From COVID-19, politics, protests, shootings and a city literally on fire, this year has been an event-packed year.
I was taxed to the limit, so much so that it had an effect on my spiritual state of being. I found myself calling on God to show Himself. This led me to the story of the disciples on the ship when the storm was raging, and Jesus was asleep. (Mark 4:38)
But, similar to the disciples, I realized Jesus had given me all I needed and there was no need to question my faith. I was reminded of all that God had brought me through and how He had prepared me as a spiritual leader to keep my family from harm’s way.
The protests over the Jacob Blake police shooting was a way for our churches to draw together with each together and also to the community. We were able to clean up and help the community, leading to several contacts that are now friendships. Through all of this, what really touched me the most was I could truly feel God’s presence in everything. I was at the point where the crisis became opportunities for me to show how God was still in control.
I have learned that it is one thing to serve God and count His blessings. But the real joy comes when you realize how blessed you are to be serving God. I often tell people: I do not know if there are any golden streets or no more pain and suffering, but I do believe. I do know one thing for sure and that is, I am doing Heaven here, now, on earth, because in my prior lifestyle I already did hell.
George Andrews III, Business Owner and Lay Pastor of the Kenosha Church
One day early in the pandemic, I got a call from a friend, Marcia, asking if I had some ladies within the state who could make some masks for her daughter-in-law who was a director of nurses in a rehab facility.
They desperately needed masks for the staff and wanted to know if we could help her out. I called my local ACS leader, Georgia Rosen, then contacted ladies around the state. A Facebook page called “Mask Makers Sew” was started with tips, tricks and patterns, and soon these faithful ladies were making masks. It wasn’t long before other facilities and friends were calling, needing us to make masks. Over 600 masks were shipped to many states and facilities.
As this was taking place, many of our food shelves were seeing a large increase in needs. With grant money from the North American Division, we were able to help many needy people with food.
As we move forward into 2021, let us remember to minister to those around us, as Jesus did. Ministry of Healing, page 143, reads: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people…He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence, ‘then He bade them ‘Follow Me.‘”
As we each spend time studying the Word of God, may we come to know Jesus personally as a Friend. He will guide us in our walk to help those in need. Jesus is coming back to take us to Heaven. He has promised. We will never have to deal with the many adversities we have now. We have a wonderful message of hope, comfort and peace to share with our fellow man.
Alice Garrett, Wisconsin Adventist Community Service Director
It’s been three years since our family visited Korea. We had made grand plans of visiting our home country, purchased flight tickets at a very good price, and were counting down the days.
Then COVID-19 hit the whole globe. I still hoped for our trip to happen but, eventually, we had to cancel our trip. That is what the entire year of 2020 looked like. Everything got canceled, we couldn’t go anywhere, and interaction with people was limited. We were all frustrated.
The pandemic brought a disconnect to our society. But it also strengthened connections in other ways in which I lacked.
Due to the lockdown, I was able to spend a great deal of time with my wife and children as they couldn’t go to school. Not only that, my brother’s family came over and stayed with us for two full months. It was the best time of my life. I got to connect with my family.
I spent a good deal of time with my colleagues in our region by doing team online media ministry. Even though we didn’t meet in person, we got to know each other better and bonded more than ever before. I gained insight from them. I got to connect with my friends and learned how I can better connect with my churches.
At a personal level, I came closer to God as I spent my time with Him. I got to connect with God as I spent my time with Him. I got to connect with God.
We don’t know how this will end. Perhaps this COVID-19 will stick around for a bit longer. But 2020 has taught us what we can gain in spite of our losses and that we don’t have to be discouraged. 2020 has taught us that we can still be positive and be vibrant in our lives in 2021.
Myoung Kwon, Waukesha Community and Milwaukee Northwest Pastor
Above stories are reprinted from the January/February 2021 issue of the Lake Union Herald.