MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Year in review | by Anna Grace Galkin

Merry Christmas,

Well, I'm not quite sure what all goes into a Christmas letter, as I've never written one before, but I've been put to the task anyways. So I will try and not be too unorthodox as I attempt to sum up this past summer and semester in the lives of the Galkin family.

After finishing up our 2015 spring traveling semester in Minnesota, and before heading out to Salt Lake City for the summer, my mom and dad celebrated their 15th anniversary by taking an Alaskan cruise! This week long excursion completed my dad being to all 50 states. If I had gone along with them, it would have been my 46th state, but us kids were all at our Grandma Roland’s house in Colorado.

We had a great time with uncle Jonathan and Grandma! We went to an IMAX, did some major garden planting, just hung around and jumped on her famous trampoline!

Before the business of our summer in Salt Lake started, our family took about two days to hike around and have fun at Arches National Park (one of the five national parks in Utah)!

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Living in a house this summer was definitely something different for us, and we got to see God provide for a lot of our desires! When we were first moving in, we were unexpectantly given some couches and a number of small furniture items that ended up being a big blessing.

Staying in one place for nearly 5 months, and in a house with neighbors was, I believe a huge learning step for me and a gift to our family. It brought ministry opportunities that we would never have experienced to the same extent while traveling. We love our neighbors and are excited to see our relationships with them grow! So many different world-views represented just in our little neighborhood.

These past three summers William, Lilly, David, Eliana and I have all been able to be on City Recreational Soccer Leagues! With my dad as my coach and mom shuttling rides and watching games, we have all had some awesome inroads to share the Gospel and develop relationships.

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One of those weeks a Back Yard Bible Cub was stationed at our house, and my mom, along with some other ladies ran it and gave the Gospel to many kids from our neighborhood!

For four weeks out of the summer youth groups from across the USA came to SLC for a week of what is called Plant Camp. They are involved in a lot of city-wide outreaches, sessions, and fun activities many of which my dad is a big part of organizing, and me and my brother William were able to tag along.

Being a part of Gospel Grace Church, we were able to watch a few be baptized and join the community of Christians there. Among them, Lilly and David shared their testimonies and were baptized!

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Near the end of August all our team flew into Salt Lake for a few weeks of team training before we hit the road again! Among the seven team members, came four newbies, Hillary Rankin, Jessica Bowers, and a married couple, Jordan and Shannon Allen! The first few weeks were spent with lots of music practice, team meetings and bonding time… Towards the end of team training, all of the team and a former team member squashed into vehicles alongside tents, gear and food for a twoday camping trip! Besides hiking to an awesome cave, where we found stalactites and a 250ft drop off, we had some great food and time with each other that will long be remembered!

With the start of team training, school also started. I began the ninth grade, William seventh, Lilly sixth, David fourth, and Ellie in first grade.

Our first meeting this fall was at Grace Baptist of Twin Falls Idaho, where my dad grew up. Before we left, we did two things we have never done before. Our entire team along with my Grandma Galkin and uncle kayaked down the Snake River Canyon and explored the rugged western beauty! Then, the next day we ran/walked a 5K Color Run along the canyon rim!

Two weeks later, after going down to a friend's church in Elko, Nevada for a week, we drove to Denver, Colorado. This was my mom’s home church and where my Grandma Roland currently goes. We enjoyed some special time with her and my Uncle Jon.

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Throughout this past semester from out west, to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois, and Tennessee, one thing that has been specifically encouraging to me is to see pastors or church members that, by God’s grace, have stayed faithful to their community of believers.

To one who has traveled all her life, seeing those that love the Body of Christ through thick and thin is a great blessing and example!

The Lord has kindly let us see and be a part of His saving-work in quite a few people this fall. He has let us build great relationships with team members, and has helped our family love Him and each other more.

We ended up in Roswell, Georgia for our Thanksgiving/Christmas break and have enjoyed just chilling, getting ready for Christmas and hanging with our cousins, aunt and uncle that live here! While here, Dad was able to fly to Salt Lake for an Enrichment Conference at Gospel Grace for a week, and saw his Mom in Idaho for a couple days. We finished school the 18th, and my dad, who is taking an apologetics class, just finished his last paper due before the break!

Leading up to Christmas, our family has been reading through a devotional, reminding us of the Advent of Christmas- the Coming of Christ. I am reminded that the contents of Luke 2 are a reality. A reality that happened 2000 years ago, that affects my life now, and can give hope to all sinners. Even though I sin constantly, its punishment does not condemn me because of my standing with God through Christ. I am so thankful for this real gift that was given at the birth of Jesus and the eternal value that it has in my own life.

We love you guys, and we are very thankful for all your prayers! We hope you all have a great Christmas!

- Anna Grace Galkin


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