It was such a joy and pleasure to be at Hope Valley on Sunday for our combined worship service with Valle de Esperanza Iglesia Bautista. I sensed a warm spirit in the sanctuary and was blessed by the music shared by the praise team from Valle de Esperanza. What a treat it was to hear the Scriptures read in both languages and to share the Lord’s Supper together so that we all heard both English and Spanish spoken as we received the elements. I have heard so many positive comments about the service. I appreciate your openness and participation in this service. I truly sensed God’s Spirit at work and believe this was a good and important step in our commitment to worship, minister, and fellowship together as partner churches.
We also owe many, many thanks to the members of the Family Ministry Team who organized an amazing picnic for us on Sun-day. Whichever member of the team was responsible for the weather did a wonderful job providing us with a sunny day and a comfortable temperature, but even more than that, the food was wonderful and the opportunity for fellowship around the tables was truly a blessing. I am grateful for all the work that went into cooking and making sure everything went smoothly so that everyone had a chance to eat (and probably overeat) while visiting with friends and making new friends.
After such a good day, let us make the commitment to continue building relationships with the members of Valle de Esperanza, to getting to know them, and to finding ways we can fellowship and minister together in the weeks, months, and years ahead. God has given us a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how Christian love can cross language and ethic barriers, and He calls us to love each other as He has loved us. As I noted in Sunday’s message, Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:23, asking “that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” As we commit ourselves to living in unity and connectedness, we witness to the world that God’s love brings people together. May it be so!