November is a time when many in the US stop and reflect on all that we have to thankful for. The rest of year, we often fall into being like the nine out of ten lepers who received the blessing of healing and walked away without going to Jesus and simple saying thanks. It's easy for all of us to forget, get to busy, get distracted by other things. As a district, we are thankful to God of His many blessings, for all the things great and small that He does for us and gives to us every day.
We are thankful for the 132 pastors and ministerial students attached to the East Michigan District. Some serve here in the district, a few are retired from full-time ministry, some are serving in ministries around the country and the globe. Our pastors serving in the local churches gather each month at Chalk Talk for worship, prayer, study, and to encourage one another. They also celebrate blessings, victories, and the new lives that have been given over to Jesus. They rejoice over the baptism and the growth that is happening in our churches. Here are some of those stories from a recent Chalk Talk:
- 37North: When a young woman went to the altar she told those praying "I don't feel it - I want so much of God". After prayer and being anointed she told Pastor Joy " I want nothing in me that God is displeased with." She has since been baptized; she is a life forever changed.
- Elkton: Pastor Ean brought God's word to the inmates at the County Jail. Following the message, he was able to lead a man serving a felony sentence into a saving relationship with Jesus.
- Croswell: Their new "Starting Point" class had 36 at the first class. The youth department is seeing similar things, with teens seeking and finding God. A teen who recently received salvation has been inviting his classmates, friends, and others to hear the good news.
- Hillside: While sharing his testimony before he was to be baptized, a new believer reflected on how before coming to Jesus he would cry out to God every night to let him die in his sleep. Once he turned his life over to God, he heard the Father say "Pray to me for life, not death." Now he has a new life thanks to Jesus. He was one of 11 that were baptized at Hillside that morning.
- Lakeport: They recently baptized three new believer in Lake Huron - and YES, the water was cold, but the young, single mom and the siblings gave testimony to God's saving grace.
- Wesley Center: Three students from the Center's ministry, along with two other teens, were robbed at the school bus stop one morning. One of those two other students has now started attending the center, being exposed to the message of God's love. What the enemy meant for evil, God is using for good!
- Dryden: Working in partnership with other churches in their community, they helped provide children in their community with a summer camp. The salvation message was given and 30 kids stepped out in faith. At a sleep over activity later at Dryden, 25 more kids made first time decisions to live for Jesus. In the small village of Dryden, this moving of God's Spirit is very apparent.
God is at work, calling more people to Himself. We are thankful that He chooses to use the East Michigan District to impact our communities. A couple have started coming to one of our churches, it's there first time EVER been in any church. They know nothing about God but after attending for about a month, they are talking about feeling God's transforming power and how their lives have been made better. They haven't accepted Jesus yet, but they can already feel His power and touch in their lives. People are hungry for God, even if they'don't know what they're hunger for. In another of our district churches, a pastor got a text from a parent telling how their child and knelt at their bedside and given their young heart to Jesus. The 4 year old thanked God for the angels around her bed and that some day she'd get to see Him up in Heaven. Through the simple faith of a child, she understands that her future is with God and her today is lived out under the protection of God.