I don’t know about you, but it really seems to me that every year seems shorter than the previous year.... I guess that’s just a sign of old age...
As I’m writing this letter, it’s Christmas Eve--just hours away from Christmas. Allison & I thought it would be good to let all of our friends & family know some of our highlights for this past year, so here we go:
I’ll start with the constants: I have continued to pastor the youth at Northridge Christian Church (www.nccworship.com) in addition to overseeing the children’s & music ministries. Allison has continued to teach junior high Bible at West Valley Christian School (www.westvalleychristianschool.com)--I substitute there a few times a month--in addition to serving at my side at church in the youth & music ministries and generally functioning as my much better half in our journey of life!
2006 began with a bang for us--literally. Our first of two accidents involving three of our parked cars occurred on New Year’s Day, totalling Allison’s Ford Escort. In March, a guy high on drugs plowed into both of our cars... Praise God for good car insurance!
In February we took some of our youth up to Lake Tahoe to the home of Rod & Jimetta Mayne for our Winter Retreat. It was a great time of fun, worship, & fellowship in the snow. The only bummer was getting stuck in a snowstorm & related traffic jam on the way up, delaying our arrival ‘till 4 am.
In March we attended the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Conference at Saddleback Church in Orange County. It was a challenging & refreshing time brightened by the attendance of Mike & Zoë Baker (former students of mine from Santa Rosa--now ministering to youth in Dallas, Texas while attending Dallas Theological Seminary).
Over Easter Break in April, we travelled up to my parents’ home in Rio Vista, where I performed a private ash scattering ceremony for my Uncle Ray, who had passed away around the first of the year. On that same trip, I got to speak to the college group from my old church in Santa Rosa--it’s always enjoyable to visit with former students!
May seems to have been too busy to have a singular highlight, except for Allison speaking at our church’s All Daughters’ Tea as “Hillbilly Nillie”, which was very well received.
June found Allison wrapping up her school year & us taking our youth on a weekend camping trip at Malibu Creek State Park, which is less than twenty miles away, but feels like it’s a world away from the crazyness of L.A.
In July we celebrated our first anniversary. Our anniversary weekend proved to be the hottest weekend of the year (just like our wedding weekend last year), with temperatures reaching 119°. Allison’s folks also came out to visit, which was very nice!
August was a crazy month! The first week was our church Vacation Bible School program, which went very well! In the second week, we took our youth to the DCLA conference, which is a student evangelism conference co-sponsored by Youth for Christ & Youth Specialties. God provided funds for us to take a group of ten through an unsolicited donation of $3000--He is so good! In the last full week of August we flew back to Dallas to visit our great friends, the Montgomerys (Matt, Rachel, Joel, Josh, & Hannah) and the Bakers (Mike & Zoë), as well as to visit Dallas Theological Seminary, where I subsequently began taking online courses.
September found Allison back teaching and me back doing whatever it is that youth pastors actually do, which is one of the great mysteries of churchdom. We kicked off the month with an all-night youth event......maybe I’m getting too old..... In the middle of the month we travelled up to Sonoma County to officiate the wedding of Josh & Ashley (Johnson) Young.
In October I celebrated my 41st year off coffee, which not coincidentally began the day I was born.
At the beginning of November I went on a “Life-Vision Retreat” for my Spiritual Life class--24 hours alone with God exegeting my past and present with a view towards planning my future. It was a special time where God once again confirmed His direction for me in youth ministry! We celebrated Allison’s 40th birthday on the 4th (her birthday is actually the 8th) with a party that had about 75 celebrants and featured a 2 hour music & mime show. Over Thanksgiving weekend we travelled back to St. Louis to be with Allison’s family and to officiate the wedding of Allison’s brother, Ken, to Jill. We now have 2 nieces, Kaia & Josie, and 2 nephews, Stephen & Jack.
December has been full of school, friends, & ministry. We’re leaving tomorrow to visit my family for a couple of days before closing out the 2006 edition in the Life of the Petersons.
May you experience the riches of God’s amazing grace in 2007!
Kevin, Allison, & Hershey
PS - Right after finishing this letter, we received the very sad news that little Jenna Painter went to be with the Lord around 11 pm on Christmas Eve after a 16 month battle with brain cancer....please keep the Painters in your prayers...