The Peterson family wishes you and yours a wonderful 2016! May God bless you with hearts that find their deepest satisfaction in his glory.
Our family has lived here now six months! If you want to know if we feel like this is “home” yet, then I (Mitzi) would say yes and not completely. We are getting used to driving in the area, learning street names and locations, and making new friends; but we haven’t completely finished setting up our house. Since we do not have any furniture in our living room it doesn’t feel “homey” just yet, but we will get there. The kids on the other hand say that they do feel like this is home. We are so grateful that God has given us children who can go with us on this adventure and be happy. That is important to us.
Our family has been quite well over the holiday season. For the most part, we have all managed to stay happy and healthy as we enjoyed the season. Being that this was our first holiday season away from our family and friends, we did have some moments where we missed home, but God was gracious and gave us wonderful times of fellowship with new friends and old friends.
One of the new things we got to do in December was to visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory. Besides seeing a little of how they make the chocolate, we also got to stroll through a Christmas-decorated cactus garden, something we did not see back in the Midwest.
One of our great joys in this new setting has been the ability to welcome house guests to experience our new city and what it has to offer. In December, Tammy and Matthew came to join us for a few days, and we loved having them. It is always so much fun to show people sites like Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, and a new favorite, Valley of Fire National Park. We also made sure to let them see things on the Vegas Strip like the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and the world famous Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory (which was all decked out for Christmas). There was a lot of shopping, a lot of food, and good Christian fellowship.
Speaking of a lot of food, there was so much wonderful Christmas candy in our house. Mitzi again made her peppermint fudge, a tradition for our family since our days in Olney, IL with a neat story behind it. We also had buckeyes (or just chocolate-covered peanut butter balls), which my children dearly love helping to make (Owen made more snakes than balls). And we added a couple of new items to our list. Thanks to a dear lady from FBC Columbia, we learned to make caramels and English Toffee. The toffee was a big hit and came out perfect while the caramels will need one more try to get the right texture. However, the soft caramels found their way into a chocolate covering, so I think they worked out just fine. My wife loves to show hospitality to others, and she does a great job through making goodies like these. We also got to give some to our neighbors, which we hope will lead to new friendships.
On Christmas Day, we had a great time as a family. Of course the kids loved their gifts. But one of the fun little gifts that we received was a tiny bit of snow. That’s right, while many of our friends back in Illinois had temperatures in the 60s, we had snow on our window sill. This was especially sweet since we found out that Josiah had prayed asking God for snow on Christmas. I suppose the fact that we live in the desert did not concern him. And, the fact that we live in the desert did not at all prevent our God from showing our little boy that kindness.
We opted for a quiet New Year’s Eve in our home, just hanging out as a family. Nobody tried to stay up until midnight. However, we somehow managed to wake up in time to catch the change of the year and to see the Las Vegas fireworks from our bedroom window.
Providence Reformed Church
The holiday season was also a very sweet time at PRC. We were blessed to be able to open our home to our church in a really neat way over the past month or so. Our family was pleased to host our first Thanksgiving dinner in our new home with 2 other families from our church. We also were able to have all of our church elders, deacons, and their families over for a Christmas celebration.
Perhaps most fun of all, we held an intimate little Christmas Eve celebration and candlelight worship service right here in our new home. We had to squeeze around 40 people into the house for that service, but it was so sweet to have that time together. We sang, lit candles (without burning down the house—though Owen was not at all helpful there), shared the Christmas story with a gospel reminder, and had a lovely time of fellowship together.
Over the Advent season, our church worked through a series of messages highlighting God’s grand plan to send Christ to rescue his children. Now that this season is over, we have returned to complete our study of the Letter of Paul to the Colossians. If you are interested in hearing any of our messages, visit http://www.provref.org/media/.
Now, as the New Year has come, we are looking forward to what God will do with his church here in Vegas. On Saturday, January 9, we will have our first new members class, where we expect that 4 families will come to learn about how our church works and begin the membership process. Next Wednesday, January 13, we will begin a home-based Bible study on marriage from Paul Tripp’s excellent series “What did You Expect?”, perhaps the best title for a marriage study I know of. In adult Sunday School, our church is working through Wayne Grudem’s “Christian Beliefs” DVD study and having some excellent times of learning and group discussions. We also have 2 regular home-based small groups which we are calling 242 Groups (from Acts 2:42). In these groups, we focus on fellowship and on applying the truths of the Sunday morning messages to our daily lives.
As always, we treasure your support through prayer. We are asking God to continue to protect us, provide for us, and put us exactly where he wants us for his glory. Here are some ways that you can join us in such prayers.
- That God will continue to grow our people in their love for him and their Christian maturity.
- That God will grow our church by continuing to bring new families into our fellowship.
- That God will give us opportunities to meet people, build friendships, and share the gospel.
- That God will help us to continue to grow in our love for and fellowship with our church.
- That God will give me wisdom as I seek his will in the next sermon series after Colossians.
As always, we are eager to hear from you all as well. Please drop us a line and let us know how we might better pray for you.