Journals
Posted on December 31, 2020 Advent 2020
Katrina & Kyle Williams
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Advent 2020 Update

Dear Friends,

To each of you that shares your resources whether it is your time praying for us or your finances, we want to say thank you for this fruitful year of ministry.  We know that God is moving and we are excited to see what is in store for our ministry in the new year.

Holy Night

Our Christmas will be quiet this year.  Just our children and the animals.  I am finding joy in this quiet holy moment.

Our “normal” Christmases don’t always capture the mood of the original.  For one, we always have a warm place to stay and even if our house sometimes sounds like a barn it’s not.  But this year like that first Christmas there is a collective yearning for an end to our current situation.  Our hearts are a beat more in tune with Mary’s.   Listen to her words:

“He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

We have to do a bit of stretching before we get to the “Holly Jolly Christmas” of last year.  Mary’s words reflect pain of generational oppression and the collective waiting and yearning for liberation from the brokenness all around.  This is the emotion of the original Christmas.

This Christmas will be different for many people, but it won’t be lost.  We might not be celebrating with large families gathering or hectic shopping excursions but none of that was present for Mary either so many years ago.

The event was quiet, maybe even a bit scary giving birth outside alone.  There is no mention of anybody but Mary, her husband, and a few visitors who lived outdoors, but otherwise it was missed by most of the world. This holy event was only celebrated by a handful of people.

I think we have an opportunity to understand at a deeper level what Mary and Joseph may have been feeling during that holy night of birthing pains.

Imagine Rome is at the height of its power.  It rules with an iron fist.  The peace is kept only by the threat of the sword. Your small near eastern country insignificant on the map.  A quiet desperation hangs in the air, only being voiced in guarded tones within your trusted community.  Your nation divided.  Some go along with Rome, to gain proximity to  power, like Zacchaeus, others rebel and are executed like many of the Zealots.

Your Psalms sound like this, “How long oh LORD will you look away from your children?”  

Shopping malls decked with holly and the cheery Christmas music of the past decades probably don’t quite encompass the emotional distress and equal hope of this season 2000 years ago.

This season is becoming less about the unwrapping of gifts and more about our communal need of liberation.  If there was ever a year that most of world could understand and highlight this, it would be 2020.

SE Asia continues to deal with the fallout of COVID-19.  Cases continue to rise in countries around us.  Even though T-land has done a great job contract tracing and keeping COVID at bay within its borders, the lack of tourist continues to take its toll.  Just this weekend news broke of a spike in cases.  Plus we are noticing the long term effects of it.  More businesses struggling and closing their doors.  I have seen tents and people sleeping outside around as I commute.  The world is groaning.

But there is hope.  Our God came to Earth to be with us.  He came to ache as we do, to long for something different for the world as we do.  He came to reveal the depths of His love for us so that we can in turn love one another.  I pray this Advent season that we will love one another with our words, our deeds, and our thoughts and make tangible the presence of Christ to neighbor and enemy alike.

Amen.

Pray for the many people in SE Asia that are suffering directly and indirectly from COVID 19’s effects.

Praise God that M. has seen an overall decrease in violence in the last few weeks.

Pray for new teachers for CRICS next year, especially secondary math and science teachers.

The kids continue to thrive.  Ian is half way through is 10th grade year and has started to think about university.  It is the Cross Country season again, so he is running a lot.

Adi is in a school play (it hasn’t been performed yet) and is busy rehearsing each week. We are excited to see it.

Eli and Abram are enjoying soccer at CRICS.

Every time Abram passes our bamboo Christmas tree he pauses to take it in.  He thanked me for making it.   It was a sweet moment.

Support IM and the Williams

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Ministry Update:

Katrina has finished the first semester of teaching Chemistry.  Her students (Ian being one of them) I am sure are happy for this break.  CRICS continues to improve the campus.  They plan on building a gymnasium soon for their students.

Kyle helped complete a project in Zimbabwe for a UK based aid group tracking violence towards civilians in the mining industry.  Zimbabwe is a land full of natural resources, and without much infrastructure or transparency which creates vulnerability.  Envisage’s work continues to grow as we find better ways to aid in peace work in M, Zim, and around the world.