Get the cake(s)!

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“Get the cake!” is the text we send when our family members get refugee protection at their hearings. 

It means one of us runs to the grocery store to pick up a celebration cake so it’s waiting at inasmuch when they return home from their hearing.

And we got to send that text twice in the past week!

You may recall that back in June we asked for prayer for the two couples at inasmuch. Their scheduled hearings were both postponed leaving them with tremendous stress and fear levels.  

But the Lord answered those prayers in wonderful ways this past week. 

Last Monday, the young Kurdish/Iranian couple faced very thorough questioning from the Member of the Refugee Protection Division over two separate days.  Peter was in the hearings as an observer, and during the intense questioning, the young Iranian woman turned to Peter and whispered: “please pray.”  And pray we all did.

Following their lawyer’s wonderful hour-long case summary of their case and a 2 ½ hour recess the Member returned with her decision.  The wait was tough, but the decision was great!  She deemed them to be convention refugees and allowed them to stay in Canada with full refugee protection.  Such tears of relief!

Dawn-Lynn was the first person they wanted to call as we left the hearing room and the celebrations began.

The hearing last Thursday for the 64-year-old Kurdish couple was much shorter. 

The Member questioned the husband for an hour about the reasons they had to flee and then turned to his wife and asked her what she thought. 

She immediately broke into tears explaining how they had left behind children, grandchildren, their home and everything familiar to run to Canada in fear for their lives.  The Member asked for a short recess and returned with a positive decision. 

Again Dawn-Lynn was the first person they wanted to call when they left the hearing room.  The celebrations began again.

Two cakes in one week. What an answer to prayer and what an immense relief for the two couples!

So what’s next as they begin to integrate further in Canada? Both couples now have their work permits and the older Kurdish man has already started work in the shipping department at a local Abbotsford company.  They all continue English classes with our Dr. Angela, with resume and cover letter creation at the top of their lists. 

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Family Celebration!  To round out this rollercoaster of a week, on Saturday we had a huge picnic at Hayward Lake, BC to celebrate both of these couples being free to stay in Canada.  Many former inasmuch family members joined us to celebrate with them – and enjoy picnic tables groaning under the weight of food, kayaking, swimming, soccer and so much laughter.

It is a true family that is created in the Christ-centered environment at inasmuch.


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We could use your help!

In the next month or so both couples will be transitioning out of inasmuch to apartments or suites and there are many needs to help get them started. 

If you can help in any way with the following for two couples:

  • Household furnishings in good condition
  • Kitchen utensils, pots and pans etc
  • Linens and towels

At inasmuch we want to send the beds family members have been sleeping on with them when they go and acquire new beds for the next arrivals. 

Therefore, we want to raise $1,200 to purchase two new queen beds. If you can help with this, please go to the donate page on our website.


The Ride for Refuge is Saturday, 30 September, 2017

We’re assembling a team to raise funds.  In addition to our own team, we have a couple of teams with us now from Trinity Western University and two teams our board members are putting together. 

Please consider sponsoring, or even riding yourself, to help us. 

The Ride for Refuge is North America wide and there are hundreds of organizations that work with refugees raising funds for their work.

You can sponsor us here: https://rideforrefuge.org/charity/inasmuch 


Thank you! 

We have been blessed so much by the volunteers who have come alongside us on a steady basis at the house, plus the great drivers who have taken our folks in and out of Vancouver for Canadian Border Services reporting. 

And finally, Labour Day weekend is local missions weekend at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford.  We will be speaking at all services that weekend and would love to see you there.

 

Six new family members. And an invitation...

In our last newsletter we spoke of transitions.  There is no way we could have imagined who God was going to bring us next, but as always, He brought the people into inasmuch that we had been praying for.

We went to a meeting, but came home with family members

 
Although we’d planned a two week break before opening the house to new people, God had other plans.  

At the end of the first week of the break, we were at a meeting at the Inland Refugee Society in Vancouver.  The reception area was filled with more than 30 asylum seekers who were part of the recent influx of people crossing the border. They had just arrived and had no accommodation. 
 
Knowing we had room, we asked about a young couple we saw sitting in the corner.  We approached them and asked if they wanted to come home with us.  With a combination of fear and appreciation in their eyes they accepted.  And so we drove home with two precious people - an Iranian woman and her Kurdish husband. 
 

Different ages, different countries

 
Two weeks later we received a 64 year old Kurdish couple.  Can you imagine being almost retired and having to flee for your life?  They’ve been through so much but they have such gentle spirits.
 
And then, just before Easter we received a call from the Inland Refugee Society asking if we could take in a Palestinian mother and her 12 year old daughter.   Our family members have always been older, so to have someone so young has been wonderful.  We have been able to get her enrolled in middle school, and thanks to one of the optical stores in Abbotsford she has brand new glasses.
 

Fear, family and friendship


With all of these dear, new family members, fear is the common denominator.  When you hear their stories, your heart breaks.  We’re therefore very thankful that Northview Community Church has partnered with us to provide trauma counseling where needed.
 
To be honest, we were concerned about the combination of Middle Eastern countries now under the inasmuch roof.   Four days after the Palestinian mom and daughter arrived, we returned from a day in Vancouver to the sound of laughter, the smell of popcorn and the joy of cards being played.

Our short-sighted concerns evaporated. Christ knew our needs.
 

Easter dinner and the power of God’s Word.

 
We had 17 for Easter dinner, giving us the opportunity to share the true essence of Easter, the scripture describing it, and the hope we have as Christians.  When we explained that it wasn’t all about chocolate bunnies and eggs it spurred a lot of discussion.  Daily we write a new scripture on the whiteboard in the common area, and it too invariably brings interest and questions. 
 
It gives our family members hope as they also know that we are praying earnestly for them.  The young Kurdish man had never heard the name of Jesus and loves talking about Him.  He has downloaded the Kurdish-Surani translation of the Bible into his computer.
 
It’s a wonderful thing to watch as enquiring minds search for answers.


You’re invited!

 
We’re hosting an Open House at inasmuch on Saturday June 11 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.  

Come and see what God is doing! We’d love to meet you and there’ll be a snack lunch and tours too.


Ride for Refuge

Saturday 30 September

The Ride for Refuge is a North America wide event where organizations that work with refugees raise funds through a sponsored bike ride. 

Inasmuch has taken part in the ride for the last two years to raise funds for support of the work at the house. We had 20 team members last year with half being former inasmuch family members.  We even had a 90 year-old pushing a walker for 5 km as well as cyclists who completed a full 50km.

Please join our team as a rider or walker for this year’s Ride for Refuge.  The distances vary from 5km to 50 km.  Last year we raised $3,000 and this year the goal is $5,000. 

We also need a couple of team captains who can raise up riders and sponsors.

More information will be available mid-June and we’ll let you know more then!


Big changes at inasmuch

They say there’s nothing so constant in life as change – and that’s certainly true here at inasmuch!
 
In fact, we’re going to be experiencing more transition on one day during the first week of March than we’ve experienced in the whole two years since we began inasmuch house. 
 
We’re helping several of our family members begin their first steps towards independence and their new lives in Canada.  And best of all, these changes are happening because God has opened wonderful opportunities for them.
 

Update on family members

 
Our Burundian mom and her precious one-year-old twins are moving into a beautiful two-bedroom suite close to inasmuch.  She has a job two days a week and has also secured child care for the twins for those days.  Please pray for the timely processing of her Permanent Residence and Family Reunification application which will allow her husband and two other children to move to Canada.
 
One of our Kurdish young women has secured employment and moved into a bright lower level suite in Abbotsford.  The second Kurdish woman has also found rewarding work and will be moving into an apartment close to inasmuch at the beginning of March.
 
These folks join a growing list of individual successes that has been the hallmark of family members living at inasmuch.  They have entered Canadian society well equipped to begin a new life.  In typically six to eight months, English language, Canadian culture and relationship building skills have been learned to empower these great people who arrived as refugee claimants full of fear and uncertainty, to become contributing members of our community.

Good news just before Christmas!

Yes, it’s really special to be able to update you on some great news and answers to prayer this close to Christmas.

In the last couple of weeks these wonderful things have happened:

  • One of the Kurdish women with us was granted refugee protection.  She is now full of hope and looking to the future. 
  • Our Burundian mother of twins met with a lawyer at MOSAIC in Vancouver back in November to see what could be done to speed up her Permanent Residency application to bring her husband and two children to Canada.  Just a few days ago she received a letter from CIC (Citizenship & Immigration Canada) that her family reunification is being expedited!
  • Another young Kurdish woman with us has begun working as an Arabic interpreter for Community Services working with Syrian refugees in Abbotsford.  She has also begun looking for her own place to rent and moving on - creating an opening in the house.
  • One of Inasmuch’s earliest family members was offered an entry level accounting position at one of Canada’s top accountancy firms in Langley. He had wonderful coaching preparation from some of the volunteers here at inasmuch. He also received a letter from CIC that his Permanent Residence meeting will be on 9 January.
  • We are half way to our goal of $3,000/month of committed monthly support to cover operational costs of the house for our refugee claimant family.  We are so grateful for everyone who comes alongside us in this way. It makes a huge difference.

It’s not easy in the rush and craziness of the festive season to stop and be thankful for so many things. But at inasmuch we are so grateful for the incredible journey that 2016 has been. 

When you listen to Handel’s Messiah – which is a bit of a tradition here at inasmuch – and hear the words: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given… and he’ll be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” it’s impossible not to contrast it with the daily news of tragedy and turmoil in the world. The people that come to inasmuch are fleeing that turmoil and are in fear for their lives. 

This Christmas our prayer is that, along with our refugee claimant family and everyone here at inasmuch, you will experience the wonderful peace of Christ. 
 
Blessings this Christmas!

December 2016 update

The Gift of the Light to the World: The true light that gives light to every man has come into the world. John 1:9

The Gift of the Light to the World: The true light that gives light to every man has come into the world. John 1:9

With every new refugee claimant that comes to inasmuch there is a cloud of darkness from fear, trauma, uncertainty, separation from family, and loneliness. Our hearts are always moved by their stories, but thanks to Jesus Christ, the Light of the World who is at the centre of inasmuch house, these clouds are dispersed in an atmosphere of caring, acceptance, security and hope. Laughter and fellowship seem to be contagious in the house.

We are so very thankful to those who volunteer, pray, and donate to specific and operational needs. This support has made a wonderful impact on nine adult and twin babies that have passed through or are still in process in the house this past year. 

The Canadian Council for Refugees anticipates the refugee crisis will only worsen this coming year and we want to be ready to respond. We would encourage you to donate generously to Inasmuch Community Society this Christmas season on a one-time or monthly basis. 

Donations have already made and will continue to make a huge difference to the lives of our family members. For example, we recently received a complete library of graded readers from Pearson Longman Publishing. This has enabled family members to read at their existing ESL level, build their confidence and fluency, as well as entertain them! 

So this busy Christmas season, we’d ask you to please consider the following opportunities for supporting us:

  • Inasmuch has operational expenses of approximately $3,000/month. No salaries or wages are paid from this – so a monthly donation of $50 is a huge help.
  • One of our family members from Kurdistan will be moving out in January and we would love to provide her with a new single bed and bedding – this will cost around $350.
  • Many refugee claimants arrive with qualifications and skills to work, but no formal English Language qualifications. This means they are unable to join their profession or study further. We want to offer an International English Language Testing (IELTS) Exam Scholarship to a family member deemed ready at a cost of $350. This pays for the cost of the exam, study supplies and transit costs for the day of the exam.
  • We have the possibility of purchasing refurbished laptop computers to be used for language training. This would enable family members to do more individual online language study and exam practice. $175 buys one laptop.
  • Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference - $10 pays for a welcome pack of toiletries for a new family member, $15 provides a complete set of study materials for one student and $20 gives a family member a warm toque and scarf.
  • We know that there are many demands on your pocketbook at this time of year, but we would ask that you’d think about this growing family of people who taken the brave decision to leave their homeland for safety in Canada. 

To donate, cheques can be made out to Inasmuch Community Society and mailed to PO Box 15041, Seven Oaks PO, Abbotsford, BC, V2S 8P1

or you can donate online right by clicking here

October 2016 Update

A world of thanksgiving

Twenty-three family members, from six nationalities, gathered for thanksgiving at inasmuch house on a beautiful sunny day to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

The love, talk, and laughter that filled the house was truly amazing.  A 13.5 Kg fresh turkey had been donated, and when the usual trimmings and foods from all various other countries were added, it completed the celebration!

Between dinner and dessert the whole group formed a laughing gaggle that strolled the colours of Mill Lake Park. The joy was inexplicable. 

The blessings that God heaped on us over the last few months include:

  • Refugee protection was granted last month for a young Kurdish woman from Northern Iraq who now has applied for her work visa and permanent residency. 
  • A young Afghan couple who were granted refugee protection in the spring of 2015 are expecting their first baby early next month. 
  • In February, a young Kurdish couple began working at Phantom Screens in Abbotsford.  When they arrived in Canada in July of 2015 the husband had virtually no English. Through his hard work in learning English he was promoted last month within the finance department. The young wife is a journalist and is working on her writing.
  • Our young man from Cameroon began a masters program in Environmental Reclamation at SFU in September.
  • The young Afghan teenager who came to inasmuch last September is now studying engineering at UBC.
  • The 19 year-old young Nigerian is now living and working in construction in Surrey.  He phones every couple of weeks to see how his inasmuch family is doing. 
  • Volunteers have been coming to assist our young Burundian mother with the twins. She is a wonderful mom, the twins are now 8 months old, but she misses her two children and husband who are still in Burundi. 
  • Much of the success of these and other family member is due to the English instruction given freely and with love by Dr. Angela who spends at least 12 hours a week with family members, with teaching focused on the education from their home countries. 
  • We have also been blessed with our own harvest! The six raised bed vegetable garden gave us all excellent produce which was included in most meals.

The Ride for Refuge

Each October the Ride for Refuge takes place across North America with teams formed to raise funds for their work with refugees and refugee claimants. The 18-member inasmuch team comprised current and former family members, volunteers, and an age range from eight months to 90 years. 

The distances were from 5km walk to 10, 25 and 50km bike rides.  We outfitted the team with inasmuch “T” shirts, sweat and laughed together, and raised over $3,000 for inasmuch house!

New inasmuch website

Three men, Richard, Jeret, and Adam have produced a wonderful gift for inasmuch, a new website.  After many hours of interviews and “branding” the site www.inasmuch.ca is up and running. A video for the site is also under production and will be added to the site next month. Please take a few minutes to view it.  

Inasmuch Charitable Status

Inasmuch Community Society was granted charitable status by the Canadian Revenue Agency in September which will allow greater scope for fundraising. This is a huge milestone and we are very thankful to Northview Community Church for accounting and receipting assistance over the last two years.  We could not have done it without that help.

Future donation cheques need to be made out to Inasmuch Community Society and a year-end charitable receipt will be mailed at the beginning of 2017.

Operating costs are approximately $2,800/month with 100% of funds all funds raised going direct to the house with no overhead costs.

Inasmuch could use your help!

  • The beautiful twin babies go through a lot of diapers and are very costly. Donations of size 2 and size 3 diapers would help a great deal. 
  • Volunteers willing to come and watch the babies for a couple of hours to give mom some respite. If you are available, please contact Dawn-Lynn Prediger at 604-850-9214 or email hello@inasmuch.ca to arrange for a visit and interview.
  • Your prayers and support. There is a Kurdish woman and a young Kurdish couple who are awaiting decisions on their refugee protection applications. This is a very stressful time in the lives of all the precious people who come through the house.  

June 2016 update

Perspective

June 20th was World Refugee day.  We heard again the desperate situation in many parts of the world with the UN estimating there are 65 million displaced people. The ministry to Refugee Claimants that reach Canada’s shores and inasmuch is a microcosm of the situation, and seems so inconsequential in comparison. 

The world has passed through the door of inasmuch these past five years to experience the love of Christ, peace, and security to precious people who have lost family, country and a sense of home. The atmosphere in the house is one of laughter, joy and support for one another. 

It is truly a family.

Transitions in our family

Victor (Nigeria) graduated last weekend from our family, received his work permit and has found a place to live in Surrey.  He came to inasmuch seven months ago, a frightened 19-year old who was granted refugee protection in February and now has the confidence to begin a new life on his own. We are so proud of him. The last two days have been spent painting, cleaning, and preparing the room he vacated for new family member(s). Inland Refugee will be letting us know in the next few days who will be coming.
 
Araz & Bawan (Iraq)- This incredible young Kurdish couple arrived two months ago. Both their families have fled their homes because of fighting in their area of Northern Iraq. The fear in their eyes melts your heart, but they have found peace, security, and new family at inasmuch. They should have a decision on their refugee claim in the next couple of weeks. Please pray for them.
 
Josian (Burundi) – The twins, Nadine and Nabor are four months old now and are absolutely beautiful and healthy. Josian is a wonderful mother. Please pray that her husband and children will be able to join her here in Canada in the future as she has applied for Permanent Residence for herself and her family.

Thankfulness

We have been joined by Richard and Angela, two wonderful people with a heart for refugees. They sold their home in Fort Langley and moved down the street from inasmuch to join us in the ministry.

Our last newsletter outlined Angela’s PhD qualifications in Sociolinguistics and she teaches ESL at inasmuch three days a week, as well as teaching weekly in the homes of three former inasmuch family members. Peter retires at the end of June, and he and Dawn-Lynn are going to take the month of August to travel the Maritime provinces of Canada, with Richard and Angela moving into inasmuch house to provide continuity.
 
Every week Araz & Bawan have to travel to Vancouver to report to Canadian Border Services. The past few weeks we have had a wonderful friend take them in for their appointment, and then bring them home. What a blessing.

CRA Charitable Status Application – We have had a response from CRA and will hopefully be able to proceed late summer. Northview Church continues receipt donations and do a wonderful job in dealing with our expense disbursements. We do not know how we could handle the finances without their assistance. Thanks to Kathy and Chrissy!

Web Site Development – Our goal is to have the new web site up and running in the next few weeks and we will let you know as soon as it is online.

Needs

Finances – Please consider partnering with us by donating on a monthly basis. We are very careful with expenditures, with monthly operating costs approximately $2,700. This includes rent, utilities, food for the family members and transportation to lawyer’s meetings and hearings. It has been tight with the new arrivals who have also needed clothing and other personal basics.  

Donations can continue to be made through Northview Community Church with Inasmuch as the designation.

Ride for Refuge – Will take place on 1 October in Fort Langley. There are a number of people who are joining our team this year including past family members. More information on how to be involved or support the team will be sent next month. Last year was the first that inasmuch entered a team.  It was great fun and we raised $2,500.

Prayer

For Jesus Christ the be manifested and glorified in all that transpires moment by moment in the house.

March 2016 update

Every day we talk about what God is doing in this place and are overwhelmed at His goodness and direction.  As we write this update the house is full, beyond full to be honest, but the need for housing and assistance for refugee claimants is great.

Transitions in our family

Rashid & Madina  (Afghanistan) – In October they moved out on their own to Vancouver and are doing very well.  Madina called last week to let us know she is pregnant and just had to let us know first!

Babir & Seyran (Kurdistan Iraq) – they have both been working at a local manufacturing company for a couple of months and Babir applied for an assistant accounting position which he begins next week.  They moved into their own basement suite at the beginning of March and are excited about their new start.

Josian (Burundi) – The twins, Nadine and Nabor are six weeks old now and are absolutely beautiful and healthy.  Josian is a wonderful mother.  Please pray that her husband and children will be able to join her here in Canada in the future.

Victor (Nigeria) – Was granted refugee protection in January and is currently awaiting his permit.  In the mean time he is volunteering three days a week at the Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity). 

Kashvi & Akarsh (India) – Have been with us for almost two weeks after spending 6 weeks in detention upon their arrival.  Their hearing before the Refugee Protection Division is this Friday, 1 April.  They are precious people with very little English, but have fit into the family beautifully.

Sana (India) – She also arrived the same day after also spending 6 weeks in detention.  She is able to get by in English and is a great help with Kashvi & Akarsh.  She is sleeping on the couch but is very happy to have a safe place to stay.  Her hearing is 2 May.

Progress

CRA Charitable Status Application – We have had a response from CRA and will hopefully be able to proceed late summer. Northview Church continues to receipt donations and do a wonderful job in dealing with our expense disbursements.  We do not know how we could handle the finances without their assistance.

Branding & Web Development – We have been gifted by three wonderful men who have spent almost 20 hours with us and family members, and many additional hours distilling the essence of Inasmuch vision, purpose, values, and all that is needed to create its identity.  We are excited as a new website is now in final development. 

Board of Directors – We have had some additions to the Board and all are fully engaged in taking Inasmuch forward.

The House – The addition of the second kitchen has added a valuable new dynamic to the house and the smells of cooking from the different cultures fills the house each evening, along with laughter and conversation.  The family community is beautiful with members supporting and encouraging one another.

ESL training

We have been blessed with a dear friend who has a PhD in Sociolinguistics who comes to the house to teach English, and will soon be increasing that to three mornings a week.  She also visits some who have moved out to continue with language instruction.

Needs

Finances – Please consider partnering with us by donating on a monthly basis.  We are very careful with expenditures, with monthly operating costs approximately $2,700.  This includes rent, utilities, food for the family members and transportation to lawyer’s meetings and hearings.  It has been tight with the new arrivals who have also needed clothing and other personal basics.
 
Donations can continue to be made through Northview Community Church with Inasmuch as the designation.
 
Drivers - We are frequently requesting drivers to take family members to the Westcoast Express in Mission in the early mornings, or into Vancouver for meetings with lawyers.  If you are able to assist, please send your contact email address to dlprediger@shaw.ca. We'd love to hear from you!

Prayer

There are two Refugee Protection Division hearings in the next month where the future of these people is in the balance.  Please pray for God’s guidance for their lawyers and for the member of the RPD who will be presiding.

Also pray for Jesus Christ to be manifested and glorified in all that transpires moment by moment in the house.

Thankfulness

We are so thankful for those who have come to the house to assist Josian with the twins. As well for those who have volunteered to drive family members to Vancouver for Canadian Border Services reporting, and meetings with lawyers.

Christmas 2015 Update

This time last year, we were living in a basement suite, renting apartments for refugee claimants, and praying for the vision of an INASMUCH house to be revealed.  Less than two months later we rented a tear-down of a house from the City of Abbotsford, and in the month following possession, it was gutted and transformed by 75 tradesmen and friends into a wonderful transition house. 

Refuge for the world

We have been in the house for eight months and it has been home to a couple from Afghanistan, another from Kurdistan (north of Iraq), a 17 year-old from Afghanistan, a single man from Cameroon and another from Kuwait. They have all received refugee protection. Now as of this month, a woman from El Salvador, and another from Burundi has found home at INASMUCH.

Love, laughter and such good food!

The atmosphere is one of joy, love, and helping each other.  The laughter is as fragrant as the food being prepared from these different nationalities.  We have common meals two or three times a week - which brings us all together even in times of anxiety over separation from family and past trauma.  The saying in the house is: “It’s all about the food!”

Why do we do this?

Jesus is the center of all that we do, and it is precious to pray with our INASMUCH family members before their Refugee Protection Division hearings that determine their admissibility to stay in Canada.   We see and hear on the news about fear of those coming to Canada as refugees, but we have been blessed to be trusted to enter the hearts and spirits of these dear people.  We believe we are entertaining angels unaware.  In addition, those who have engaged with us have been transformed in crossing the fear and comfort zone lines.

Can we be so bold as to tell you our needs?

INASAMUCH supports with housing, food and transportation until social assistance is approved.  Our monthly operating costs are approximately $2,500 for rent, utilities, food, clothing, and transportation.  It would help a great deal if any of you could partner with us for monthly support no matter how big.

Our new arrival from Burundi is pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, due in early March, so we need all the things that go for newborn babies from diapers to clothes for both mother and babies.

Our 17 year-old from Afghanistan has had to have severe dental work done and there is about $2,000 remaining to be paid.

How to donate

Northview Community Church is currently receipting for INASMUCH as we are going through the process of attaining our own charitable status.  If you can donate, please make the cheque out to Northview Community church with INASMUCH on the memo line.
 
By snail mail the address is: Northview Community Church, 32040 Downes Rd, Abbotsford, BC. V4X 1X5

Thank you

A great big thank you to all who have come along side us this past year. You have made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many. We really appreciate each and every one of you.
 
May the Christ of Christmas bless each of you in the coming days and into 2016!