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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Our First Christmas Away From Home


Well, with my husband in the hospital recently and still recovering along with tight finances, we were not able to make it home for Christmas.

At first, I wanted to pout and cry – better not or Santa won’t come…or I could be simply being ungrateful for all that God has provided and brought us through this last year.

then, we got a message from our church asking if they could provide food for our Chrsitmas dinner.  We already had provisions from Thanksgiving (hubby was in the hospital at the time so we never used it) so we did not have a need for a meal; instead, we asked them to bless another family that had more of a need.

Yet, I was still upset that we would be spending Christmas alone and without the usual trappings until I remembered my own words to the church.  That there is probably someone out there who would be spending Christmas alone or may not be able to afford a meal themselves so we decided to look for a couple of people that would be alone.

Things became clearer and my pout disappeared as I asked around to see if there was such a person in this small town.  We learned of one such couple and asked them to dinner, they accepted.

An older couple, one of the first people to greet us at this new church, and who prays for my husband’s health, came to our home for dinner.

Of course, I went into nervousness, worried that my food would not be good enough as I experienced with new ways of making sweet potatoes, turkey, and even stuffing.  Even making a homemade apple pie for the first time in like at least 15 -20 years because husband wanted it.

Or would there be enough?

Well, we had more than enough and the food was delicious.  The pie was delicious even with the crumbling crust and too many apples!  The stuffing – made in the new crockpot – was delicious and everyone was too full to eat of the pie!  Though I talked my hubby into eating some today and he did – he agreed!  It was delicious!

Above all, the evening was a blessing as we fellowshipped with this couple. They prayed with us, told stories of their life, as we showered each other with fellowship and blessings.

Then, I learned as I tried to call them to wish them a merry Christmas, that my parents, alone during the holidays, had invited people from their church too…the same way we had.  They were too busy to talk to us!  I say with a smile as I’m glad they had the fellowship.

So, the lesson learned here is that even if you are full of people at the dinner table, or even alone during the holidays, bless someone with a meal and company by inviting them to the table.

After all, Acts 2:42 (NIV) reads:  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

In conclusion, we wondered, if we were still living near family (who we do miss), would we have opened our eyes and seen the needs of others?  Perhaps God moves people out of their comfort zones to open our eyes and see a need.  Perhaps we are finally seeing why God moved us here and perhaps our hearts are being opened even more to the needs of neighbors as we may do this more often and perhaps make it a monthly ministry to break bread with our neighbors.

What are your thoughts?   How did you make someone else’s life brighter for the holidays?  What can you do differently in the upcoming year?

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.

Home Sweet Home


Hello, everyone!

An update on our journey.   Well, we went over to the Spokane/Medical Lake last week and viewed three properties. 

The first was a modern day apartment that was bigger than our current apartment but was not very handicap friendly so we had to pass.

The second was a much older charming home; however, we had to walk away before we  even stepped inside.  The steps were too narrow and too high for Dene.  Don’t think I want to lug a wheelchair up those steps.

Finally, we stopped at a middle in the age range apartment that is just about perfect.  It is big and we would be saving money.  The landlord is great and friendly.  We applied and we are just waiting for word that we get the place.  She just needs one more bit of information and we will be approved.  So thanking Jesus that we get in.

This apartment is in Medical Lake, WA, and ironically I had a run in with the police years ago.  I was driving through town and had a tailgater.  Thinking I was going to slow, I sped up a little and next thing I knew, lights were flashing as I was pulled over for speeding.  Ugh!  I paid the ticket after contesting it and went on with life.  I just laugh it off and will never even go one mile over in that little town.

Now, we are interested in that little town after all these years.  It was peaceful and quiet.  On our last day there, we took some donuts and had breakfast on the beach.  It was hard to leave; however, duties back here called us away. 

We head back this week to explore and get to know the area that we hope to call home sweet home in just little over two weeks. 

We are praying that the right doors will open up for this apartment, a new job for me, and even the right caretaker for Dene. 

 We are  hoping to find the right church and if not, we can always plant one as God opens doors and provides. 

Finally, it was a great trip and we look forward to moving in a couple of weeks.

So, does anyone know of any good churches in the Spokane area? 

Family tears…and more


Just little over five weeks until we make the big move…

We’ve almost finished “blessing” people with the extras or stuff that we really do not want to bring down to Nevada with us.  Yeah, there’s a few more things but that will be given away during the last bit of packing.

In the midst of the packing, we realize that we will be saying good bye to family and friends in five weeks and may be on our own this Christmas as we scrape and settle in.  We do have some family close by but one, like a sister, lives in Arizona.

This weekend, I am going to a family reunion with my mom’s side of the family called the Wallace – Burkett – and whatever last name links you as being related to the Wallace – Burkett name – Reunion.  There will be camping, potlucks, fun, and hopefully a trick or two played on or by one of my favorite cousins.  Told them if they hear what sounds like a bear or big foot, it’s probably snoring from an unnamed person…

At the end of the weekend, we must say good-bye to these people with the understanding that it may be at least another year or two.  Some like my elderly aunts and uncles, I wonder, if I’ll ever see them again this side of heaven.

Just as we are saying good-bye to family and friends who will miss us, we have family and friends that are a bit concerned about this move.  I see their point especially since my husband has health issues; however, we are being called to Nevada and feel that his health would improve some with the warmer climate.

Some act as if they don’t care if we move and won’t take the opportunity to say goodbye or spend time with us in our final weeks.  All we can think is that they are trying to be brave and not show their emotions at the thought of us leaving.

At the same time, we are reminded that Abraham and even Jesus himself met some resistance from family as they answered their calling.

Yet, Jesus does call us to love Him more than our parents, brothers, and sisters and yet, we still love them and will miss them.

Yes, this attitude hurts especially when we have our own neighbors – people we’ve known only a few months – come up and say how we will be missed.  Yes, the rumor that we are moving is spreading quite quickly in this small “community” called our apartment building.

Even with this attitude from family, we will continue to pray for them and make sure we’re right with them as we make the move.  After all, you only have one set of family members and each of them are important.

As you prepare for a journey, are you getting resistance?  How do you handle it?  We plan to patiently answer their concerns, pray for them, and assure them that at least it’s not Africa or some other far corner of the world…

Even more refreshing…the goodness of rain.


Outside, the rain is coming down as a soaker…refreshing the world around me.

Even more refreshing, I am observing a family laughing and playing together in the downpour.  At first, I wanted to grumble about how dangerous it is to play on a roof and in the rain.  Then you hear the laughter of the kids as they spend a few moments in fun and joy with their dad.  What a refreshing scene!

Even more refreshing, as the rain continued to pour over the city, there was the sweet scent of fresh rain as it washed surfaces like apartments, stores, the road, and even sidewalks around my building.

Even more refreshing is that rain can bring healing and salvation to people as it refreshes their lives according to Isaiah 45:8 (MSG), “Open up, heavens, and rain.  Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness! Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation; sprout right living.”  What needs to be revived or refreshed in your life?

Even now, we are worried as we look for a reliable mover; however, we must trust that God will provide and bring either the right mover or the right person to drive a truck.  After all, He is lining everything else up for us as we find temporary housing and other necessity like medical doctors for this move

Even more refreshing, as we face this fear, we know that the Creator of the rain will provide as noted in Acts 14:17 (NIV) “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  What blessing is needed in your own life?

As we look for a mover, we must remember to continue to praise and bless God so that we can get thumbs up from Him as we move forward with our dream.  Therefore, in conclusion, my husband and I must continue to look forward to the blessings and doors that God will open as we continue on our journey.

What obstacles are you facing as you approach your journey?  Do you need to be refreshed through the power of cleansing rain as you face this obstacle?  On the other hand, do you have a dream or vision that needs to be revived through rain that is refreshing?

Whatever the obstacle might be, remember to play in the rain and soak up His goodness…