Friday, October 2, 2009

A Gift from God

When God called us to Abilene, we knew there would be work He had planned for us before we moved here. It would be waiting and we were excited. We feel we are on a mission, learning new lessons about ourselves, meeting new people, and getting out of our comfort zone we had in College Station for 28 years.

When I came home from Lima, I had really missed worshiping in my own language and all of the relationships that God had given me. I have found myself a bit tearful out of JOY as I commune with my church family at Hope. Last weekend was our last Sunday in the Hwy 351 location, the building I have always known as the location of gathering for Hope. We moved out and are now at a new bldg. (to us) on Judge Ely. (very close to ACU campus) There has been lots of work at the new bldg. -- painting, pulling carpet up, replacing trim, scraping of the floors, new walls, updating lots of details.

The ones who organize our worship time put together a wonderful time for all on our last gathering time on Hwy 351. One of the things they did was ask the congregation to put on cards what Hope -- the community of Hope - meant to them. Below are the messages that came. We are a group of about 125. Enjoy and know this is what it means to "...sharing with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God.."

Hope is an amazing place. I will forever be grateful that I am part of this group of people. May the Lord continue to bless this body.

Hope is a supportive community of believers and seekers that aim to serve God and those around them.

How do I express how I feel about HOPE in just one note card? I’m not sure I could do it if you gave me the whole pack of note cards! I love how we’re all different—and in our diversity and difference, we find strength instead of weakness. I love how we pray and pray. And then pray again, followed by prayer… and then lift each other in prayer while we’re separately from each other. I love how HOPE changed my heart! I’ve come to LOVE the word “hope.”

My experience at Hope has expanded my understanding of the freedom in Christ and a new appreciation for the role of shepherds.

Hope means just that—HOPE! (Too many ways to list here.) It means an opportunity for Mike & me to be free to grow as God directs.

Hope is my welcoming family when I visit home.

Hope is my family and place of safety.

Hope is a place where the broken people of God come together and stand as one in the strength of our Savior! For when we are week, then we are strong!

Hope has freed me from viewing my faith as a set of rules and led me to a deeper intimacy with Christ.

Hope means community, love, & acceptance.

I love the singing and preaching because it’s what we have left of New Life.

To me, HOPE means renewal. It means freedom from sin and from the past—a new beginning. It means joy, fellowship in community, encouragement and exhortation. It means purpose and direction, allowing Christ to change the world and use me in the process. HOPE is the body of Christ as it was meant to be.

My awesome new family! Loving, sweet! :)

Hope has grown up my family, Alison, Justin, & Cailyn; Hannah; now us. Praise the Lord.

Hope church has been a place of joyful uplifting worship of sincere believers & convicting sermons.

Hope has allowed me to see the most unlikely heroes, and to be led by those who scarcely knew they were leading.

Hope means to me a community that loves each other & serves their neighbors & takes care of the needs without question.

Hope has been my lifeline in many ways. I feel like the people here are my spiritual family, and I am grateful God has placed me here.

Hope, my family, a group I share my joys & sorrows with.

Hope is: *a place where prayer is taken seriously *a place where sinners aren’t shunned * a place where the weak receive help *a place where our praises to the Father can be freely unleashed *A GODSEND.

I am so overwhelmed by the Spirit that is here at Hope—from the leaders all the way through the congregation.

HOPE is healing to the broken and strength when nothing seems to go right. It brings people out of the darkness and gives them courage, strength, perseverance, and peace.

Hope is family style meals—family in the times of joy and trouble, prayer and service.

HOPE to me means family.

Hope means family to me. It means open, honest, and safe community that calls each other to a higher standard for the name of Christ. It means being broken with one another and allowing others to help carry our burdens for a time when they get too heavy. Being a part of Hope means responding to needs and finding ways to extend our faith past the doors of a building. Being a part of Hope means that we won’t get everything right but we are willing to acknowledge it and try again, keeping loving others as a priority.

The Hope Congregation has been great for Allene and I. At our age the time of services the Elders (wonder why) along with the good people of the congregation mean a lot to us. However, First and foremost it is a place to worship God. Now, i would like for all to know that my vision has degenerated to the point thait i may not recognize within the building even if you are standing close by. So, please don’t think I am being unfriendly if i fail to greet you. Massingill.

Hope is family.

Hope is a place that feels like home.

I am forever changed because of HOPE. I have experienced grace and mercy, I have witnessed mutual submission, I have seen the power of transparency, I have experienced healing, I have seen Jesus.

Hope has been a warm and welcoming place of worship. A place where everyone is excepted no matter where they find themselves in life, and no matter how broken they feel. A place where people are loved and supported. Being at Hope has allowed opportunities for me to serve in ways that I haven't before, and it's provided challenges that have resulted in great personal and spiritual growth. Hope has been a faith building and life transforming experience for me.

All the wonderful people make HOPE a truly wonder place. Damon is the best preacher I have ever heard.

As I sat there, I heard God say, "I have so much more for you here, more than you have experienced in the first year". I look forward to all that I get to experience with my family of Hope. If you do not have a place of belonging with a community of believers, do not give up, continue to pray and ask, continue to look and explore, it is God's will that we do life together.

This is the dinner team we are on. We were in charge of the first meal at the new bldg. It was given great success by the Lord!!

1 comment:

Janet's Journey said...

Dinner was great! I am with you in that I thought both the last service at HWY 351 and the first service at the Judge Ely location were very tender and inspirational. I am glad you and Daniel are among our HOPE family now.