Christmas - 2006
As a family, this has been a year of transition and growth. Nathan (18) graduated from Northside Christian Academy in May and is now a freshman at Liberty University. We were quite surprised that Nathan ended up at LU as I had been pushing Cedarville University and he had been leaning toward the architectural program at the University of NC/Charlotte. After a campus visit early last summer during which we met some wonderful, Godly professors and received a taste of the college campus atmosphere (which was quite different than what we had expected in a positive way), we agreed that hed be joining a couple dozen of his classmates and friends at LU in the fall. Having our first one leave home was emotional for all of us, but seeing Nate flourish and enjoy campus life so much helped us with the transition. Hes found a sound, smaller church that is quite conservative to call home, but makes it back to Charlotte every few weeks as well. Hes very active in intramural sports and found a job in Lynchburg as well. Dan was able to chaperone Nates senior trip to California last spring and the picture is of him and Nathan on a whale-watching boat off the coast of San Diego.
Megan (15) is a sophomore at NCA and continues to develop her singing and writing talents. Shes anticipating getting her drivers permit soon and stays busy with a gaggle of really great friends. Dad has to diligently work to keep all the starry-eyed boys away and shes really turned into a pretty young lady. Katie (10) and Josh (9) are in 4th grade and have a great time wherever they go. Katie is our worker bee who loves helping mom and Josh is our warrior in waiting and interested in anything military. Katie loves to cook and she enjoys listening to her music. Josh enjoys playing in the woods, making weapons from any available tool and is all boy. Our nice big backyard gives them lots of space to explore and create and theres never a dull moment around the house. They both now have the responsibility of caring for our flock of chickens and are active in AWANAs and the church recreation leagues. They are looking forward hopefully to going to camp for the first time this summer.
Julie injured the major tendon in her foot in early July while at our lake house and was in a wheelchair for two full months, crutches for nearly three and has been in a boot ever since. Its amazing what all she could actually accomplish from her wheel throne and apart from being able to leave the house much and driving, she amazed us all with how she coped. The doctors tell her it will take almost another year before shes back to 100%, so its been an interesting year for her. We are so grateful for all the wonderful ladies in her studies who provided meals and prayer support! She continues to lead her three Bible studies a week and has over 100 ladies attending them.
Dan remains hyper-busy with his myriad interests and projects. He just hired a great guy to come on staff to serve as Executive Pastor which should allow him to put his attention on more pastoral ministry and less administrative responsibility in the coming year. Apart from missions trips to Brazil and Albania this year, hes stayed fairly close to home. He still does a week of adjunct teaching at Boston Baptist College in January and began teaching for Liberty Theological Seminarys online program this fall which he really enjoys. He serves on 4 college boards, but is gradually rotating off of most of those as his terms expire so that he can focus on local interests more.
We broke ground on a $4.5 million parking lot and road construction property on our church campus this year which is the culmination of five years of planning and proposing and he is trying to raise another $1 million in the coming year. The church and the school are both doing well and many of the first wave of goals have now been implemented and hes working on the second wave. Its hard to believe weve been in Charlotte for seven years!
We only took one six-day break this year, joining Dans sister and her family in Orlando for a breakneck week of amusement parks to celebrate a couple of graduations. This year, Dan is planning on heading to Cuba and/orChina on personal missions tripsandas a church leaderhe’s hoping to take a Northside team to Antigua and/or Albania and/or India on a missions trip. Megan is going to the Bahamas with the youth team. Nathan will be taking a missions trip somewhere. Next year, we hope to do a week of family missions somewhere for the first time.
Any spare time is taken up with school work, music lessons, rec leagues or the like. We did not get to spend nearly as much time at our Lake Lure home this year as in past years, but we plan on fixing that this coming year. Over the Fourth of July holiday, Dan and Nate went golfing with some friends and Nathan got his first hole-in-one on the 4th. Were not going to discuss Dans golf score. The lake house is a great place for us to reconnect as a family away from the bustle of living on the church campus. Dan continues to write for Evangelical Press News, his blog Whirled Views (www.danburrell.com), assorted other periodicals and internet sites and is bound and determined to finish writing another book this year.
Thanksgiving was spent at Lake Lure with the gang. Our fifth child Rene came home for a week from Florida where he graduates from college this spring. We had a great time relaxing, eating too much and playing games. Dan and all the kids except Katie (who stayed at home to keep an eye on mom), went hiking in Chimney Rock Park one day. We are looking forward to going home to Missouri for the first time since mid-2005 after Christmas to spend some time with Mom and Dans sisters and their families. The kids would rather go to Missouri than about anywhere else as they love hanging out with their cousins.
Thats about it for the Burrell family this year. We are thankful for Gods incredible goodness on us and we look forward to a another great year of ministry and family activity in 2007 as the Lord allows.
With our Love,
Dan, Julie, Nathan, Megan, Katie and Josh