Newsletter — November 2020 – January 2021
Clockwise from top left to bottom left: Grace (7) in CT stopping to smell the roses; in the Middle East, Evelyne (4 and ½) sporting the latest in kid’s masks; twin brother Isaiah does the same; Evelyne and Isaiah together at the local park; Solomon, our “Solo,” (2 and ½) enjoys a cable car ride; the Blomberg “boys” – Isaiah and Solomon holding 6-month-old twins, Aaron and Noah; Gabriel, Grace’s brother in CT, (4 and ½) enjoying a rainbow popsicle at the ER for a concussion (don’t worry – he’s just fine!)
Dear treasured friends, precious family and valued ministry partners:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
As our good friend, pastor Greg Albrecht recently noted regarding the Philippians passage at the top: “Paul wrote these words when he was in lockdown – the power of the mighty Roman Empire insisted he ‘stay safe at home.’ Paul was social distancing whether he liked it or not. He was in prison, or at the very least under house arrest. He had good reason to be anxious about everything in his life and yet he said ‘Do not be anxious about anything…’”
In addition to the Covid-19 situation, here in Southern California we had been dealing with horrible air quality due to the recent “Bobcat” Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains above us, and now from smoke and ash being blown in from several other fires! And, yes, I forgot to mention we were awakened by an earthquake a few weeks back, yet we continue to “rejoice in the Lord always” as we know that His love for us never fails, even in the current distresses!
As I write, Tammy and I should be arriving in the Middle East to meet our two new grandchildren – now 6-month-old twins Aaron and Noah. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until next Spring to be with our daughter Lisa, son-in-law Jonathan, as well as Evelyne, Isaiah and Solomon. Please continue to pray for this amazing family as they share God’s love in a very challenging place!
In the meantime, I have been receiving physical therapy this past month for some rather acute back pain due to a defective L5. I am also dealing with Dupuytren’s Contracture on my right hand (inherited by my siblings and me from our northern European ancestors!) causing my little finger to begin to bend. Soon I will have to make a decision regarding surgery to correct this or some other option. I am sure you can understand this could be rather distressing, given how I use my hands in ministry. Your prayers for complete recovery and healing would be most appreciated. My hands are His hands and all of us are safely in the palms of His hands!
After giving a dozen “driveway concerts” we had to take a break, first due to rather excessive heat (up to 115 Fahrenheit!) and the above-mentioned air quality. We were going to resume these community outreaches this week, but once again the air quality prevents that. It was wonderful, though, for Tammy and me to be able to lead a Zoom worship service with Grace Communion church in Orange County a few weeks ago. And, of course, we continue to reach out via phone, e-mail and videos to friends, family and loved ones, even though ministry travel has had to be curtailed for the moment. Thankfully, I am starting to receive invitations for ministry visits early in 2021.
Your prayers for, and ongoing financial support of “State of the Heart” are so very much appreciated. We are so grateful for each and every one of co-workers in the Gospel and pray for you and yours often. Please let us know how you are doing (via e-mail, phone or letter) and tell us if you have need of prayer specifically for your friends and family.
With love and prayers and blessings,
Ross and Tammy