Hi friends! How are you?! We sure would love to sit down across the table with a cup of coffee and chat, and get caught up with each other’s lives. True friends are such a blessing in this topsy-turvy world. We are thankful for YOU.
Sure is hard for us to believe that we are well into our third year of living in Illinois. Here’s an update on our family and ministry. Go ahead and grab that cup of coffee and settle in…
Joshua (21) is one year away from graduating with a Humanities degree from Bob Jones University. He has greatly enjoyed his time at BJU which has afforded him many opportunities. He has been working as an RA in the freshmen dorm and next semester will also be serving as president of his society. He’s been playing bass in “BJUGrass” for over a year now, allowing him to grow in his musical abilities and travel out to various churches and venues.
Ethan (19) is a sophomore, also at Bob Jones in South Carolina, where he is pursuing a cinema degree. He has been an AGL- Assistant Group Leader- in his dorm this year. He stays quite busy with his classes and has enjoyed working on various film projects. He sings in the Concert Choir and as a family we have loved being able to watch the concerts online.
Katelyn (just turned 18) is in her senior year of high school. She keeps busy with her schooling (taking two of her classes online), teaching piano lessons, and working seasonal hours at a local, family-owned Dairy Queen. She is planning to pursue art in college and spends hours down in her little “art studio” in the basement. You can follow her art work on Instagram @artattack_3000. Katie got a little puppy a couple months ago named Remi and this little white dog has now taken up where the wild toddlers in the family left off.
Sammy (13) now fills the role of being the oldest boy at home. He took care of mowing the yard this summer and is a handy guy to have around for any need that may arise. Lately he has been working some construction with Grandpa at the ARP Campus. His current hobbies are doing awesome yo-yo tricks, woodburning, and fishing. He is basically as tall as Steve now, but still has plenty of growing to do. He continues to make progress on the violin. He was able to play football this fall with a local youth league and his team ended up becoming the regional champions– certainly exciting for all involved!
Toby (10) says his hobbies are football and the NFL. He also played football with the local youth league and really enjoyed getting some experience and the opportunity to get out on the field. He was able to play various positions including quarterback. He talks with Joshua at least once a week to get caught up on all things football and their fantasy team. He also plays the mandolin and ukulele and can often be heard strumming around the house. He plays everything in a fast and furious manner which matches his intense personality.
Olivia (8) is getting tall as well and quickly growing into a young lady! She loves to help out with Katie’s dog, and she is learning to play the piano and ukulele. She gets in on the football games played out in the yard, and often waits outside for Steve to come home from work every evening. She enjoys reading and has been able to take on longer books lately, now that she is in the third grade.
Annalise (6) is usually full of giggles and silliness. She is doing well in first grade and enjoys going to Sparks at Awana each week. She asks great questions during family devotions. She enjoys singing with the family and surprised everyone at church by singing a solo recently. Many folks thought “she was the shy one” and greatly enjoyed hearing her sing a song based on Romans 8:28– “All Things Work Together.”
Micah (just turned 5!) stays busy keeping up with the bigger kids. He is the only one not in school, but insists on doing workbook activities during school time. He is going to be a tall guy, and has a sweet personality. He wants to learn piano like the girls are doing, and for his age, he has picked up on it very well! He loves to have books read to him and is a great helper around the house.
Jennifer keeps busy with homeschooling, feeding the clan, and trying to keep up with all the kids’ ages and stages. She is also involved on a daily basis with our work here (more on that below). She enjoys teaching the T & T class at Awana each week. She loves walking outside (an Illinois sunset makes for a glorious walk here), coordinating the family on various musical ventures, and blogging when she gets a chance. One of her highlights during the past year was re-doing our kitchen. The actual re-doing wasn’t a highlight (August was a hot, miserable month to be painting cabinets and ripping out countertops!) but the result has been well worth the effort. She was grateful for Joshua’s help with this huge project during his few weeks home, in between his summer traveling and starting another school year.
Steve is busily occupied with the many facets of our work here (more on that below). Most of this year he has been working half days in marketing and communications, and the other half of each day in construction at the campus of ARP. He enjoys reading to the children in the evenings and willingly operates “Dad’s taxi service”– taking kids wherever they need to go.
Our family has greatly appreciated and benefited from the ministry and church family at Christian Bible Church. We are blessed by the teaching ministry of Pastor Josh Benner.
We took a trip back to Virginia in March and were able to visit Valley Baptist for the first time since our departure. It was special for us to be there for the 40th anniversary of Steve’s father as the pastor there. So many dear faces and precious times.
We came to work at Aardsma Research and Publishing (ARP) in July 2019. Our first major task was to establish a commercial sales platform for Dr. Aardsma’s Vitamins. This was first priority, so that anyone desiring to obtain the newly discovered vitamins would have no roadblocks in their way. The sales platform is now up and running fairly smoothly. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg as the vitamin work continues to progress. We are at the very beginning of a very important discovery with an enormous future in front of it. The second edition of Aging: Cause and Cure was published this year, by Drs. Gerald and Matthew Aardsma. The book is comprised of 326 pages, giving the underlying theory for the discovery of the vitamins. Our current goal is to “minimize the mortality and morbidity of aging, by getting Dr. Aardsma’s Vitamins to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.“
Our second major task has been the establishment of a brand new ministry called Truth in Time. This is an apologetics ministry which focuses on The Bible in Real-World History (especially ancient history). This is the communications branch of the research work in biblical chronology that Jennifer’s father has done over several decades. (The chronology work ended up laying the foundation for the vitamin discoveries). The reception to Steve’s initial forays into this new work have been encouraging. We are thrilled to be able to communicate the real-world truth of God’s Word to a world desperately in need. Integrated with the Truth in Time ministry is our family’s music ministry, and we are excited to reach new audiences in the coming year, Lord-willing.
In all of this, we have learned to know God more fully, and to trust Him more deeply. He has a way of putting us in situations that are way too big for us, extending far beyond our human abilities. And then we are able to watch in wonder at all that He does, even though it often happens slowly, with many twists and turns, and not on our time table.
This has been a difficult year for so many. Our hearts have been heavy and broken at the loss of family and friends, a number due to Covid. Suffering and trials have seemed to be on every hand. Sometimes there are no answers and there is certainly no magic fix. All we know, sometimes, is that we are in a world that needs help, full of people who need help. And the fact that we do have Help, from outside ourselves and outside our world, is what Christmas is all about.
There is a Savior, what joys express;
His eyes are mercy, His Word is rest.
For each tomorrow, for yesterday…
There is a Savior, who lights our way.
How our hearts long for the restoration of all things! A broken world, yes, full of broken people, yes. But the story doesn’t end there. It’s now a redeemed world. It belongs to Jesus Christ, the Great Redeemer, the One we serve and love with all our hearts. The One we trust when our hearts are breaking. We pray you know Him as your Redeemer, Savior and Friend.
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” I John 4:14
We hope this post helps clarify where our family is now, and what we’ve been up to! We send our heartfelt love and greetings, and pray that God will bless and guide you in the year ahead. We’d love to hear from you.
~Steve & Jennifer and family
10 thoughts on “Christmas Update 2021”
Thanks so much Steve for your ministry in words. I’m not too tech but was able to get your site loaded as “ permissible” on mom and dads GrandPad and they loved it and so love and miss your family and enjoyed catching up🙏🏻🙌🏻👍🏻
Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone
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Thank you Cindy! We sure miss them as well. Thank you for helping them get to our site! We appreciate it very much.
Loved hearing all about your family and your connections. So nice to have pictures for each face. No surprise you’re into music. Wonder if you are familiar with The Petersens.
Kevin and I are taking a couple of our friends to go with us to Grapevine, about an hour and a half from here, to hear them sing tonight. I hope to get a Christmas album tonight. I’ve been following them online for a couple of years and we last saw them in Branson, MO on our 25th anniversary. They are also a Bluegrass group with a wonderful testimony. Check them out! Merry Christmas to you all!
Hi Steve, Jennifer and the family, I enjoyed reading your post and hearing about your work there. The family looks healthy & happy, so I guess Jennifer is feeding you good.
I want to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.
Take care of you selves!
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Hi Joe! It is good to hear from you. Jennifer is feeding us all too well 🙂 We miss seeing you and wish you a Merry Christmas also!
Hello !!! Steve, Jennifer and Family.
We enjoyed reading about all the exciting things happening with you and your family. Praise the Lord, look like everyone doing well and staying busy.
Good to see Sammy playing football. It’s
been exciting times for the Riverheads Gladiators as they won there sixth straight championship on Dec. 11th. Also that was there 50th win in a row. Virginia state record is 52. Going to be exciting time next fall. Bennett Dunlap is our quarterback and has one more year to go. It’s so good to hear from you all. We want too wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and exciting New Year May God continue to bless you and family in a very special way !!! LOVE IN CHRIST !!!
What a wonderful and detailed post! I so enjoyed reading all about your beautiful children, you’re doing a great job. Also happy to hear that they all seem to be involved with music. Hope you’re still playing your harp.
Matt and Melissa are now living with us in Florence OR, Melissa to finish school, and Matt for health challenges.
Tom has Lewybodies dementia, so I’m learning a new role as caregiver, quite a challenge.
Please keep sending your great Christmas letters.
Love, Sylvia and family
Dear Steve, Jennifer and family, Your Christmas card/letter is so interesting to read… hearing about each of you and what is going on is great. We love seeing all the pictures – they are sweet to see. Your kitchen make-over is fabulous – very nice. We wish you all a Very “Blessed” New Year – Love you all, Dawn & Jerry