“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
This has been a week bathed in prayer and was also a week of answered prayers. One major prayer became reality at 10 am Sunday. Many of you were able to watch live as we appointed Forest and Mandy Versele as our new Lead Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader and Glenn and Cheryl Hodge as an Elder couple. The whole ceremony was totally unique. It was the first time I have ever seen a Lead Evangelist couple and Elder couple appointed at the same time. And doing it all with social distancing and face coverings made it even more unusual. Only four of us could be in the room at a time, so when one finished with their part, they left the room and the next ones came in. Many thanks to Susan Wedin and Pat Smith for making this possible technologically.
As a part of the Sunday appointment videocast, time was taken to honor one of our heroes in the faith, Jerry Jones. Jerry had been in declining health for some time, and he finished his race this past week. Let’s remember to pray for and serve his wife Karen and the family in this time of loss.
Shawn Wooten, the Evangelist in Kiev, Ukraine, conducts a daily prayer time specifically for disciples and their friends and families who contracted COVID-19. Anyone can join via Zoom for this hour of focused prayer for those on the list. Each day Shawn asks a different leader from around the world to lead the prayer, and Saturday he asked me. It was very sobering and moving for me to pray out loud through the list of several hundred names (many of which I couldn’t pronounce) from all around the world – some who are in intensive care, some in quarantine, and some who died. Thankfully, I know of no one in the church here who has the virus, so it showed me that many disciples around the world have not been so fortunate.
Finally, most of you know that much of our yearly mission’s contribution (which will be collected in August) is given to help the churches in the Philippines. A serious financial need has just arisen for HOPE worldwide Philippines. Their Centers of Hope Projects, including the Laguna Orphanage, are critically low on funds because of COVID-19 and many of the usual worldwide donors not being able to give in the midst of their own hardships. The projects’ 2020 budget is about $428,000, but at the present rate they will be short $124,000 for the year. Even worse, contributions are declining rapidly. Several of the projects do not have enough money to get through this month of May. It is possible to personally give any amount online directly to HOPE worldwide Philippines. It is amazingly simple to give; I just did it. The link is www.hopeww.org/SupportPhilippines
. Please pray for this need and consider giving something, even if it is only a few dollars.Until next week, stay thankful, stay calm, walk with God, and encourage one another,
Al Baird for the Leadership Team