All the presents are unwrapped. There’s some ham to stuff your face with and maybe one more relative’s house to visit, but slowly the Christmas festivities are coming to an end. I know what you’re thinking…
“We didn’t get a Christmas card from the BENTON’S this year!” It’s true, you didn’t. But it’s not because we don’t love you. On the contrary. We love you a lot. In fact, we love you so much we wanted to pass along our 2013 highlights and give you a great big Lone Star State thank you blog.
In January, we celebrated ten years of marriage with an absolutely awesome gathering of friends and family up in Missouri. It seems like that party was eleven years ago, not eleven months. Sure, it was 3 weeks after our actual anniversary, but it was a great time and reminded us that we are loved by many and lots of people get credit for getting us through our first decade of wedded
This December, we celebrated our eleventh year of marriage. Highlights included going to Denny’s for breakfast because we were busy at church that weekend, and me telling my wife I left her some money in a mailbox once.
Our kids are the stuff! Malachi started KINDERGARTEN and Nora is in third grade. Or, as she put it, “I’m more than halfway done with elementary school,” which when she said it caused my heart to stop beating for a minute (I’m okay now). Highlights of their year include being awesome, being cute, being smart, and arguing with each other a lot. The arguments usually end with them laughing and being best friends again, so that’s a plus. They drive us nuts and melt our hearts, sometimes within a couple seconds of each other. We are blessed.
We did some traveling this year. Nora went to church camp and Malachi went with me to speak at a camp in Missouri. I went to Jackson, MS, South Dakota, India, and Jackson, MS again. My wife went to the Dominican Republic (and Jackson, MS the second time). We actually went to the DR and India in back to back weeks, because hey why not. Oh, and the week before my wife left for the Dominican Republic we moved. That’s right, we moved. We moved for a very particular reason, but in retrospect our timing was a little weird. But we’re all settled into our new digs and we love it. The kids have adjusted well, and we talk to school every single day, even when it is raining.
Back in August my wife and I talked about starting a nonprofit, and that dream is becoming a reality. We start taking donations on January 1, 2014, and you can read more about all that here. The bottom line is that we want to leverage the wealth of the American church to fund global Kingdom work. We’ve got two projects lined up that we’re pretty stoked about, and hope to have them fully funded in the first few months of 2014. Join us!
Other highlights include my wife going back to school. She wondered if she should, worried about whether or not she would do well, and then aced both of her classes this semester. When I say “aced” I mean “made a one hundred percent in one class and a ninety-nine in the other one.” She did this while doing all the other stuff I mentioned we did this fall. She’s amazing.
Stuff at Current – A Christian Church is going awesome. The church is really growing, the student ministry is growing, too, and we enjoy the people we get to share life with. What went on with our church family in 2013 is enough to fill a whole other blog post, but some highlights included our All In emphasis this fall and having a couple new folks join our staff team. I’m excited about 2014 and how our church will continue to make an impact in our community.
My whole point in telling you all about all this is to say thank you. We could not do all this stuff and come out the other end alive if we didn’t have family and friends like those of you reading this blog right now. You are encouraging in so many ways — drop-in notes on FB or text, visits to Texas to help with kids while one of us (or both of us) travel, financial support of all our missions (and new nonprofit) endeavors, and prayers and encouragement that sometimes we can almost feel.
So even though we don’t have a snazzy picture of our family in front of our Christmas tree, and we certainly don’t have a slickly produced video of us dancing around in our pajamas, we wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.
You are a true gift to us, and we would be idiots to not stop and say we love you all.
So Merry Christmas from the Benton Family! We praise God for each of you and are delighted to call you our friends.