“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The truth that I have come to know as I get older is that this life is full of toil, struggle, and pain. The hope that we get from Scripture is that no matter what we go through in this life we do not have to go through it alone. God has promised that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Often it is during the darkest times that God’s light is the brightest. His presence is in the hearts of believers as they continue to do His will and fulfill Christ’s mission to minister to the hurt, grieved, sick and lonely. God has given each of us unique experiences, some are great, some are tragic, but each one has formed us into the person we are today. I have heard it said that “God never wastes a hurt” and I have found this to be true in my life and in the lives of believers.
These verses in 2nd Corinthians succinctly define where God is leading Care Ministry in 2023. We began this year strategically examining Care Ministry and we identified three foundations to build off, Belonging, Purpose and Hope. These three tenants are clearly seen in Scripture during Jesus’ ministry on earth in the form of discipleship. The comfort that we receive from God generously poured out on us when we are afflicted, struggling, in times of grief and sorrow, is purposeful. That purpose is to point others to the hope that we have in Christ. We are broken sinful people with no hope for peace or comfort inside ourselves. Our comfort comes from belonging to the family of God.
This year at Abiding we want to create a “Culture of Care” that is evident in the life of our congregation. This begins by equipping the saints, by giving you all opportunities to use your God given experiences and talents to give back. To let the people around you know they are not alone, they are loved, they belong. We want you to live out the purpose God created you for, and give people hope by always pointing them back to our Savior Jesus. One opportunity that we currently have is Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministry is compassionate Christian care assisting others in walking through difficult seasons. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful Stephen Ministers and all our volunteers who assist at funerals. This year we are pleased to announce two new opportunities to serve.
The first is Heartwarmers. Encouraging relationships and belonging with people in our congregation who are Seniors or who have Special Needs. For example, there are many seniors that need companionship. As a Heartwarmer Volunteer you can spend time with them, play a game or do a puzzle, send a card, encourage them, and pray with them. We also want to extend Heartwarmers to those in our congregation who have Special Needs. This ministry may look a little more like a mentor or big brother or sister. This ministry helps people to feel they belong to the body of Christ, gives purpose to fulfill a call, and enables hope and warms the hearts of both the giver and receiver. The second opportunity is through the meal ministry. You can help someone in need by providing them with a ready-made meal. In times of need, it is an incredible blessing to see a friendly face and receive a meal. We will gather once a month to make up some meals to deliver to people when they have a need this can include someone who has had a surgery, new baby, or loss of a loved one.
There are many aspects of Care Ministry that I love. One of them is teaching Confirmation. On October 30, 2022 our congregation had the privilege of hearing thirty students confirm their faith in Jesus Christ expressing their desire to join Abiding Savior. Every other week I have the honor of leading the OMEGA Bible study. The final aspect is preaching at Stoneybrook Suites. It is a blessing to share the Gospel with the residents there. As always, I will continue providing visits: hospital, hospice, communion, as well as grief and crisis care. If you know someone or if you need pastoral care, please contact our Care Coordinator Shantel Larsen or Pastor Justin, or contact the church. We are always available to pray or add a prayer request to the prayer journal.
We thank God every day that I get to serve here at Abiding it is truly a blessing and an honor.