We gave up on sending Christmas cards a few years ago and have since resorted to using this blog to update friends and family on the goings and comings of the Burrell gang on an annual basis. If 2007 was a year of change for us, then 2008 was even more so. Last year we were Carolinians and this year, we are once again Floridians back in South Florida — even further south than we used to be.
After a lot of prayer and thought, Dan accepted a position serving with Dino Pedrone and the ministries of New Testament Baptist Church in Miami. He is the Executive Pastor of the three church locations (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Opalocka) and the Vice President of Dade Christian Schools (Dade Christian, The Master’s Academy and His House Academy). In addition, he is in charge of establishing a South Florida campus for Davis College which recently installed Dr. Pedrone as President. Dan started full time on July 1st.
Thanks to the housing collapse in South Florida, we were able to buy a beautiful house in Pembroke Pines which had previously been owned by latina Christian Contemporary singer, Julissa Arce. Miraculously, we were able to sell our house on the week we moved from Charlotte and just before the housing market went south there.
June was marked with our first ever cruise as we joined all of Dan’s family for a 5-day cruise through the Caribbean. We had an absolute blast and are looking forward to our next one. It’s great to have a family with whom you enjoy spending time and we all made some great memories as we celebrated cousin James’ graduation from high school.
Following the cruise, we rushed back to Charlotte, got everything packed up and headed south. It was a busy month of unpacking and learning our way around. Pembroke Pines is a lovely community and we are located halfway between the two primary campuses of the ministry where we serve. We live on a small lake, have over a dozen green parrots who like to hang out in our trees, are located across the street from our community pool and playground and are within minutes of all kinds of shopping and restaurants.
Nathan took a break from his studies at Liberty University to get acclimated to South Florida with the family. He is working in the IT department at the church and school, plays in a praise band and with the church band, works in the youth department and plays a lot of basketball in his spare time. Next month, he is planning to get his Microsoft Certification before finishing up his college program.
Megan is a senior at Dade Christian High. She misses her northern friends, but still enjoys her writing and music. She also has developed quite a skill in photography and has a fairly extensive portfolio she has built. She is undecided about her plans for the fall and may take a “gap year” to do an internship or some volunteer work before heading back to school. She is active in the youth group at the Broward campus of our church and helps with the praise team there.
very sweet friends in school and loves going to school every day. She is our resident Wii expert and can pretty much beat the rest of the family in many of the games. She loves listening to her music and cooking and is our “domestic goddess” in training.
Josh turned eleven this year and is in 6th grade at The Master’s Academy. He and dad have a standing weekly breakfast appointment every Saturday and they have very deep conversations about all kinds of topics. He is still interested in all things military and the History Channel and Discovery Channel are two of his primary resources in learning about his favorite topics.
Julie has been very busy getting everyone settled into their new surroundings and routines. She is helping Dan with his new Sunday School class and enjoyed a visit in October from some of the ladies in her former Bible study in North Carolina. She took some of the kids to the lake house for a few weeks this summer and got it ready to put on the nightly rental market.
Dan took two trips to Cuba this year and is very active in the ministry there that has exploded since he first started visiting that nation six years ago. He has made many very dear friends there and enjoys partnering with them in the work that the Lord has established there. As the Executive Pastor, he over sees over 350 employees and a budget of over $17 million. He was appointed to the board of directors for Davis College this year and still serves on the board of Boston Baptist College. He gave the commencement for BBC at historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. He serves as an adjunct for BBC each January and also teaches numerous courses for Liberty University. He also delivered the keynote address for the FACCS Convention in Orlando this fall.
The entire family is looking forward to a few days at the house in Lake Lure over the holidays after a Florida Christmas. We appreciate the many friends who have kept touch with us during this time of transition in our lives. We don’t always understand or even anticipate the seasons of change that the Lord orders for our paths, but we trust in His sovereign design and rest in the security that only He can provide.
Our prayer for you this year is that 2009 will find you closer to the Lord than ever before. We’d love to hear from you — our regular email addresses haven’t changed — Dan’s is WPBDoc@aol.com and Julie’s is RPBJulie@aol.com.
As always, we are Expecting His Best….
Dan, Julie, Nathan, Megan, Katie and Josh