Greetings to you all, 12/20/1996
The Christmas season has arrived again and so we send our warm greetings to you. We pray that this finds you in good health, in body, soul and spirit.
We have lots and lots of snow. We have had all together about 70 inches of snow fall so far this winter. We have more snow already than we had in the whole of last winter. Right now, Don is busy clearing the snow from the driveway that is nearly a half mile long and it is hilly as some of you know. The other day, Philip Gross and Paul Walter from the Espanola Hutterian colony came to help shovel snow off from the garage roof. Because of the snow storms, we also lost electricity several times, once for about a week, during which time Michi and the ladies took our clothes to the Espanola colony for washing. At the Espanola they were out of commercial power also but their huge generator was going so they had electricity. They were out a week longer than we were. Thank you for your kindness, dear friends at Espanola.
The snow is lovely. It is amazing that tiny snowflakes put together can make a snow‑pile that is several feet high, not only in a small area but as far as we can see. Isn't it correct that every snow flake has a different pattern? When we look at this soft white snow, we think of God's mighty power, and want to sing a hymn, "Whiter Than Snow." We are thinking about verses in Psalm and Isaiah that we wish to be clean as white as snow.
Do you think that the closer one gets to the Lord, the better one can see the dirty part of himself or herself that one has not noticed before? The snow reminds us to be pure and clean, too...
Also, we appreciate the electricity and the warm house, although Michi found it to be kind of fun to cook on the outdoor grill, and we all enjoyed watching the snow fall and sitting together by the fireplace, singing hymns or reading books by flashlight or lamps. We are careful of using our dishwasher for fear of losing electricity with a dishwasher full of dirty dishes. Twice, we got caught that way when the electricity went out. We took the dishes out, heated water on the outside grill, and washed them. Our ice cream is still buried in two feet of snow. It is too deep to dig it out. We also found out that we have very kind neighbors. We can help each other at the time of troubles which is wonderful.
Don is busy both outdoors and indoors. He has more than enough to do outdoors. Plus he is busy working on a Windows 95 version of our accounting software that we sell to doctors, in addition to the technical support he has to do all day. Michi knows how to keep herself busy, too. Don and Michi both are blessed with good health although Don had a bit of heart trouble recently and was in the hospital overnight His sister June, who is a nurse, and our sons insisted, so he went. The doctor said he had a mild heart attack. During this time we received lots of love and concerns from our sons, Don's siblings and Randy Vigil, our true neighbor, who came to our house to care for the rest of family. Our son Jim is staying with us during the Christmas vacation to help his father.
Pat was with us during the summer, but he is back in Berlin again, going to a technical university there. If you have a computer with Internet access, he would love to hear from you. His address is email@example.com. While he was here, he put a new hot tub in the green house, which, being raised with a hot tub in her house as a child, Michi really appreciates. Now you cannot see out the windows while in the hot tub as the snow is covering the windows up to the roof. Don had to put boards on many of the windows of our house to keep the snow from breaking the windows, as the snow was up about 3/4ths of the way to the roof on the east and west sides of the house where the snow falls off from the roof.
Hutch (Charles Hutchins) is recovering from an operation and seems to be doing well. He is living in our trailer over near Fruitland. We are seeking the Lord's will on community life together, and what good works (Eph 2:10) that He would have us be doing.
Shelly is well. We appreciate her. She always tries her best, and it is inspiring to us all. She cares for the chickens and shovels the sidewalk, lots of work for her since she is handicapped.
Naomi is not feeling too well for quite some time now. But she is still praising the Lord. She just found out that her ulcer has disappeared. Praise the Lord! We learn to depend on our loving God more when we go through some troubles (Is 48:10). So, our faith is getting stronger.
Our sons, David and Jim are visiting just before the Christmas. David is working at Microsoft near Seattle, and Jim is a student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. We are looking forward for seeing them again. Our oldest son, Mike and his wife, Arlene and their daughter, Eryn, are living in Federal Way where Mike continues to run his computer-aided drafting service. It is fun to talk with Eryn (four years old) over the phone. Just the other day, her grandpa asked her if her daddy is behaving good. She answered, "Not so good, sometimes." "Why?" "Because he tells me to go to my room." "How about you? Are you behaving good?" "We both are bad sometimes," was the answer.
Last Christmas, we had two lovely girls, Stephanie and Traci with us. They were with us for a year as foster children but now they are living in Spokane. They came back to visit us and they write us letters. We pray they will be protected by our loving Father.
We also hear from Gabe and Dolan, two of our foster sons. The last time Gabe came, he wanted to show some of our beautiful area to his friends so he drove into the woods behind our house and got lost, then his vehicle wouldn't start so Don had to go out and rescue them.
Dolan got into some trouble last spring and now is in a corrections center near Olympia where he is allowed only one phone call a week. Dolan is scheduled to be there until the first of February, then go to a half-way house in Tacoma for six months, after which he is talking of coming back here to live with us again. He is only 17. His address is Dolan King, Maple Lane Correctional School, 20311 Old Highway 9 SW, Centralia, WA 98531. It would be kind of you to write to him and encourage him (Mt 25:36,43).
We continue to pray for all of our children, including our foster children, that they will all find the true love of our Lord, follow His way, and reject the lures of the world. We are also praying that we ourselves will follow the Lord faithfully and learn to be more obedient and humble. The rest is up to God who is loving and patient. He even sent His own Son to save us. Hallelujah!
May the peace of the Lord
Jesus be with us all and may we always be found traveling on the narrow road to
heaven, and not on the highway to hell; that we will be following the humble
path of holiness that identifies us as true brothers and sisters of the Lord
Jesus. We pray that we will all be together at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb
(Mt 22) wearing our pure white robes of righteousness.
Don, Michi and Naomi Murphy