Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
God has provided abundantly for every need for our family over the past year: jobs, church, friends, ministry opportunities, and renewed closeness as a family. All glory and praise to Him for providing everything we needed, at the perfect time, and for keeping missions and His kingdom close to our hearts.
We needed to send everyone our updated mailing address and phone numbers, but thought we could take the opportunity to also share our joys of the past year.
This year has held many changes for our family, one of the biggest being that we are homeowners again, for the first time since 2007. We found a lovely 1973 split-level home that had been foreclosed, flipped, and unoccupied for the past year and priced to sell. We have a guest bedroom and love to have company, so if you are ever coming to Colorado, please look us up!
Our new phone numbers:
(Our email addresses remain the same: andy@, lesa@, robbie@, avery@ and sydney@ brownfamily.ws)
Andy, Lesa and Robbie have gotten involved in music at our church, Village Seven Presbyterian, and can be found occasionally on Sunday mornings playing in the orchestra or helping lead the band. It’s the largest church we’ve ever been a part of, and an exceptional music program.
We also were involved with Village Arts, an arts organization started by our church, and their community theatre production of West Side Story, for which Andy and Lesa were music directors, (with Robbie playing trombone in the pit). We also were reunited with former Rosslyn student, Brian Collins, a drum performance major at Berklee, whom we recruited to play percussion for the show. It was a busy summer with this massive show, but a rewarding experience and good to be back in musical theatre again after a year’s hiatus.
Andy landed a job at Compassion International in February after several months of searching and multiple rounds of interviews. Andy was hired as the Communications Manager for Global Advocacy, a new department within Compassion which opens up ministry opportunities in places Compassion couldn’t normally operate in, places like Myanmar, China, and Egypt. It was a perfect fit: serving an international team, through a broad range of media production, to communicate with the Church in some of the toughest places in the world to be a Christian.
Andy had the opportunity in May to travel to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to film the story of the historic Karen church, an ethnic minority in this predominately Buddhist nation, and how Compassion’s partnership with the church is helping open opportunities for the poorest children in the poorest nation in South East Asia.
On the way to Myanmar, he had the opportunity to see his sister, Emily, and her husband, Andy, in Yamanashi, Japan and do a little hiking, eat some amazing food, and sing a little karaoke before heading off to Myanmar and Thailand.
In June, Andy traveled to Cape Town, South Africa for Compassion Global Advocacy’s annual forum where the Myanmar film was premiered to an international audience. He ended his time in South Africa with a 260km motorcycle tour of the Western Cape, including Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, and Stellenbosch winelands. On the way home, he was able to spend a few days in London with another sister, Jenny, and her family. They are missionaries there with MTW. A great time with pints on the Thames, pimms at the pub, riding the buses, walking the canals, and seeing their church and ministries.
Lesa began a part-time job in April as editor for global curriculum at David C Cook, which had her editing, writing and developing resources for the church in the developing world to minister to at-risk children in their contexts. Once her skills as an educator and writer emerged, Compassion also became interested in her background and experience, and hired her as a freelance writer to develop and contextualize Compassion curriculums for a larger audience. Lesa left her editing job at David C Cook in October for the flexibility of being a home-office-based freelance writer. She is now freelance writing for David C Cook as well.
Lesa also had 2 international work-related trips this year: a trip to Africa with David C Cook to train curriculum writers, and a trip to rural China with Compassion to train teachers. Her trip to China was especially memorable, with a visit to the Forbidden City, a bullet train ride through rural China, speaking to hundreds of teachers and parents, lots of delicious foods, and a middle-of-the-night visit by the police to check her travel papers and ask a few questions.
Lesa also joined the board of Village Arts, will be directing their 2016 summer musical, is in the early stages of writing a book on the arts in the church, and is praying about what other directions God might be leading her towards.
Robert (11th grade) found his stride as a fast runner and talented musician at Liberty High School, a 5A school. Robbie lettered in track as a sophomore, breaking 5:00 in the mile, and ran varsity cross-country this past fall as a junior, with a season best of 17:46. Which, at our elevation of 6,500 feet, is a pretty respectable time for both!
The band program at Liberty is one of the top in the state, and Robbie made 2nd chair in their top jazz band and top wind ensemble. He loves playing his trombone, works hard at practice, played in the CSU honor band last month, and will be playing in the all-state orchestra early in 2016.
Robbie spent a week in Juarez, Mexico, this past summer on a mission trip with our church youth group, and is half-way to having his drivers license, having driven dozens of hours over city, interstate, country roads, and to the top of Pike’s Peak twice. He is also starting to think about potential colleges, further confirming to his parents that they are now officially old.
Avery (8th grade) keeps us busy with his soccer club, Rush, where he plays keeper or mid back and is an invaluable player to his team. The whole family enjoys our weekend soccer games, anywhere from Loveland to Canon City, from hot sun to shivering frost, sometimes 3 or 4 games in a weekend.
Avery also is a competent musician, and gets up early a couple days a week to play trumpet in his school’s jazz band. He also has enjoyed taking a class in woodworking and his school’s after-school science-technology-engineering-math club.
The highlight of this past year, as Avery turned 13, was his rite-of-passage trip with his dad, which involved 4 days of hiking, camping, and mountain climbing, culminating in a back-country ascent of the 4th highest peak in Colorado, Mt Harvard.
Sydney (5th grade) loves reading, cooking, singing and dancing. She spent a week at musical theatre camp this summer and another week at a church camp in the mountains. She attends a hip-hop dance class on Tuesday nights and our church’s Pioneer club on Wednesday nights. She is a good sport at attending her brother’s many sports and music events, which take up a good bulk of our “free” time during the school year. She is excited, as are the rest of us, about our new dog, Macintosh. He is a two-year old rescued Golden Retriever mix. We pick him up this week in northern Colorado!
1 year ago we had no idea where we’d be working, when we would get to do music and arts again, or if we’d ever minister internationally again. We could have never imagined, in our wildest dreams, that within a year we’d find our skills, background and experience desired by Christian organizations, have taken four trips around the world to experience God’s church in places we never thought we’d visit, and be helping lead music and arts in our church and community. We are thrilled to see our children blossoming in the talents that God has given them, and we rejoice at seeing His sovereign hand in our lives, giving us hope to endure all things, through Christ who gives us strength.
We pray for a blessed 2016 for you all, are thankful for the relationships we’ve been able to reconnect with now that we live in the US again, the chance to spend precious time with our parents and extended families, and the relationships that have begun with new friends at work and church. We are looking forward to whatever 2016 brings our way, knowing that God is with us, for us, and has us firmly in his hand.
-Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, Sydney