Greetings from the West Family!
We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones enjoying the blessings of this wonderful holiday season. All over the world, people celebrate at this time the greatest miracle in history, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Think about it…the Creator of the universe humbled himself and became a child, born in a lowly manger, to live among us, teach us about God’s love, healing and ministering to many people, and all because He wanted to give Himself as the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins. Wow. What a gift! What a Savior!
I decided to send out a letter this year because there is so much to share! Our family has experienced an amazing year this year, and I am so excited to share it with you. I will start with our first born, Jonathan.
Jonathan is a junior at Belhaven University majoring in Biology in the Pre-Med program. It has been an exhausting year for him, but he has done some amazing things. He is still playing guitar and singing in two worship bands at our church, Crossgates Baptist. It warms my heart to see him using his talents and leading others to worship our Lord. He is also still playing tennis for Belhaven and working at Polks Pharmacy. He has a very full plate, but somehow he still manages to enjoy the outdoors with friends and frequently meet up with buddies for coffee and Bible study. Last spring, he went on a mission trip to Nicaragua and spent a week on a river in a small boat, sharing the love of Jesus with small villages of people, and last summer we all went to Haiti as a family, and I was amazed as I watched God use him in the mobile pharmacy. I can hardly type this without my eyes welling up with tears of joy and overwhelming gratitude for what God is doing with his life. At the conclusion of this semester, we all celebrated the news that he has managed to pull off a 4.0 so far in spite of his hectic schedule. We are so proud of him. He is currently preparing to go with the college ministry on a mission trip to Dubai over spring break. Please pray that God will prepare his heart and use him mightily.
Jacob is now a Sophomore at Brandon High School. He is still playing soccer for both his high school and the Mississippi Chicago Fire Juniors Premier team. He also plays tennis for BHS and is starting to teach himself how to play the guitar. I have been watching him on the soccer field for almost 13 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how God has blessed him with incredible skill and talent in soccer. I love to watch him and his teammates play. In the past couple of years, God has also been working on Jacob’s spiritual growth. Last August, Jacob came to a place where he realized that although he had made a profession of faith when he was seven, he had just recently come to a place where he realized what it meant to give his whole heart to Jesus. He decided he wanted to rededicate his life to Jesus and be baptized again. As a teenager and athlete, it isn’t always easy to keep one’s focus on the Lord, but God is teaching him and growing him in remarkable ways. Last summer, when our family spent a week in Haiti, I was amazed as I watched him interact with the Haitian children, playing soccer and teaching one another their language. Over the course of the week, Jacob learned the language better than any of us. I am sure God is equipping him for a great purpose. Pray with us please that Jacob will continue to grow in the Lord and find the purpose God has for his life.
Tony is still at Hospice Ministries of Jackson working as Clinical Director, and I am still at Pearl High School teaching Junior and Senior English and yearbook. Many of you already know bits and pieces of our journey over the last year, but I will give a very abbreviated version here. You can go to my blog to read more detail if you’d like. I will put that link below. Tony & I are excited to announce that we have answered a call to move and serve the Lord in Ganthier, Haiti. On January 12, 2010, when a terrible earthquake hit Haiti, Tony was on his way to work and the news struck him so deeply that he had to pull his truck over to weep. There’s no explanation for the intense emotion other than God’s hand digging deep into his heart to prepare him for the call that was to come. Tony came home from work that day and said, “I’m going to Haiti.” After that, God gave Tony numerous opportunities through our church and Samaritan’s Purse to serve in Haiti. After his fifth trip to Haiti, God placed a vision in Tony’s heart to build a community where God would use our family to help the Haitian people not only recover and heal, but thrive and grow. At the same time, God was growing the same vision in Stan Buckley, pastor of First Baptist Jackson, and a group of people there at his church. Eventually God brought us all together, and now we are part of a huge plan called But God Ministries, and we are set to move to Haiti in July. We have put our house up for sale and we are trusting God as He prepares the way for this next chapter in our lives. Please take a moment to not only go to my blog, but also look at the But God Ministries website to see the exciting things God is doing in our lives and the lives of many others.
The verse at the top of this letter is a reminder that God loves you and knows your needs, and He is preparing to answer them even before you call to Him. May the Lord bless you this holiday season and throughout the coming year.
Sincerely, Tony, Mickie, Jonathan, and Jacob West