Dear Friends and Family,
Time again for my yearly epistle. This has been a very busy year and in some ways a very sad one.
I will begin with the sad news as it is the news that affected us most as a family in 2008. First in January my brother Weldon died very suddenly. He was living in a mobile home in a trailer park. We don¡¦t know exactly what happened but they suspect that he was heating his home using a propane heater on a very cold night and the propane exploded. We learned of his death just two days before my departure for India. We decided that I would proceed on and have a service on my return.
Exactly one week later my mother¡¦s youngest brother Dan lost his battle with cancer. There was a funeral service in NB at that time but we were unable to go. Mom and her sister Viola (Nicki) visited him a couple of weeks before his death. On the July lst weekend Sterling, Mom, and I flew to NB, joining several other cousins, aunts, and uncles, for the inurnment. A cousin Jimmy Hamilton was laid to rest at the same time. Jimmy died last October in Newmarket. I conducted both of the services at the New Mills, NB cemetery.
In June my good friend Ina Hill died of a brain tumour. It was such a shock to all of us as she was never ill. Ina and I were travelling companions for many years. We both worked at the church offices. In early September my cousin Olive (Cunningham) and Guido Sartor lost their 43 year old son Shane. We also grieve his sudden death.
Now some good news. We give thanks for the safe arrival of Cassandra Dianne Frank (Cassie) on February 15th. Cassie is the daughter of Tim and Kim Frank (my sister Dianne¡¦s son). She is a joy. We don¡¦t see her as often as we would like but Kim is great at bringing her for visits. We attended her baptism in late September.
2008 was a busy travel year for me. I travelled to India in January and again in May. Just before Christmas last year and again in March I was invited back to Taiwan ¡V first for the dedication of the new Mackay Hospital near Tamsui, and secondly for the dedication of the new fine arts building at TamKang High School. It is always a joy to travel to both India and Taiwan and meet again with many good friends.
One of the highlights of the year was my brother Sterling¡¦s gift to me. We went together on a 12 day cruise to the Mediterranean (Greece, Italy, and Turkey) on the Princess Emerald. The ship was huge
and the weather hot but we had a great time and he kept well. We had a lovely suite. We enjoyed our extra day¡¦s stay in Rome, visiting the old city as well as St. Peter¡¦s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
I was again a commissioner to General Assembly, this year in Ottawa. I was also a commissioner to our Synod in October.
Late September took me to Alberta at the invitation of the Alberta WMS Synodical to do some education re the plan to building a hostel for the boys and girls in Jobat, India. It was our hope that the Rev. Emmanuel Ariel would be with us for the month of November but the Canadian High Commission in Delhi issued his visa from Oct 27-Nov 27 but did not issue it until the middle of November ¡V too late as he would have had to leave Canada by November 27th. Pauline Brown and I fulfilled all of the commitments ¡V 20 in 16 days. Gifts are arriving now for the building for which we are grateful. Friends and family will be getting ¡§bricks¡¨ for Christmas this year.
Mom and Sterling both continue to do well. Mom does get frustrated with her dementia but she does very well. She was 91 in May. Sterling has some major health issues but being on oxygen now 24/7 has helped. He fell and broke his left wrist the week after we returned from our cruise in August.
I pray you will have a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy 2009. We look forward to hearing your news. Mom and Sterling also send their best wishes to all. For those on email I trust you don¡¦t mind receiving this letter electronically.
With love to all,
Email ¡V firstname.lastname@example.org (note change)