As always, God was faithful to Oneida in 2018. Our ministry opportunities with local families continued to expand. We now serve over 100 local students and their families. Our construction projects are coming along nicely, and we anticipate the girls' dormitory and classroom building, Huang Hall, being completed in the spring of 2019. Most importantly, many students gave their lives to Christ in the 2018 year.
For me, 2018 included getting a bit healthier and running quite a few miles each week. Not all days, but some days I roll out of bed pretty early to get in a run. I've also gotten out of bed really early before to go fishing or travel. For things that we need or want to do, we sacrifice and find a way to do them.
Many years ago, a friend questioned my reasoning for having daily 5:30 a.m. basketball practices with my team. He said, "There isn't anything in this world that I love enough to get up for that early day after day." Some of those 4:45 a.m. wake-up calls were tough. I have often thought back to my friend's comment and considered what I love enough to get up early for day after day. Christmas for some can be a painful reminder of past events, but I absolutely love nearly everything about it—the sights, smells, music, food, tree, time with family, giving gifts, receiving gifts, and celebrating our Savior's birth. Christmas has always been a happy time in my home.
One thing I don't particularly enjoy about Christmas is the shopping. Retailers solicit our business for many weeks leading up to December 25, but Christmas only comes one day a year. I wonder, "If Christmas happened every day or even four months out of the year, would it mean as much to us?" I can remember my childhood anticipation of Christmas morning.
When we love something or someone, we often sacrifice sleep and many other things for it or them.
God, the Father, sacrificed Jesus, His Son, for us because of how much He loves us. Just like Christmas is worth getting out of bed early for, the kids of Oneida are worth all of our efforts. Thank you for your love and support. May the Lord bless you and yours with a wonderful Christmas season and a fantastic 2019.
Larry A. Gritton, Jr. is president of Oneida Baptist Institute, www.oneidaschool.org, (606) 847-4111, www.facebook.com/