Merry Christmas to all our loved ones! This year has been quite the rollercoaster, some high peaks, some low valleys, and we’ve been thrown for a few loops as well! It’s almost hard to believe all that has happened in a short 12 months, so I’ll try to do it justice in this short letter summarizing our year.
Sean saw his 10th anniversary milestone reached at Skybridge this past August, with no fanfare and no changes either. I had mentioned last December, Sean had not yet felt God’s nudge to move on, but that his heart’s desire was to be able to work at a Christian organization. We knew that would very likely include a lifestyle change, so at that time we began to scale back our expenses and made significant progress. In July, after about 5-6 months of also committing weekly to serving in the same Recovery program I do, Sean realized he had a natural ability and desire to serve people with his insight and ability to guide towards good choices and he had an epiphany he would do well in a career as a counselor. After a lot of confirmation this was a God-guided path he signed up for his first course, Introduction to Counseling at Red River which began in September. He just received his final grade this weekend, 100%! Sean clearly has an instinctive aptitude for this profession. We have been very excited about this shift in his path and were now financially prepared to put him through school for the next few years.
Then, suddenly, we were once again set upon a new and different path mid-August. It actually began last December when Sean had taken a tour of the new Youth For Christ building, and this is where his heart for working in a Christ-Centered organization really swelled. He found out there was a Human Resources position open (his first run at education, if you recall, was a Human Resources certificate) and applied. But then he didn’t hear anything, 8 months went by when all of a sudden he was emailed by the Director, John Courtney, for an interview. After a series of meetings through the fall, in November Sean was offered the position of Human Resources Director at YFC. Because YFC is a non-profit organization, every staff position is considered a missions position and as such they all raise 100% of their salary, Sean included. John has initiated an assertive start date goal of Jan.7th and so we are now fully immersed in raising support for Sean, a very new territory to both of us. We have been so blessed by the people in our life who have stepped forward to join us as ministry partners, and if any of you would consider becoming our ministry partners, whether with prayer support, or investing financially (it is a tax deductible donation), all we would need is a mailing address for YFC to send documents to set things up. Any and all support is welcome.
So, after all that exciting news, my year hasn’t been nearly as eventful J I am now just past the 5.5 year mark at Golder Associates and it continues to be a blessing, challenging work that I enjoy with people I call friends. We have been steadily growing this past year with a significant boost in our business development with 3 senior hires between September and this upcoming February. We have a conservative plan to double in size in the next 3 years and my manager has made it very clear over the last few months that he wants to grow my role alongside our office’s growth, utilizing my strengths and passions, and emphasizing the value of what I can and have yet to contribute. I continue to feel so appreciated and affirmed in my abilities and hopefully see a long career at Golder ahead of me.
As for our ‘part-time’ work at our Church Riverwood, we continue to spend an average of 6 hours a week serving in the same Recovery ministry, which has been running for 15 months now. Our core leadership team has now grown to include 2 other leaders, Sean being one of those leaders. I continue my role handling resources and promotions, and I now have a small team in this area that are a great help. I also lead a women’s support group for anxiety, codependence, food issues, and more. Sean has stepped up to share our training coach leadership and has already led some much needed training sessions for our leaders, as well as leading the Newcomers session to orient new attendees on our program. I was privileged to be able to have my expenses paid to attend a summit at Saddleback Church in California (where Celebrate Recovery was founded) for a week in August, it was such an encouragement and so inspirational, we came away feeling renewed in our ministry. Hopefully Sean and I will get to go together next year!
As part of being in a leadership position our roles also include teaching for our large group about every other month, which Sean is also a natural at, in fact before he announced he was taking Counseling in school several people guessed he was going to Seminary for becoming a Pastor. I, on the other hand, have had my battles with public speaking over the years, but having spoken 6 times now I can definitely see how far God has brought me in this ability. In fact, one of our worship team volunteers had a teaching practicum in a grade 12 health class studying disorders and asked if I would mind sharing my struggles with anxiety in front of her class. I agreed and think I did remarkably well considering high-school students used to be a big source of anxiety in and of itself! Every step along the way we see God working in us and through us, it continues to be such a gift for us to be His instrument of transformation.
Some of our other hours at Riverwood have been spent in two particular areas. Sean has developed a mentor relationship with one of our Pastors who leads Discipleship and Connecting ministries, so Sean has served alongside him in various capacities in those areas. We also wanted to volunteer at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit again, as our Church has hosted it for the last several years, so we took a week of vacation in October to serve on the registration team, and a few other areas. Once again we were both able to take in a lot of the awesome speakers in addition to getting to know fellow Riverwooders as we served alongside them, which made for a very enjoyable and exhausting few days.
The rest of our free time we have been connecting with family and friends that have been multiplying as the years go on. We have made many friends through serving and our circle of loved ones keeps expanding. We joined a small group in the fall that has been heaven sent, we finally have a place where we can feel we’re going to as an outlet for our needs to get met, and the people we meet with could have only been the result of God’s networking. And adding a nephew to the family this year gave us many excuses to spend extra time with my family. We couldn’t feel more fortunate to be surrounded by the people God has planted us amongst. Our ever growing support system has especially blessed us throughout 2012. First we were overwhelmed with prayers and support during the very difficult time in July during my mom’s heart attack, triple bypass surgery and subsequent healing. Then the outpouring of support continued as Sean has transitioned in his career path. Or when my sister was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. There are just too many times to mention when people knew just the right time to say or do just the right thing, and that kind of blessing is only possible when you open up to living in transparent community.
Well, 2 pages can’t be called a ‘nutshell’ but that’s the summary of 2012 for the Alcorns. I am very much looking forward to a new year, I am hoping for new challenges but hopefully some less stressful ones! I know God isn’t done stretching us yet, but I look forward to where He will continue to move us and prove Himself faithful. Thank you for being a part of our lives and we wish you all a meaningful holiday season, full of warm memories, a reflective look at the year past, and a hopeful look towards 2013.
Love, Lori & Sean