Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Friends and Family,
2010 has been a year of international endeavors for the Lewis family.   Between trips to the Amazon jungle and Haiti, we served as a host family for two young men from Rwanda and a young lady from Cameroon.  In fact, we are fortunate enough to have all three joining us for Christmas this year.  Tory and I went from two stockings to five stockings in a matter of months!
This summer, we were introduced to two fine gentlemen from Rwanda, Theophile and Narcisse.  The boys are studying in the United States for four years through the Rwandan Presidential Scholars Program and Bridge to Rwanda.  We first heard about the program through a local ministry in Little Rock called International Friendship Outreach and offered to serve as host parents.  Theophile and Narcisse lived with us for eight weeks this summer, and now that they are living in the dorms, we see them almost weekly.  When they came to live with us, they were skinny Rwandans with little knowledge of America and what lay ahead of them.  Now, they love pizza, hamburgers, and milkshakes; carry their cell phones everywhere; and update their Facebook pages daily.  Welcome to America!
Shortly after their departure, we were given the opportunity to house a girl from Cameroon named Dina.  Unlike the boys, Dina came to us completely Americanized; she knows more about pop culture than either Tory or me!  We have learned about MTV, Beyonce, and every reality TV series known to man. Dina is studying to be a nurse at UALR and will be with us until the first of the year.
Tory is continuing to do what Tory does…Everything!  Tor has been on two trips to Haiti this year, joined the Junior League of Little Rock, runs multiple programs at church, and is probably planning something now for us to do over the Holiday break.  Tory is in her second year as a law clerk for a federal district judge here in Little Rock and has been blessed with a new clerkship that will start this summer for a federal court of appeals judge.  Her ability, intelligence, and patience never cease to amaze me.  Tory is definitely the engine that keeps our house running!
I have also had a busy year with a mission trip to the jungles of Suriname and an otherwise over-committed schedule. My big accomplishments for the year were successfully curing my first batch of country hams and smoking some breakfast sausage at our Caney Creek Smokehouse. Hopefully, everyone will be able to try some!  Tory continues to limit the number of hobbies I have, but I continue to fight back.
Juno has had a great year!  With all of our house guests, she has double the number of socks to steal from the floor. She remains hyper but is on the verge of calming down– or at least, that is what we keep telling ourselves.  We get an unreasonable amount of joy from Juno.  Dad continues to claim the superiority of his dogs given their ability to hunt, but I kindly remind him that my dog has never bitten anyone.
God has blessed our family greatly in 2010, and we thank Him for His provisions and guidance.  We are striving to use these blessing in ways that will glorify Him. We are thankful for each of you and the role that you play in our lives.  We look forward to spending 2011 with you!
Merry Christmas!
Mark & Tory
Tory and Dina!

Juno watching the birds in the back yard!

Ham amongst Hams

 These are the monsters we created!

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