Dear Friends & Family,
We wish you a very blessed holiday season. We hope you are encouraged by reading the story of our year, and are drawn closer to God as we spotlight what He’s accomplishing and teaching us. He’s the star of our adventure.
Oh, 2017, what a beast you have been. This year, we faced the greatest battles of our lives so far, as Peter faced the diagnosis of Testicular Cancer, and thanks to the Lord’s provision--through our incredible community and His constant, powerful presence--we are on the road to victory.
We began the year adjusting to life as parents of a 6 month old. Tori began transitioning her job at New Day from Administrator to her current role, Social Media Manager, which she is able to do mostly from home. Peter dove into WorshipArts 17th season, pouring into interns and students and loving every minute. We remember both being tired a lot, but that’s life as new parents right? It was hard at times, but our little bundle of Joy was a constant delight and we were slowly getting to the point where we felt we could manage this whole parent thing AND the other aspects of life.
In March, our entire family came together to celebrate Esther’s baby dedication. It was truly a miracle to have Esther’s aunts and uncles from both sides, who live all over now, all in the same place. The power of a family that seeks the Lord and is a refuge for one another is one of the greatest testimonies and rare treasures. Little did we know how much we would lean on the strength of our family this year.
April brought a much anticipated vacation--Esther and Tori went with her dad, mom, and brothers to Florida to surprise their Nana, who had not met her great-grandbaby Esther Joy yet. Peter, and our family Emily and Andrew, all drove down to join us for two days in Walt Disney World. It was a magical time showing our little Princess one of Tori’s favorite places in the world!
During the trip, Peter was quite exhausted and not feeling well--when we returned home, we discovered he had chicken pox. We are so proud of our interns who did a phenomenal job leading WorshipArts! Esther also caught the chicken pox, which was difficult for us to see our little peanut sick.
In May, we celebrated Tori’s first Mother’s Day, and she was in our dear friends Hannah and Benjamin’s beautiful wedding. At the end of the month we decided to dive into a crazy project that started as just redoing our floors, and quickly turned into painting our main floor, cabinets, and redoing the layout of our kitchen. Looking back, in May, we can see that Peter was more exhausted than Tori had ever seen him be previously. Of course, that didn’t stop him from running hard into every challenge that came our way, and we assumed he was still recovering from last month, and just tired from a baby and all the normal life things. Tori remembers continually praying for health and vitality for our family. How surprised we would be next month to learn what was really going on.
Despite all the challenges we faced this year, Tori achieved quite a few personal accomplishments. She walked her first 5K in September (in 92° weather!), started a serious journey to eat better and has lost 12 lbs, and she has begun her own venture sharing her favorite make-up, LipSense and SeneGence, through her own business. We are especially proud to share that she graduated this fall from Wellspring, a ministry school offered by our church. I (Tori) feel so much closer with the Lord after completing this course. One story I want to highlight: All through Wellspring, God kept bring health to the forefront, specifically physical health. I knew He wanted me to focus on it, but at the time it was unclear to me what specifically He wanted me to do. On June 15th, I wrote this in my journal, from the perspective of God talking to me: “My promises are true. Enjoy this journey of health.”
June 17th, our lives changed forever. Peter had been experiencing abdominal pain so difficult it kept him from working on the house project. After many hours of waiting at the hospital we were told that Peter had Testicular Cancer, and that he would need surgery first thing in the morning, on Father’s Day.
The next five months were filled with the hardest days of our lives, and also the closest experiences of encountering God. Extreme pain, 12 weeks of intense chemotherapy, five hospital visits and four admissions (edit: after we sent this, we went back into the hospital for a bowel obstruction, and he is recovering well), receiving prayer from friends in at least 14 countries, learning to accept more offers for help than we ever had before, entrusting our precious baby to family and friends more than we ever anticipated, surprise gift after surprise gift literally sustaining us through months when we both couldn’t work, and at every turn the Lord’s faithfulness in the forefront. Tori wrote updates along the way, which are all at www.posthope.org/peterwebb.
Every need that presented itself has been met, physical and spiritual. We came home to a house remodeled and reorganized by our friends and family. Friends, students and alumni carried on the ministry of WorshipArts, leading a camp without me, and carrying on rehearsals and chapel this fall. We ate wonderful meals cooked with love for us. Experienced encouraging visits, phone calls and facebook messages. Elders came and prayed, anointing me (Peter) with oil and laying hands on me, believing for healing. Students of mine came and led me in worship. I feel like the cripple in Luke 5 that didn’t have the strength to get to Jesus, but He had friends that knew the way. He had friends who could pick Him up and put Him in the presence of God.
Thank you, friends. Your help and prayers were the hands and voice of Jesus to us. And we rejoice at the doctor’s pronouncement after this last surgery: I am cancer free!
We are still fighting. The battle is not over yet. The chemo and three surgeries drained my strength to empty, and I feel like I got hit with a wrecking ball. We’re believing for more healing and restoration. But we’re on the road to victory, and we celebrate the miracle God has done.
Here’s the truth: this year we struggled with fear and doubt. There were moments of intimidation and confusion. We had a heavy weariness, and came to places of utter brokenness. There were moments where we had faith for the future, and moments where we had none. And we dealt with a sense of shame for the weak moments.
Maybe you’re in that place this Christmas. Asking yourself, “aren’t I supposed to be stronger than this?”
We’re learning answer is, “no.”
It’s not our strength that God glories in. He’s strong in our weakness. So it’s okay to have moments of fear and doubt. It’s ok to be broken. It’s ok to be in a place of yearning and waiting. Because it’s in the brokenness, it’s in the waiting, that we’ve experienced the most profound moments of encounter with God. When you know that you don’t have any strength, any strength that comes is obviously from God. When you’re in an impossible situation and you have impossible peace, you know it’s the Holy Spirit.
Moments of brokenness bring us to a place where we recognise our need for someone to make things right. It’s easy to think we’re strong enough to be self-sufficient when everything’s going well. But it’s these places of brokenness that we realize the truth: We can’t do it ourselves. We need a savior. We need the One who makes all things new. The one who bears our burdens, who heals the brokenhearted, and the one who proclaims that 2017 is not the year of sickness and pain. 2017 is the year of the favor of the Lord. We are blessed because Christ the Lord is here. Oh come let us adore Him.
“Long lay the world, in sin and error pining... ‘til He appeared, and the soul felt it’s worth.”
I was broken, and then He came. My soul has worth in Him.
This year God is teaching me that the most important fact about me, the thing that overshadows everything I’ve done and everything I ever hope to do, that truth is that I’m the beloved of the Lord. Jesus loves me, this I know. Not just because the Bible tells me so. I’ve experienced it. Peace that passes understanding. Joy unspeakable. The love of God. That’s all that matters. I spend a lot of my time believing my situations are more important that God’s Word and assured love--and that’s the truth I need to be reminded of. The presence, power and love of the Lord outshines my situations. Ultimately, it’s not cancer that determines how long I’m going to live. It’s not invasive surgeries that determine whether or not I’ll ever have kids again. My days are written in His book. Jesus is Lord. Not just in name, but in power and authority. And my life is the Lord’s.
Thank you for being a part of our lives and allowing us to be a part of yours. May you experience profound closeness with Christ and the family of God this season.
Tidings of comfort and joy,
Peter, Tori, and Esther Webb
We would love you hear from you--say hello below!
Dear friends and family,
This year has been beautiful, full of new life, challenges, and growth. Looking back at all we've experienced, I would choose John 10:10 as the verse of the year: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Jesus has truly come to give us life and life abundant--and though the thief has done his best to steal, kill and destroy, our God is so much greater!
As we were waiting for our sweet baby girl to arrive, we kept busy by helping our three adult siblings get married! My sister Emily became Mrs. Andrew Beauman in April, Peter's brother Lucas married the lovely Samantha in June and Clayton brought the delightful Olivia into the family in July.
Obviously, having our daughter Esther Joy was the biggest focus of our year! Overall, we are thankful the pregnancy was uncomplicated (though I did develop gestational diabetes, which we managed without much problem). After 27 hours of labor that was long, but filled with the grace of God, Esther came via c-section (a non-emergency one thanks to excellent midwives and doctors who helped us make informed decisions). She was the fourth generation born at Borgess hospital, weighing in at 8 lbs, 1 oz, 21 inches long. Her grand entrance came at 9:06 AM on July 25th--Christmas in July! We had a little scare with dehydration during her first week of life, but after a few extra nights in the hospital (this time at Bronson) we got that under control and Esther has grown with gusto (living up to the Webb legacy by being in the 90-100th percentiles!). She doubled her birth weight at about 2 ¾ months, and at 4 ½ months she is currently 18 lbs and wearing 9-12 month clothes! She is the happiest person we know, generously smiling at just about everyone. God knew what He was doing when he led us to give her the middle name of Joy! She loves to explore, chew on anything she can get her hands on, and just this week she played peekaboo for the first time on her own!
As to our jobs, we both are exceedingly thankful for another year to continue working in ministry. WorshipArts is growing, and we praise God for the opportunity to keep working with youth in southwest Michigan. This last season we were excited to max out Peter’s time and so we hired some high quality people to teach our media tracks. One of my favorite WorshipArts moments happened this last weekend at the end of season Apex worship event, when the current Seraphim Drama Team students were joined by alumni from over the years to perform a dance to “Now Behold The Lamb.” Seeing 30+ students from the last 7 years overflowing from the stage to join together to worship God was a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness to take our simple tasks, our loaves and fishes, and watch Him do His thing to multiply the results beyond what we could imagine! I have continued to work at New Day, but with the birth of Esther I have transitioned out of the Administrator role and now I focus on just communications--managing the bulletin, other print items, and our online presence.
We pray that God would bless you with peace and joy this holiday season. Whether you're in the valley or on the mountaintop, God is faithful to provide, protect and guide. He’s the giver of every good and perfect gift. Keep trusting. Keep hoping. Keep believing. May your 2017 be marked by the awareness of God’s presence, and blessing in every area of your life.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Check out different memories from 2016
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Dear friends and family,
I’m writing this as the first snow of November gently drifts down from the sky, covering the world in a pure white peace. This last year, 2015, has been full of new seasons, adventures, and the constant faithfulness of God. We have had problems, struggles and worrisome situations, but through it all we have experienced the fulfilled promise of God in Philippians 4:19, “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
God continues to grow and stretch us in our jobs and through ministry. At New Day, where I am the Administrator, we’ve grown to three Michigan Campuses, two in Kalamazoo and one in the nearby town of Vandalia. Our daughter churches have grown to include churches in South Carolina, North Carolina, and London, England, for a total of seven New Day Community Churches! God is ready and excited to grow His Kingdom, and He is looking for those willing to do whatever tasks He sets before them to reach those in need of the love of Christ. I am so thankful and blessed that my assignment for His Kingdom is working for these amazing churches! Peter loves every day working with youth--he teaches six worship teams in two cities, a drama team and public speaking team, over 30 private lessons and a Christian Media class--80 students a week! WorshipArts continues to grow and bless dozens of local congregations each season.
What a privilege that we get to serve His bride, the Church, in these practical ways!
In March, we welcomed a housemate into our lives--my sister moved back from two years living in Toronto, and it has been a highlight of our year to have her in our home! The three of us get along fabulously, and it has been fun to have an up close view of her big romantic adventure this year! From late night talks to many double-date game nights, we can say with certainty her future as Mrs. Andrew Beauman is a perfect, God-orchestrated match! We are looking forward to their wedding in April, and I’m beyond thrilled to be Emily’s maid of honor.
This summer we were involved in two weddings of dear friends! In July, Peter’s cousin and my dear friend Kelsey got married to the man of her dreams, Brian, and I was honored to be a bridesmaid. Then just two weeks later, our longtime friends, and perfect pair, Corey and Caitlin got married! Peter greatly enjoyed being the best man, and I loved being a bridesmaid. It was such a joy to celebrate both of these couples whose love for each other reminded us of Christ and His love for the church--truly, God’s love never fails!
While we’re on the topic of weddings, not only is my sister getting married in April, but this Thanksgiving week both of Peter’s brothers, Luke and Clay, proposed to their wonderful ladies! They are both planning on getting married in the spring or summer, and we can’t wait! We are excited that our family is growing in 2016!
This year, we were also able to take a few memorable trips! In February, I was able to sneak away for a girls’ road trip with my best friend since childhood, Lindsay. While we were hoping for an escape to warmth, we happened to go during the winter storm that stretched all the way south across the nation. At one point, we were driving through 4+ inches of snow on unplowed highways in southern West Virginia, but that didn’t stop us! We loved visiting our friends in Charleston, SC and then we headed further south to cloudy Florida, to visit my Nana, where we kayaked with manatees and wild bald eagles, and spent one impromptu day in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
Our second trip of the year was a celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary! We headed to Washington, DC, a first for me, to visit our Aunt and Uncle and see the sights. We saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, quite a few museums, and the Capitol building. We also enjoyed down time with our family, playing board games, reading and watching movies together. It was the perfect getaway to celebrate our marriage and see our family, too.
As our friends and family reading this, we want you to know that God is faithful. While this letter focused on the highlights, we’ve had rough moments and seasons this year where we weren’t quite sure what to do, or how provision would come. And as we waited on the Lord, one thing that sustained us was thankfully remembering His faithfulness this year, through the highlights and the special memories we made. We pray that no matter what season you’re in, a season of plenty or a season of trial, that you too can wait on the Lord, with thankfulness, and know with confidence that He will supply your every need.
Peter and Tori Webb
If I were to sum up 2013 in one sentence it would be: God is faithful. In every area of our life, from our jobs, to our friends and family, to our personal stories, the theme has been His faithfulness. Take our jobs: at New Day, where I am the Administrator, God called our church to start a second campus in Vandalia. This year we went from practically nothing to having a building, remodeling it, and meeting weekly--and He provided it all miraculously! In WorshipArts, God’s brought new vision, new families, and new opportunities for us to bless our community. It’s been Peter’s full time job for the past 3 ½ years and it’s been only by God’s faithfulness that it has grown and flourished!
In every situation, He has comforted, provided, and encouraged. This February, my great-grandma went to be with the Lord at the age of 101. His presence of peace and comfort was right by my family’s side as we remembered this great woman. She stayed faithful to Christ through everything--and she experienced just about everything you could, living for a century! His provision has been evident is so many ways--a major one was when our “Old Faithful” 1995 Honda’s front tire gave out and was perpendicular to the rest of the car. It was sudden and unexpected, and if it had happened on the highway or in traffic we could have been seriously injured--but it happened practically in a parking spot at our apartment! In April, I went through a season of intense stress. We had so much on our plates that for a few days I had difficulty eating--but God was so faithful and our community supported us through prayer and picking up all sorts of loose ends. I never want to take for granted the blessing and encouragement I find in our Kalamazoo community. It is incredible! Speaking of Kalamazoo, Peter and I have been overjoyed to be a part of the greater community of Christians in our city--we participated in a city-wide prayer and outreach event with over 50 other churches, and we’ve been able to help in the start of what will someday be a house of 24/7 prayer and worship in Kalamazoo.
On October 11th, we bought a house! What a testimony to God’s faithfulness! The world says, “these days you cannot buy a home without a good credit score” and yet He provided: this young couple, working in full-time ministry, with no credit score at all, purchased a lovely first home together this year!
This year we’ve also devoted time to sharing our lives online, with the goal of encouraging others, and we plan to continue doing so in 2014! If you’d be blessed to see it, you can see my photos (I try to post at least 4 or 5 pictures a week) at www.instagram.com/torikwebb. Peter and I both write regularly on our blogs, too, at www.torikwebb.com and www.peterdwebb.com.
If you know us even a little bit, we hope it comes as no surprise to you that we love seeing God’s Kingdom grow and it’s been a major desire of ours for years. It is beyond encouraging to us to see it happening personally, in WorshipArts, at New Day, and in our city. We hope and pray that the testimonies of His faithfulness we’ve shared will encourage you to keep trusting Him for provision in your life. If you’re in a season where you are praying for change, be encouraged by this story. Your prayers are heard and God is moving, even if you may not see it now. Keep trusting, keep pressing in--He is faithful.
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR,
Peter & Tori Webb