Sunday, April 24, 2011

Staff Retreat

The next couple of days our ministerial staff will be participating in a retreat in Concordia, MO.  Our men's ministry has held a retreat there the last couple of years and it's a nice setting to get away and do some reflecting.  Last year's retreat, held just a few short months after our new pastor had arrived, was an extremely productive time together and I'm trusting that this one will be as well.  Easter services this morning were a real blessing with great attendance, wonderful music, and a clear biblical message from our pastor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homebound Lord's Supper

One of the things that I most enjoy doing in the area of senior adult ministry is helping organize and participate with teams of deacons that go out to serve the Lord's Supper to our homebound members.  The majority of these are living in institutions that provide extended care for the elderly, but several are still able to live at home.  They just aren't sufficiently mobile or strong enough to attend church services regularly as they once did.

This morning I joined an 88-year old deacon (I think the oldest of the total of 14 who participated) and we went to two different homes.  In the first one lives a couple who has been married for 70 years.  The wife told us that they'd never had a fight in their entire marriage and seemed a bit surprised at our own expressions of incredulity and surprise at that statement.  She asked us rather matter-of-factly if we had experienced fights or disagreements with our spouses, to which we both responded affirmatively.  I hope we didn't burst her bubble.  Her husband is 93 and she is soon to turn 89.  We had a wonderful visit off almost an hour, sharing conversation and prayer concerns (including a 25-year old granddaughter who is battling cancer), before we concluded by observing the Lord's Supper together.

In the second home, we visited a lady who is 96 and lives with an almost 70-year old nephew who is rarely at home.  We've been the team that has taken the Lord's Supper to her for the past few years now so she has gotten to know us fairly well.  She expressed as she often has how lonely she feels at times.  I assured her that we were in the process of reorganizing our deacons' ministry to provide a more frequent and ongoing point of contact with her for fellowship and prayer support and to attend to any needs around that house that she might have.  James' words about pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father consisting in visiting the orphans and widows in their distress (Jas. 1:27) came to mind as we conversed.

I'm grateful for a deacon body that is committed to addressing the needs of our senior adults--especially those widows living on their own.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tabitha Ministry Video

As promised in the previous post, here's a link to the longer YouTube video that features interviews with women who've been helped by the Tabitha Ministry in the area of the Guatemala City dump.

Weekend Wrap-up

Well, it's a bit beyond the weekend it's true, but I'm just now getting around to sharing a report on Carol Bercian's visit to Missouri.  She arrived safely last Thursday evening and we headed off to Windermere for ChurchNet's Share Hope Summit on Friday and Saturday.  Carol did an outstanding as our missions banquet speaker, describing our ongoing partnership efforts in Guatemala.  She presented a wonderful challenge and those present responded with a very generous offering as well as some additional pledges.

We had a good day Sunday, visiting with the fine folks up at Wyatt Park Baptist in St. Joseph in the morning.  Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious meal at the pastor's home with several other friends and family members.  The evening service at our church was down a bit in attendance (perhaps due to being an hour earlier than normal to accommodate the benefit concert that followed).  I was a little disappointed that more of our members didn't hear Carol's presentation which focused predominantly on the Tabitha Ministry.  She is such a passionate speaker when it comes to her ministry among the children living in and near the city dump in Guatemala City, as well as with their mothers.

On Tuesday evening, Carol spoke with our church's missions committee to outline some possible future projects for teams going to western Guatemala from our church.  Earlier in the day, she spoke to a WMU group at John Knox Village.  We managed to keep her pretty busy while she was here, though she did find some time to do some shopping and sightseeing on Monday and Tuesday.

I'm providing a link for some brief video footage that I shot during our most recent visit there in February.  Brian Kaylor who handles the communication stuff for ChurchNet did some editing of it and it's been uploaded to YouTube.  You can find it here.

Carol brought a more extensive video that includes testimonies by some of the women who actually live in the dump and have been assisted by the Tabitha Ministry.  That too has been uploaded to YouTube but is still awaiting being made public.  I'll share it as well as soon as it's available.

Carol left this afternoon to return to Guatemala.