Why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my Salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 - ESV)
(Psalm 42:5 - ESV)
Here we are, so quickly entered into 2009....wow! What a year it has been for us here in Dallas--a year marked by discouragement... Read on to see...
Allison and I began 2008 in California, spending time with my mom and brother after my dad passed away on December 29. The joy of that was being with family in a time of tremendous sorrow and having my dad make a profession of faith just days before he died. A few days later I performed his memorial and we returned to Texas.
I continued my studies in the spring and fall at Dallas Theological Seminary, where I'm enrolled in what seems to be a lifelong program of studies (120 semester units to earn a ThM in Bible Exposition and Pastoral Ministries--out of which I have now completed 37 units). I still enjoy my studies, but feel buried by the workload...especially since I've been working about 35 hours / week this fall. Thankfully, God provided a scholarship for me for the 2008/2009 year! Allison and I are still leading a Spiritual Formation group through the Seminary and are thankful for the support they have been this year.
Allison continues teaching junior high and high school drama & musical theater in addition to teaching high school girls' Bible at the Covenant Christian Academy in Colleyville. She had three tremendous productions over the course of this year: Wizard of Oz, Our Town, and Just So Stories. She's now preparing for Thoroughly Modern Millie, which will show in March.
I had an interesting work year... I tutored (actually taught) math three days a week in the spring and fall of the year at Quest Academy, a charter school in the middle of Oak Cliff (inner city Dallas). It's been interesting, to say the least... I struggled to find work once DTS got out in May, and ended up working a variety of jobs--mostly bad! For 6 weeks I touched up cars on used car lots under the hot Dallas sun for about $8 / hour. I then was a courier for 4 weeks at US Courier, making $5 - $10 hour after paying for gas. I also merchandised magazines and books at 2 Home Depots for most of the summer and fall. In July I was hired to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) at a school that caters to Korean students, teaching just nights at first before teaching full-time for the final 3 weeks of the summer. This was far and away my best job of the year! I'm still teaching here (www.elidallas.com) 4 nights a week. I also have been tutoring a Belgian family (mom and 3 children) in English since August, and returned in September to tutor / teach at Quest once again. I also picked up a very easy job servicing DVDXpress kiosks (a dvd vending machine placed in supermarkets) in August, starting with just 1 kiosk, but am now servicing 4 of them.
Allison and I didn't travel too much this year, but we did enjoy visits from several friends and family this past year, including Allison's mom for Oz, and Wayne Harder, Jimetta Mayne, Cindy Kelly, & Laurie Samaan for different conferences here in Dallas. We also enjoyed a special visit from my old roommate and his wife in July, James & Heather Kliewer. We came back from California just a few days into the new year. In May we went to St. Louis to spend a long weekend with Allison's family at her brother's house, taking in dance recitals, hockey games, etc. I took Allison for a weekend in San Antonio in August compliments of credit card reward points. And we returned to St. Louis for Thanksgiving as well, but stayed home in Dallas for Christmas -- which was my first Christmas in all of my 43 years to not be with my family.... We were blessed to spend the day with the Montgomerys, who have been incredible friends over most of my lifetime!
2008 was a year marked by discouragement. We began the year mourning my father's death, which took much longer to heal from than I had imagined. We also had our second break-in in May, but thankfully our burglar alarm scared them off before they could find anything valuable. We also faced financial struggles, especially as I flailed around at low-paying jobs this summer and faced some medical expenses at the end of the summer and seminary expenses in the fall.
But our biggest discouragements have come from two other sources: (1) Allison and I have been trying to have children for over 2 years now, unsuccessfully. We did some tests at the end of the summer (which insurance refused to pay for) that hinted that God would have to work in nearly miraculous ways for us to ever have children of our own. (2) I have now sent in my resume to over 70 churches in the DFW area that were/are hiring for youth/music/miscellaneous ministry positions. Despite interviewing at 6 of those churches, I am still looking...
We are looking forward to 2009, and are hopefully awaiting the unfolding of God's plan in our lives throughout the course of the year. We would greatly appreciate your prayers and continued friendship throughout it as well.
Kevin & Allison Peterson