Celebrating and Contemplating - Styles' Update September 2018
Hello Dear Prayer Friend!
Melanie and I want to say how much we value and appreciate you! Whenever I look through my contacts, so many great and precious memories flood my soul. You are part of our story. And we thank you for the honour and privilege of calling you “Friend”!
June 2018 was our last update. Much has happened since then. Thank you in advance for taking a few moments to read and lift us up in prayer as you feel comfortable. Here is a glimpse of our recent life highlights:
Melanie graduated in August with her “Master of Social Work: Critical Leadership in Social Services and Communities”!! I am so proud of her! Her formal McMaster convocation is November 22, 2018. For those living in Canada, I’m sure you’ll hear me cheering whether you live in Vancouver or Prince Edward Island! Melanie also turned 40 in July and since this past year has been hectic for us all, she is taking the valuable time to be home with our boys before we consider next steps. Pray for Melanie as she tries to discern how to use the privilege of education that God has entrusted to her. Psalm 119:125 “I am your servant; give me discernment ..."
Jonathan started Junior Kindergarten this September. He’s 4 years old. When Melanie picked him up after his first day of school he said, “It was FANTASTIC!” We are deeply grateful! Recently I took Jonathan to the McLaughlin Caressant Care Nursing Home to do a worship service together. He was amazing! He sang Jesus loves me out loud for everyone and showed no awkwardness in shaking hands with all of the residents regardless of their physical issues. The residents were beaming with joy. I was so proud of him! I told him on our drive home that the greatest power in the world is being able to love all people. I told him how being the fastest doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to love people. Being the strongest or smartest is meaningless if you don’t know how to love people. I told him that being able to love children, adults, and seniors is a rare and very special ability. I told him it was his superpower, his most powerful ability, to love all people. He beamed and repeated it to Melanie later. 1 Corinthians 14:1 MSG “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” Pray for Jonathan to grow in loving people as God so deeply does. Thank you.
David’s updates would be about the adventures of life. Spending time with grandparents. Celebrating Papa and Grandma Styles' 60th anniversary. Going on holidays. Riding in Skyler’s boat. Seeing lions at the African Lion Safari and walking Jonathan to the school bus. He is 2.5 years old. He loves music and often plays “Church” where we all have to sit and sing “made-up” songs with the word “Jesus" thrown in randomly. When he preaches at us I just roll my eyes! When we aren’t playing church he can also preach at us. He is quite a character! He also has big feelings and often needs snuggles, redirection, or emotional support. Pray with us for David to lean into the everlasting arms of Jesus. Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Phil’s updates are a convolution of care, prayer, and supporting people in life’s journey. Our church leadership has recently been providing effective people care strategies which included getting central air conditioning for the church, a welcome centre and enhanced sound for those with hearing impairments. The whole church has been SUPER generous to helping those in our wider community! I boast in the LORD, but through our Mission Committee we are sending over 550 pairs of glasses with a medical team to Ghana this week; our ladies at Hooks and Needles have knitted (since Jan) over 6,203 items (pneumonia vests, blankets, toques, scarves, mitts, newborn beanies, and etc) for Canadian Food for Children, Ghana and First Nations; we did a “Shower of Blessings” in late June to benefit First Nation Peoples of Ontario and had to rent a truck to deliver it all; we delivered well over one ton (2000 pounds) of items and fresh vegetables to the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan (formerly Golden Lake Reserve) in July; and this week I watch as our 4 “Grateful Barrels of Bounty” are overflowing for our local Food Source that resources the food banks in our region - more barrels are being delivered to the church this week. Not everyone can give, but when the church cares, the wider community shows up to help us do far more than we dream or imagine. Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Pray with me that God’s Kingdom would come and God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Those are our highlights. God is good. We’ve also had shadows and several things that concern us too: i) Jonathan has had more “unique” health concerns that doctors don’t clearly identify; ii) Melanie has used up her insurance resources from our car accident in Dec 2015 and her pending Orthodontist treatments for her jaw injuries are very expensive - which is stressful for us; iii) and Phil is dealing with church and community cares that can weigh heavy on the soul - like two moms who found out this week that they have stage 4 brain cancer. So we value your prayers for whenever God brings us to your mind! Thank you so much!
We intend to update this blog every two months, so feel free to register for our updates via email below our blog! Blessings on you and your family! We treasure you! Thank you for your prayers.
Phil, Melanie, Jonathan, and David Styles