After eight years of celebrating Christmas in the heat of summer, it is refreshing to be back in cold New England, surrounded by friends and family. I love the build-up of the Christmas season here, and have missed the communal celebration of Advent, hearing Christmas carols, and singing Christmas hymns. May the joy of the birth of Christ be with you all!
We want to thank you for your love and prayers, and for your support in our ministry in South Africa over these past eight years as we have endeavored to share the light of Christ with those around us, particularly in the prisons. Your concern for all our children, especially Phoebe, has touched our hearts and shown us what the body of Christ is capable of. May God bless you in all aspects of your lives!
This past year has been exciting and unsettling, as we readjust to life in the U.S., while simultaneously trying to keep a presence in Cape Town. I think we all have suffered from readjustment stress to some degree or another.
The most exciting news is that Ana is getting married on December 17 in Hawaii to Frenchie Gamero. Frenchie has been a staff missionary with YWAM Kona for the past seven years. He and Ana share a passion for seeing youth transformed for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Frenchie is a dynamic international speaker, and also works with a local youth group.
Isaac moved into our Park Street Church apartment with us in August. He is working part time at Patagonia while taking a computer programming class, and is figuring out his next steps. He just signed up to attend the Urbana Conference after Christmas, which is a student missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity.
Margaret is working at Puttshack in Seaport. She is enjoying being part of a team of servers, and is saving her money for her future adventures. Please pray for her as she is trying to figure out her life with God, that she will hear His voice as she considers options.
Phoebe has adjusted well to Charlestown High School, after a rocky beginning bouncing between various schools. Charlestown seems to have the best services for her needs, so we are grateful. We are also grateful that Phoebe now has an insulin pump attached to her, which we replace every three days. This has made dosing insulin much easier.
I have been immersed in two classes at Gordon Conwell: Survey of Church History and Leadership in Urban Ministry. I had not expected the classes to be so time-consuming, so will be relieved when I pass in my last paper before boarding the plane for Hawaii Monday morning!
Alberto has been a great help to my parents in attending to fix-up projects at their house. He had wanted to attend to our rented house in Quincy, but time has escaped us. However, he had the opportunity to visit Lowell prison last week.
Again, thank you for your partnerships. It has been a joy to reconnect with so many of you, and we look forward to continuing to do so through the spring, when we return to South Africa.
If you would like to support our ministry in South Africa, please do so on the Park Street Church online giving forum: www.parkstreet.org/give. We are listed in the drop-down box as “Missions: Parada PM” which means we are partner missionaries through the church, and receive only a portion of our support directly form the church. The majority of our support comes through individual and families. Or if you would like to support Ana and Frenchie, choose “Missions: Ana Parada” in the drop-down box.
May the joy of Christ’s birth bring you hope this Christmas season.
Alberto, Joanna, Ana (and Frenchie), Isaac, Margaret and Phoebe Parada