My church life…in a small community…


The other day, I was up in the balcony preparing the sound system and the morning songs on the overhead projector…once I had things set up (well, a few hitches during the service), I felt content.  Like I had finally found the place to worship God and learn more about Him.

 

Sort of how I felt when I attended this one really big church and would greet people as they came through the doors…excited to be part of a great ministry…and to see people gathering to worship the almighty and merciful God…

 

Though the church is small, there is approximately fifty people on an average Sunday morning; although it may seem small, the people have big hearts and the messages are usually powerful.  Most recently, I attended another church where they had a congregational sing-along with other churches in the community…what a great opportunity to meet others.  Of course, me, was shy and went into my little shell…but I’m slowly coming out…as I acquaint my self with a new community and church.

 

This church was initially discovered by my parents a few years ago so they have described its wonderful atmosphere and people, who are just as my parents described.  Then, when I moved here, I checked out one church that really didn’t seem like home…it probably feels fine to others but I wanted a close knit church…like a family atmosphere…after losing my husband…it was as if God was telling me to become part of a family again after listening to several messages the topic of family.  Which does feel like family especially by those who helped with the move like the pastor and a few others before I even met them…

 

Then, I paid a visit on a Wednesday evening after cleaning out a storage unit…the atmosphere was warm and welcoming as I felt myself drawn to the point of driving over an hour each way to attend its services.  Now, that I’m here, it feels strange to have the church only ten minutes away so that took a few days to adjust to not getting up at 5:30 on a Sunday morning…though the trip was worth it especially now that I have fallen for its many valleys and the community itself.

 

Now I can be more involved like recently helping with a yard sale, going to prayer meeting (something I’ve missed doing over the years), helping with the sound system (which has its own trials as I learn) and other areas as needed…I’m even practicing to eventually sing a solo (Yikes…I don’t do good in front of people).

 

Anyway, though my pastoral license is delayed, I can still do what my heart desires…helping at a church (since part of my spiritual gifts is serving), something I have loved doing since I was a kid in a church that feels like being with family…

 

So, what is your church like?  Have you found a church to call home?  If not, I pray you find one…after all, God is about community and a church is like a community where people learn about Him while being supported during the rough times…so come home to a place of family and fellow believers tow worship Abba Father…

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Blogging and Life


I am posting a short blog today to let you all know that I have not forgotten you, my faithful followers.

Life has been hectic with the start of a new class on Matthew plus church, bible study, and household stuff that is keeping me busy.  Plus the job situation has been hopping with interviews, sending out resumes, and two upcoming interviews.

Prayers needed for one strong job lead that is a part time job with great pay – perfect so I can continue to do school and have time for other household stuff and draw closer to God.

Hopefully, there will be an announcement soon about a change so stay tuned and I hope to be back to blogging this weekend.  I may just do 2 blogs a week as time permits so I hope you continue to follow.  Blessings to each of you and may your vision be fulfilled as you seek God’s purpose for your life.

Blessings, Ann

Coming home to a new church


Well, one of the changes we had to make when moved to our new town is finding a new church.

Initially, we thought this process would be tough and we would not find a church that would meet our needs as well be too cliquish in such a small town.

First, we went to one local church and discovered it was crowded as we packed in like sardines; however, only a few people said hi to us – the greeter and the person(s) sitting next to us.  I tried to reach out and say hi first yet even then we felt snubbed so it was just sit back and enjoy the service.  The pastor did come and visit us which was nice yet it was interesting that he taught a message about loving people and his congregation was too cliquish to welcome new people.  Worse, it was barely wheelchair friendly…

The next Sunday we attended a larger church and were immediately greeted by an older woman who made us feel warm and welcome as if we had come home.  As we sat, waiting for the service to begin, other people came up and greeted us.

I felt at especially since it was the same type of church I had grown up in – Assembly of God!

Interestingly, when we lived in our old town, we both decided that the AG was not for us yet we did not have many choices in this new town except Baptist, Catholic, and Lutheran.  Dene grew up Lutheran but I never felt comfortable in one and we were not into Baptist church nor was catholic church for us even though we know some great Catholics and Baptists.

This AG church had its usually speaking in tongues, older women dancing and swaying to the worship, and a young couple who I found myself chatting with as we shook hands during the greeting time.  I even found an Evangel – an AG magazine that I loved to read as a kid.   Definitely at home!

The next week, we attended again with my in-laws and again, we were warmly greeted.  We found ourselves wanting to get involved and that week I had the pleasure of attending a women’s kick off event where a woman shared about being attacked and yet she was still alive and praising God.  Reminded me that even though I had been attacked by two different people as a kid, I am still alive and God continues to use me as I yearn to eventually reach out to other women who have been attacked and/or abused.

Another event was attending the women’s bible study on Girls with Swords about women overcoming being oppressed and standing up by using God’s word to overcome adversity and the attacks the “enemy” will throw at women.  A great study and I highly recommend it.

Finally, we attended a prayer session where two great women prayed over my husband for healing.  We left feeling at peace and ready for the healing.

Tonight, we went back to the bible study and even had dinner of stew and dessert with other believers for just a dollar. a person.  Can’t beat that!

Yes, we did find a new home town and we found a “family” in a church of believers who believe in loving people and Jesus.  I cannot wait to become more involved through more fellowship, worshiping God, and praying together.

So, how do you greet new people or even those who have been coming for some time at church?  Do you snub them or do you warmly greet them?  I used to greet people and found that service to be a great service to those who need to be warmly welcomed to church; after all, how you greet people makes a world of difference so go out and warmly welcome everyone to your church just like Jesus would.

Closed on Sundays…


Well, we continue to discover more about our new little town from the fact that many places are closed on Sundays to the fact that there is only one fast food restaurant in town.  As we make these discoveries, we are either amazed or go wow!  What a small town!

During our first weekend here, after visiting a community church where everyone was packed in like sardines, we went in search of a hardware store for fly traps.  Yes, the flies in this area are quite pesky and yet they remind us that we are in the country.  The one we drove by – where a cat lives in the store -was closed along with one of the local diners so we drove to another town over and discovered that many places were closed or we had to deal with national chains of restaurants and stores.  So we found what we needed at hardware store and then went in search of lunch only to discover nothing but fast food was open so we drove home and made a good old fashion sandwich – better than McDonalds or other fast food.

Since we have lived here, I am discovering that fast food and other junk food is not as appealing anymore since there are no real fast food restaurants here.  I’m losing weight and I have more energy though I am bored in the afternoons after I finish some chores and job hunt.  Even though I go through periods where I crave chocolate (too much sweets is not good) or other goodies that are bad for me, I distract myself with something else and soon that craving is gone.

Instead, we find ourselves cooking good old fashion home cooked meals and keep the somewhat healthy stuff like produce around to eat – I do need to get another crockpot!  Especially since I found a cookbook for crockpot meals at the local 2nd hand store.

As I eat less and less everyday (though I got a lecture from hubby about skipping meals), I am finding myself less attractive to the cookies, chips and even high calorie crackers.

Therefore, each day I am discovering that there are benefits to living in this small community from the lack of fast food restaurants to the little second hand store that does not accept bank cards…yep…we are still living behind the times in some areas yet still have modern conveniences.  Yep…it has definitely been good…especially since the slow Sundays around here give us a chance to really honor the Sabbath through rest, church, and enjoying life in the country.

What benefits have you discovered on your new journey?  If you live in a small community, what are the tricks to adjusting to life in a small farming town?

The Goodbyes and Farewells…


Well, the final few days in this apartment are here.  So much to do and so much to say good bye to.

Last night, as the sun set, I took pictures of the neighborhood surrounding our apartment.  There is the harbor that overlooks Whidbey Island, the marina, several apartment buildings, a high school, and several businesses.  We even said good bye to the people at our local pharmacy and others in the neighborhood who we have done business with.

As we say our good byes, even now, the sun is setting and the view is breathtaking as if to say, Good bye to us and i’ll give you my best.

Yesterday, it was saying our good byes at church.  Some tears were shed as I hugged a few people good bye and realized I will miss that church that has been home for the last few years.  There are people like Cheryl, Cathy, Andy and Tanya, Pastor Craig and his family, Pastor Dennis and Diane (who helped me with school papers) and Rick, the man who hides Dene from me.  there are more but too numerous to name or I just never got their names but they will be missed.

A couple weeks ago, it was saying good bye to my husband’s medical staff and thanking them for such great care.  They have been supported and we have been blessed by then especially as they work tirelessly to treat my husband’s latest infection.  Do pray that he will grow strong as he struggles with a few medical issues as we prepare to move.  Yet even with these struggles nurses at his local dialysis center continue to monitor his health.  Kudos to medical staff and personal around the world.

Finally, though we had a party about a week ago with friends and family, there will probably be more good byes as we say good bye to those in our apartment, our neighborhood, and more friends and family.  Though we will be back for holidays and long weekends, it will not be the same as we move to a new home.

Yet, we look forward to meeting new people in our new town as we settled in and start a new life.

So who or what would you miss if you were to leave the comforts of your home and move to a new town?  Please feel free to comment.

We can walk to church…


Well, the doors have been opening up for us as we prepare to move to Medical Lake. Today, we signed the lease and did all the other paperwork. So we are almost set to move two weeks from today…quite the journey.

We’ve spent the last two days exploring and getting to know the ‘hood. There are a ton of camping grounds and we counted at least 4 – that’s right – 4 lakes within a few miles of our apartment. One is less than a mile.

We have a gazillion parks including one that is just steps from our back door plus a high school football field practically in our backyard. Yep, Friday nights will get interesting around our place this fall…

The people are friendly here and we discovered we’ll have to do something we have not done in like forever – actually going to the local post office (which is walking distance) to pick up our mail…as we reserved our box, we have a friendly chat with the postal worker and met a friendly woman who welcomed us to town.

This is a beautiful town and its quiet. Traffic is practically nil including taking I-90 into Spokane during “rush” hour. What a big difference between here and the Seattle-Everett area. “Rush hour” traffic is like mid morning traffic in Everett on I-5. People say they rarely get stuck in traffic – so true! Unfortunately, there are a few drivers even around here who will test your patience…sigh…guess they are everywhere.

Another cool thing is that I needed a measuring tape (thought I left it at the hotel only to discover it was in the car). I found the local hardware and walked in to see a cat sitting on the counter. Yep, a very friendly kitty cat who lives there. Again, met friendly people like the guy who helped me select a measuring tape out of a gazillion choices.

Our next adventure was locating a washer/dryer for our new apartment. Our new landlord recommended a place. So, we went over and found a great washer and dryer and again, friendly people at the place. He was playing great Christian music (we have a great Christian radio station here) and I asked if he knew of any churches. He knew of one but it’s too far to travel…think we’ll stick to the churches in our new town. We can walk to them and become involved. Yeah!

I can go on and on about our exploration including the friendly and warm yard sales where people believe in selling the stuff and not making big bucks. Unfortunately, we were not able to find what we needed but we will be back. Or, how I almost got stuck in a carwash (do not like self service ones) but it was a laugh…even Dene’s doc has found medical resources for us. So, things are looking up as we prepare for this journey.

Finally, the welcome mat in Medical Lake reminds me of the following verse from Matthew 10:40 (NIV):

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me,
and anyone who welcomes me
welcomes the one who sent me.

So, what doors are opening up for you as you prepare for your own journey? Are you finding people who welcome you to their community? I pray so and please feel free to comment.

Please say that again, Lord


So, this week, i’m in the middle of a final for my class…yes, time flies by as i’m wrapping up my Casting Vision class.  Therefore, my husband will be making the contributions to the posts.  He is blind and has a simple way of writing yet he is a great communicator (some of the time : ), at least from the viewpoint of a married wife).  Anyway, hope you all have a great week as we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July.

Today we need your help and your thoughts since this will be a relaxed blogging week).

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Howdy everyone out there in Ann’s blog.

This is Ann’s husband, Dene and I will be writing the blog for today.

What do you do when the brakes seem to get slammed on your current move to Las Vegas; you take a deep breath probably a whole bunch of deep breaths.  And get on your knees asking Jesus “OK LORD Jesus what is your voice and what is Satan’s interference”

Then be quiet and listen for that still small voice, sometimes the voice comes in the early morning stillness, and the answer usually doesn’t make too much sense.

Why does it not make sense because GOD’s ways are not are ways. (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

But through JESUS HE has made a way.

So if the answer comes out loud and pushy, it is likely Satan or one of his fallen angels.

So Ann and I are trying to be still and quiet listening and waiting.

But Lord we need the right answer pretty soon since are current lease is up August 31, I take another deep breath and try to still my mind

Ann and I have come up with three locations:

  1. Bitterroot valley mt
  2. Reno NV
  3. Las Vegas NV

so what do you think

should we go for one, two or three?

Three will have better employment options for ANN.

Two will let our body’s adjust to the heat (and Lake Tahoe sounds beautiful esp in winter)

One has the wonderful ranches but it gets very cold

Have you ever had this problem, trying to figure out what Jesus is trying to tell you?

At least try this, get on your knees and ask him? What next or where too next JESUS.

Thanks for listening to me… Dene Cole(the Praying Man)

Stay tuned….The Praying Man will be coming out with his own blog, talking about what it takes to get GOD’s full attention through prayer

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My PS – even though this class will be ending, my blog continues as I prepare to start a new class called the Spiritual Journey of Henri Nouwen. so stay tuned.