Before sitting down to write, I (Jay) spent some time reading earlier posts that we've written detailing our journey with Josiah. Last year was such a hard year for us. Four months ago sort of feels like a lifetime ago. But with each day that passes, God has brought healing to our family. Like we've mentioned in the past, we have been cared for so well by our friends and family from all over.
One thing we prayed for early on was that God would not let us waste our tragedy. We hoped we would get to see tangible ways our grief and pain could be used for His glory and the benefit of others. Over the last few months it's been a joy for us to share, in the right situations, about our pain and suffering. And each time someone asks about how we are doing since Josiah passed away, it's been a gift for us to talk about because those conversations are becoming more rare by the day – probably because people are afraid to ask and don't want to reopen old wounds. The truth is, we miss our little boy so much and love talking about him, thinking about him, and sharing how much he meant to us.
The holidays were a really good time for us to spend with family. Henry and Eden just turned 5 and 2 in January, so they have received their quota of gifts for the foreseeable future. For Henry's birthday, I took him to see the OKC Thunder and eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. He was ready to leave about halfway through the 2nd quarter, but I was able to talk him into staying with a bag full of gummy worms. Henry still loves pre-K and Eden gets excited to see "Miss Pat" at Mother's Day Out three days a week. And just last week, Henry lost his first tooth! Right now, he wants to be just like his Daddy and I'm perfectly okay with that.
Things have been going great at Providence Road. For 2019, the elders have encouraged our Covenant Members to place a special emphasis on prayer and mission. For four weeks, we have gathered together to pray for our city and for unbelievers in our lives. I'm excited to see how God uses our prayers to bring people to find freedom and joy in Jesus. Additionally, the church recently installed deacons for the very first time. This has been something the elders have been planning for and praying about for a while now. I am honored to be named one of the church's first five deacons.
Personally, these past couple of months have felt busier than normal for me. Along with my regular responsibilities, I've been asked to lead out in starting a couple new endeavors for our church. We recently formed a partnership with the 405 Center out of OKC. They are a bridge that connects local churches to non-profits in the community who are serving the poor and the marginalized. They have been great for us, both training our people to live missionally and serving as an incredible resource in helping us identify the local organizations who are already doing fantastic work. I'm excited to see how our people respond.
In addition, I will be initiating our efforts to begin a youth ministry this spring. This Sunday, we are having an info lunch with families of youth and hope to begin weekly or biweekly youth gatherings in the next few weeks. We currently have four students committed to be a part of that, with another five that we hope will join us in the summer. I envision a lot of pizza and late nights in my near future.
We appreciate the continued calls, cards, and messages you guys have sent our way. Keep them coming! As often as you think of us, pray for us: for our family, for our ministry in Norman, and for our communion with Christ. We love you guys!