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December 2013 Vol 9, Issue 2




In This Issue
Christmas Sale
Mid-Winter Family Getaway
Annual Marriage Retreat
Save the Dates
From the Friesen Kitchen
Year-End Gifts
Keeping Up with Paul and Virginia
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And forward this to a friend!
Christmas Sale:  Free Media Mail Shipping and 50% off "The Marriage App"

Now through December 31, media mail shipping is FREE for all H.I.M. resources ordered through our website - no minimum order.  Think of the possibilities!  You may even have us ship directly to the recipient of your choice, with a gift message enclosed.

And, get 50% off Paul and Virginia's latest book, The Marriage App!  There's no better gift to give to another couple in your life than a road map to a better, more satisfying marriage. 

For other gift ideas for couples, parents, and teenagers, visit the categorized listing of H.I.M. resources.

Visit our online bookstore to place your orders.
Back by popular demand!  The Mid-Winter Family Getaway
Mid-Winter Family Getaway    

January 18-20, 2014 

Join us for a long weekend in the beautiful Anchorage Inn in York, Maine, for a relaxed mid-winter vacation.


Ever spend thousands of dollars to take your children to places like Disney World-but all they wanted to do was stay at the hotel and swim? This mid-winter getaway won't cost you thousands of dollars, but your kids will have plenty of pool time and you will be part of a relaxed weekend alongside other parents who want to spend time with their kids and be in the company of families with similar values.

Join us from Saturday afternoon, January 18, through Monday mid-day, January 20 (the MLK Jr. birthday 3-day weekend) at the Anchorage Inn at 265 Long Beach Avenue, York Beach, ME 03910. The Anchorage Inn is on Long Sands Beach and its facilities include a fitness center, 2 indoor pools, a hot tub, and a poolside café.  It's going to be a great time for the whole family!

Click for more details 
H.I.M.'s Annual Marriage Retreat: best rates end December 31

Makes a fabulous Christmas gift!

Memories and Dreams:   
How it was . . . how it can be   

March 21-23, 2014
Hotel Viking, Newport, RI       

Take the weekend off to be with the love of your life at the beautiful Hotel Viking in historic Newport, RI, for some time to reflect on what brought you together and to dream about your years ahead.

Paul and Virginia Friesen will be the speakers for the weekend and will lead us in laughter, renewal, encouragement, restoration, and the wisdom of God's design for marriage.  This promises to be a weekend that makes a difference in your marriage.  And a healthy marriage is the best gift you can give to your family.
Don't miss the early bird pricing -  ends December 31!

Save the Dates!

We'd love to see you and your families at these events - they are designed to make a difference!  Note especially: the location for Worth It, our annual purity conference for teens and parents, will be at  Bethany Church in Greenland, NH.  Save the dates:

We have poster-sized and bulletin insert-sized PDFs listing these events, so please download either or both from here to print out for your churches and friends. 

     Jan. 18-20       Mid-Winter Family Getaway, York, ME   (details)
     March 15-16   Engagement Matters #2   (details)
     March 21-23   "Memories and Dreams" Marriage Retreat, Newport, RI   (details)
     April 5            Worth It (purity conference), Bethany Church, Greenland, NH  (details)
     May 23-26      Memorial Day Camping Trip, Quechee Gorge, VT  (details)
     August            H.I.M./Berea Family Camp (two weeks to choose from), Hebron, NH   (details
From the Friesen Kitchen
Christmas Cookies MARY'S SUGAR COOKIES

    1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    1 cup butter or margarine
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp cream of tartar
    1 tsp baking soda

Mix sugar and butter.  Add egg and extracts; mix thoroughly.  Measure and stir dry ingredients together and blend in.  Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide dough in half and roll 3/16" thick on lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin.  Cut with shaped cookie cutters, or a 3" round cookie cutter.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet. 

To make a 12" large cookie, press 1/2 of the dough into a 12" pizza pan.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until delicately golden.  Decorate as you wish!
Makes 3 dozen 3" cookies.  

Year-End Gifts
The majority of the the funds that allow H.I.M. to function are donations from individuals who have either been served by H.I.M. or see the value in the ministry of encouraging marriages and families in God's design for relationships.  If you are able to give a year-end gift, it would be a huge encouragement.

You may contribute either by credit card on our website or by check made payable to HIM and addressed to:
      Home Improvement Ministries, 213 Burlington Rd #101-B, Bedford, MA  01730

(For some specific upcoming ministry opportunities, please continue reading the next article.) 

Thank you!

Keeping Up with Paul and Virginia
Leaving Tampa on the first day of their cruise
This fall has included times of ministry and times of "R and R" for Paul and Virginia.  Taking advantage of a super online deal they found, the two of them enjoyed a relaxing Carribbean cruise in early November (the week of both Virginia's birthday and the Patriots' bye week), and later spent time with extended family over Thanksgiving weekend.

One of the ministry highlights of this past fall was speaking for an OCF conference of West Point cadets in New York.  Virginia, as the daughter of a career Navy officer, quipped that the only downside was having to put up with all the "Go Army, Beat Navy!" signs on campus.  She graciously added that the cadets were a wonderful group of young men and women.
Standing with Pastor Khaled Ghobrial and his wife after speaking on family and marriage to their congregation.

Friesens were also the guest speakers for the couples night hosted by the Arabic Evangelical Baptist Church in Boston and, that same weekend in mid-November, led an enthusiastic gathering of engaged and pre-engaged couples at the fall "Engagement Matters" seminar in Weston.  The Friesens have continued their counseling ministry and their two weekly Patriots studies all fall as well. 

Another highlight of this fall was the very exciting release of H.I.M.'s first software, a marriage-improvement app for iTunes, iPad, and iPod touch devices, aptly named "The Marriage App"!  It's free, and you can download it from the App Store.

Having partnered last winter with Pastor Wilberforce Okumu of the Pearl Haven Christian Center in Mbale, Uganda, it was a privilege for Paul and Virginia to host him for part of his visit to the United States last month.  Pastor Wilberforce warmly addressed a special dessert evening for H.I.M. donors, thanking us profusely for our support of the deeply appreciated and life-changing ministry via Paul and Virginia's teaching there. 

On December 26, Paul and Virginia will again board a plane for Uganda for three weeks of teaching and to spend time with their newest grandson and his parents.  Listed below are some of the ministry opportunities they have lined up to date:
  1. Church Leadership Couples Retreat (January 3-4): The attendees (about 50 people) will be couples selected by the pastors that Paul and Virginia ministered to during their last visit to Uganda; all from their home churches and in leadership positions. Estimated cost is $1800.
  2. Senior Pastors Appreciation Dinner (January 6): This would be for the original 25 couples who attended the first ever Ugandan Marriage Retreat, sponsored by H.I.M. when Paul and Virginia were last in Uganda.  Estimated cost: $800
  3. Marriage Seminar (January 8-10):  This will likely be held at Pearl Haven Christian Center, and will be hosted by Pastor Wilberforce, who expects 200 people each afternoon.  Estimated cost is $200 (for refreshments).
  4. Preaching at a number of Sunday services.  Estimated cost: $0

If you are able to contribute towards these ministry opportunities and have a vision to help further spread in Uganda the teaching on God's design for marriage, please make a notation on your contribution by simply writing: Uganda.


In this season of the celebration of Christ's birth, we remember the source of all love: our Heavenly Father.  May the joy and gratitude for the great gift of His Son, Jesus, fill you with the strength and power to show that same sacrificial love to your own family this Christmas and throughout the year. 
We love, because He first loved us.

Barbara Steele
Home Improvement Ministries
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