Dear Welsh Faith Family,
God is working in our midst and He is answering our prayers! Let me show you what I mean by detailing just a few of the prayers God has been answering for our faith family:
As of August 9th, I have officially been your pastor for two years. After being called by God to move here in May of 2009, I began to pray for our Welsh Baptist faith family in many ways and about many things. God gave me a vision for where our faith family needed to grow and move in order to become the faithful, missional community we are called to be for God’s glory and Jesus’ fame. It wasn’t long after arriving in Frostburg that I began to see God working in our midst to accomplish His vision of enlarging His kingdom and changing His church, our church.
As I began to regularly meet with the leaders of our faith family, we began to pray that God would change our hearts and lives to reflect the compassion that Jesus had for His disciples and His covenant people, the Israelites. We began to ask God to open doors to new ministry opportunities where we could engage people outside of our walls with our time, talents, money, and most importantly…with our lives.
Almost immediately, God opened a door for us to get involved in the disaster relief effort in Haiti after their devastating earthquake in January 2010. God has continued to direct us to stay involved in Haiti in the development of local communities in Port-au-Prince and eventually with Alex’s House, a local Christian orphanage that just came to be after the earthquake.
What a blessing Haiti has been for our faith family! The opportunities we have had to serve the lost and broken people and children of Haiti have changed not only the Haitian people, but they have changed our own people who have committed to seeing the gospel spread throughout this island nation. I want to thank those who have contributed financially, those who have contributed their prayers, and those who have contributed their time and energy to go to Haiti. You have been a part of God answering our prayers!
Our leadership did not stop praying for ministry opportunities when God placed Haiti on our hearts. We knew we needed to have an international mission presence, but that we could not stop there. We continued to ask God to open up a local ministry opportunity for our faith family here in our own back yard. At times, we would see a glimmer of hope when an opportunity would present itself, but time and time again, each opportunity seemed to vanish as quickly as it had appeared. We did not lose heart. As you recall a few months ago, we began praying that God would send us the broken and hurting of our community so that we might show them the love and mercy of Jesus. And He has done just that!
It wasn’t until just over a month ago that God revealed His plan for our involvement in a local ministry to the broken and hurting of our area. God brought a young couple to our faith family who have a connection to a temporary halfway house that provides lodging, addictions substance abuse assessment and evaluation, as well as therapy for people trying to escape the strong grip that drugs and/or alcohol have on their lives. God has given us an opportunity to supply needed items to these people who are trying to get back on their feet with almost no one there to help them. Even more than the monetary things we can do for them, we are also able to spend time with them and encourage them with the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the only true means to finding freedom. What a ministry! What a blessing for us to be able to love on and encourage these folks with the mercy and compassion of Jesus!
Lastly, ever since Carol and I sensed God’s strong call for us to come and join our Welsh faith family, we have also been praying that God would allow us to participate in His bringing people to faith, and then baptizing and discipling those new believers to help them become missionaries in our community and around the world.
God first began to answer our prayers by growing our presence on the campus of Frostburg State University where we regularly worship with over 30 students every Thursday night during the school year. We have seen these students sharing the gospel with their friends. We’ve seen these students begin to meet daily for at least an hour to pray for the world and our church. We’ve seen these students grow in their faith and begin to be missionaries on campus, in our community, back home during the summer and during holidays, and even around the world when God gives them opportunities.
God has also begun to answer our prayers in a new way for us here at Welsh. Next Sunday, September 4th, we will be celebrating the spiritual births of several people within our faith family. For the first time in several years, we will be baptizing new believers during our Sunday morning worship gathering. What an exciting time!
We are seeing only the beginning tastes of a revival God is starting in our midst! I pray you will do your part in our responsibility to this community, to our faith family, and mostly to our God. Will you join us in celebrating new life in Christ through Baptism on September 4th? Will you covenant to pray for these new believers? I know you will.
Will you also begin to do whatever it takes to seek out opportunities to minster to those around you in your daily lives at home, at work, and wherever you go? Our church is more than a club for Christians. We are a missional body of servants who long for God to be glorified, Jesus to be made famous, and people’s lives to be changed by the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ! Let’s start doing what we were made to do! Let’s pray for God to open our eyes to what He is doing in our midst and let’s jump into the work He is doing with both feet and see how God spends our lives for His glory!
Your fellow worker in the faith,