Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and a Glorious New Year to you our dear friends and family,

As we look back on the year 2015, we are amazed how quickly it has gone by, and how gloriously we have been blessed!  We find ourselves overcome with gratitude for the tender mercies the Lord has showered upon us.

In February, we had a fabulous get-a-way with Brian, Heather and McKinley as we spent 6 days on the beautiful island of Oahu.  We were amazed at how well Kinners did!  She was so content and she loved the walks, the swimming, and eating in the restaurants.  She was a show stopper as well!  Also in February, we went to Houston to spend some time with the Bishop family.  For Christmas, they gave us tickets to go to NASA with them.  It was an incredible experience.  We came away so inspired and amazed and loved to be with Dave and Julie and their family. 
 In March we went to Las Vegas to watch the BYU basketball conference tournament.  Unfortunately, BYU got beaten by Gonzaga in the final game, but we sure have a good time with friends there!  Also in March we were able to have a girl’s retreat in St. George with all six of our daughters.  Julie flew in from Houston and we had a blast together.  Heazy was expecting her first baby and we thought it would be so fun to have a girl’s get-a-way before the baby came.  Then at the end of March, Brad and I had the glorious experience of going to the Holy Land with dear friends from Orem on a Daniel Rona tour.  It was an absolutely incredible experience for us.  As we walked where Jesus walked, we felt the sacredness of the places He lived, served, gave his life, and was resurrected for us.  This was a trip we will always cherish as a highlight in our lives. 
April, we stayed home and welcomed the arrival of grandbaby #13, Asher Nathan Brown, born on April 28 to Kent and Heather.  The sweet thing about his birth was that Vicki was able to participate and watch the delivery.  What a sacred experience for all four of us in the delivery room.

Also on April 26, Brad finished up his nine year calling in the Heatheridge Stake Presidency with much sadness and appreciation for the experiences he shared and the love he felt for those for whom he served and with those he served.  As we contemplated his release, we felt it was time for us to seriously consider serving a full time mission.  We knew Nate and Becca were expecting a baby boy in July, so we put our availability date in August.  Little did we know that all 6 of our daughters would be having babies within a 9 month period, 4 of them after we left.  And what is more amazing, all 6 babies would be sons!  I call them our little stripling warriors!  So on April 28, we turned in our mission papers and waited…….On May 30 we received the call to serve as YSA missionaries in the England London Mission, the same mission Brad served in 42 years previously, and my parents served for 18 months as well .  We were to leave on August 30, 2015 for a period of 18 months.

In June we went again to Houston to spend time with the Bishops before they moved into their new home.  Also in June we held our annual Jackman family reunion with all of our children and grandchildren.  By this time, we knew all of them were expecting except Heather, who just had Asher.  We rented a cabin in Timberlakes above Heber City, Utah.  We had a blast, playing games, eating, swimming, 4-wheeling, and just being together.  Unfortunately, at the end of the reunion, Heather (Brian’s Heather) experienced excruciating pain and went into the hospital.  The Lord’s tender mercies were with us as a friend of ours had had a similar back problem recently.  She got in touch with her doctor and Heather got into him in 2 days and he performed her surgery to repair a ruptured disc.  The miracle was that she was far enough along in her pregnancy that she could have the surgery without hurting the baby.  Also, luckily, Brad and I were home so we could help care for Kinners during the 6 weeks that Heather needed to recover.

On July 14, our little Charlie Ryder Jackman made his entrance into our family!!  He was a miracle baby and another incredible blessing for Nate and Becca and for us. 

The month of August was a whirlwind of mission preparation!  We were amazed at how much work is involved in going on a couple’s mission.  We had to get our home ready to leave, automatic bill payment arrangements, new bank accounts, mail redirected, etc.  We wanted to spend as much time as we could with all of our children and grandchildren.  Thankfully, our children were so willing and helpful, we couldn’t do it without them. 

Finally, on Sunday, August 30, we spoke in church and were so grateful for the family and friends who were so supportive of us.  We reported into the MTC on Monday morning, August, 31.  We spent one and a half weeks in the MTC while living at home.  During that time we were able to have a FHE with all of our children except Dave and Julie.  Those were tender times for us.  On Monday morning, Sept. 14 we left from SLC to Heathrow airport in London, arriving on Sept. 15.  Our adventure had begun!  Please refer to our blog for all our missionary adventures!  Since we left, on October 24, Grayden William Jackman Miles was born to Scott and Sherri.  On November 29, Russell Jackman was born to Justin and Amber.  Samuel Spencer Bishop arrived a few weeks early on December 21 to Dave and Julie.  These little boys are perfect!!!!  We now are waiting for Jordan Jackman to arrive in January of 2016! 

It has been a year of increase in a lot of ways for our family, an increase in bodies, an increase in testimony, an increase in love!  Brad and I have now been on our mission for 4 months.  Never have we experienced such an adventure!  We have been filled with an increase of love for family, for each other, for England and its people, for the gospel and for Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  We know They are real!  The gospel of Jesus Christ is upon the earth.  Jesus Christ is at the head of the church and He has called living prophets to prepare us for His second coming!  We love you all and know we are involved in an inspired work.  May the peace of the Spirit fill your homes and your hearts this day and throughout the coming year.

With all our love,

Brad and Vicki

Grandpa and Grandma

Dad and Mom

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