My Last Word

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By Jim DeAngelo

Many of you know that Sandra and I are moving to Sahuarita, Arizona. Sahuarita is located just south of Tucson. My son-in-law and I will leave with the moving van and our cars on Wednesday, September 21. When there is a change like this in life, we tend to spend time reflecting on past events and future possibilities.

We have been profoundly blessed by our brothers and sisters at Elim. I can say that I have never been closer to God, happier, and more at peace and content as I am now. Having the privilege of serving the Body and working with those tasked with leading has been an experience I will always take with me.

So, you might ask, “Why move?” Sandra struggles with the effect of months of gray sky and wet and cold weather. We both feel much better physically in the warm and dry Arizona weather, so we are moving to dry out and lose the webs between our toes. I also know that God has called us there. I resisted at first and prayed for guidance. The Spirit showed me we were to make the move. So, moving it is.

The home we have purchased has an extra bedroom, so, if you are inclined, please visit. We will put you up for a time and enjoy catching up on the events at Elim. We will return each summer and have the joy of sharing our lives once again with you all.

My Last Word – Jim

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What would you have done?

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This last Sunday, July 31, we celebrated and prayed for five couples who have taken on the responsibility of fostering seven children, five of whom are from one family. I can’t think of a better expression of the transforming power of the Gospel in the lives of our Father’s family than this. This fills my soul with gratitude at a very deep level.

In June, Donna McKenzie was reflecting on this situation and she wrote down her thoughts, which I want to share with you. I’m deeply thankful for her reflections. They affirm the work that God is doing in our midst.

Pastor Martin

By Donna McKenzie

Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others.

Romans 12:4-5 TLB

A few months ago a very difficult situation was brought to light in our church. It is something you can’t imagine happening in your little community, yet it did. Information was gathered and when the time was right it was decided it needed to be brought out to the congregation. To be honest, I was concerned. Something like this could easily tear a church apart. As the information was shared there was concern, a lot of questions, and emotions. Understandable so. Questions were asked in love and genuine concern. Then I watched as this community began to process this together and saw an amazing thing happen. I saw our church body step up to love this family in ways that a lot of churches would not have. In such a small congregation having four families step up to foster these five children is a unique and wonderful thing.

“We belong to each other, and each needs all the others.”

We are all part of one body, each one needs the other. I was at Bible study a few weeks ago, and witnessed this first-hand. That night, as awkward as it sounds, two of the foster moms and the biological mom were all in attendance. Near the end of the evening, prayer requests were being shared. The biological mom shared her heartbreak over what has happened. As she shared, something beautiful started to happen. In that moment we all, including those two foster moms, who are so lovingly caring for this women’s children, circled around her to pray. With tears flowing, prayers were said for the mom, the foster moms and ALL members of the families involved. It was an uncomfortable, strange, awkward, emotional, yet beautiful sight.

Yes, there were/are a lot of emotions and unanswered questions surrounding this situation, but for that moment those were set aside. There was no judgment or condemnation, just moms praying for a hurting mom with a heart of compassion. It was a perfect picture of the unconditional love of Jesus being poured out to this hurting member of our body.

The healing will be a long process. I know this has been an unusual growing experience for everyone. There will be other challenges to overcome. I do know none of what happened was a surprise to God. He brought about the truth of this situation at this point in time. God knew in THIS church these kids would be unconditionally loved and cared. I have no doubt God has and will continue to bring about beauty and his glory will shine in and through this very difficult situation.

And the king will answer them, “I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of min, you did it for me.

Matthew 25:40 (NET)

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