As we enter the last few hours of 2018, my thoughts have continuously been turning to evaluate and review mode. What are the things we accomplished this year? Did we meet our goals? Did we set the right goals? As parents of young children it can often feel like we are just living to get through the day, or through the week. I’ve heard it said that “the days are long but the years are short,” and I’ve never been more able to relate to that statement in my life. I thought it would be helpful to write some things down to remind myself of all that has happened this year, as well as update our friends on our crazy life: past, present, and future. So without further ado, here is a year in the life of the Harrison Clan!
Lets start with the kids, because they are more fun anyway.
Levi: This year was a big one for our oldest! Here are the highlights: Levi started 2nd grade, and continues to love school. We are so blessed to be able to send him to a Christian school for the 3rd year. During one of the chapel times at school, he gave his life to Jesus! We continue to pray that he will thrive in his relationship with God as he grows older. He also started taking piano lessons, thanks to the generosity of his mimi and papa. He’s learned so quickly, his teacher is already moving him to an older class! Every person he meets falls in love with his sweet spirit and love of snuggles. He will be turning 8 in January!
Gideon: This year Gideon started full day kindergarten at the same Christian school as Levi. I have to be honest that I was a little worried about how he would do, but he took to kindergarten like a fish in water. His teacher loves him, and so do his classmates--especially the girls! He has shown himself to be a little ladies man, constantly writing letters and taking gifts to them in class (he even announced his engagement a few months ago, haha!). He has also become a lover of Jesus! He is constantly singing worship songs, talking about Jesus and told us Chapel is his favorite part of school. Recently he made a nativity scene at school, and when he brought it home, set it out under our tree over the presents because “Christmas is about Jesus!” He is still just as obsessed with all things trains as ever, but is finally starting to get interested in other things as well. He turned 6 in November!
Avalyn: This year our Avie is in her 2nd year of ½ day preschool with a Head Start program, which has been such a huge blessing to us as its no cost. Her teachers tell us she is a real leader in the classroom, with a lot of the younger kids looking up to her and following her example. She excels in art, drawing, and recognizing colors, numbers, and letters. She loves unicorns, princesses, dressing up, and most of all playing with her cousin Jade. For her birthday, Papa Peter sponsored a trip for Avalyn and Jade to see “Disney on Ice,” which was probably one of the highlights of her year. She has been such a huge help with Leola, and loves playing with and helping her sister. She turned 5 this month and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall.
Leola: Our little caboose turned ONE in October and I think we are all still in denial. When I was pregnant with her I used to call her Lilo for short, and after she was born I felt like God showed me that she would be like the character of the same name from Lilo & Stitch (a 2002 Disney movie in case you have no idea what I’m talking about). In the film she takes a cruel alien and changes him with the power of love, despite how unlovable he was. God showed me that he created Leola to demonstrate His love to others by loving them in this way, and she has totally lived up to that! She smiles at every person she meets, and is in general the sweetest, happiest baby we’ve ever met. As she has gotten older she has gotten a little more sassy, but for the most part she is always smiling, always laughing at her siblings and loving on everyone she encounters. She is now walking, climbing on everything, says “Hi, Bye, Mama, Daddy, and Uh Oh!” We couldn’t have asked for a better baby to finish our family.
Rachel: Recently, I have taken on bigger roles at our YWAM Campus as the need has arisen. This summer I took over the Food Services department and have spent the last 6 months creating new systems as we grow as a community. I am in charge of creating menus, training crews, writing recipes and solving kitchen emergencies as they happen. It has been challenging, but also really fulfilling being able to work closely with our newer staff and more involved with training. I have also had the opportunity to train our brand new staff in a development group called Round Table, which helps transition them from their previous roles as student. It’s such a pleasure for me to get to know them and be involved in their lives.
Andrew: This year Andrew took on his biggest role in YWAM Denver to date when he was asked to join the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) helping my parents along with a select group of others in running the base. Although we have both been on the Leadership Team for some years, this has put him in even greater levels of authority in our ministry. It has come with challenges, but he is thriving in it (no surprise to me, but maybe a little surprise to him)! He is so pastoral, and has taken on a lot of new pastoral roles necessary in ministry—working closely with our young leaders every day. On top of that he is also still running our worship department, the School of Worship, and the Winter Discipleship Training School.
As a couple, we have had many amazing opportunities this year! We taught in a School of Worship in Lakeside, Montana for a week, which was our first time teaching a full 12 hour lecture as a couple. We have been able to lead worship together on a weekly basis, and teach in our own community as well. As a family, one of our favorite experiences this year was going to Disney World over summer break! It was so much fun with the ages of our children to see the magic and wonder!
What God did: Not only did God provide for our every day needs, but 2 different times in the last 3 months, God provided at the last minute with two $1,000 donations right when we needed them! One time through a supporter, and one time anonymously. Our faith in our provider has grown more and more as we learn to trust Him every day.
So what’s next?
In 2019 we have some amazing opportunities starting right in January. Starting on the 14th Andrew will be leading the Discipleship Training School, which will have a musician track and a snowboarder/skier track. We are excited for this opportunity to see lives changed. Rachel will still be leading our food services department so we will both be very busy!
At the end of January we will be traveling to Jeju, South Korea for a School of Worship Gathering with YWAM International. We are honored to be invited to participate in equipping worship leaders from around the world who will be gathered at this conference. We will be traveling with our sweet little Leola, but leaving our three oldest behind for the week. This is something we prayed very hard about and felt like God spoke to us to go. This will be my first time in Korea, and it has long been a dream in my heart to go to Asia and Japan (we will have a free day in Tokyo coming back)! We are both very excited to connect to our greater YWAM family and help with training.
We are also excited for this trip because it will be right before our 10-year anniversary in March! Hard to believe it’s been 10 years, but we are glad for the opportunity to be together doing what we love.
We also have a lot more opportunities to teach, not just in our own community, but also in other YWAM communities.
Here are some prayer requests!
1. As mentioned, we have a busy few months coming up! Please be praying for grace as we manage many details, and grace for our children as they have less time with us than normal.
2. For our trip to Korea, for grace in traveling and dealing with jetlag, especially for Leola. And grace upon grace for our children as we are away, and for those who will be caring for them.
3. For financial provision as we move forward with trusting God. One of the things we feel called to is to send our children to a Christian school. This is obviously not a cheap endeavor, and starting in the fall, we will have 3 children going to school. We need favor to get 3 scholarships and financial provision for their tuition. We are not worried, because God wants this just as much as we do!
4. Grace as we trust God in all that we do.