We wrote the following blog post the week of Thanksgiving. Sorry it’s late getting posted! :
The last weekend of November we presented the ministry at First Baptist Church in Holland, NY. After serving in the Philippines for three years, Pastor Hoppe accepted the pastorate at First Baptist thirteen years ago. It was encouraging to talk to the Hoppes, who had experienced deputation themselves, and to hear some of the stories of their travels and time on the field. Also encouraging was hearing about the outreaches into the community by Pastor Hoppe and the church. Pastor is involved with the fire department and drives bus for the school. As we have travelled around the Northeast, this has been a frequent refrain: getting involved in the community is necessary for reaching the community. But this is not always easy; one pastor we spoke to recently was telling us that his town has a problem with the separation of church and state. Community events there are often closely tied with the (liberal) community church; community events end up being church events, which calls for much discernment in knowing how and to what extent to get involved. But however difficult it may be, one thing is clear: we cannot effectively reach people unless we know them and they know us.
This week our nation celebrates Thanksgiving, and we have many things for which to be thankful. These are just a few:
A Savior Who loves us enough to die in our place and saw fit to call us into ministry
The opportunity to be with our sending church in North Carolina and Brandon’s family over Thanksgiving
Our families, who have been very influential and supportive
Wonderful supporting churches and prayer partners who have been a huge source of encouragement
It is neat to see how God works and provides; over the last few days we have seen this again and it has been cause to give thanks. On Saturday, one day before we started out on a trip to North Carolina, Brandon “happened” to notice that coolant he had put into our van’s radiator reservoir the previous day was completely gone. A mechanic friend from the church in Albion had time to look at it and said he thought the radiator had a leak. That was not cool – we just replaced the radiator in May, so there should be no problems with it! But long story short, we bought extra coolant, made it down to NC where a friend took it to his shop and verified that it was a manufacturer’s defect in the radiator. So we are still in the process of getting it all worked out, but God was so good in bringing the problem to our attention before we started off on a long trip (without a clue that there was a problem). We are confident that the situation will work out for the best because that is the kind of God we serve!