Friday, December 14, 2018

Family Christmas Letter

Christmastide 2018

Greetings from the Weeks family this blessed Christmas, our second in our new home where we have been happily settled for over a year. Various improvements have been undertaken and we now have a back garden that is not merely lawn but has flower borders. Our improvements are as nothing compared with our International Presbyterian Church where with a spend of around £3,000,000 we now have a new chapel seating over 300 and beautiful ancillary facilities. The opening was on 17th November when Sinclair Ferguson preached. Our pastor Paul Levy, had, on the first Sunday given us the text, ‘This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eye’s.’ The congregation started in L’Abri’s house in 1969.We moved to its present site, an Anglo-catholic convent chapel in 1979. But our grade 2 listed building has been too small for the morning congregation for the last ten years. We have met elsewhere in the mornings and evenings too since building started last year. Evenings and weekday activities have been at Dean Hall church and we are very grateful to them for free use of their premises.
This  has been a less traumatic year for health too. No more hospital admissions, only outpatients appointments now. Graham’s sight has not deteriorated , merely a blurred left eye. The bilateral leg ulcers healed in February and it was then he felt the consequences of the 2017 illnesses. Graham bought a ticket to visit his friend Dennis recovering from major surgery in California. A bargain at £400 but the cheapest insurance was over £1600 so he went without cover for pre-existing conditions. The family were not pleased but all went well apart from gout starting to be evident as he flew back.
   Katy’s health has remained much the same with her chronic back pain and increasing arthritis .  She did not go to California but we both enjoyed Scotland in July, flying to Inverness then motoring to stay on Mull and Orkney, new islands for us including Staffa, Iona and Hoy Katy continues to be very busy with her cello and piano in church and cello in various outside groups.  She is also very active in our church’s English classes helping women from other countries, teaching them to improve their English and a Bible half hour for those willing to stay.
   Graham has resumed preaching at the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, the captive audience, largely African.  That is two or three Sunday evenings a month.He continues to convene three specialist groups for the local University of the Third Age, world religions, current affairs and history. He is now in his 36th year as an elder in our church and has been to presbytery meetings in Aberdeen and York.  He has twice been involved in campaigning concerning the violence against Christians in Nigeria. First he was the only non-Nigerian in a demonstration outside the Nigerian High Commission protesting the government’s failure to protect Christians from Muslim terrorism. Then he was on a vigil for the release by Boko Haram of Christian schoolgirl, Leah Shaibu. A passing Igbo man videoed him and his speech on the reasons for the conflict went viral on the internet.
   Debbie still lives with us. She helps in the church mother and toddlers group and also a weeknight club for children in school years 1 to 6. Her craft and design skills are much in demand. Since September her child minding has developed into primary school classroom assistant caring for our pastor’s daughter Phoebe who has Down’s Syndrome. Three days a week she also cares for Phoebe’s two elder siblings after school        
   Rachel now has left her occupational therapy. She and husband Adrian have been approved by the local council as foster carers and await their first child. who will be younger than their own. Elissa has started secondary school, Ada Lovelace,a new Anglican one in walking distance but temporarily in the premises of another Anglican free school, William Perkin.Brother Ethan is still the resident Lego expert.                          
   Near Cambridge, Jonathan has employment in the warehouse of the Cambridge Examinations Board but it is zero hours contract. He has twice applied for and failed to land full time contracted employment. Bethany and Hannah are now teenagers. Bethany is studying catering. Hannah is in high school .
   In Canterbury Zac has found an unusual favourite subject in grammar school, Mandarin Chinese. Sahara is doing well in her studies despite chronic fatigue due to Lymes disease hindering school attendance.David is still producing many paintings of Kent seaside towns and of Canterbury in a naive style. Prints and cards are for sale.  Elizabeth is full time consultant psychologist    So we are thankful for God’s blessings to all of them.
    Keep next August 10th in your diary. Golden wedding party is planned.
  With our love and prayers for 2019,
Graham and Katy

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