December 2019

 

Dear Friends

 

Although winter does not officially arrive until December 21st, we have already had three cold, heavy snow storms.  Where is 'global warming' when we need it?  Still, we love the moisture that snow brings to us, for when we've had droughts, we've often also had some destructive wildfires here.

Oneof those storms caught me up in the woods hunking elk with our dear Iraqi friend,  NS, whom I have mentioned here efore.  We hunted (without success)  about five hours drive from here, way up in the woods at about 9,600 feet.  During the long drives there and back, and also around the campfire, NS and I had deep spiritual discussions about differences between Islam and Christianity, the character of God, marriage and parenting, etc.  We will appreciate your continued prayer for NS and his wife (now Beth's friend). and for their two small children.  We just had their family in our home for Thanksgiing dinner, a wonderful time sharing God's blessings.

In recent months, I have also built a deepening relationship with another Iraqi guy, AS, also here with his wife and kids.  He and his wife are preparing to study nursing and need help with some of the prerequisite requirements, especially English writing.  Please pray for my relationship with AS.  In January I plan to take an intense seminary course about ministry among Muslims - after years in China and Vietnam, Muslims are still relatively new to us, and we need help!

Beth's work with English language learners in our public schools includes children from all around the world, including the Middle East.  She really enjoys teaching this delightful boys from Saudi Arabia, who learns quickly.  Beth also has students from Vietnam, China and other places we've lived.  Because she is familure with these languages, she has been able to help others in her school district to distinguish between students whose difficulties arise from their first language and others whose difficulties stem from some sort of speech pathology.  She's a real asset to these schools.

We recently had a Thanksgiving meal and square dancing for international students at a church in town.  Although we've done this before, it's always a lot of fun to watch students from India, Taiwan, Peru, Congo and elsewhere all enjoying such a traditionally American activity.  We met a boy, JP, from Taiwan.  I have recently begun building a relationship with him.  He says he's a Christian, but he has many challenges and I'd like to help.  It appears that he has the same social and cognitive disabilites that our daughter Eva has.  Pray for my relationship with JP.

In past letters I have asked you to pray with us for Patrick, a Chinese friend I've been discipling for about two years.  Thank you for praying - the Lord has answered many prayers!  Patrick has grown a lot in his faith and is walking closely with God through prayer and Bible study.

Three months ago, one person in our international student club, Michael from Peru, surrendered his life to God.  Since then he has been growing steadily.  He's only here for one semester, and he knew he was heading home soon, so he asked if he could be baptized.  One of my colleagues, Dean, prepared him for baptism and then baptized him in a local church here.  His testimony was encouraging to all of us.  Please pray that this will have an impact upon other internationals who attended the service - and upon his family back in Peru.  Dean and I want to disciple Michael as much as possile before he heads home for Christmas.

Although Beth and I devote a lot of time and attention to international students, God has also given us a ministry among 'regular Americans.'  In our local church, I teach a Bible class on Sunday and lead a men's Bible study each Tuesday morning.  We have delightful friendships there and we cherish how the people love and support our family.

Our last letter mentioned that Eva had moved into a wonderful goup home nearby.  Shortly after that letter, though, she was expelled and had to move back in with us.  Although we looked for other housing options (something like the group home), we have not been able to find anything, so now we are renting a nearby apartment for her.  Eva's behavior and attitude continue to worsen, and we will appreciate your prayers for her - that she will surrender her life to God in a new and genuine way.  We need prayer, too, for wisdom, grace and patience as we strive to help her to succeed in life.

Finally, dear friends, Beth and I want to thank you for your prayers and financial support.  Through you God has been kind to us, meeting every need.  We often thank God for you and ask Him to richly bless you in every way.  May He also give you and your family a delightful Christmas, and may 2020 be your best year yet!  We are grateful for your prayers and frequent support. 

 

Merry Christmas!

Jeff & Beth Stebbins 

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