God Sightings …

Dear friends,

As I write, we are in the middle of Vacation Bible School, and I want to acknowledge once again how grateful I am to be part of a congregation that places a priority on children and has so many people willing to volunteer to serve and lead in this important ministry to the children of our church and community. It is such a treat to see so many children present with us to learn Bible stories, discover Biblical truths, discover missions opportunities, and have a great time. I have been impressed by the ways I have seen kids absorbing the emphases of the week and then sharing what they have learned with us and with their parents. I have so many God sightings from this week already, and I am truly grateful to all of you who have given your time and energy so generously and for all who have prayed for VBS this year. I am amazed by the decorations, appreciative of the nightly meals, and impressed by the effort invested by those involved with registration, teaching, leading, serving as crew leaders, working security, and tending to the many other details required to offer an effective VBS. Of course, we also owe much gratitude and appreciation to Amy and Jonathan Herring for their leadership and organizational efforts to make this a special week of Vacation Bible School.

Watching all the people involved in so many areas of VBS has also given me a beautiful glimpse of what church can be. In 1 Corinthians 12 we find the following image, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ … Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many … Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.” In the verses I am not quoting here for space reasons, Paul reminds us that different parts of the body have different functions, but we need each part of the body to contribute to the whole. I love that during VBS, we as a congregation come together with so many different people using their own gifts, talents, and service to create a wonderful opportunity for children to see, feel, and discover the life-changing message of God’s love. I feel encouraged as I watch all ages, from youth to older adults, working together and inter-acting with the children and modeling what Christian family looks like. God is working, and I am grateful so see so many people being available and willing to serve.

Blessings,

Bill

July at Hope Valley Baptist Church …

Dear friends,

July is always a busy but exciting month at HVBC, and I am eagerly anticipating Cave Quest VBS. This promises to be a great week, and I appreciate all the work that has already been invested in preparation. Thanks to all of you who have volunteered to work and to pray, and if you haven’t yet registered online, please do so. I am always so impressed by the ways this congregation steps up to love and teach the children of our community through VBS. We would also love for you to spread the word to other kids who might join us for Cave Quest this year. We still have openings for all age groups and hope you will invite neighbors, friends, etc. to come have a wonderful time learning about Following Jesus: The Light of the World.” Most of all, however, please join me in praying that God’s Spirit will move in and through us to draw people to Him and to make disciples.

I am also thrilled by the ways I see God moving to prepare Hope House for ministry. As many of you have already heard, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced at their recent General Assembly in Greensboro that they are awarding Hope House a Ministry Grant of $6,700. We learned that there were 19 applications and only 6 grants awarded. The total money given to churches and church ministries was $25,000, and their commitment to refugee ministry is evident in the fact that we received slightly more than one-fourth of the total money awarded.

In addition, it has been encouraging to see how other churches have been supporting and joining us in this project. Yates Baptist Church recently developed the missions emphasis in their VBS to focus on refugee ministry and the Hope House. Their kids prepared a variety of toiletry kits for our future guests as well as other welcome kits for those served by World Relief Durham. A couple churches have supported this ministry financially, and during our workday this past Saturday, we had volunteers from three other churches working with some of our members. We even had a gentleman from Williamston (two hours away) who heard about Hope House through Baptists on Mission (formerly Baptist Men). He drove over and spent seven hours on July 4th finishing up a couple of the projects involved in the demolition process. If you are on Facebook, feel free to “like” the Hope House of Durham page to see photos and keep up with the progress.

I am thankful for the ways I see God at work and look forward to good days ahead.

Bill