Where did this year go? It has been a GREAT year in so many ways, with so many blessings almost too numerous to count. One of the most significant blessings of this past year, as far as the counseling ministry is concerned, has been the response of the Windwood congregation to the capital campaign as the funds for the new building were raised in just 4 weeks during the month of May 2018! This remarkable response made a HUGE statement to those of us on the counseling team about the value that is placed on the work God has called us to. This response also served as a strong affirmation to us and has blessed us – and those God has brought to this ministry for healing and care.
Another blessing of this year has been watching the new building construction finally get underway. Once the funding was taken care of, there were other issues of a contractual nature that kept the building process from beginning. Those issues were actually handled quickly – and then the rain came! . . .And it rained, and rained, and rained! As a matter of fact, according to the National Weather Service, the total number of days that it rained in Houston from June 1, 2018 through October 2018 is 50 days!
On September 24th, the work began in earnest with boring 430 feet, under the Windwood parking lot, to bring the utilities to the site of the new counseling building. Then more rain happened, interrupting the progress over and over again! . . . But God’s plan prevailed – and as of November 21st, the utilities are in place at the new building site, the lift station is buried and connected to the city water and sewer systems, the electricity is ready to go, 20 loads of fill dirt have been delivered and leveled and the form for the cement foundation is in place, ready for the cement to be poured! . . .And it has gone by so quickly! Please visit our Facebook Page and look for the “Watch What God is Building For Us” album, at www.afahministries.com for updates of what God’s love is building for us!
We have moved past so many holiday celebrations of the 2018 calendar year and are now already looking to the Christmas and New Year holidays! Even as we just celebrated Thanksgiving and all that we have to be thankful for – we recognize that, most especially, we are thankful for the many blessings of our loving God, Who provides for us so richly in this life; Who has planned our eternal salvation as He sacrificed His own, beloved Son to die for us.
This month, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior – the Messiah, Jesus Christ. As Christmas approaches and “visions of sugar plums dance in our heads,” I was impressed when one of the parents of our church family’s kids asked how she should answer a question her child had about when Jesus’ birthday is. As I began a theological diatribe about how we arrived at the tradition of December 25th as Jesus’ birthday date, the young mother politely stopped me and said, “No, my child’s question is more about when is God’s birthday, not Jesus’ birthday. How do I answer that?”
The conversation between this mother and me went into a sweet discussion about what her child was asking and how grateful we both are that he is having those kind of thoughts and asking those types of questions and not just thinking about what might show up under the Christmas tree! We concluded that there is great reason to be hopeful about the future and the next generation who will one day take over leading the way of the world!
As we prepare to go into the Advent season – a time to prepare our hearts to receive, once again, the Love of God Incarnate in the birth of our Messiah – our prayer for you is for peace and hope. Peace and hope are two of the gifts of the Christ Child. These are gifts that lovingly keep giving and blessing throughout the year!
It seems that God has thought of everything! (He always does, after all!) God, in His infinite wisdom, has planned for the sustenance and succession of His world and for the provision of His people. . . And why are we always so surprised at that realization? As we consider the birth of the Messiah (regardless of when His birthday date actually is), it is important to acknowledge that it was all part of a perfect plan God had since the beginning of time. And that is, that once He created us, we fell from grace and He knew that we would need to be redeemed – and, so He planned and provided that a Redeemer would be born to us – a Savior Who could do for us what we were clearly not able to do for ourselves.
May the blessings of peace, hope and Love enfold and surround you this Christmas – and always!
Merry Christmas – with love,