March 2016 Easter season…Passover is April 22… “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I Corinthians 5:7-8
Dear family and friends,
The most wonderful event in the history of the world is about to be celebrated around the world…the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, God manifested in the flesh. Last night the first lines of this 300+ year old hymn flowed through my mind as I drifted off to sleep.
1. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The strife is o'er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor's triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.
2. Death's mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath His foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst.
3. On the third morn He rose again
Glorious in majesty to reign;
Oh, let us swell the joyful strain!
4. He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven's high portals fell.
Let songs of praise His triumph tell.
5. Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee.
From death's dread sting Thy servants free
That we may live and sing to Thee.
As John and I wrap up this season in Panama and head back to Tennessee, I am more fully aware that the hope of all the nations is in Christ who only can bring the peace that so many long for within and in relationship to others in the world. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.”
Having more time to read in Panama and watching the pain of so many women here in prison usually for transporting drugs in an attempt to alleviate for most a life of pain and deprivation, I am convinced that a personal encounter with the living Christ who creates a new person when that one trusts Him is the only “way out” for not going back into a life of crime and despair. For those of you who do know Him, be courageous to share Him wherever you are.
Our lives are filled with family, grandchildren, friends here in Panama and the States, and we wish that we had the capacity with more time and energy to engage with more of you, but due to our old age status now, our bodies can’t keep up with all we would like to do!
Happy memories of 2015…many births (seven all boys in our extended family of cousins ) which did not include the one rosebud, our very own Josephine (Josie) Elizabeth Curlin, born to Betsy and Caleb on September 21.
They now have a house full of “chicks”…(Mom now has 67 great grandchildren.)…my brother-in-law, Hamp’s recovery from near death after surgery, a beautiful trip with Betsy and Caleb to New Zealand in February…What vistas!…having several neighbors gather to hear Bogdan speak of what God is doing in the Ukraine at their largest University via CRU…having a bunch of grandsons come to Tennessee for a Sonrise Adventure Camp in Paris (Tennessee, not France) and staying some extra days for us to enjoy them…… doing the marriage prep for Paige Tang and Stephen Wunrow before their awesome wedding in May where John gave the wedding exhortation…(John delivered Paige, and she grew up in our church.)…
In July helping Howard and Michelle with their crew of 6 move to Nashville where he is now employed at Vanderbilt as a sub specialist in gynecological minimally invasive surgery…having John’s OB partners and close friends during his practice years for dinner and traveling down memory lane…traveling with Mom to Illinois to be a part of Coulter Scott Manno’s dedication and celebrating this happy event with Micah and daughters and the Veeder cousins…seeing friends of our early years in Jackson and ECC,Tom and Brenda Life, now retired in Kentucky…attending the marriage in Kentucky of Caitlyn Phillips who lived with us for over a year to Benjamin Lewis…planning with Nancy our mother’s 90th birthday celebration which took place over Labor Day weekend with our extended family, celebrating who she is in character and what she has taught us especially through her love of Scripture and Christian biographies …
Trips to Wheaton, Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas seeing family and friends……Ben Andrews’ wedding in Nashville in June to Jordan and Calvin Shaw’s wedding to Morgan in Orlando in November…In the midst of it all I turned 70 and had the special pleasure of my own two daughters for a couple of days of talking non stop while they tried to update me on my clothing wardrobe…soon after helping Caleb and Betsy in Virginia get ready to move with the girls while she gave birth in the middle of it all and driving Betsy and the girls back to Tennessee where they are now beginning a holistic, organic farming operation (website “Marmilu Farms” ) near us.
There were two very special “home goings”. Our precious friends and mentors to us from our days in Japan, John (John Reid is named for him.) and Mary Reid both in their 90’s went into the presence of the Lord whom they loved and served faithfully…John on March 9 and Mary November 16. They impacted our lives in great measure; John especially was like a father to John in many ways….Our family Christmas gathering (this time after Christmas) at the Country Place with every one making it for at least part of the time….So much more but with our information saturated age, I will spare you the plethora of details of years past, the length of which embarrasses me to think about now.
We continue our trips to Panama a couple of seasons each year where Marvi and Dan reside next door. John spends most of his spare time with prayer appointments (life changing and healing for many) when he is not fixing all that is broken or tweaking yard and house in both places. He loves to solve problems and is tenacious about going after them. He has had two trips to Ohio with C and MA pastors where he has participated in their conferences and still prays a lot with people on Skype.
We hope to spend more time with our grandchildren this year who are now in Wheaton… the Lindquists with Daniel and Josiah now at Taylor University, (Elle and Price Gunn are at Wheaton College, and even JD is there now attending Wheaton Academy.), in Panama the Gunns with Asher…Tanner is at Virginia Tech in graduate school… North Carolina (Farr and Kimberly’s 4 and David’s and Mia’s 4), and now three families in Tennessee (Howard’s and Michelle’s six, John Reid’s and Laura’s three, and Caleb’s and Betsy’s four)…as well as other family and friends…We are in the “Countdown” phase of life so it is sweet to reconnect with some of those with whom you have shared a certain season of your life. The two Esthers have fared well in Humboldt. Esther Kang will graduate this May from Union.
I have read some wonderful biographies that are beautiful examples of men and women of faith…Some stories are extraordinary in the answers to prayers for direction, trust, and endurance in the midst of pain. I hope to work on a bibliography list on some of these subjects. If any of you readers are interested, let me know, and I will send the list to you with a brief synopsis on each book. (The heritage of book sharing has been popular in our family for many years.) Ben Carson’s book on YOU HAVE A BRAIN is a delightful and encouraging book for those of you who think you have a poor one…written for a wide age group…It is a quick read and worthwhile for all ages.
As we see crisis after crisis in the news calling evil good and good evil with horror after horror of man’s inhumanity to man, facing another election which has perplexed many, John and I are of the conviction that only a heart changed by an encounter with the living Lord Jesus who gave his life for the sins of the world will ever usher in the peace that will elude us until his Return. What singing there will be when that occurs. I look forward to having my voice once again to join in that “Song of The Redeemed”!
Keeping in touch…
Leeba and John
March 3 Coulter Scott to Jane and Peter Manno (Jon and Sallie Veeder’s daughter’s first born son)
March 4 Ezra Charles to David and Lindsey Ozier
April 11 Cameron Keller (CK) to Cam and Lyndee Underdown
April 21 Harrison Farr to Stephen and Angela Andrews
May 20 Radford Allen (Ford) to Walter and Haley Andrews
July 19 Hampton Andrew (Huck) to Drew and Ellie Holcomb
September 21 Josephine Elizabeth (Josie) to Caleb and Betsy
November 15 Benjamin Arlo to Ben and Jordan Andrews
Pictures: Mom’s 90th…Can you believe we missed a few? Our Christmas gathering minus Michelle who missed the picture