“Trust and obey, For there’s no other way,
To be joyful in Jesus, But to trust and obey. “
Beautiful words, are they not? But, oh so difficult to actually accomplish, at least it was for me in the past year.
Calvary Church was revved up and ready for race time on Pinewood Derby Day! It's an annual tradition that begins with cutting, sanding, painting, and weighting; and it all culminates with race day. Boys, girls, and dads arrive excited and a little anxious for the races to begin. Parents, grandparents, and siblings try to get good seats for the best view of the finish line. Some win for speed, some win for best of show.
It was a hot, sunny day in August when I received a message on my phone asking if I would consider being a Shepherding Elder at Calvary. I chuckled and said to my daughter, “I don’t have time for that!” However, I did agree to have coffee with Russ and learned what the role of a Shepherding Elder is all about. Following a conversation with my family and prayerful consideration, I decided to become a part of the team.
It was a sunny weekend, brisk and breezy, as women from Calvary, invited friends, and one terrific speaker gathered together at Camp Geneva for Calvary’s Women’s Retreat in March. The women mingled, got settled in and helped themselves to some dessert as the retreat started. Lana Davis introduced the theme, “Red-Hot Faith: Fire Up!” and two cheerleaders, having had way too much coffee, started off the night with a mini pep rally to help encourage women. The speaker, Cindy Bultema, shared her testimony, her heart, and her smile.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in life is be honest. So often we think we need to be the perfect Christian to be accepted in the church. In reality, this is the furthest from the truth. John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Why, then, is it so hard to be real and open?
As a part of Campus Ministry at Grand Valley State University, I had the opportunity to help lead a spring break mission trip to Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. It was incredible to see the work God is doing on the island and the transformation He continues to do in the lives of all the students who went on the trip.
Ever since I read Proverbs 31:8-9, I have felt called to do what it says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” That means using the gifts of government and democracy to persuade our leaders to pursue justice for victims of oppression.
In December, 2011 Calvary generously gave to the Mission Haiti Offering to support the work of Restavek Freedom Foundation. This is an update on the progress of the home being built in Port Salut. The House of Beautiful Flowers is well on its way to being occupied. We are anticipating we will have 16 young women occupying this house before the 2014 fall school year. The home will be a beautiful, peaceful place of healing and recovery where young girls will feel safe and loved as they begin the healing process.
In February, a Calvary team went to Honduras. The trip was unique as it took place during coffee harvest, and the team was able to receive and process Marlon Carcamo's (Calvary's coffee provider) coffee cherries. They picked coffee, unloaded bags of fresh coffee cherries, processed them through the beneficio, hand sorted, stirred beans in the solar dryer, smelled, tested, and tasted coffee.
Construction of earthquake and hurricane resistant bakery, training center, and guesthouse building is going well. It is being built by local Haitians--many of them parents of students at the Children's Academy--with oversight done by Extollo International. Calvary’s Mission Haiti offering in December, 2013 has helped fund this construction process.