God Moments - 2020

    September 21, 2020 | God Moments by Joyce Munt

    "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Psalm 16:11)

    Calling all congregants!

    Share your God moments with Joyce Munt, so others might see the light of Christ.

    God moments from the week of September 21, 2020

    From Scott and Andi, our Faith Promise missionaries

    MAKING SENSE OF SUFFERING

    Desperate and afraid, a 57 year old woman involved with one of our Eastern European movements entered the hospital after contracting the Coronavirus. She cried out saying that she thought that it would be better for her to die than to go through this health crisis. Our ministry leaders encouraged her with calls and online meetings.

    Little by little, the woman began to focus her attention on the Lord, trusting Him her situation. As her perspective changed, the woman began to play worship music in her hospital room. Doctors and patients began to join the woman. Some of them decided to engage regularly, beginning each day with prayer and Bible study. The Lord blessed the woman’s perseverance as some of these new friends came to faith in Christ. The Christian doctors were amazed at the work of the Spirit.

    The woman began to recover after a few days in the hospital. Looking back, she was thankful for the discipleship of the local Campus Crusade movement over her history of involvement with their movement. She recounted that she would never forget the glory of this experience, understanding that the Lord had a purpose for this trial.

    The problem of pain and suffering is an age old challenge, causing many people to question the existence of God. It is easy to wonder why God would allow a pandemic to occur. He, though, is big and strong, and welcomes our questions.

    C..S. Lewis once wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

    I will admit that I am more attuned to the still small voice of the Lord when trials come. I tend to slow down which allows my heart to be more focused on the Lord. While we do not understand much of what God is doing in the world today, we can be grateful that He is in control. His ways are above our ways and we can rest in the goodness of His character when we do not understand.

    The best news of all is that He promises to be with us in the storm, for being in His presence is our greatest reward.

    Psalms 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”


    God moments from the week of September 14, 2020

    Our faith promise missionary, Sasha Tsuterova, serves with OMS International in Russia as president and professor in Biblical studies at the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary. In his recent newsletter he writes about how they are working with the Salvation Army Russia in their quest to preach the gospel to the Ends of the Earth.  
    “The motto of the Salvation Army Russia is “Heart to God & Hand to People” and they live it, so – in Jesus’ steps (Matthew 25:36): They fight human trafficking for sex, labor and organs. They reach out to the homeless with free meals, shower facilities, advocacy to regain documents, basic medical care, clothing, and life-skills lessons. They look after the sick and the elderly. They care for the poor. They visit the convicts in prison with the message of mercy but also of sin and salvation in Christ
    For the ultimate goal of the Salvation Army Russia is to give the unprivileged hope for a fresh start and a chance to rebuild lives in Jesus. And that’s where the Moscow Seminary kicks in: The seminary offers the officers one year long “Foundations of Theology & Ministry” program (8 full-fledged courses). The Salvationists gain the knowledge and skills necessary for ministry. But also, as the Moscow Seminary holds Federal State License to train Christian ministers and religious personnel for the Church, the Moscow Seminary’s diploma makes the Salvation Army’s social work (used as the channel for the Gospel) legit in the eyes of the Government. 
    The Salvation Army Corps are located all over Russia – in Moscow, Novgorod, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, Vladivostok, Simferopol, Yalta, Azov, Volgograd, Voronezh, Rostov, Elista, and St. Petersburg. Hence, especially nowadays, during the “coronavirus pandemic,” under the auspices of “social work” they are allowed to go where no one else is! And so, the Gospel is being preached to the end of the Earth.”

    God moments from the week of August 24, 2020

    From Kay and Maynard Creel:

    For months Maynard and I have been participating in Zoom calls, so grateful to see the faces of our Pender UMC friends.

    About 10 days ago, Zoom wasn't working correctly when I joined the prayer shawl ministry call. I could hear everyone on the call, but I couldn't see anyone on the gallery view (except myself).The same thing happened the next day when Maynard and I participated in our Sunday School class.

    Now Maynard and I are fairly computer savvy, so we went to work trying to figure out what was wrong. We did all we could to diagnose the problem ourselves then finally tried some online resources and taking advice from folks on our calls. Still no images of others on Zoom. 

    So, I reached out to a Pender member, Cory Calmbacher, knowing how computer savvy he is. Cory advised me to un-install Zoom and re-install it and that worked like a charm! Now that may sound like a simple thing, but that remedy did not occur to any of the 15 or so people that we had shared the issue with. And it never occurred to us.

    God bless the gifted for all they do to help those in need no matter how small the gift may seem. This gift allowed us to be able to see those smiling Pender faces again, no small gift during this pandemic.

    From Ivalese Caceres:

    God Moments

    Many missionaries supported by Pender UMC are reaching out to their community during these difficult times of the Covid 19 pandemic. Some of them continue working for God using Zoom for meetings, and similar applications, others are buying and distributing groceries to families in need, and others are being creative, like Robert and Joy Varga in Paraguay:

    As Robert and I are forced to stay home for now, new ideas come up!

    Robert has been doing a lot of fixing around the house and catching up with projects.

    His latest idea was to put an announcement board in our garden facing the street, next to Buddy, our talking parrot who always attracts laughs and attention from kids and adults alike.

    On this board he puts pictures and Bible texts. People stop, read, talk, and ask questions. They are very curious everyday as to what will appear on the

    Robert can talk from a safe distance to the people and kids who come by daily and he encourages them that way.

    We are praying it will result in people giving their lives to the Lord!

    Read the rest of Robert and Joy's Newsletter.


    God moments from the week of August 10, 2020

    From Beth Petty

    I took a friend to the local hospital for a blood transfusion. While she was having her treatment, a young woman came into the oncology department very upset. A very kind doctor took her under her wing and helped her talk to the front desk, get the paperwork she needed and then retrieved the nurse that would be helping her. Once the doctor and nurse left her to fill out the paperwork this lady was still visibly upset and had mentioned her husband not being able to join her (she felt all alone). God wouldn’t let me sit there and not engage.

    Due to COVID, I had been given special permission to enter the hospital and then permission again to wait for her in the waiting room, I feared I might be stepping over the COVID lines, but God pushed me. I went to the front desk and said, “I have to go sit with her.” With compassion, they said, “you can sit across from her…I’m sure that’s close to 6 feet.”

    I sat with her, we are both from Ohio. We chatted about our military spouses and I helped her read the forms through her tears.

    Her husband was in the parking lot, having been told he could not join her. I went in search of him twice, having no cell service in the hospital, we could not call him.

    We finally asked the front desk to use their phone to call him - permission granted, he raced up to join her. Two more friends arrived, one escorting the other for yet another procedure. I introduced everyone.

    The husband became friends with my friend who had arrived, she took him to get coffee during his wife’s procedure. My other friend was permitted to have her procedure completed right next to this young lady providing emotional support for one another.

    God is good putting all the pieces of this puzzle together to give this scared young lady and her husband the support they needed.

    From Ruth Swiger

    Hi, I have an experience that I would like to share with you. It happened to me many years ago but has stayed with me ever since and I have felt the need to share it with others and felt this might be a way to do that.

    As you may (or may not) know, my husband Lonnie was critically ill for many years and I had a lot of God moments during that time but this one stands out in my mind..and I would like very much to let others know about it.

    The only way I can describe his illness was that it was like one continual string of nightmares and more times in Fairfax Hospital than I can even remember.

    This one particular day things were very bad and I had gone to the Cafeteria to try to eat a bit of lunch. The place was very crowded I recall. I got my usual pear and cottage cheese salad because that was about all I could swallow and finally found a place to sit.

    Then something happened that I still can't explain. I became totally helpless. I actually could not move. I stared at my food and tried to tell myself to pick up my fork but I could not.

    Then I heard a tray smack down across the table from me and a voice said "You look like you need some help. I am going to sit here and eat my lunch and if you would like, we can talk, but if not then that will be okay too."

    I looked up and saw the prettiest lady in a pale orchid cotton dress smiling at me. She was like a breath of fresh air. Well of course I began to talked and soon began to eat. I learned that her first husband had died from almost the same situation my husband was experiencing and she told me what she had gone through and it was almost the same as I was experiencing.

    We visited a while and she had to go but she gave me her name and where she would be,(on the fourth floor with her second husband who was in Detox) and said for me to contact her if I needed help at all.

    I watched as she was leaving and before she opened the door to leave she turned and waved to me and smiled so sweetly. It hit me then. That was an angel sent from God. I have pondered over that all these years and have felt that God had sent her to be His angel for me. How else could this lady who had experienced almost the same thing as I was going through, appear at my side when I needed help?

    It has occurred to me that God may one day tap me on the shoulder and say he needs me to be his angel for today and go to someone in need of help.

    Would I be ready? Would I go as He asked? Over the years I have tried to do so and I pray I have done well for Him and those in need of help. I feel the need to say to everyone,"Be ready if and when He taps your shoulder."


    God moments from the week of August 3, 2020

    From Susan Wittmer

    Last week when I was heading to work on Monday I was feeling unsettled about what I might be facing that day in the midst of all of the challenging circumstances in our country and world right now.

    I prayed for the Lord to guide and calm me. He led me almost immediately to a colleague, a fellow believer, who I was able to encourage.

    I was also able to see a friend who had been in the hospital and had been on a recovery path from an intestinal issue.

    During the course of the week the Lord led me to help others around me and helped me realize that when I feel helpless I just need to look around and see who in my life I could impact and encourage.

    I am always so humbled when the Lord answers our prayers so directly and quickly. PTL!


    God moments from the week of July 27, 2020

    Two weeks ago in Cornerstone Sunday School Class I asked the class members to remember me in prayers for a work-related matter. My company has been involved in writing a very important proposal worth over $100 million and things had been very stressful for the past three weeks. To compound that stress my company executives were embroiled in a hot mess with one of our partners, which was becoming distracting and counter-productive. I asked for prayers that God would touch the hearts and minds of our leadership and help to calm things down as we closed in on the final days.

    A week later I was talking to our proposal manager, who is, as he calls it, “a practicing Christian”, and we diverted our discussion away from business and started talking about our faith, and how fortunate we are that we have a God we can rely on to comfort and guide us even in the most stressful times. After about 10 minutes of taking we realized how relaxed, comforted, and excited we were to be sharing in His presence and for His glory.

    It never ceases to amaze me that when you ask for something in prayer that God often rewards you with a solution in a form were not expecting. I am so fortunate to work for a small company that is led by Christians, and where talking about God, Jesus, and prayer is encouraged and practiced.

    Blessings, Mike


    God moments from the week of July 13, 2020

    Last week, I had a God moment. I have been praying for God to help me with my growing anxiety that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated, and the God moment came at the height of my anxiety. This summer has been extremely stressful for all educators due to the uncertainty of what returning to schools will look like this year. As a new teacher, I had planned to spend the summer preparing for my first teaching job by creating lessons and gathering materials to set up my classroom. Covid-19 derailed all of my plans and left me feeling lost and unsure of what to do. Social media, for the most part, has not helped my stress level because it has broadcast the fear and uncertainty of my friends and acquaintances. It has also led to the mass sharing of various news articles that have painted an image of teachers as lazy, scared, and unwilling to teach their students. The loss of life and the growth of fear as a result of Covid-19, the anxiety and stress of teaching during a pandemic, and the constant negativity on social media have left me questioning: where is God in all of this?

     

    A few weeks ago, I joined several Facebook groups for teachers that act as  professional learning communities where teachers can share ideas and encourage each other. Last week, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post by a teacher asking fellow teachers to share their favorite Bible verses. The comments section of the post quickly became flooded with uplifting, encouraging, and powerful passages of scripture. I was almost moved to tears as I read through the dozens of Bible verses that have been a source of strength for me throughout my entire life. I heard God's voice in these words, and I saw Him acting through dozens of educators as they became beacons of light for each other in this time of darkness. Despite the hundreds of Facebook posts that have flooded my screen week after week with words of fear, doubt, and anger, one single post expressing God's love found its way to me and overcame all others. It reminded me that God has always been with me, and that He will have my back through this difficult time.

    Here are some of the verses:

    Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

     

    Psalm 91:2: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

     

    1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

     

    Romans 8:39-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     

    Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you

     

    Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

     

    Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

     

    Psalm 118:17: I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.

     

    Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

     

    Psalm 46:1-3: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


    God moments from the week of July 6, 2020

    Beryl Marin, one of Pender’s great women of faith and a precious lady who impacted so many of our lives through her joy and love for Jesus, was laid to rest this past Monday at a small graveside service led by Pastor Marg and our newly appointed pastor, Pastor Will.

    In spite of restrictions on the size of the gathering, wearing face masks for protection from the virus, and the 95 degree hot humid day, the Lord was clearly present and blessed us all with a very intimate and special time of remembrance of this beautiful sister in Christ.

    This humble, joyful lady who showered our church family with love and gifts, made each person in her presence feel special, and was always a great source of love and encouragement. She went on countless mission trips (at least 27 with Virginia Patch) and spent a lifetime of sharing Jesus with others. Her family and church family were her greatest joy.

    During the service to celebrate her life, an amazing God moment occurred. As a special part of the ceremony, each one of her children bent down to cover her remains with a scoop of dirt and then a rose. Immediately a strong breeze began to blow and continued throughout this sacred time. A memorable moment for a most memorable lady.


    God moments from the week of June 8, 2020

    From Pender Organist, Ann Rollins

    As the pandemic is continuing to affect us and our entire world, Ann Rollins has been trying to bring a little extra dose of joy and comfort to others through her God-given gift of musical talent.  

    Her husband, Lloyd, has been videotaping Ann playing hymns on her piano at home; and she has been sharing these videos with others through Facebook.  Each time, Ann chooses hymns that she feels God is laying on her heart to play.  

    In response to one of the hymns she recently shared, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, a friend she knew back in 1998 reached out to Ann to let her know what a blessing it was for her. 

    According to her friend, the song is her and her husband’s favorite hymn; and they had just found out her husband has terminal cancer.  God’s timing is amazing!  

    Ann is feeling blessed to know the Lord is using her to bring comfort to others, especially to this friend from long ago who has a difficult road ahead. 


    God moments from the week of June 1, 2020

    From Pender Hill Teachers Jami Flemmons and Katie Chapin

    As Pender Hill Preschool teachers, what a joy we shared watching our students, grow, learn and transform this year.  And yet, we didn’t have a chance to give them a warm goodbye in person when the school year ended so abruptly because of COVID19.

     

    In the beginning of the year, one of our students cried during lunchtime.  To help, we made a big deal about her “fancy fork” she brought in her school lunch box which helped her not only to enjoy lunchtime but also became a favorite theme for the whole class -- the students ALL enjoyed making sure she brought her fork each day.  

     

    We decided to drop by each one of our student’s homes to see them one last time and bring them all a gift bag (which included a “fancy fork” for ALL which we knew would make them smile!)  The children were so excited to see us that some of the parents asked us if we would mind if their child gave us a hug – who could resist that -- so much for social distancing! What a God moment when one of our little girls found a Paw Patrol figurine (if you don’t know what that is, ask a preschooler) in her bag that just so happened to be the EXACT one she had sadly recently lost!  She was thrilled and so was her family. 

     

    God is truly in the details and He knew this small gift would bless this little one and make her smile (and so did we!)  God loves a cheerful giver and we were blessed to show our love for these children He placed in our care this year, and yet we were blessed even more. Jesus loves the little children and so do we!


    God moments from the week of May 25, 2020

    From Debbie McKamey

    Blessed to be a blessing!

    Meeting a friend for a "social distance" lunch, (I like to call "carunch" = Car + lunch), I decided to head to Chik-fi-la's drive through to grab lunch where I could also make a "drive-by difference." That's when you bless the person driving behind you in line by paying for their order -- a fun way to anonymously bless others.

     

    What an unexpected joy when I saw and heard the person behind me (who just realized I had paid for his meal) leaning out of his car window and shouting THANK YOU! He also shouted that I had paid for the meals of people who work for Young Life, a Christian organization that ministers to young people. And what’s more, this division of Young Life - called Capernaum - works with disabled youth. We both said “God Bless You” as we drove away.

     

    What a God moment that brought me great joy but also brought tears to my eyes to know God had used me in this simple act of kindness to bring joy to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.


    God moments from the week of May 4, 2020

    At the beginning of April, my daughter called me to ask for prayer for a co-worker’s 42-year old friend who has a wife and 2 children and was diagnosed with Coronavirus and in critical condition.  From that day forward, I began to pray for a miracle for this man, not even knowing his name.  But God knew his name, no doubt.  God had me praying for him throughout each day for weeks, and often even in the middle of the night.  It was not me – it had to be God – he came to my mind so often!  I couldn’t not pray for him!!

     

    One day, when I asked my daughter if she had heard any updates on his condition, she found out his name (Brady) and sent me pictures of him when he was healthy and one while sick in the hospital.  The contrast was heart-wrenching and led me to pray even more fervently for a miracle!

     

    Watching TV and getting ready to go to sleep a few nights ago, I sat straight up in my bed when I saw the exact same pictures of Brady my daughter had sent me on the news and a video of him exclaiming, “I am a miracle!” He was heading home from the hospital and what a homecoming celebration and parade he received from his community!

     

    What a JOY to have been given the privilege and honor of participating with Jesus in a miracle here on earth, along with his wonderful family and loved ones, the medical workers who took care of him, the person who donated plasma and all of the others who were praying and supporting him who live in his community and elsewhere.  What a bright shining light that gives hope to us all in the midst of this pandemic.

     

    Psalm 77:14

    You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.


    God moments from the week of April 27, 2020

    From Ann Hines

    It has been difficult to obtain large quantities of food and supplies for the families we support at GBE in this changed shopping environment.

    A Pender family reached out and asked if they could supply paper products for the GBE families. In a time when we are all seeing news stories of people hoarding these items, this awesome Pender family provided tissues, paper towels and toilet paper for all 25 GBE families.

    Their generosity is an answer to prayer!

    From Beth Petty

    I had requested that the Pender prayer chain pray for the father of a friend/co-worker, who was hospitalized and very sick with COVID-19. After having been in the hospital and very sick for 11 “VERY scary days,” he was sent home to recuperate on April 11.

    Once my friend’s father regained some strength, several days after his release from the hospital, he shared this with his daughter: There was a night in the hospital when he realized he was going to die. A nurse woke him, by touching his shoulder. It was the first “kind and comforting” human contact he had had since being in the hospital and it made him want to keep fighting. He says that’s the only reason he’s alive today. My friend believes that nurse served as her dad’s angel. The doctors said based on his numbers and scans, he should not be alive today.

    Just a few days ago, my friend forwarded a photo of her dad standing outside his house with both thumbs in the air. He looks great!

    Thank you God for your miraculous healing!

    Thank you Pender prayer warriors for your prayers and concern!


    From Carol Wilson

    Guy has a heart condition called afibrillation for which he takes medication. The daily readings of his blood pressure and pulse had indicated that his heart was in afib a while back. But his cardiologist couldn't do an outpatient cardioversion, to put his heart back in sinus rhythm, due to the large number of patients going to the hospital with the Coronavirus.

    While sheltering in place, Guy and I had started reading the Bible and praying together every day -- for our health and many other concerns.

    Five days ago, Guy's pulse started registering in the 50's or upper 40's, which told us that his heart was back in sinus rhythm without needing a cardioversion.

    We are praising our Lord for this most needed answer to prayer!!!


    God moments from the week of April 20, 2020

    From Carole Wilson
    I've been filling "Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes," a ministry of Samaritans Purse for 30 years now & absolutely love it.
    I purchase all of my items after Christmas & Easter when they go on sale. Because of the pandemic this year, there was an overabundance of Easter items at every store! One worker told me they still had tons in the back which they never brought out.
    Due to the quarantine, I decided to start filling my shoe boxes now rather than wait till the fall as usual. I buy the shoe boxes in a bulk shipment of 100 which arrive flattened and keep me for several years. My hubby always folds them for me