End of the Year
Praise Jesus we had 11 baptisms this semester! One of which was a good friend Katie Rohlfer, here's her testimony:
"I was baptized when I was a baby at Montfort Heights United Methodist Church; and for the first ten or eleven years of my life my family and I attended church semi-regularly. When my grandparents passed away, my family attended less and less frequently until we stopped going all together. Throughout the next decade I never really thought about my devotional or faith life. I got wrapped up in the business of everyday living, so church and my relationship with God was never at the forefront of my brain. This all changed in the months leading up to my graduation from UC. At work, I found myself getting involved in more religious based conversations. The topics of faith, religion, and God started becoming a main talking point, and I realized that other than the bible stories I was taught and some foundational Christian moral principles I knew very little about Christianity and Christ. I also realized that I needed to sit down and reflect because if I was going to claim to be a Christian, I needed to figure out what I believed and did it align with God’s teachings.
Luckily, I knew just who to reach out to. My cousin Grant and his wife Cassi are part of H2O’s staff and are very devoted followers of Christ. When I told them I was interested in learning more about Christianity and developing my relationship with God they sent me a Bible and told me to read it. Around this same time two friends of mine started up their own bible study groups and invited me to attend. Being a part of these studies helped hold me accountable for my reading and taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with a good community. It also gave me the nudge I needed to go back to church.
I knew I needed to go back to my childhood church specifically. Entering that building on Sunday morning was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I was in the parking lot and almost left because I had so many doubts and fears swirling around in my head. I thought I would be judged for not attending church in so long; that I would feel out of place; and who was I to go back to church anyway. I felt like such a pretender. Until, I walked through the doors and all my fears were immediately disproved. The people there were so welcoming and automatically made me feel at ease. During the sermon there was a time dedicated to individual prayer and as I prayed I felt this wave of peace and lightness fill me. At that moment I knew God was giving me his love and grace. I almost cannot describe what I experienced because it was so powerful. Tears started streaming down my face, tears of happiness and relief, and I did not stop crying until the end of the service.
Since then there has been no going back for me. I have been going to church and continuously reading my bible. I was baptized again in April of 2022 by my cousin Grant to reaffirm my faith, and I am excited to continue learning about Christ and pursuing a relationship with him."
Food, Fun, and Farewell
Our last service of the semester had a lot of mixed emotions. On the one hand it was so fun and exciting but on the other it was sad. Every year the last service of the semester we have our senior Sunday. We bring up the seniors have them say what their plans are and then pray for them. However, we had another group to say goodbye to this year. If you've read some of my other update letters then you are aware that we sending a group to plant a church in Buffalo. We are so excited for this plant but also saying goodbye was so hard. To send them off right we planned a going away party and I was so excited to be the one who got to plan it for them. After service
we all had lunch together as a church body. Ben, my husband, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone. We als0 borrowed a cotton candy and sno cone machines from local churches to have a little more fun. It was such a special event and way to say goodbye. We had a time of prayer for them and also had an area to write encouraging notes to each of them who are going. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is easier when you know you are saying goodbye for the good of the kingdom. If you want to know more about the church plant to Buffalo you can go check out their website.
As you know I was raising support to go to Cuba by the grace of God I was able to raise all the funds I needed to go. I was all packed up and excited Sunday (5/1) to leave at 3:00am Monday morning. However, Sunday night I ended up getting the stomach flu, due to this I was unable to go on the trip. I was so heartbroken words can't even express how sad I was and still am. It was really hard get to a place a peace about what had happened. I couldn't and honestly still don't understand why this happened and just have to rest in the truth that God is good and He is sovereign. Since I am unable to write about what happened in Cuba, one of my good friends and co-workers, Cassi will tell you about her experience instead.
"In early May, we had the distinct pleasure of taking a group of college students with us down to Jovellanos, Cuba for a week as a partnership with a group called Ancient Path Ministries. It was
such a beautiful reminder of the power of the gospel in unifying the Church as a whole, regardless of whether or not you speak the same language or live in the same country or come from the same denominational background. We got to see the Lord work in powerful ways amongst the people in the local church in Cuba and heard stories of life transformation, whether that be through miraculous healing or conversions in prison or any number of other things. We are so grateful to know that the Lord is at work in brothers and sisters around the world and that we have a chance to be a part of that!" -Cassi