To our dear friends and family,
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! As we begin 2009 we’re overwhelmed with God’s grace and guidance in our lives this last year. Through every new friendship, challenge, and fun memory, God has continued to make real in our lives his peace ‘which surpasses all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7), and we’re excited and humbled as we continue to learn how to show his love to the people around us.
If it’s been a while since we talked, 2008 was a really big year for us – our family grew! Justin Dwayne Woolery FINALLY was born on January 22 (he was 2 ½ weeks late!). And life has never been the same or quite so much fun! It was an incredible blessing to have both sets of grandparents with us when he was born, and we have cherished watching him grow and develop over the last year. Justin was the only baby born on our campus this last year, so he’s extremely popular. It’s amazing to live in a community where Justin is surrounded by so much love. He also attracts quite a lot of attention, being a chubby, bald, white baby in Manila, so we’ve actually made some new friends through his amazing smile!
We’re still living in the Philippines, studying at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. It’s hard to believe we left Guam 2 ½ years ago and are nearing the end of our studies for our Masters degrees. While our time at APNTS has been challenging in many ways, we’re so thankful to be receiving our education in such a diverse cross-cultural setting, and it’s hard to think about saying goodbye to the APNTS community when we graduate. Julie is in the middle of her thesis right now and will hopefully graduate this April, while Brian will finish classes in October.
Julie has continued to teach English classes to students from Korea, Myanmar, Japan, and the Philippines. We’re still amazed at how God brought this opportunity at APNTS and how much it has blessed our lives. Brian continues to serve as the Asia-Pacific Regional Youth Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. This year he was able to travel to Australia and Thailand to meet with youth leaders and encourage them in their work. He’s also busy now with the challenge of planning the NYI convention for the Asia-Pacific Region to be held in Manila in June 2009. Through both of these job opportunities, we continue to be humbled as we learn from youth leaders around Asia and the Pacific. God is doing amazing things among youth, and we’re excited to be a part in a small way!
So, the big question is, what comes next? And we have no idea! ☺ But we trust in an incredible God who has led us through adventures we never dreamed we would get to participate in, and we know he will continue to lead us to whatever is next. We would really love to stay somewhere in Asia-Pacific, so we’ll let you know as soon we find out! So, it’s no surprise that we really need your prayers in 2009! ☺ Thesis writing, NYI convention, parenting, visa fees, rent money, maintaining family relationships across the globe, and an unknown future can occasionally lead to worry, but again, we have complete confidence that God is in control and will provide for us everything that we need. Please pray for us this year, and thank you, thank you, thank you for your friendship and support. We’re so blessed to be on this journey with you!
One last thing…. I wanted to include pictures in this letter, but my email won’t let me today, so please visit our blog and you can catch up on all the details of our crazy adventures. We’re trying to post stories more frequently, but if you would rather receive them by email, just go to our blog once, and you can sign up to receive stories by email. The address is: www.woolerywanderings.blogspot.com.
We LOVE to hear from you! May God bless you and your family in this new year!
Brian, Julie, and Justin Woolery