One of the special opportunities of the Christmas season is being able to catch up a bit with the lives of friends and family. As we receive Christmas cards and letters in the mail this month, we have been reading them in our family’s “morning meeting.”
We hope our family update will be a blessing to you. We are very thankful for the friendships God has given to us over the years, and the influence for good that so many people have had in our family’s story so far.
Joshua (22) is in his third year at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, and is graduating this month with a degree in Humanities. He is planning to continue on at BJU for a Master’s degree in Communications. He will be working on the Campus as a mentor in the freshman guys’ dormitory, a job which he has already begun this past semester. Joshua has also continued to play bass in the BJU bluegrass group, occasionally traveling to sing for various events and churches around the country on the weekends. This past summer Joshua and Ethan both had the opportunity to work for a man in our church doing soil testing in the very large farm fields out here on the prairie. They also worked “next door” at the Aardsma Research & Publishing (ARP) campus building. We are always amazed at how the Lord provides for our children as they seek His will for their lives.
Ethan (20), our second son, met a special young lady at the end of his first year at Bob Jones University, and is the first of our children to become engaged. This past summer, our family was so excited to meet Erin del Toro for the first time (in person). Erin is from Greenville, SC, is an English Major at BJU, loves to read, and shares Ethan’s love for cinema. We are thrilled to be welcoming a new daughter into our family! Ethan proposed to Erin on the shores of Lake Michigan this summer, and to all of our surprise, she said yep! 😉 Their wedding is planned for this coming May the 8th. Ethan will graduate from BJU with an associate’s degree in Media Tech, and their wedding will be the following Monday in Greenville. Ethan is presently working for the BJU Press as a graphic designer.
It was a big year for Katelyn (19) as she graduated from Hall Family Christian School, and began attending BJU in the fall as a Studio Art major. Katelyn worked hard saving money for college through employment at a local Dairy Queen, a local County Market, and teaching private piano lessons. She hosted a wonderful piano recital for her students just before leaving for college. Katie’s departure for college meant leaving behind her dog, a little white “Mauser” (combination of a miniature Schnauzer and a Maltese) named Remi whom we have done our best to care for in her absence.
Sam (14) is a “tall tale.” He is no longer little Sammy, but is becoming “big Sam” more and more every day. He has grown about two feet within the last year, and appears to be on his way to being the tallest member of our family (so far)! Sam has done some off-and-on work helping out in construction at the ARP campus, as well as a little grounds work with a fellow in our church. He played football again on the local community team, and ended up being the quarterback on the team. The team was very young and struggled greatly, but Sam did his part extremely well, stepping up to the plate and showing great courage and fortitude. Sam has also taken over the position of “sound man” for our family as we travel and sing. He also works in the sound booth at our church.
Toby (11) is also growing like a weed, with unbounded energy for life. His two loves right now are football and his Nintendo Switch. Toby was also the quarterback for his football team, and very loved by his team mates. He has now added guitar to his repertoire of stringed instruments, and has stepped up to take a more active role in our family’s musical endeavors since the older kids keep leaving for college. Toby does very well in his school, and soaks things in like a sponge.
Olivia (9) enjoys writing letters to people, reading, singing, and going on “Daddy/daughter dates.” She is also getting better and better at playing her ukulele, and is working on the guitar as well. Olivia is also now becoming more of a help to her mom in the kitchen. She obtained her first kitten this past year- “Jessie.”
Annalise (7) is in the second grade, enjoys drawing, singing, and going to Sunday School. She loves stories, and can relay a long story line, such as from a movie she has watched. Annalise also obtained her first kitten this past year, named “Nala.” And of course, she loves Daddy/daughter dates, too. (Especially the ones that end up at Dunkin’ Donuts.)
Micah (just turned 6) started Kindergarten this year in our family homeschool, which means we now have no children in the family who are below school age. Micah is very smart, and loves learning to read, playing football, and all things Mom. 🙂 He sang his first solo in one of our family songs a few months ago.
Well, the latest news in the family is that we have decided to move again… but only just up the street this time. Jennifer’s parents moved into an apartment they had built inside the ARP campus (so they could be more fully available for their work), and our family decided to purchase the “home place” here in Loda, affectionately called “The Farm.” This was certainly not something we had ever intended, but when the opportunity became available, we began to sense God leading us in this unexpected direction. We realized it was a great opportunity for our family in a number of ways, one being that this will allow us to live in more of a rural setting. It was special to have a final family reunion at “The Farm” just before Jennifer’s parents moved into the apartment.
We have been getting “The Farm” ready for our family to move in, little by little. We hope to move in January. (It’s not a farm really, more like a homestead or “farmette.”)
One of the highlights of our summer this year was putting out our first mid-western garden, enjoying the rich dark black soil to grow things. We were mostly successful in all that we planted, and even made some profit on selling pumpkins and gourds in the fall. We spent many enjoyable summer evenings over at our garden spot.
We also entered the local county fair this past summer and that was a fun new experience for our family. Our garden produce earned some ribbons, as well as other arts and crafts we entered and many of Katelyn’s paintings. Just walking into the exhibit hall was a refreshing experience of the good ol’ American spirit of creativity and productivity!
Some other highlights of our year included joining a weekly homeschool co-op, teaching the teen class in our church’s VBS program, traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving and spending time with the Hall side of the family, and much more. We appreciate our church family here in Illinois at Christian Bible Church, and look forward to meeting together with the church each Sunday. The pace of life has certainly not slowed down for us at all, and seems to increase as everyone grows and ventures out! But as always, God is good, and He leads us all every step of the way.
One of the new additions to our work this year was the launching of a podcast that we host called The BC Messenger. (BC stands for Biblical Chronologist.) This has turned out to be an excellent way to tie all of the ends together and help unify the various aspects of the work here at Aardsma Research and Publishing. We enjoy hosting this monthly podcast, and if you would like to listen in you can sign up to have it delivered to your email. You can also search for The BC Messenger on your favorite podcast app, like Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
The pioneering work of the discovery of the anti-aging vitamins has proven to have a difficult path forward, which is no surprise. This has historically been the case for all paradigm-shifting ideas. The research is ongoing, and one exciting piece of news is that both new vitamins have now been patented by the U.S. Patent office as “compositions and methods for reducing aging.” We believe it is very important that people educate themselves on this discovery and not hesitate in taking action. You can head over here to learn more.
We have been able to do some traveling out to churches and meetings to share the message of The Biblical Chronologist through our Truth in Time ministry. The Lord allowed us to purchase our own sound system, which has truly been a blessing for singing and speaking at our meetings. With Ethan’s expert help this past summer, we were also able to record a song with the youngest children in our family called Just the Same. The message of this little song is the heartbeat of our ministry.
At Christmas we proclaim The Story, when the Light of the world came into the world. We are thankful for our merciful God who sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. As we often remind our children during the holidays, the reason for the season is Good Friday. Christ took on flesh and blood and was born in Bethlehem:
- to bring us to God: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18)
- to forgive us of our sins: “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)
- to destroy the works of the devil: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Hebrews 2:14)
- to redeem this world and take the throne: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
God has brought us out of darkness, into His marvelous light. We who know the Lord rejoice in this truth. And we urgently plead with those still in darkness– Come to the Light. Come, hear The Story. Come, bow the knee, and believe on the Lord Jesus.
Joy the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room. And heaven and nature sing!
~Steve & Jennifer and family
Keep up with our family!
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- Joshua’s blog: Jots and Tittles
- Ethan & Erin’s blog: E Squared
- Katelyn’s Instagram
- Subscribe / listen to our podcast