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Helliwell’s December 2020 Missions Update

Nick and Vivian Helliwell













Geraniums in the Window by Nick Helliwell


It Was the Strangest of Times

I finished my painting today. Painting a summer scene in winter provides ample fodder for rumination. My mind wandered back through this past year. It truly has been the strangest of times.

According to all the old sci-fi books and flicks, we are supposed to be flying around in airborne cars, sending colonists to Mars or beyond, and kidding the old-schoolers who still drive around vintage combustion engine cars.

Who would have thought that 2020 would end up as strange as it has? The kids were sent home in March and again three whole weeks before Christmas. They were told to stay home – and they DO! Working from home is the norm, grocery stock boys provide an essential service, and everyone has weekly online Zoom meetings for everything from church, to fitness classes, virtual powwows, and board meetings.

However, always accompanying all this is a sobering thought. Many have died this year. A pandemic crisis literally touched every corner of the globe. Strangely, I have not had anyone in my family get sick or die from Covid this year. I know people who have. Lots of people. It seems to be the thing people ask these days, even more than talking about the weather. I am one of the few who can answer, “We are all healthy, safe and happy.” Then I learn of someone who is sick, or in the hospital, or has died.


Thank You, Lord

As I was painting, I thanked God for our blessings, reflecting on the year for our family and for me personally. It has been strange.


  • I received my 60’s scoop settlement payment because of the pandemic. I used it to buy a new TV, build a new deck, and put a good chunk of it away for a rainy day. The new deck is twice as big as the old one, with two levels. The upper level is covered with a beautiful gazebo and has plenty of storage space underneath. Thank you, Lord!
  • I was also able to spend quality time with my son, nephew, grandson and some good ol’ boys from the church and neighborhood. Driving screws while diggin’ deep into men’s hearts. Building relationships while building railings. Thank you Lord!
  • As a Chaplain, I was sent home in March until August, and then again in mid-November. I am however still being paid for my part time position. Thank you Lord.
  • I released my Journey Through the Bible Discipleship Course – my first published work. Thank you Lord!
  • We decided to keep our kids at home and enroll them in online learning in September, due to the pandemic. Now in December, when all the schools are once again closed down, we are not scrambling for computers, trying to set up our network, or attempting to connect to virtual classrooms. Our kids know the routine. They are up and running online every weekday morning like clockwork. A bonus of all this time off and having my kids at home is that I have spent more quality time with my family than ever before. Thank you Lord.
  • Did I mention the new website? We got many things done this year. Thank you Lord.
  • The living-room got painted, the front lawn got replanted, and our family is healthy, safe and happy. Thank you Lord!


In the midst of a global pandemic and all the chaos, uncertainty, fears, worries, grief and theories, we are untouched by it all. Quietly abiding. Strange. Yet, thank you, Lord.

Maybe that is why I chose a summer scene in winter. For Your assurance, Your promise, Your provision and protection, Thank You, Lord.



Christmas Wishes – December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas to you, Parliament. I just wanted to let you know that you were a part of our Christmas devotional prayer today. We hope that today finds you healthy and happy with an ever-growing faith and trust in the Christ of Christmas! May He always bring warmth to your heart and home as well as depth to your joy in every season. May God bless you and all your loved ones in 2021!


Happy New Year – December 31, 2020

I saw a funny sign today on the front of a business that had obviously survived:
“Goodbye 2020; and thank you for setting the bar so low!”
While we may be glad that this year is finally over, I am sure that we will feel the effects for years to come. Whatever the future holds, I pray that you will meet it with a strong faith, a Blessed Joy and unwavering optimism.
In that spirit, I share with you my last painting of 2020.