For some, this “newsletter” will be an introduction to my life and family. For others, it will just be a bit of catching up after yet another busy year. Either way, we have to begin by praising the Lord for His grace and blessings on us during 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 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 he’d be joining a couple dozen of his classmates and friends at LU in the fall. I will admit that the “dropping off” experience caught me off-guard and ended up being rather emotional for me for a few days, but seeing Nate flourish and enjoy campus life so much helped us with the transition. He’s found a sound, smaller church that is quite conservative to call “home” but makes it back to Charlotte every few weeks as well. He’s very active in intramural sports and found a job in Lynchburg as well.
Megan (15) is a sophomore at NCA and continues to develop her singing and writing talents. She’s anticipating getting her driver’s permit soon and stays busy with a gaggle of really great friends. Katie (10) and Josh (9) are in 4th grade and have a great time wherever they go. Katie is our “worker bee,” and Josh is our “warrior in waiting” and interested in anything military. They both now have the responsibility of caring for our flock of chickens and are active in Awana and the church recreation leagues. They are looking forward to going to camp for the first time this year at THE WILDS, which is located fairly close to our lake house.
Julie broke the major tendon in her foot in early July while in the mountains at our lake house and was in a wheelchair for two full months and crutches for nearly three. She has been in a boot ever since. The doctors tell her it will take almost another year before she’s back to 100 percent, so it’s been an interesting year for her (and me). 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 at Northside Baptist Church 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, he’s stayed fairly close to home. A highlight of the year for him was chaperoning Nathan’s senior class on a week-long trip to Southern California. He still does a week of adjunct teaching at Boston Baptist College in January and began teaching for Liberty Theological Seminary’s online program this fall, which he really enjoys. He serves on four college boards but is gradually rotating off those. 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.
He has introduced an exciting strategy to the church in the last year called “Global Outreach,” and it is really catching on. We will begin implementing it during 2007. It promises to be a revolutionary approach to missions at home and abroad. We hope to see over 200 Northsiders on short-term missions projects 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 he’s working on the “second wave.” It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Charlotte for seven years!
We only took one six-day break this year, joining Dan’s sister and her family in Orlando for a breakneck week of amusement parks to celebrate a couple of graduations. We are going to Missouri to visit with Dan’s mom and sisters and their families the week after Christmas. This year Dan is planning on heading to Cuba, China, Antigua, and possibly Albania and/or India on missions trips. 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. It’s 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, and assorted other periodicals and Internet sites. He is bound and determined to finish his book this year.
That’s about it for the Burrell family this year. We are thankful for God’s incredible goodness on us, and we look forward to a year of ministry and family activity in 2007 as the Lord allows.
Expecting His Best,
Dan, Julie, Nathan, Megan, Katie and Josh Burrell