs this week. They are excited! For some reason, Gage and Gavin often visit the school clinic for the oddest reasons. I received one phone call stating that one of them felt dizzy because he “swallowed a gnat” during recess. These boys of ours keep us laughing and on our toes!

We're enjoying watching our boys grow in Jesus, too. Gage and Gavin are leading worship for their church class. They do this once a month and are having a blast! Not only are they serving at church, but their relationship with God continues to deepen.

The biggest news of all, perhaps, happened this summer. Every year for our anniversary, Chris and I discuss goals for ourselves, goals for our family, and goals for each other. Last year, in 2012, my goal for Chris was to “find out what he wants to be when he grows up.” And so, Chris began to pray. He really felt the call to missions, but since I am a homebody, he pushed it aside, thinking no way would I move overseas.

One day in June, our church showed a video of Africa Hope, a refugee ministry that helps African’s become acquainted with living in America. As we left church that day, I asked Chris if we had missed our calling. Perhaps we should have been missionaries. His response? “Let's go!” I think my mouth hit the floor as we walked out the door. I certainly hadn't expected that! I took the week to pray that if he was serious, God would prepare me.

The following Sunday, Chris and I had a talk about his response. He told me what he'd been hearing from God during his prayers, and so began our journey!

We spoke with our Mission's Director at church who led us to two mission's organizations, one of which was located in Littleton, CO. We prayed and decided to go through WorldVenture in Littleton. Since that time, our life has gone from zero to sixty in 2.1 seconds! We went to a Mozambique retreat where we met so many people who were missionaries across the globe. Chris and I both prayed about where God wanted us to go. He thought Asia and Europe while I thought Africa and Europe. Since Europe was our common denominator, we opted to pursue that direction. We've been praying and moving toward church planting in Ireland.

Currently, we are taking a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a very tough, but informative and time consuming course for missionaries. We are a part of a leadership training program at our church, which was required by our church to become missionaries. Because of this group, we have made some dear friends. We're also leading a small group, and are so thankful for them! These people have a special place in our hearts, and we are truly blessed! With both Chris and I working and doing the extra things to prepare for the mission field, life is pretty hectic. But we take Friday nights for Family Night and we love it!

Currently, we have finished our application to WorldVenture, and will be going through the interview process April 1 or 2, 2014. We are also planning a Vision Trip to Ireland in May.

We've had some amazing miracles happen to confirm God’s call to the Field. Money for passports has been provided, though we never asked for it. It seems that our plane tickets for our Vision Trip are going to be far cheaper than we ever expected, due to a dear friend who works for Frontier who is giving us her discount! God continues to provide and guide us in this process. He amazes us every step of the way!

We could certainly use prayer along the way and during this journey God is leading us on! If you want to be a part of our prayer team, let us know! We’d love to add you to our email list and keep you posted on what is going on with the Copeland Clan.

Well, this is what's happening with our family of five! 2014 proves to be an exciting year for all of us! Merry Christmas, Dear Friends! Enjoy one another and have a very safe and Happy New Year!

In His Grip,

Chris, Joi, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin