As we enter 2023, I am very thankful for God’s grace sustaining us through 2022. This past year has been my most challenging year of ministry both on a personal level and a ministry level. Dealing with two close family deaths in a very short period of time cast a shadow on much of the activities of the last year. As a church, we survived three waves of covid-a Christmas wave, an Easter wave, and a Mother’s Day wave, and yet at the same time, God has continued to bless, provide and guide our steps. We have had some very close friends that have passed into eternity in the last six months, and we are very thankful for the promises that we have in regard to eternal life through Jesus Christ.
We did have a rather amazing and wonderful time for our church’s 90th-anniversary celebration on June 5. This was the highest attended service since our reopening following covid. We are grateful for all the people that served to make this such a special day. We are deeply thankful to those that worked at putting the kitchen back into working order following the Ida flood of September 2021. We have also been blessed by the ministry of Angel Nunez who joined us as a student intern in June, shortly after our church’s 90th celebration. We are excited about the dedication of Angel and Estefania’s daughter Evaluna, on January 15 and a wedding later on in the month on January 28. All of these are refreshing changes from the difficulties that we experienced over the last six months of 2022. I believe God is still working here in many special ways and anticipate that He’s going to show up as we seek to be obedient to Him and do His will.
I find great personal comfort in the words of Paul in Romans 8:28 where Paul reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”, (NIV). As we have been through a very difficult year of loss and challenge it’s very important for us to continue to hold on to the promises that we have in God’s Word concerning His work and will in our midst. God is working all things together for our good. Sometimes the isolated incidents of loss in our lives do not feel very good. Evil is prevalent in our world and yet God has a long-term view that He is working everything together for the good of those who love Him. In God’s providence, He orchestrates all the events of our lives to bring about that which is positive and that which we should trust in this hopeful promise for His providence and care to show up.
When Paul says, “we know” he is speaking about a sure promise. That promise flows out of the knowledge of faith because we know the faithfulness of God in whom we trust. We know that our God is at work in our midst, therefore we can have peace in regard to things present or things to come. We can also find comfort and peace in the losses that we may have experienced in the last year. We can find that peace and comfort in the knowledge that while we may not understand everything that God is doing, He is the one who continues to direct our steps. Let us make sure that we are people who are loving God so that He can direct our steps for His glory and His Honor in 2023. Let us continue to strive to be a church family that reflects the image of Jesus Christ to a needy and broken world (Rom.8:29). All for God’s Glory, Pastor Rich Sivo