LaVerne Bennett and her friend Teresa O’Neill recently visited LaVerne’s granddaughter Amanda, and Jon Wilson and their daughter Evie in Germany. While they were there, Evie celebrated her first birthday, a miracle since Evie started life at 13 ounces. While there, LaVerne and Teresa took the train to Koln and spent the night and visited the Koln Cathedral and other sights. They also enjoyed shopping in the huge train station there. Amanda joined them on a train ride to Trier to a Christmas market, and Amanda and Jon also took them to see their favorite castle. Jon and Amanda are in the Air Force stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base.

Eric and Rebekah Schwanke are back home from their mission trip to South Sudan. While there, they had a few goals: to get 10 tractors ready for transport to the rural farm in Boma, which they did get repaired; to assess and repair vehicles that had been donated to the ministry, most of which were too badly vandalized to repair; and to drive all these tractors and vehicles to Boma. However, the weather was so horrible with major floods that the roads were not passable, so they decided instead to train the local Africans who work with their ministry how to make the journey and made a plan of action for doing it in January. This was actually a blessing because their goal all along had been to build the capacity of the African staff to where they can handle these tasks themselves.

Families in the community spent traditional Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends. Laurel Bosvert had a houseful as her three sons and their families all came from Salem and Forest Grove to eat, visit, laugh a lot, and draw names for Christmas. Dave and Suzanne Burbank braved the trip over the mountains to eat and play cards with son Derek and his wife Ashley and their 3-month-old son Bexton. Darrell and Bobbie Muncrief had son James and family over from Albany and son Scott and family, from Dallas. Lori Ford flew to Mesa to be with her brother Mike, sister Sherry, and nephew Bryce, and loved the 80-degree weather. Paul and I ate with neighbors Judy and Joe Guida and Liz Edwards, and Joe’s daughter Jackie Trussell and her boyfriend Robbie Dwiggins, of Albany. Jackie’s mom, Yong Guida, of Florida, was here for the week after Thanksgiving.

Pedee Church has a busy December, including a Christmas concert with guitarist Ron Diller on Dec. 20; the children’s Christmas pageant during the church service on Dec. 22; and the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7 on Dec. 24. All are welcome to these festive events.

Eighteen students are on the honor roll at the Pedee campus of the Luckiamute Valley Charter School for this year’s first term. Shaun Hibbard, Angel Nelson, Miyanna Pittman, Karalee Beitel, Nathan Mitchell, and Kate Scadden all got 4-point grade-point averages. Amelie Panimdim, Sheyanne Bodine, Jacob Calef, Isabella Floyd, Laolign (Lolly) Scadden, Jaderianne Champagne, Katharine Miller, Sinae Fast, Lily Williams, Nathan Hibbard, Cayman Williams, and Mary Gray all got between 3.50 and 3.99 gpas. On Dec. 5, the eighth-graders went to Young at Art in Salem for a field trip, while the fifth-graders from Bridgeport came up to visit Pedee for one of three planned transition activities. School will be released on Dec. 19 for Winter Break and will resume on Jan. 6.

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