Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a year of many blessings and challenges. We are grateful for our blessings as well as for the challenges that inspire us to find creative solutions.
Five of us participated in mission work this year. In January, Elizabeth and Jonathan spent two weeks in rural Nigeria as part of a group porviding medical care to 4700 people. Anna and Ben each spent a week in Cuba in July. Ben taught guitar and music theory and Anna taught vacation Bible school. Both were able to use their Spanish fluency to translate between the American team and their Cuban hosts. Also in July, Sarah travelled to North Carolina to rebuild homes devastated years ago by a hurricane.
Music continues to enrich our family's life. Anna enjoys singing in choir and playing hand bells at Augustana College. Ben plays guitarand Jonathan is now learning guitar as well. Sarah played violin with a community orchestra this year and she and Jonathan continue to play hand bells at our church. Jonathan plays upright bass in four different groups at his school.
Three of us are working on educational degrees. Anna is a junior at Augustana College, double majoring in religion and classics. Ben is a sophomore, majoring in physics at Truman State University. Our newest student is Duke, working on a MBA after his department was eliminated in January. He had be working in drug discovery at Abbott Laboratories.
The large-scale disinvestment in basic research and development by the big pharmaceutical companies coupled with Duke's senior scientist status has made it difficault for him to find new work as a bench scientist. We are grateful that he received a tuition free scholarship to business school. Duke has enjoyed returning to school and anticipates graduation in early 2013. After years of approaching problem solving as a scientist, it is interesting for him to learn a business and managerial approach as well.
In addition to our two college kids, we have one in high school (Sarah, now a junior), another in middle school (Jonathan, now in 8th grade), one in grade school (Rebecca, now in 3rd grade) and Rachel who has one more year at home before beginning kindergarten.
Our family continues to enjoy karate. While home this summer, Anna and Ben, both brown belts, resumed lessons. Sarah has elegant style and is now a green belt and Jonathan, with impressive dexterity, is a purple belt. Elizabeth and Rebecca are the newest in the family at karate and both just earned their orange belts.
We are grateful for the love and support of friends and family, our good health and new opportunities. We hope this year has been kind to you and your loved ones.
Peace and Joy
Rebecca, Ben, Duke, Rachel, Sarah, Anna, Elizabeth and Jonathan