Every July we take the opportunity to dedicate a full ministry update about how the family is doing. We do this because, one, many of you asked. And two, we’d prefer focusing specifically on ministry in all other letters rather than having family updates buried in them every month.
This year’s update feels much more “normal” than last year’s. Rather than coming off the heels of a busy, trying time, this year went rather smoothly. We are still living in the same home, still at the same church and getting plenty of family time together.
On my end (Joey), I have enjoyed taking on new hobbies of replacing toilets, repairing fixtures and all the time-consuming tasks that come with homeownership. It feels rewarding to go from broken to fixed because of research and DIY work! In addition to forced hobbies, I’ve also enjoyed building a custom patio table and coffee table out of reclaimed wood. We had old frames and I got the wood for free, so all we needed was the hardware! That’s a win in my book.
And now for my better half (Jenn): This last year has been fun!! Still an avid reader. By the end of 2018, I read my whole goal of books and I’m trying to beat that number this year. Also keeping busy with a daily workout routine. Getting “me” time away from the kids (whom I love) is always refreshing. Finally, this last year I took on volunteering as the Sunday school coordinator at my church. There are difficulties being a city church, but I do enjoy choosing the curriculum and even teaching myself!
Jenn and I also got to enjoy a needed staycation with the kids in late June! Every day we did simple but fun things together as a family. Whether it was go to our town pool, buy and watch a new movie or go out for ice cream, we made it memorable and it was indeed relaxing.
As for the kids, all is well.
Gianluca (turning 8 in August) is still at an excellent public school where he gets plenty of attention to help him learn with his Autism. He also is in two summer programs (one public and one private) to really propel him forward! He still loves drawing logos, climbing and wrestling his little bro—as well as rewatching Veggie Tales as much as possible!
Gabriel (turned 6 in March) began a new school last fall. It’s a charter school, one of the best in Jersey City. It has a robust curriculum, but Gabriel has a robust mind—often surprising us with how much he knows. Both boys had their first baseball season, but Gabriel absolutely loved it! He was great too! In his downtime, he enjoys socializing with friends and playing video games when we let him.
Lana (turning 2 in July) has really flowered into a gorgeous young toddler. She’s talking more and more every day. One of her favorite things to do is ensure she gives high fives to ALL of us, even if we’re in the other room. She also enjoys going to walks, during which she says hi to all (unless they say hi first). In church, she also makes sure to raise her hands to Jesus during praise time!
Overall, we praise God for his presence and power in our lives. Thank you for being part of our journey and we try to faithfully pursue God’s calling on our lives.
As for our summer assignments, please pray for “Summer Connect.” We are coaching 20 student-lead groups from Maine to Ohio who meet every week! Pray also for my trip to our national staff conference from July 19-26. It will be great, but Jenn will be alone with kids (pray for strength and patience!) Pray also for the fall! It always comes quicker than our students expect! Thank you so much for your prayers and continued support!