Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

2016 has been a whirlwind for the Carter Family.  Many changes occurred and we are still trying to sort out all of it.  One of the biggest changes was that in April we moved in to Clint’s parents’ former house. While we miss seeing our friends every week from our old ward, we have loved getting to know many new friends in the new ward. The girls have loved having so many Young Women in the ward with them! We were blessed to have the 1st Ward devote so much time and service to us when we truly needed it.

 Coby has been at BYUI for a full year of school.  He returned home after the Spring Semester and won't return to school until January.  His track at BYUI is from January to July.  Once Coby arrived at home he looked for a job and found one working for Agri-Service.  He was hired temporarily to work in their IT department to help with help desk calls.  They have loved having him as an employee over the last several months.  At his last review they decided that they would like to have Coby work from Rexburg while studying at BYUI.  This is an awesome opportunity for Coby to continue to work in his field of study as he is going to school and then continue to have a full time job when he is off track.  Coby is thrilled that he can continue to work in the technology that he loves and with great people.  While Coby has been home, Coby has been involved in the college ward and has found a number of good friends to hang out with.  He has also found a girl the he gets along with really well.

Andy was called on a mission at the beginning of the year so we packed him up and shipped him off to the Omaha Nebraska Mission in January.  He has now served in 3 different states, Lincoln, Nebraska; Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The Omaha Mission covers 5 states so we expect him to serve in at least 2 more states before he is done.  The one thing Andy didn't want to do when serving a mission was to serve in an area that was really, really cold.  So, just for that, he was sent to spend the winter in South Dakota.  Andy has seen success in his mission and continues to send us very positive emails every week.  Some highlights include catching frogs, chasing away wild turkeys, tornado sightings and runaway rabbits.  Right now he has several investigators which he feels will progress to baptism so the Lord is blessing him with people to teach.  He has about one year left so we are hoping that he continues to enjoy his opportunity to serve the Lord.

Savanna has had a very busy year.  She has been to Atlanta, New York and the Dominican Republic.  She has also participated in BYU's Young Ambassador program.  She spent a week at Girls State as well.  I think she only spend about a week and a half at home all summer.  While in the Dominican Republic, Savanna actually visited one of last remaining leper colonies in the world.  Wow, what an experience.  She is a senior this year so she is very busy.  She has a job and performs in Jive and has returned to clogging.  She is getting ready to go off to college next fall. She just finished her college applications so now we just have to wait to see if she is accepted.  We aren't sure where she will go, but she feels ready to leave the nest.

Katie has been enjoying her time at the High School. She made the 9th grade volleyball team and started most of the games.  At the end of the season she tried out for a club volleyball team and will be playing with girls a year older than her.  She has definitely found her sport.  Next year she will try out for the tennis team so wish her luck.  Katie was getting strep throat every few months so a few weeks ago we had her tonsils removed. She is still recovering from this surgery but seems to be getting better and better each day.  She can now swollow solid foods so the hard part is over.

Deanna has been trying to keep up with all of her children. She is in her 11th year teaching kindergarten at Sawtooth Elementary.  She had an opportunity to move to a brand new school but she didn't want to leave her teaching partner so she stayed where she was.  She really loves what she does and loves the little 5 year olds that she teaches.  She can't go very far in Twin Falls without a little kid running up to her and hugging her legs.

Clint was diagnosed with melanoma in March of 2016.  Our lives turned upside down and we had to re-prioritize everything.  The ripple effect of this diagnosis was huge and affected everyone in our family.  Clint had to go through a couple of surgeries at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake and was unable to get around for quite a while. He does have an awesome scar on the back of his calf that he likes to claim is a shark bite to show for it! During this very hard time, we could see the Lord's hand in our lives.  The Lord had prepared us for this trial and had given us several tender mercies to help us get through the difficulties.  After the surgeries, we were blessed to receive the news that the melanoma had been removed and Clint was now considered cancer free.  He is participating in a clinical trial of a cancer drug and continues to have CT scans every 3 months to make sure that the cancer does not come back.  So far each CT scan has come back clean.  He is recovering very well from the surgeries and is happy to be alive with a very promising future.  We are so thankful to all of the friends and family that fasted and prayed for him and our family and helped us out in so many ways. We can never repay all of the many kindnesses that were shown to us and support and help that was given to us during that time.  

It is clear that the Lord has watched over and protected our family.  He has guided us along a path that has blessed our lives and made it possible to weather the storms of adversity.  We are so grateful for His guiding hand in our lives and we join with you to celebrate his birth during the Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Carter Family.

Clint, Deanna, Coby, Andy, Savanna and Katie

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