As has become our, ahem, custom–this letter is reaching you toward the end of the Christmas season. One way or another something delays us in getting this letter out to you before Christmas. However, we really appreciate hearing your news and we hold to “better late than never”, so here is our 1999 update.

Looking back, it was a pretty full year with church, work, and traveling.

We started the year in January with a significant trip: Princess Cruises to the Panama Canal (see above). This trip was the second in a series of cruises planned by Chris and her Mom, Dorothy. Three of us, Chris, Dorothy and Kent went to Ft. Lauderdale to begin the cruise and had a great time. Ports of call were in Mexico, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica and Colombia. We did not go all the way through the canal, but went through the first set of locks, turned around, and exited the canal through the same set of locks.

In April, we journeyed to our church’s sister parish in El Salvador, Guillermo Ungo. It was the fourth trip for Chris and Kent’s third. Folks from both our congregation (Light of Life) and nearby St. Stephens joined together–we even had two teen-agers along! It was heartwarming, to say the least, to see our old friends again and to see their progress.

The Synod Assembly of the Sierra Pacific Synod was held in May, and we went to Fresno (California) as both Chris and Kent were voting members. Kent was elected to the Synod Council for a three-year term. May was also graduation for Shannon Madsen, Kent’s niece. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Math from Pomona College in southern California.

In August, we had our railroad adventure of the year. We took the California Zephyr (Amtrak) to Colorado to attend the Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering in Breckenridge. A real Rocky Mountain high! Breckenridge was beautiful and the speakers were inspiring. Our Amtrak experience was not quite as wonderful, however. We booked a sleeping compartment (upper/lower) that turned out to be too small and stuffy. To top it all off, heavy rains in western Colorado caused a small mudslide on the track that delayed the train about five hours.

The highlight of September was the beginning of our preparation for our trip to Germany and Lutherland in June 2000. The first meeting of our tour group was held to study Martin Luther’s life and the area we will be visiting. September was also marked by the research project for Chris’s Master’s degree. The project went into full gear as Chris administered her survey on nurses and spirituality to nursing students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In October, Chris took on a stint as camp nurse for the Luther Hostel held at Mt. Cross, a Lutheran Outdoor Ministries camp nearby. The topic was–you guessed it–Martin Luther. One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Timothy Lull, President of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley (California). Chris’s official duties were light, and she was able to attend several informative lectures.

The highlight of the year came in December. The last final was taken, the research project final paper was written and off to the journal for publication, and Chris received her Master of Science in Nursing degree, with a focus on education. She is now ready to put her new career as a nursing educator into full gear. A small group of family and friends attended the graduation ceremonies at San Jose State University with dinner following. It was a glorious day!

Later in December, Dorothy and Susan, Chris’s sister, joined us for Christmas in Scotts Valley. The “Madsen Christmas”, with Steve, Nancy, Scott and Shannon (Kent’s brother and his family) was held on the 26th, also in Scotts Valley.

In between these specific events, we have kept busy with ongoing church activities at Light of Life, such as the choir, Worship & Music committee and the Outreach committee. We feel the touch of God’s grace, love, care and abundant blessings. We are basically healthy, but noticing the additional slings and arrows of middle age.

May God bless you in 2000 and beyond!

Kent and Chris