Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends and Family,

What a wonderful year God has blessed us with! We are just one week away from celebrating the day when the two of us became our own family. Looking back over the adventures of the last year, it is awesome to see how God took care of us every step of the way.

Our first six months of marriage, we lived in six different homes as house-sitters. We cared for 3 cats, 2 dogs, 11 fish, 72 plants, and unknown water pipes as we lived in different locations around Anchorage and the valley. From the time we packed our suitcases for our honeymoon until July 18th, we never officially unpacked them. We stayed in a duplex, a ranch-style home, a three-story house, a cabin, a split-level house, and a log house. We learned about what we like and don't like and what's frustrating and what's nice (no cuckoo clocks, yes jets in the tub). However, when we finally found a cute little apartment in Peterscreek, we felt so appreciative for the means to settle down. We fit just fine in a one bedroom apartment with room left over for Titus (our pug).

In the past year James had two more semesters of Engineering classes (he's set to graduate May '08). He did great, although there were moments ... Andrea officially graduated from UAA with her bachelor's in Russian. James worked for a second year at TNH Engineering as an intern and draftsman. Andrea started work at Chugiak and Eagle River High Schools as a bilingual tutor. Both of us have learned lots this year and enjoy working in our specialty areas. Just this week (much to the chagrin of TNH), James accepted a position at another engineering firm in Eagle River. We are hoping that the smaller, more personal company and shorter commute will be easier for us in the coming year.

Since the beginning of the year, flying to the Mall of America on our honeymoon, we have traveled quite a bit as newlyweds. We helped chaperone the teens from our church on a trip to Lubbock, Texas to visit AIM over spring break. It was so encouraging for us to spend time with our teammates and their wives and other people our age who take their faith seriously and want to serve God in any capacity. Two of our teens then decided to join the AIM program this year, and we are excited for them and their coming adventure. Then, this summer we started this blog to record our amazing trip around Ukraine and Russia. We visited our former mission fields, saw old friends, made new friends, and took a lovely detour through St. Petersburg. We were so blessed to have the funds to take that trip! Thank you for your mission support in the past and your wedding gifts that made it possible for us.

Finally, we have been blessed to actively be a part of the work of the Valley church of Christ this year. James taught junior and high school classes. Andrea taught junior high girls (they're a terrific bunch) and some women's classes. Both of us have worked with the teens and young adults this year and have taken distance Sunset Bible classes offered in the evenings. God is definitely leading us into different areas of growth and challenge. We are thrilled to be able to work with such an alive and spirit-led congregation, and we find that every time we think about moving to Anchorage, Fairbanks, or the lower 48, it becomes even more obvious that God wants us right here for the time being.

We wish you a very merry Christmas (or as Andrea's students would say, a Happy Merry Christmas) and a blessed New Year. Who knows, maybe the next year we will be traveling in your neck of the woods. God bless you!

With love,

James & Andrea


  1. Sasha's sister Anya11:53 AM

    Hello James and Andrea!

    I'm writing from sunny Ukraine. :) You should't have forgotten it yet... Our family (the Nikolayenko, small Sasha's family) wishes you Merry Christmas and all best wishes!!! Let a coming New Year bring your family joy and happiness, health and wisdom, adventures and new friends!!!
    We remember you two and hope to see you some day.
    Be always as happy as you are now, in the first year of your marriage. ))

  2. Are those matching pj's?! I mean, not to have nothing deeper to say, but how cute!


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