Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Christmas Card Letter

I never really thought I would have my own "letter" each year, but since I've graduated college, I love writing notes in my Christmas cards, and this is the easiest way to add a little update about all that is going on with me. This year I wondered what I would have to write about - my first year I'd graduated college, started teaching, and moved to an apartment, and last year I had gone to Mexico on a mission trip...but the Lord didn't leave me wondering for long! I really wanted to write so much more than this, but it was already hard to keep it to one page! I apologize if you got a card and are reading this a second time. If you didn't get a card, I would love to include you if you'll send me your address! :) is my Christmas update for 2010...Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dear Friends and Family:

2010 has been a great year. God has really blessed and challenged me in so many ways. He has taken me out of my comfort zone and led me to truly trust and grow in Him in all areas of my life. Here are just a few things that have been going on with me - 

Work - I’m in my third year of teaching elementary music, and I really enjoy my time with all my kids, but I’ve had a lot of change! In April, my district decided to close the building I was teaching in at the end of the year. Thankfully they provided new jobs this year, which was such a blessing, but there were no music openings at the time. I waited as they tried to decide on a position for me. Though waiting was difficult, I can’t even begin to explain the peace God gave me continually. I prayed daily, seeking to be an example to other teachers who were experiencing frustration and anxiety with the changes, and God provided many opportunities for me to encourage others and share the source of my peace. Finally, the day before school let out for summer, they created a job for me where I would teach 1/2 day of third grade music at one school and 1/2 day of guitar at the high school. (Did I mention I’ve never played guitar OR taught high school before?!)  Feeling really out of my comfort zone, I accepted the job and decided I would be taking up a new hobby over the summer! haha God still wasn’t finished, though! In the middle of June I got a phone call. A K-6 music teacher had requested to move to the high school, and I was offered her job! The Lord knew exactly where I needed to be this year, and provided that His own timing!  My new school is still on the military base, and I have many of the same students due to the combining of buildings. The biggest adjustment has been teaching  22 classes with 550 students instead of 250! I’m still learning all the names, even in December, but I’m getting better at remembering. We have a lot of turn-over due to military assignments, with two or three new students a week and others leaving, but I pray daily to be a consistent example of the joy and love of Christ while they are here. I absolutely love that I get to teach every student in the school, and share the joy of music with them. 

The Proposal - Well, after two years of waiting, he finally proposed! Unfortunately this persistent guy was...a little young! After asking me almost every week in my first year of teaching if I had a husband, or if I’d gotten married yet, and my replying, “No, not this week...” I guess this little second grade guy thought he’d grown up enough since first grade to make his own proposal! He wrote me a note during bus duty that said, “Miss Whiker, can we get merry?”  I politely declined, but thanked him for asking me one of the nicest things anyone ever had! It is definitely a note I’ll keep with my “teacher treasures!” :)

Looking Forward - I guess the biggest news in my life is my recent decision to apply for the Journeyman program through the International Mission Board. This is a desire I’ve had since college, especially after going to Africa and Brazil on mission trips. I’ve prayed about when to apply, and even started in 2008, but felt like God wanted me to spend some time teaching here first. In March I started the long process of applying again. When I began, I had no idea what the timeline was for finishing, and was a little unsure about the possibility of leaving a “secure” job to go. Of course, God gently reminded me again that HE is where my security is, not my job or the things here on Earth! All of the changes following my decision to apply helped to affirm the timing, and through His help and guidance, I finished the application process at the end of July. And...I’ve been waiting since then to find out if I will be invited for an interview conference with the IMB. Again God has taken my heart and challenged me to trust and grow each day through this uncertain time of waiting. My heart is longing to go overseas and take the love of Christ to people who have never heard, yet I also desire to be on mission, serving where God has put me here and now. I should receive a letter sometime in the next month letting me know if I’ve been invited for an interview. If I am invited, I will attend a conference in February, and leave there knowing for sure if I have been recommended for a job overseas. I will attend training and leave for the new job in the Summer/Fall, if I am accepted. I’m very excited about this opportunity, and know God will prepare my heart either way - whether He calls me to go overseas, or to stay here again. 

I am so thankful for all of you and the encouragers you are in my life. I ask for your continued prayers as I wait to see where God is leading me in the next year, and as I continue to teach and provide an example to children each day. I would love to hear from you, and especially to know how I can keep you in my prayers. 
I am planning to start an e-mail update this year if I am accepted for the JM program. If you would like to be included, or would just like to keep in touch by e-mail, please let me know!  I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!! With His Joy, Alicia

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