Post 229

I just love the holidays. Holy Days, you know that's what it means. I just love 'em. Let's celebrate holy things. Here's what I am celebrating...

Thanksgiving... I was thinking of all the blessings God has given me over the past couple years and thanking God for them. Thank you Jesus! Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Christmas... "Joy to the world the Lord is COME. Let earth RECEIVE her King." Jesus CAME to me, and I RECEIVED him! Praise the Lord! Also I'm celebrating love, joy, peace, togetherness, giving, and forgiveness this Christmas.

New Years... Remembering where the past year has brought me, and thinking where we should be heading for the next year. "I'm pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining every day. Still praying as I upward bound 'Lord plant my feet on higher ground!'"

Greetings and joy to you all as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Much has happened during the past two-and-a-half years since our wedding, and we owe it all to our great God and King! We’d like to take this moment to brag on Him for all the adventures and opportunities He’s brought our way. “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19).

A while back, Barak and I pondered the question, “What makes a missionary a missionary?” We concluded that it’s not so much where you live, but what you do. Moving to a far country won’t mysteriously change who you are or what you do. It challenged us both to develop the heart and lifestyle of missionaries. That’s been our goal: learning to be missionaries in the Rochester area. And we’ve already seen God open some neat doors for us to reach out to our community.

Over a year ago, God seemed to drop two outreach opportunities right into our laps. One was being asked to “sing songs for Jesus” at a local coffee shop during their weekly open-mic night. The other was a request to hold occasional Sunday afternoon services at a nearby retirement center. We try to do both about twice a month. We’ve developed some interesting relationships through these experiences; but even better than that, we’ve delighted in seeing the name of our Redeemer praised where it might otherwise have been forgotten or ignored!

We’ve had several opportunities to minister alongside of Child Evangelism Fellowship as well. At our county 4-H fair, we joined a team of people sharing the Gospel story with however many children or adults wanted to listen. We also enjoyed organizing and sharing a 5-Day summer Bible club with the help of several Church friends. We learned a lot and had a great time!

Barak continues to update, produce, and freely distribute his CDs. For the third in a row, we set up a Brother Bear music tent at the Rochester Heritage Festival. Barak sang and gave away hundreds of Christian music CDs—with Gospel messages included! We also gave out animal balloons this year, which brought a lot of kids (along with their parents) to our tent. After two full days of tying, stretching, and twisting balloons, our fingers were ready for a break, but it was certainly worth it!

Perhaps the most thrilling mission from God came with the birth of our first child, Amity Lee Bendixen. Born December 23, 2009—just two days before Christmas—she was the best Christmas present of the year! It is an honor to be entrusted with one of God’s children and the responsibility to raise her for the Lord. With her bright smile and sweet disposition, she’s developed quite a fan club! She hasn’t said any words yet, but she chatters all the time. People love the way her nose scrunches up when she smiles! She’s been walking for a few weeks now, toddling all over the place. Her new big thing is to get wide-eyed and drop her jaw when she gets surprised or excited. It’s adorable. She brings joy to us every day, and we love her to pieces!

God has given us a number of chances to travel to new, interesting places. Last year, we were able to spend several spectacular days in San Juan, Puerto Rico! It was incredible to see how beautiful it was there, especially knowing that our families back at home were surviving the dreary March weather in Michigan. This summer was also highlighted by much travel. June was pack with short trips to out-of-state bridal showers and family get-togethers. July was filled with weddings! One such destination was upstate New York, where we witnessed the marriage of Barak’s older brother, Jeriah, to the lovely Aurora Gifford (now Bendixen)! Just one week later, we traveled to the Chicago area for my older brother’s wedding. Don and Connie Biddinger went to Cloud Nine for their honeymoon and haven’t come back down to earth yet! It’s a blessing to see both of our brothers so happily married!

For those of you who haven’t realized it yet, our address has changed. We’ve been looking for a house to buy for a good while now but haven’t found the right place yet. In the meantime, we’re living in a lower-level apartment at 1312 New Life Lane, Rochester Hills, MI 48309. Amity loves having some of her grandparents and uncles living right upstairs, and we enjoy having free, last-minute babysitters whenever we need them! God is good!

Announcement, announcement! We have exciting news! (Now, for those of you who think you already know what the big news is, you’re wrong. We’re not expecting Baby #2. That’s what you get for trying to get ahead of me!) The good new is… I’ve finished college! All of the paperwork has been sent in, so once the office finishes processing the information (Lord willing), my degree will be completed! My A.A. degree is in Child and Youth Character Development, but when I’m not in the mood to get tongue-tied, I just tell people I studied Youth Counseling. J What a relief and pleasure it is to have loose ends tied down and wrapped up!

Merry Christmas, everyone! And in all your celebrating, don’t forget to rejoice in the real reason for the Holy Days: Jesus Christ! God bless you all with knowing Him better this year and becoming missionaries in your own communities!

With love from your friends,
Barak, Amanda, and Amity Bendixen

Decorating for the Holy Days.

Levi and I got to play Christmas songs at the Rochester Kris Kringle Market. Got some great pictures didn't we! It was great, got to speak of Jesus.

Isn't it amazing how it doesn't seem to turn out as well as the picture. Thankfully I didn't make this one.

Our favorite Charity is 20!

At Shervish's cookie bake party

The first snow

Out our windows, what a sight!

Erickson's caroling party. Amanda and I had a blast tromping through the snow spreading goodwill to men.

Amity loves to help us work...

Installing a door.

Cleaning dishes

We went to the Christmas party at the retirement community where we do Prayer and Praise services. Amity was a real hit.

Here she is playing peek-a-boo.

Family sing time.

We'll be having Jeriah for Christmas dinner this year.

Susanna and I made this song a while ago, but I thought you would enjoy it.

Amity's One! Amazing isn't it? Here she is on her birthday December 23rd 2010. I am so blessed by her.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

God bless us everyone.

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Brother Bear
1312 New Life
Rochester, MI 48309
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