Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka from Hawai'i!
Some of you may have been referred to this blog from our very home made Christmas cards. There is an explanation for the tacky-ness, which I apologize for. In my head, I had this brilliant idea to save money and make our own Christmas postcards. We needed to send out as many as we could, and we were on a budget. So instead of having Walmart photo do it for us in their fanciful and professional way, I decided to buy all the supplies and have David and I make our own in our spare time (haha...spare time:). But unlike our wedding invitations, we did not have 10 hands on deck, and yet we still needed to make mass quantities. After several things went wrong (the white cardstock was too small for the photo, the glue couldn't keep the picture stuck, and the envelopes were the wrong size) we had to creatively come up with an alternative...and walah...that's what showed up in your mailbox:) So despite the childish look, I pray that you understand our heart and that is we love you and hope the best for you this season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For those who were spared from the Poole 2010 Christmas note :)(it may be because we don't have your current address so please send it to us for our records at email@example.com), it referred all to this blog which is our Christmas letter this year. So without further ad0, the Poole 2010 Christmas letter.
To begin our digital Christmas letter experience, we would love for you to watch this amazing little video found on youtube via Relevant Magazine (but don't forget to come back and read the rest of the letter):
Humor and modern technology aside, it's neat to set aside and remember the Reason for the season and the gift Jesus was/is to the world. And that my friends is Who our lives were about this past year (and are about) being youth pastors (and our many other roles) in Hilo, HI.
If you want a detailed account of what we were up to this past year, may I recommend reading our past blogs. However, if time is treasured and a recap is more effective, then allow me to share in brief (as brief as I can be) what I, Kelsey, have been up to this past year. (and as a special treat, I have asked my husband to contribute to this Christmas letter too)
As of October 09, I have been working for TIFFE, an agency that specializes in 1 on 1 services to students/adults who have autism. From Jan-June I was doing that full time, as well as volunteering at the church. That became a bit too much, so I decided in August to only substitute. Subbing at the agency, and at a local Christian school, has been such a blessing, and God continues to provide for our every need in such an incredible way.
Our big event this past year was the Colorado Trip which about 20 of our students went on that centered around the Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs. We really felt that God was not calling us on missions this year, but instead wanted to 1) draw students closer to Him 2) ignite a passion in their lives 3) draw students closer to one another and 4) have fun! All four of those goals were accomplished in incredible ways. Eight of our students were baptized the day they got back to Hilo in the ocean, as a proclamation of what God had done in their hearts on the trip. Although the mountain top experience was exciting and exhilarating, we prepared the students for the possible valleys that lay ahead once they returned to real life. Many, including David and I, faced some low valleys. Isn't it something that our enemy wants to try to undo everything God has done, but the good news is that Satan has been defeated and Jesus is victorious!
This summer our family also doubled in size by adding two Bethel interns, Nate and Drew, who lived with us for the entire summer. They were awesome and multiplied our ministry in incredible ways. Needless to say, when they left, they were greatly missed by all!
Going on our second year of marriage, God continues to teach us new and exciting things about Himself using our marriage. Marriage has also been a huge refinement tool in our lives as well, or as David says "rough rough sandpaper" (you guessed it, that's me, I'm the sandpaper:) [ Actually - I have said before that sometimes God has to use the spouse as a metal grinder on us instead of sandpaper - David]
But through the ups and downs, I love David even more that I did on August 1, 2009, when I said those two precious words "I do". I absolutely love His gentle and soft heart, and feel that I'm a very blessed girl to have married such a man!
As for 2011, we have no idea what to expect. We can only imagine the journey ahead. I guess we'll just strap in and hold on tight, because He seems to be taking us on a ride that we'll never forget.
But here we are...here...now in December of 2010...approaching the Christmas season. I'm always reminded of the busyness, stress, money (or lack there of), parties, cookies, friends, family, presents and wonder why do we wait until the Christmas Eve service to finally slow down and reflect on the Reason for the season. Why not start now? When I think of Christmas I think of the gift of Jesus Christ. This gift is not meant to be hoarded, hidden, or forgotten. Instead this gift is meant to be shared. Why not stop and share with someone waiting in the long seasonal lines at Walmart? Maybe we could share with someone who is in financial need? Let's not just let someone go in front of us in line, throw some extra change into the Salvation Army bucket, or donate some cans of food to the Food Pantry, but let's truly share with someone the Reason for the season: that Jesus Christ fully God came in the form of a human baby to grow up and at the age of 33 sacrifice His life on a cross and die so that we could have a relationship with Him. Let's not forget the power of that Reason for the season.
To family, friends, and even strangers who just happened onto this blog, Merry Christmas! May you experience Him in an awesome and real way this New Year, just ask Him and He'll do the rest!
I just wanted to add in to our Christmas letter. It's been an incredibly long time since I have added my voice to this blog, and have been desiring to share with you all. As Kelsey has mentioned, this has been a year with highs and lows, but yet through it all I feel that the Holy Spirit has been leading and has Kelsey and I in a place where we are supposed to be...no matter how things may feel or look on the outside. This has been a year of tremendous growth for me personally and professionally. One of the things that the Lord has been teaching through everything is that He desires to work out every situation for our good - and sometimes the thing that is good is not fun. Throughout the course of this year (and probably the rest of my life) God has been helping me to learn that lesson, so that in every situation I can truly state along with the worship song "Blessed be Your Name".
The Holy Spirit has given us the ability to serve, connect with, lead, support, comfort, and cheer on an amazing group of teenagers, and it is an honor that is not easily forgotten each day. I am so excited to see how God will continue to develop these teens into passionate, Christ-focused disciples throughout the next year! I will truly miss hanging out with our teens while we are back in Colorado visiting family for Christmas [I will, however, love the cold weather and snow. It's sometimes hard feeling "Christmasy" when you are sitting on the beach].
All in all, it has been a good year. We appreciate and desire your prayers [is it ok to covet prayer? if it is then I do] for us and the leaders and teens we work with/serve. We are hoping to be able to see you soon, or at least talk here in the near future. Let's have fun throwing Jesus a party here soon!
To make this an interactive Christmas letter experience, please post the opportunities you get to share with others about the Reason for the season. What an encouragement that will be! Or if you have you questions about what Jesus is all about, don't hesitate to share that too. Either post below or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at 1044 Komohana St. Hilo, HI 96720