I just posted our April newsletter, the .pdf file is linked to the right of this page under “Newsletters”. Here’s the text for those of you who would prefer to read it here:

The trees are changing, the sun is shining, and our gas bill has finally returned to normal. I’ve even started mowing the grass again, although not as often as my neighbors might prefer. It feels good to walk through our neighborhood and see the new life sprouting up as winter finally ends. It reminds me of the first stanza of George Herbert’s poem The Flower:

How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snows in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

His touch is sweet and clean isn’t it? Especially after a time of distance and coldness of heart. In those seasons I sometimes forget that winter is only temporary, and spring is already on it’s way. But when hardness of heart does fade and His presence is felt again, it seems as if winter had never come at all.

Well, before I get too emotional I should move on to some news. There is quite a bit of newness in our lives this spring. Gretchen is still very much pregnant, and she recently passed 23 weeks, which is the time that our baby died last year. Crossing that mark and entering into uncharted territory was a relief for both of us. Gretchen is really starting to show now and we’re spending a lot of time discussing possibilities for names. I actually felt the baby move myself just last night, which was a surreal experience for me. It’s starting to feel very real that we’ll be parents in a few months.

My responsibilities at Grace Church have recently changed a bit also. Our volunteer youth worker has moved away, and my role with the youth program has escalated a little. I’ll be teaching Bible study on Wednesday night and Sunday morning in his absence, and trying to facilitate any special events or trips that we take. Many of you are aware that I have some experience with youth ministry, primarily in an inner city context. This is a totally different animal, and I would appreciate your prayers very much as I get acclimated to the job.

I’ve also taken on the Grace Church website, which was designed and updated by another member of our church until recently when he had a baby and needed a break. I’ve been trying to slowly add some content like photos and sermon audio to the site, so take a look at it when you get the chance. The address is www.gracechurchroanokeva.org. You can also get to it by clicking the “Grace Church” link on our site, www.theevanses.com.

Our English Class and After School Bible Club are both going well. Attendance continues to fluctuate in both groups, but relationships continue to be built. We are having a chili cook-off at the apartments the first weekend in May, so hopefully the Lord will give us the opportunity to meet a lot more of our neighbors, including the friends and families of those already involved in our meetings. If I can get a few people interested I hope to start a Bible study as well.

Thank you again for all the love and support!