Christmas Greetings Friends and Family!
We hope that this Christmas letter finds you adequately recovering from your holiday festivities and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new year. We had grand plans for this year’s Christmas letter. “Perhaps a Christmas poem,” we told ourselves. “But even if it’s not that creative, we can certainly write a detailed, thoughtful, and picture filled letter. At the very least, we’ll get it out on time. Maybe even as a ‘real’ letter this year.” But alas, the busyness of the Christmas season claimed our ambitious plans and presented us only with this electronic missive for our fourth family Christmas letter.
The biggest news for us this year (literally) was the purchase of our first house. After much penny pinching, house shopping, praying, phone calling to Moms and Dad, and the sage advice of two good friends, we closed on our “fixer upper” in September. As an added bonus, it’s within walking distance of church. We have gotten lots of work done so far but have plenty yet to go. If you are ever in Saint Louis, you are more than welcome to stop by – although we just might hand you a hammer and put you to work!
Although smaller and less expensive, no less exciting have been the two new additions to our family this year: Bandit and Shepherd. Bandit (4 y.o.) joins our other Cardigan Welsh Corgi Libby (10 y.o.) as lords of the backyard, where they chase squirrels despite being told they won’t ever catch them. Both Bandit and Libby have enjoyed the company of their indoor feline friend Shepherd (7 m.o.), who loves to sleep on the couch, curl up with us in bed, and shoot from room to room for no apparent reason at all.
Perhaps the most important thing to happen to us this year was finding a new church home at The Rock Church of Saint Louis’s South County Campus. After spending the better part of two years on a “Church Search,” in January we felt called to visit a church that we had been driving past for several months. After our first visit, we knew that God had called us to this small but growing community. Although it’s not necessarily where we expected to end up, we truly believe we have found a place to live, love, and serve with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ here in Saint Louis.
Hayley stays more than busy working her two jobs. She works part-time for Pet First Pet Care, where she walks dogs, cares for cats, and pet sits for clients all across the Saint Louis area. She also labors around the clock for her very own “crafting empire” – Quilts by Hayley – where she has quickly become an Etsy scrub cap mogul. Hayley serves lots at church as well, where she works in the nursery, welcomes visitors on the greeting team, and helps lead a community group. She also enjoys reading fiction, playing with her animals (including her guinea pig and two gerbils), watching Heartland on Netflix, and making various things for her new house. She is really looking forward to Jake buying her a new(er) car this coming year.
Jake continues to pursue his Ph.D. in historical theology (New Testament and Early Christianity) at Saint Louis University, where he also serves as a Research Assistant. This summer he worked for the Institute of Reading Development, teaching preschoolers through adults how to become better readers. Jake stays busy at church teaching a Sunday morning Bible study, leading a community group, and working with various other ministry teams. He enjoys serving as managing editor at Conciliar Post, reading as much as he can, writing for Pursuing Veritas, and finishing projects around the house. In this coming year Jake looks forward to completing the coursework portion of his doctoral program and transitioning to full-time teaching and work on his dissertation.
We rejoice this Christmas season that God sent Jesus into our sinful and crazy world in order to rescue us, especially since there have been many times this past year where all we could do was pause and reflect on that great mystery. However this past year has gone for you, we hope and pray that you have all experienced the greatest blessing of all, the gift of God’s only Son, come to earth for our redemption. May have you a blessed and peaceful 2016!
Blessings, Jacob and Hayley Prahlow