Good Friday One of our members, Fred Keller, responded after attending our Good Friday Tenebrae Service: “Anointed, Anointed, Anointed. The readings, prayers, and music were used by the Holy Spirit to change lives. The focus was where it should always be, on the Cross. The Spirit of the Lord permeated all in attendance. This was one of the more moving, spiritual services in my 30+ years as a Christian.”
Last week after our Seder Meal, Heather Howell and her two children delivered some of the extra meals to some of our seniors who were not able to make the event. When describing the experience, she writes, “I was amazed at how excited my four-year-old and sixyear-old were to take these meals. It was such a nice experience getting to meet people from our church family and hear stories of their experiences with the church. It was also a reminder of how important it is for us to take care of the seniors in our church. One person said she had just looked in her empty fridge to decide what to eat when I called her and offered her a meal. Each person we met was so kind and friendly. It was a chance for me to talk with my children about hospitality and sharing Christ’s love. One woman mentioned that she used to take people meals when she was able and it was such a blessing to her when she did it. I told her that her church family was blessing her now because she had blessed so many. Hopefully, one day my children will continue to show such radical hospitality.”
Today I had the opportunity to see two women at Lynn Haven UMC extending radical hospitality in two different situations to two other ladies who were newcomers in a way that clearly made these guests feel welcome. I was invited to come and meet these newcomers by the members who were the first points of contact for these guests. I and others nearby were then able to further invite the guests into conversations to know one another and discover how we might care for and serve them at LHUMC.
One member later took the guest she’d greeted on a tour of the church. The other guest shared information about her circumstances in being a fairly new member to our community and was given information about daytime groups she might connect with and was promised a follow up call this week.
Some people are taking the call to radical hospitality seriously and inviting others to be a part of it with them! Those who love the Lord and want to extend Christ’s welcome to newcomers at Lynn Haven UMC applaud these acts of hospitality. Thank you.
Getting involved in the lives of others in a way that is supportive, meaningful, and transformative takes time, sometimes even years to begin to see God’s redemptive plan being worked out. Several witnesses have observed the way in which a young person has been encouraged and assisted by another person whose patient and consistent support over time is helping the young person make better decisions and grow into a more independent and capable young adult. Support is being enlisted from others to assist with employment, housing, encouragement, transportation, and more. The resources among the people of Lynn Haven UMC cover a number of disciplines, career fields, gifts, talents, and expertise. Two people, committed in spiritual friendship, are discovering how to ask for help and find out that people are willing and able to help.
This is not a new experience for the people of LHUMC. Others at the FUSION campus and Transmitter campus have found joy in offering their help to someone in spiritual friendship and inviting others to join as particular needs are discovered. God is glorified when people say “yes” to being used for good in the lives of others.
On January 17th, our church had a unique opportunity to host the Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa. This event was an absolute blessing for all who were able to attend, but it was especially a memorable experience for my two children, Lex - 5, and Lana - 4. They not only loved meeting these wonderful children, learning about their lives, and listening to them praise God through song, but later that evening they shared something very special with me. They asked my wife to buy the choir’s CD, and I heard the kids singing one of the songs they had heard earlier that evening. When I asked what they were doing, my daughter told me, “Daddy, the kids sing because they love Jesus and now we’re singing because we love Jesus too!” They were worshipping God right there because they loved Jesus too. Now THAT’s a God-Sighting!
This past December, part of our Advent Conspiracy offering was set aside to purchase a freshwater well in Uganda. Right now, that same well is being drilled in the Yukka village, on property purchased by our congregation. Work started in early 2016 and should be completed by the end of January. This deepwater well will provide clean water to several hundred people in this village and the surrounding area. The ability to provide this resource to the community is a powerful and lasting way to show the villagers who live nearby the love of Jesus Christ. Later this year, we plan to send a team to Uganda to build a church building on this same property. A United Methodist congregation has already been formed in this area, and will occupy the site once complete. The church property was purchased with 2020 offerings received last year, and the well is being financed by both the Advent Conspiracy gifts and also a generous donation from a church family. This is one of many examples of how your Extravagant Generosity is touching lives all around the world!