As 2018 comes to a close and Advent begins the new church calendar year, it is an exciting time to pause and reflect upon how God has been moving during the last year. And also to pause and pray for how God will be moving in the upcoming year too. 

In our family, God has surprised us in many ways this year. God has reminded us that His plans are always better than what we can strive to do in our own strength. His timing is perfect, His love is never ending, and His grace is abounding. We are so grateful and humbled for the gifts of life, hope and healing, that extend to us all, without limitation or exclusion. 

One of God’s biggest gifts and surprises to us has been our son Joshua, who teaches us every day, more and more about how to wonder, explore and know no boundaries in all things. The sky is the limit with this guy and we adore his big personality, character and soul! 

Additionally, seeing the extravagant love that our daughter Madison has for her little brother is also a surprise we delight in and treasure in our hearts. The real surprise is in how God turns everything right side up; for it is not us who are teaching these children, but rather it is us who learning from these two children of God!

And furthermore, what a joy to serve in a ministry where the vision is in providing a natural setting for people to engage in community and empower them to live out an outward and visible expression of the love and grace of Christ. More surprises here too… As we serve, it is us who are blessed. As we give, it is us who receive. As we teach and train young people, it is us who are taught and learn from them. 

Our children are teaching us and reminding us every day –  how to love, how to live, how to laugh, how to wonder, how to play, how to explore, how to rest, how to learn and how to grow. By embracing simplicity and grace that has already been given to us, through Jesus Christ and His life and love. What a joy and surprise!

Our hope is that you too continue to embrace the same joy, simplicity and freedom during these Advent and Christmas seasons. We thank you for journeying with us during this season. Thank you for your time, prayers, energy, hearts and faith, in choosing to make a difference in the lives of others, both through the temporary camp community and in the local communities we each find ourselves in.

Join us as we pray – “Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Advent Prayer – Episcopal Diocese of Texas)

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Peace and blessings to you and yours.

In Christ,

-Matt and Emma Tees