Hello to all my friends and family, near and far! 2004 is just about to close and I decided to send an email Christmas letter instead of snail mail. If I went with the USPS you'd get 2004's letter in 2010!
This has been a pretty big year for me! In January I took a temporary position at the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the State of Washington. After a few months of being a temp, and going through numerous interviews, I was hired full time as the Customer Relations Representative (i.e. Receptionist)! I did everything from data entry (entering applications we receive for our Telecommunication Distribution Program) to scheduling interpreters for the office (we have three Deaf staff members), from ordering supplies to interpreting occasional meetings. This fall I received a promotion to a Program Support position. Now I do clerical support for all three of our Program Managers. It's fun and is allowing me to show a little more of my skills. I do have two college degrees to use!
Early this spring, our church started reading through the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren as well as meeting as weekly small groups and watching and discussing a video about the week's readings. In a church the size of Living Water... let's just say there were a TON of small groups! God used this opportunity for those of us in the Deaf Ministry at Living Water to band together and start a Deaf church! On April 4, 2004, Deaf Experiencing Amazing Freedom-DEAF-was born! We meet during the 9 am service on Living Water's campus, have services completely in ASL, and are a growing family of believers who care about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities across the world. We've had some ups and downs, things that have worked wonderfully and those that haven't, but it's been a pretty exciting ride! I've learned just how much I didn't learn at school! Can you believe they actually license people like me?! GRIN
You can keep updated with DEAF's blog on the internet if you'd like. Go to www.deafexperiencingamazingfreedom.blogspot.com. Feel free to post and say hi, check out the calendar or work on our memory verses with us. Please also keep this ministry in prayer-God's promised huge things and we're just beginning. We're pretty full already with DEAF, an interpreted hearing service, a sign choir, a games night, Bible study starting soon, and a bowling team and craft night on their way!
I've also been blessed to have gotten hooked into an amazing small group here in Olympia. God has blessed me with wonderful friends (around my own age!) who are some of the most supportive, silly, God-loving people around! We have a regular small group meeting once a week where my life has been both challenged and enriched. They've truly been a blessing.
One fun thing (that HAS to go in a Christmas letter!) happened to me and a friend of mine in October. I got to meet, REALLY MEET Steven Curtis Chapman! I got tickets for his All Things New concert in Seattle on October 28 for the 10th row center. They were incredible seats; the best seats I've had for one of his concerts. The evening was absolutely amazing-we were blessed with amazing performances and phenomenal worship. He toured with Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns and I was so blessed to find two more artists to worship with! After the concert we had BACKSTAGE PASSES obtained through Shaohannah's Hope-an adoption grant program Steven and his wife, Mary Beth, started after adopting their first (of three) adopted daughter. (Visit Shaohannah's Hope at www.shaohannahshope.org.) Soon, the auction winners were called forward and four of us went forward. Note-I got a little nervous right now. Obviously, we were going to be treated a little differently than the rest of the people. While everyone else lined up for a handshake and a "hihowareyagreatconcertthanksloveyabye", we went back to the dressing room area. Even now I can still fill the excitement of those moments! I heard this "Woo!" coming from the dressing room in front of us and I thought, "This is it!" Out bounds Steven, with a huge grin on his face and laughter in his eyes. He chatted with the other folks for a few minutes and then turned to us. I felt speechless with excitement and that "duh... I'm a fan..." mentality! It was so amazing to be able to express what his music and life have meant to me-how his words and actions have inspired change in my own life. Here's a picture from that night (my friend is on the other side of Steven, but for her privacy I'm just sending you him and I). For more of the story and more pics, you can check out my personal blog at www.100percentwashingtonian.blogspot.com. It's in the October/November archives.
Thanks for bearing with me through my book! I'm expecting great things next year so stay updated! I pray God's best and biggest blessings upon each one of you. Thank you for being a part of my life, I appreciate you all!