Monday, January 19, 2015

Día de Reyes/Three Kings Day

In grand Latin American style we celebrated Three Kings Day on January 6 with the traditional rosca de reyes.

It is the day that tradition says that the kings arrived to worship the boy Jesus, so we sang "We Three Kings" complete with recorder accompaniment provided by Elías. . . .

. . .and Jacob.

Then Morgan and Amelia opened their small gifts to remember the gifts that the kings took to Jesus.

Joel also opened his present.

Elías received a Matchbox car.  So did Jacob (not pictured).

I read the story of the fourth wise man.  Of course, the Bible does not tell us the number.  The number three was arrived at because of the three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrhh.  Nor do we know if they were kings.  The Bible calls them wise men.  But we can join in celebrating the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Farnsworth Family Forum December 2014

Our last communication to our friends and supporters in 2014.
Merry Christmas, friends!!!

This will be my last Christmas before a half century catches up with me, and I wanted to take a few moments for self-reflection.

First of all, I give thank God for the unspeakable gift of salvation.  He saved me and uses me in spite of myself.  I thank my parents for the Christian legacy they gave me and continue to give me.  They continue to serve God and their church faithfully after all these years.  Many people have come and gone through Exeter Bible Church, and they have persevered and stood strong as pillars of the church.

On July 7, 2002, God blessed my life beyond measure through the gift of my wife, Ruth Marisol Bedoya Palacios de Farnsworth (yes, that is her full name in Ecuador!), who challenges me and admonishes me to grow personally and spiritually.  At times this process is painful and challenging, but quite necessary in my life, for the glory of God.  She has proved herself to be a good helpmate, who “zigs where I zag,” as my dear friend Mrs. Phyllis Schimkus says.  Although I waited until age 37 to marry, I made the right decision.

Likewise, God has given me four other gifts in the birth of our children: Joel (July 11, 2003), Amelia (December 19, 2005) and Jacob and Elías (January 28, 2012).  Although the job requires patience, sacrifice, and wisdom, none of which I claim to have in abundance, the dividends pay off each day.  The great responsibility of parenthood brings even greater joy.

In 1987 I graduated from Houghton College with a double major in Communication and Spanish.  Who would have even known that years later I would be using both majors daily in my work as a missionary in Ecuador?  Radio Punto broadcast daily from 2004-2013.  Unfortunately in November the leader of Liebenzell Mission in Ecuador made the difficult decision, for now, to discontinue the project to ask the government for a new radio frequency.  Radio work here in Ecuador has become extremely tedious as a result of the new communications law approved earlier this year.  Until we can identify the right person to work full-time on this project, we have placed the radio ministry on hold.
This decision will allow me to concentrate more on my work as a pastor at the Amigos en Cristo Church in Cotacachi as well as my ministry as the coordinator of the MINTS classes in Ibarra.  I also teach a weekly class on the Minor Prophets at the Bible Institute every Thursday night.  During the past year I have struggled to juggle my responsibilities at the radio, church and seminary, not always successfully.  Many times I have felt like a failure as a pastor, husband, father, and missionary.  Perhaps sometimes other people feel this way; I do not know. 
This feeling has taught me, and has forced me, to hold on to the Lord “for dear life.”  The challenges of 2014 push me to serve God more faithfully in 2015.  Biblical reminders to “run the race” (Hebrews 12: 2), “not grow tired in doing good” (Galatians 6:10) and “not lose heart” (Joshua 1:9) will help me press on.

As a family we thank you for your prayers, financial support, and encouraging words of correspondence means more to us than we can say.  As we face the challenges of 2015, we thank God for each one of you.

We leave you with the beautiful lyrics to a Christmas song by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz:

"Merry Christmas, Mary!"

Joseph was tired,
They'd been traveling all day
And it was almost midnight
Before he found a place to stay.

He put the burro in the stall,
Then knelt beside his wife
To comfort her
As she went through
The pain of giving life.

And up above a star was shining brightly in the sky
Joseph held the baby Child
And showed him to his wife.

And he said,
"Merry Christmas, Mary
Let me be the first to say,
Merry Christmas, Mary
The Son of God has come to us today"

There was someone at the door
And Joseph turned to see
Some plain and simple shepherd men
Down on bended knee.

They talked about an angel,
Who told them where to come
In the middle of the night to see
God's only Son.

Then later there came wise men,
Bearing gifts and offerings
And Joseph led them all to see
And praise the new born King.

And they said,
"Merry Christmas, Mary
Let us be the first to say,
Merry Christmas, Mary
The Son of God has come to us today"

Tears of joy
Were gently flowing
Out of Joseph's eyes
While up above the angels sang
"Glory to God!"

Merry Christmas, Mary
Let us be the first to say,
Merry Christmas, Mary
The Son of God has come to us today
The Son of God has come to us today.

Merry Christmas Mary lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing

How much wonder, joy and hope came to our world on that first Christmas night.  Jesus is the Light of the world and the only Way to God’s salvation (Juan 14:6; Acts 4:12).

We love you, and we need you in our lives.

Merry Christmas and God bless you in 2015!

Ned, Marisol, Joel, Amelia, Jacob, and Elías Farnsworth

Christmas with the Ecuador Farnsworths

We really had a lovely day, beginning with Jacob and Elías' admiration of the Christmas tree and presents.

Guess who enjoyed the plastic sword Joel gave him?

He really liked it!!!!

Do you see what I see?

Joel and Amelia opened their presents, also with glee.

Amelia gave me a new Christmas mug to replace the one that broke.

Marisol also smiled for the roving reporter.

Jacob with his Magna Doodle.

Elías also received one.

Amelia was "FROZEN" again!

Then it was making shish kabobs on the grill for lunch.

The cook, hard at work!

Yummy and yummy, complete with grilled ripe cooking bananas.

Enjoying a moment in the back yard, to keep an eye on the grill.

Later we enjoyed an applesauce cake to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

We even sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.

Now it is time to start taking the decorations down until later this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Eve in Santa Rosa

On the morning of December 24, the children opened their fnal Christmas bag.

This time it was the case for the doctor kit.

Then we made some more Christmas cookies. . .

I carved the turkey. . .

. . .while Elías and Jacob waited patiently.

Abuelito, Amelia and Zoe also waited patiently.

And Joel and Morgan.

The food was well worth waiting for.  Yum!

Elías and Jacob enjoyed the food very much.

Antonito chomped on a turkey bone.

Then the time arrived for opening the gifts.

Cloe in fancy party dress.

"Look at our new cars!!"

Morgan also received some presents on her first Christmas away from PA.

Joel modeled his new shirt while Cloe looked on.

It is always great fun to spend Christmas with Marisol's family.