pilgreen 2014 Christmas letter

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Merry Christmas! greetings from our home in beautiful and wet san francisco. i can think of no better place to write than right here to you.

when we moved to the city by the bay four years ago to plant EPIC Church, God did not give us a storybook of what life would be like here. and i'm glad. to see an event, a series of moments, crazy obstacles come to light on planet earth...it's very clear that saying yes to God grows bravery, a sense of purpose and a heaping dose of attempting the impossible.

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EPIC Church moved into a new space with a 10 year lease on october 12! this 10 year lease ends exactly on our oldest's 21st birthday! {that's a crazy thought} our faith community continues to grow with attendance lately averaging 465. EPIC is  family church in the midst of a highly financial and influential part of the city. we hired our first family pastor and have had at least 15 babies born in 2014! dear and new friends are coming to faith in Christ and we have celebrated 24 people get baptized. we are linking arms with ministries around the globe as we seek to raise $100,000 through our HOPE Project this year. i love that our young church sees beyond the walls of our church, along the streets of our city, into the visions of other church plants, and across the waters into ghana and romania.

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ben continues to amaze me with his growing desire to learn and grow as a leader, pastor, husband, and father. he is tremendously blessed with mentors and a coaching network that pour bountifully into him. he gives his time to invest in other church planters and leaders around the world. he will be a little league coach this spring for elijah's team. ben and i are blessed to enjoy monday dates for now as we try new restaurants in our city and venture to the coast that's just a 7 mile drive away for rest and solitude. we celebrated 14 years of marriage this month and were honored to play a part in an epic wedding in maui in may.

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elijah is halfway through 5th grade. this means that he and i are touring middle schools in the city as it's a lottery system as to what school he will get. oh city living! elijah played little league for his 4th season and was honored to be selected for the all-star team. this fall he played for his school soccer team and excelled! his left kick got the team many a goal and earned them 2nd place. after school, i love to watch the way he leads young kids and peers to games of football and baseball and four square on the school yard. with him being 11 now, i long to stay connected. this motherhood adventure has blessed me more than expected. he and i just finished reading the hobbit - it's our way of spending time together and sharing a commonality: love for adventure and reading.

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sam just turned 9 and has an amazing head full of blonde hair that makes ben envious. he played baseball in the spring, but then discovered taekwondo this fall. in four months he has advanced 2 belts and earned a character award that is usually given to black belts. his instructors are enamored by his discipline and self-control and see a strong future in this martial art. to say he is a helper and a leader in the 3rd grade classroom is an understatement. there are students whose lives are better because of sam's loyalty and compassion. he's the kid that gets everyone's lunch ready in the morning, sets vitamins out, and fixes his breakfast. this is all with a prompt and expected wake up call at 6:40 am...5 minutes before brothers. in his creative state of mind {which is every second of the day} he opened his very own arcade for anyone in the city to attend. we were all delighted to have over 15 show up! sam and i braved black friday shopping to get some sweet things for his sister, who's just 6 weeks younger than him.

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asher turned 7 on december 19th but has had many firsts this year. his first year of little league with his very first practice held at at&t park. yes, the san francisco giants stadium. {his little league coach works for the giants.} while on the best little island in the world, jekyll island, georgia, asher learned to ride a bike and ride a bike he did! all over that little island! he played soccer with his first grade class and would kick and then look to the sidelines for a thumbs up and our approval. that kid. he comes straight to us for hugs and snuggles every morning (while sam is making lunches!) asher sings his heart out. on saturday nights, he asks ben for the worship set for sunday's music. when he's in the van, he has a list of his favorite chris tomlin and kristian stanfill songs.

 

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k turns 9 on january 6. a year ago we were waiting on 2 indian approvals and learned at the start of 2014 that we had been denied her. it would be 8 months later when the decision was overturned. it was a work of God, no doubt. we were registered in court the first of november. while the case seems stuck and we've seen no movement since the court registration, we received two blessings thanksgiving week. we were able to facetime with her! seeing her in real time was a miracle, a gift. then two days later we touched the lady who touched k this summer as she fought in person to get our denial overturned. seeing k on facetime and in recent pictures, she looks healthy and well. but our hearts yearn for her to be in our family in the strongest way ever.

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i am grateful for the friends and family who came to visit us this year and at just the right times to give encouragement. we were also able to travel to new jersey, connecticut, georgia, portland and washington this year. i continue to write for flourish.me, an equipping community for ministry wives and got to speak at flourish events in vancouver and kansas city. i've taught "p.e." for 4th and 5th grade this year, and take that word loosely. it's more or less games! i cherish every sunday getting to sit by my pastor-husband. i am honored to have an e-book debuting january 13 as i partner with the send network. living sent: 31 days in the city is our journey to living with intentionality as a family when we moved to san francisco. it's 31 ideas of loving where you call home and includes my journals throughout.

2014 has been filled with some battles and waiting, no doubt, and walked through some uncertain waters. but we have never been alone. God has revealed Himself so strong and near to us. #onlyGod has been our answer to all of the uncertainties and the hope we have. just as the God of the universe doesn't give up on us, we refuse to take our eyes off of Him. He has never failed us yet. we anticipate greater things for our city of san francisco, for our church, our family, our marriage, and our little girl as we enter 2015!

you are dear to us and we pray you will trust Christ with your everything this season, His season. for He came to us to save us from our sins and give us abundant life in this life and in the life to come. we have found that He is better than anything else!

 

Merry Christmas...

DSC_0008  the pilgreens