December 17, 2009

Allen's Christmas Letter 2009

Greetings from Swaziland, Africa! We pray extra blessings on each of you during this special season of celebrating our Savior’s birth, Jesus Christ.

As we look back on the year of 2009, we have much to thank the Lord for in our family. Ministry has been challenging, exciting, fun, and busy all at the same time! God has done many great things this past year with the Swazi people and it is only a privilege to serve with such amazing people. We are thankful for all the volunteers that have come to Swaziland this past year to work among the Swazi people. Our mission team reduced as three units returned to the USA and we miss them all greatly. We are blessed with many prayer partners that faithfully pray for our family, team, ministry and the Swazi people. Without you, we could not continue the work God has for us to accomplish in His timing.

Our family is doing well and staying quite busy balancing family and ministry each day. Lacie is now five years old and will start kindergarten/grade 0 in January 2010 at The Little Brown Hen Preschool. She has attended half days there for the past two years. The school year here is from January – December, with three school term breaks. She started ballet, gymnastics and swim lessons this year. She loves them all and even placed first in her age group for the Swaziland gymnastics competition in November. Lacie asks many questions about “asking Jesus into her heart”. We know God is working on her tender heart.

Nathan turned one this year and is quite an active little boy! :) He loves cars, trucks, trains and balls. He loves anything that moves or he can throw. The kids play well together and one of Nathan’s favorite words is “Sisi” (siSwati for sister)! We are blessed with two, amazing kids…thank, you, Lord!

Steve took the trip of a lifetime to Israel this year with Southwestern Seminary to assist with their Tel Gezer project, an archeological dig. He thoroughly loved his trip and one he hopes to do again someday in the future. Monica’s mom, Gogo Polly, came for a visit on her summer break and our family enjoyed having family visit us in our African world. Lacie and Monica made a quick trip to the USA in October as Lacie was one of the flower girls in Monica’s cousin’s wedding in Florida. It was a fun trip for mother/daughter and the “boys” had their male bonding time back in Swaziland.

Our family is looking forward to our stateside time in 2010 as we will be in North Carolina from end of March – end of June and in West Palm Beach, Florida, from end of June – end of September. We want to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are sending you hugs and love from Swaziland to your family! May God richly bless each of your lives in a special way in 2010!

Love and prayers,

Steven, Monica, Lacie and Nathan Allen

Something to think about....

With 1 week before Christmas REMEMBER:

JESUS is Better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.

Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.
It's obvious there is really no comparison.

We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.

Jesus is STILL the reason for the season.
May the Lord Bless and Watch over you and your loved ones this Christmas 2009
And may He prosper and bless the work of your hands in the New Year.