Merry Christmas 2020
This has been a year full of heartache, sacrifices, and intensity. In this year, we have also found good changes, peace and hope. More than ever before in our lifetimes, Jesus Christ’s first coming reminds us: Jesus is coming again! That is the very definition of “advent” in Latin: “coming.” Jesus came once, and the angel’s declared, JOY to the world! And now that we have His spirit within us, we declare it again: every fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control--is ready and available to fuel us now. To give us that fresh manna each day as we wait expectantly for His return, and as we love and serve others in the meantime!
The pandemic, racial injustices, political intensity, and all-over pain in our world has made the reality of Heaven shine brighter for our family. When we choose to align ourselves first to Christ and our citizenship in heaven, then second as His ambassadors here, sent to love, listen, care, and sacrifice for others, we have found the ground beneath us is an unshakeable foundation. The book of Colossians, written from prison to a church tempted to believe everything they hear, has been a deep encouragement to us this year:“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” From that place, we are equipped to care for the people of the earth, without being distracted:
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Early this year, I (Tori) celebrated my 30th birthday with my precious “Marco Polo Mom Tribe.” I reached out to these 5 other moms almost 2 years ago, and when the lockdowns hit this year, I was deeply grateful God had taught me how to connect virtually and built up these deep, safe friendships. Seeing and hearing my friends almost every single day through this app, praying together, and encouraging one other has continued to be a life-changing blessing.
During the lockdowns, we were abundantly blessed in many ways. My job at New Day has remained secure. I had already been working many hours from home, and many meetings transitioned to online. WorshipArts was greatly impacted, but the students rallied and recorded themselves worshiping Jesus, making videos that testified of God’s goodness. In some cases Peter has been able to continue distanced in-person private lessons, and we are looking forward to seeing God continue to provide for WorshipArts and all of the students and family we care about.
All three of us experienced loneliness and sadness throughout this year, and grieved many things, from no more weekly story-times at the bookstore or playdates, to dear friends moving away from our lives, to Esther’s Great-Great Grandmother Audrey passing away. Despite a lot of pain, it has been beautiful to get so much dedicated family time, just the three of us. We played lots of games together this year--Peter and I logged 109 hours of gameplay together so far in 2020! And we even live-streamed a few online for friends to join us! We know many cannot say the same: this extra time together strengthened our marriage and our family, and we are filled with gratitude that while tensions abound around us, our marriage is thriving. Esther is also growing and learning. She officially completed her reading lessons program, and can read many early readers! We started homeschool kindergarten this fall, and are enjoying it so much! Esther’s imagination is off the charts--every moment is part of an elaborate adventure--underwater exploring, becoming a Princess Knight, or pretending “you don’t know me” so she can introduce herself and ask us to adopt her into her family. She loves to draw and create, cook us pretend food, and seeing her grow in generosity and work hard on being kind fills us with joy.
This summer we safely gathered outdoors to have a socially distanced 4th birthday party for Esther. Around that time we also loved spending time with Clayton, Olivia and Arlo, Peter’s family who are missionaries in England. Tori’s sister Emily and Andrew are expecting their second baby, a sweet girl to be born in January 2021! And this October, we were all thrilled to welcome Audrey to the family--she joined Lucas, (Peter’s brother) Samantha and Elias when she was born ON Samantha’s birthday! Tori’s brothers William and Lewis are also doing well! Will is working at Starbucks, aiming to climb the ladder there, and Lewis is serving at the School of Ministry in Toronto. Also this fall, Tori’s life-time friend Lindsay Cyr got engaged to Nate!! Tori is honored to be in the wedding next year.
This fall, many people we love have gotten covid-19. While we are SO thankful to say that so far, no one in our families have passed away because of the disease, our lives have been deeply affected. Peter’s mother Tami got covid mid-October, and 8 weeks later, is still suffering from debilitating symptoms of chest pain, fatigue, weakness, memory loss, and more. We ask your prayers for a miraculous and full recovery from what they’re calling “long-covid.” Peter, Esther and I all got covid in November. Peter recovered after about 12 days, and I was mostly back a few days later. I still have a lingering cough, some fatigue and a few other minor symptoms but Peter and Esther are 100% recovered!
We are thrilled to announce that God is leading us in a new direction! On a walk late in the spring, God confirmed to both of us that it was time to sell our tiny home because:
we’re planning to adopt a baby!
We got our house packed and ready to sell, and found the perfect place for us just one block away from Tori’s parents in Portage! While it is still currently a secret from Esther, we are thrilled to start the process of private infant adoption next year. We currently plan to work with an adoption agency, and while the cost of $29,000 is a bit stunning, we have faith that God is going to provide and we expect to begin fundraising soon. Please be praying for miracles--once we are approved, the timeline can be months to two years. Our heart is to adopt as soon as possible, and we know our God can bring the funds and the sweet little one to grow our family!
With our love and prayers for your health, hope, and for you to draw closer and closer to Jesus,
Peter, Tori & Esther Webb