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January 3, 2023

 January ...already?                

I have to admit, I was not mentally prepared for it to be here, sneaky time got away from me! The past 2 weeks have been extra special to us as a family. We got to really enjoy our home for Christmas, bake a turkey (for the first time ever!), and celebrate our anniversary early (18 years on Jan 8!!) and then New years with family in Bay City. Now we hop back in the saddle and we're ready for what's to come! 

As I sit and reflect on the blessings of the past month and now even the past year, God brings me to thankfulness! I am so very thankful!
Thankful for Him and for those of you praying and in our corner financially and even emotionally. You have no idea how challenging this would be without you and your involvement and connection! 

  Reflection and Prayers Answered in 2022  
-One year ago we were praying for a decent vessel that would not need much work, in which God provided!
-Israel took part in the very first SONS school our YWAM ships team would offer last spring. 
-6 months ago we were crumbling as we needed extra space and God provided us a wonderful home! 
-We have been linked in with a special group of people who love Mexico and mission and our family! Jesus is slowly building for us community here and we are finding our place in pockets of ministry here in Corpus aside from our serving with YWAM.

Last year had many ups&downs, with wonderful memories made, successful ministry trips, and also sobering times of only knowing to just "do the next right thing" and the Lord led us through it all with His faithfulness and peace. 
Our expenses are almost always more than our income and we don't know how God does it, but we stay afloat! His grace is truly more than we can ask for. 
I guess that's how we know we are in the center of His perfect will and on His time schedule.
Just how a sailboat stays upright in the storm because of it's structure, we too must be built by the Lord to withstand the storms of life and not let them flip us out of the boat! 

 Looking forward:  

We turn over a new leaf as we begin this new chapter in our story.
It's like a fresh start.
We see with new eyes even.
Letting go of what was,
We now press on and look forward.
To what lies ahead.
On the horizon and beyond.
We'll keep God's Word as our compass and Hope as our anchor. 

In this new season we do have some things of FOCUS - like new disciplines, BIG goals and aspirations! But above all the "things" we strive to keep JESUS front and center! Being in ministry does not exempt you from being distracted from the main thing! We can all lose our focus, even with good motives.
So, yes! FRONT AND CENTER - we want to keep seeking intimacy with Jesus. No matter what comes our way this year and interrupts our goals, vision, plans, trips, etc. Our eyes are set, our resolve is firm, our gaze is on Christ alone.
And we encourage you - above all else - He alone is worthy of our devotion and setting aside the distraction of what will not matter in eternity.

Let us run with endurance the race set before us! Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Pictures below: 
A very happy bunch of kiddos at the orphanage we visited!
Israel and the men digging a trench for indoor plumbing in the casitas built for the young adults in the children's home.
Family time in Bay City and at home for Christmas in our home.
On the bridge at the border called Amistad(friendship) in Acuna, Mx.

Prayer Focus:
Funds to get the sailboat up and running!
More trainees for our School of Navigation and Seamanship (Spring 2023)
Wisdom and guidance for this new year's possibilities!
We want GOD goals not just good goals!
Divine appointments in ministry and connections.
Several added financial partners in the new year!

We hope you will reply with how God is speaking to you about the new year! We love connecting with you guys! If there is a specific way we can pray for you please let us know.
Israel- 979-476-1821
Leslie - 979-943-8248
May God bless you in your new season with fresh vision for your life and may He shine His countenance on you and give you His peace! 
For joining as a monthly partner, you can reply to this email or check out our website below!

With love and grace and a big Happy New Year, The Bailey crew
Copyright © 2023 Israel and Leslie Bailey, All rights reserved.

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