Thank you, Church of the Master!
There is an old song that has as part of its chorus these words, "Thank you, for giving to the Lord, I am a life that has been changed." I am not much of a song person but those words have always stuck with me. Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Revolution once wrote, "God doesn't need our good works, but our neighbor does." This year, as is your nature, you have given quite generously. We most likely will end the year in the black, as we did last year, but even more so you have given over $10,000 above our planned mission support for 2018. Your generosity is amazing. Thank you, for giving to the Lord. There are lives that are being changed! Read the next article to learn of one very specific way you are making a difference.
From Dr. Josué Gómez-Menéndez
Para una versión en español de esta carta, haga clic aquí.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in every way it could. The biggest natural disaster to tear over our tropical island in many decades, the storm took so much from us.
But it also showed us that it's good to be part of a family--a great family joining with us on this journey of healing. American Baptist family is one of the gifts that Maria gave to us.
At the start of the Advent season, my family received a gift--a string of
battery-operated Christmas lights--from the Rev. Judy Fackenthal, president of American Baptist Churches USA. This detail is significant because my home remains without electricity. As I write, it has been 75 days since Maria hit, and we continue to use a generator.
My family hung the Christmas lights at the door between the living room and the terrace. Now, at night, when everything is dark, everyone sees our Christmas spirit.
Last Sunday I awoke early for a brief jog before Sunday worship. I went to the sink, but nothing came out! The situation felt hopeless--75 days since Maria's landfall, and it's still like day zero. No electricity and no water. It's frustrating, unfair and wrong.
As I walked down the stairs, I saw our Christmas lights. I remembered that, for the last 2,000 years, a light has shown a path to hope for those still living in darkness--for the wise man, for the ones who work in the fields, for all those who are still looking!
This holiday season, more than ever, I give God glory for the promise of light in the darkness--the darkness that still envelopes so much of my homeland, Puerto Rico.
Thank you, American Baptist family, for living this journey with us--for sharing goods, praying, texting, calling and for your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing that help us so much. But, more importantly, thank you for being part of our family.
May the blessing of light be yours, my sisters and brothers in Christ, in this holiest of seasons.
Dr. Josué D. Gómez-Menéndez, administrator of Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo in San Juan, is incoming president of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA.
Christmas Eve Candle Light Service
Candle lighting, scripture readings and carol singing.
Regular Advent worship Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.