Thanksgiving has come and gone. December is here. If you are like me, December is a time of preparing. It is preparing your home. Growing up, putting up Christmas decorations was always one of my favorite things. I loved setting out my few decorations in my bedroom. I remember decorating my dorm room in college each Christmas. Now I spend hours, or even days setting up my Christmas decorations. I think my sister and her husband share my love of Christmas decorating. After hosting Thanksgiving this year, once the other guests had left, we immediately decorated their new place for Christmas.
Besides decorating, we spend December preparing special meals, and desserts for friends and family. It’s buying and wrapping gifts for those we love. It’s going to special concerts, shows, and Christmas programs. December is about preparing for Christmas. All these things are added on top of what we already do in our daily lives. We have school, work, family, friends, and all the other things. With all of this going on, December gets very busy.
It is sometimes hard to remember there is time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is the season of Advent. When I think about Advent, I think of John the Baptist. There are many prophets who tell about Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament. John is the messenger about Jesus that comes right before his arrival. John is telling everyone to get themselves ready. The one who was more powerful than John, the Messiah they had been waiting for, was on the way and would be there any moment.
When John said get ready, he did not mean get your makeup and hair done. He did not mean find your nicest outfit and put it on. It was something much more important. In saying prepare yourself, I believe John is saying get your heart’s ready for Jesus’ coming. Get yourself spiritually ready.
There are some Bible stories that are meant for a specific group of people at a specific time. They don’t seem to speak to us today. There are others that are written for all people of all times. I believe this is one of those stories. It spoke to people in Jesus’ time, and it speaks to us today.
As you do all your preparations for Christmas, don’t forget what we are really meant to celebrate. During your busyness, I hope you remember to take time to prepare your heart for what is coming. Take moments to remember that Christmas is not just about the gifts, lights, decorations, food, or music. All those things add to it, but we need to remember why we celebrate. The Son of God, coming to us. It is remembering Jesus’ birth, and getting ourselves ready for his coming back for us someday.
On behalf of the congregation of Bdecan Presbyterian Church, and the Bdecan Ministry Team, I want to thank you for all that you give. Your time, money, and physical donations. Thank you for sharing our story with your home communities. We couldn’t do what we do without your help.
We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy new year!
Blessings to you, and yours
Youth and Outreach Coordinator
Bdecan Presbyterian Church
I can’t believe it’s already November. Halloween is over, and we will soon be making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a time to spend with family, to reflect on things in life that we are thankful for.
One of my favorite Bible stories this time of year is about 10 men who had Leprosy. It was this disgusting, incurable, contagious disease. If you had it, people wouldn’t want anything to do with you. If someone saw a leper, they would cross the street, pointing, shouting at them, unclean, unclean! Their own family and friends probably wouldn’t want to get close to them. Even others with Leprosy were scared to get too close to each other, they didn’t want it to get worse. No one would be around them. No one would give them the time of day. If you had Leprosy you were the outcast of the community.
Can you imagine how they felt? The weeks, months, years, or even lifetimes of loneliness that they had experienced? Finally, one day they see Jesus walking by. They don’t know him, but they heard the stories. They had to at least ask him to be healed. They were out of options, and willing to do anything. They know that they can’t get too close. They call out from a far-off distance for Jesus to have mercy on them. What does Jesus do? He tells them to go see the priest, the one who can pronounce them clean.
All 10 of them go. On their way to the priest, they look down at their skin, and they are healed. I am sure that some of these men went to the priest, to be pronounced clean. Some probably ignored this, and rushed home to see family and friends that they had not seen in years first. I’m guessing that some just went to do things they couldn’t do with leprosy. Noticing that he had been healed, one of the men ran back to Jesus, and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus was Jewish. The Jewish people and the Samaritans did not get along. Jewish people would add hours or even days to their journey to travel around Samaria instead of going through it. The Samaritans were the ones they wanted to forget even existed. We have these people in our communities today, don’t we? People who it’s easier to walk by and ignore, than to help. Not only is Jesus Jewish, he is also a leader in that community. If anyone knew to stay away from Samaria, it should have been Jesus. Yet he ignores this rule and goes where he is most needed.
This man wasn’t an outcast just for being a Samaritan. If he were, at least he could have friends in his own community. No, having Leprosy kept even his own community away from him. He was the OUTCAST in a community of outcasts. He had no one. Can you even imagine the pain he went through?
This Samaritan goes back to Jesus, and falls to his knees in gratitude, praising God that he was finally healed. Jesus asked him where the other 9 lepers had gone. Obviously, this Samaritan had no idea. We can imagine Jesus smiling, reaching down, lifting the man’s face, and helping him to his feet. Jesus sends him on his way, letting him know he was made well because of his faith. Can you imagine the first touch in probably years being by Jesus himself?
Out of 10 who were healed, only the one acknowledged as an outsider of the group went back to say thank you. We know how easy it is to do this, don’t we? To forget to say thank you. We are so used to receiving gifts that sometimes we just expect it. My prayer is that we can learn to be more like the one leper who went back, and less like the other nine. That each day we can be more and more thankful for what we receive.
One of the biggest blessings of my job is being the one who gets to see how thankful the folks of Bdecan and the Spirit Lake Reservation are for your gifts. It is such a joy to be the one who gets to thank you for all that you give to the ministry at Bdecan. We could not do what we do here without you.
During this time of Thanksgiving, the members at Bdecan, and those on the Bdecan Ministry Team want you to know how thankful we are for every single one of you! You may not always hear a personal thank you, for all that you give to our ministry, but know that what you do makes a huge difference in the lives of the members of Bdecan Presbyterian Church, and
the Spirit Lake Reservation.
This time of year, the word new usually comes to my mind. Although the new year is in January, it feels like it should start in September doesn’t it? Kids are going to school or back to school. College students are moving to campus. It is a year of new adventures. New teachers, new classrooms, and new friends.
It is a chance for them to start over. A chance to start fresh. A chance to leave the problems of the year before in the past, and to get a new start. For students starting school, starting at a new school, or starting at college, this feeling of a new start is even bigger.
Somedays this newness looks pretty good doesn’t it? Life gets tiring doing the same things day after day. We wish for something new and exciting. We wish for a new start. God gives us this opportunity in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
How comforting it is to know that we have this promise. Each day, we can choose to accept this new life. We can leave the old things behind us and have our spirit renewed. What do we need to do? Go to the one who can truly renew us, God. Let go of the old things, that you don’t want. This is not always easy to do; it can be quite difficult. Even when we know that it is best, the new can still be scary. Finally, we accept the new life that God offers.
God continues to do new things in His ministry here at Bdecan. Our KICK program started as an evening program when I began. A few years back we changed it to after school, to give the kids a chance to get to the church by school bus. This year we are still starting after school but extending it into the evening. We now are going to try ending with a family meal so parents and grandparents can join us after work.
New is exciting, but it is not always easy. New ideas usually require work. It is finding what works and realizing what needs to be adjusted. It requires reminding people of the changes that are taking place. It is worrying if the new things will succeed or not. It is about changing the way you are used to doing things. In the end, it is trusting in God, that these new things are best for us.
Accept God’s gift of newness. It is sometimes painful but is always worth it.
July was a busy month for me. First, July 15th, I took a bus from Fargo to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium at Purdure University in West Lafayette Indiana. I traveled with youth and other adults from the Presbytery of Northern Plains, including 2 youth from Bdecan. The Triennium is a conference for high school Presbyterians that happens every 3 years. It was a week of learning, worship, food, getting to know the friends you came with better, meeting new friends. Of course there was tons of other fun too. It was a busy week, but also very inspiring!
When I got back to Fargo, July 21st I went straight to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake Iowa for Synod school. I took courses about things that mattered to me, including one of Native American Spirituality. For me, Synod School is like a big Presbyterian reunion, where I meet old friends that I don’t see often and make new ones.
When trying to find a verse that summed up both of these weeks I decided on 1 Timothy 4:12. It says, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for all believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
During the Triennium, I got to have some amazing discussions with the youth that came with us. I heard their thoughts on some really challenging questions. The thing that surprised me most was their passion for worship. Some of our youth waited over an hour each day to get good seats for worship. It was amazing to worship with over 5,000 youth and adults.
There were many fun parts of Synod School this year. I really enjoyed the worship. My favorite part was something that I hadn’t seen done there in past years. Before the message each day, the pastor had a time with the kids. All the kids would go up, and she was surrounded by kids on all sides, from toddlers to 12 year olds. Even with no kids of my own, this was always a sweet moment.
Each time, she asked the kids their advice on a question that went with her sermon. Some answers were the ones you would expect from kids, and the congregation would smile, or chuckle. There were other answers too. Answers that were so simple, they blew the congregation away. Each day, she used some of the answers that they gave as a large part of the Benediction to the service.
This reminds a kid’s night here years ago. There was a pastor friend of mine visiting me. He sat with the kids while I taught. I remember one boy specifically. While the rest of the kids were trying to pay attention, he was constantly distracted. He was talking, or moving, or out of his seat. I reminded him time and time again what he was supposed to be doing. By the looks of it, he was not taking anything from what I was teaching that night.
After the lesson, my friend said something that amazed me. He was watching this boy as well. He told me that although the boy was being distracting during most of the lesson, he knew every answer to every review question I had asked the group. From the front, it looked like that lesson was wasted on him, but it was not.
Working with youth and kids, I sometimes wonder how much they even get out of my class. They seem so distracted that it doesn’t even seem that they hear anything I say. The truth is, they are. Time and time again, they say something, and I am blown away by their knowledge. Sometimes they are listening, even when they act like they are not.
This scripture is telling young people to not let people judge them for being young but to be examples in faith. I don’t think this lets the rest of the congregation off the hook though. How can the congregation help the young people do this? We need to let their voices be heard in our congregations today. Yes, they are the church of tomorrow. How can they be the future leaders, if we don’t include them in the church today? I believe our job is to get to know the young people in our congregations. Ask them for their ideas. See what matters to them. Get them included in worship. Give them a chance for their voice to be heard. You may be surprised by their knowledge, as I often am!
We had 2 fabulous weeks of VBS at Bdecan in June.
Our first VBS was June 12th - 14th. The group was part of the Presbyterian Women of East Iowa Presbytery. We were SO happy to have this new group come and visit us, and do 3 days of Vacation Bible School with our kids. That week the theme was being Good Neighbors.
The days were filled with Bible Stories, crafts, games, food, and tons of fun!
Our other VBS in June was June 25th - 28th. It was a group from Rochester MN, with others from Ely MN, Amboy MN, and Santa Rosa CA as well. We are so happy that First Presbyterian Church in Rochester MN has been sending a team for the last 5 summers.
The theme was treasures, and the kids found out that they were the things that God treasured the most.
We always have so much fun with the ladies from Rochester Minnesota!
A big thank you to both of these groups. You have shown our kids here so much love. They do not forget what they learn from you.
If you would like to come to do a VBS program next summer, I am already scheduling them.
please call my office (701) 294-2283
or email me at:
Soon it will be Mother’s Day. It is a day that we celebrate moms, grandmas, aunts, and all the special women who care for us. It is fitting that today’s story is a tale of 2 sisters, Mary and Martha. It is from Luke chapter 10.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Although they were related, in this story, they couldn’t be more different. Jesus is planning to visit their home. Not just Jesus, but many of his followers as well. We meet Martha first, hard at work. We can imagine her cleaning, sweeping, and mopping for days to get the house ready. We can see her spending hours, even days preparing the food. She wants to be sure everything is perfect.
At points, I know exactly how Martha is feeling. I feel that way when I am busy preparing my home for guests. Hours or days cleaning, cooking, and planning for their arrival. It just gets me tired.
Where is Mary when Martha is doing all of this? She is out, sitting with Jesus and his disciples, listening to His teaching. She is taking what Jesus is saying in, just being present with Him in the moment.
Martha gets frustrated. They both are supposed to be hosting together, but she’s the only one doing work. We know how that feels, don’t we? When we feel like we are the only one doing anything, and everyone else is sitting around. Finally, Martha storms out of the kitchen, pleading with Jesus to send Mary back to help her.
He does not. Instead, he tells her that Mary made the right decision. There are moms and Grandmas that know hard work like Martha. Taking care of the house, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, work, school, family, friends, the list goes on and on.
The fact is, we need some Martha in our lives. There are times where we just need to get things done, and Martha does that well. We need Martha’s in the church. They help clean, decorate, cook for the congregation, and help with the kids. They make sure that the church is ready for worship each Sunday. They do so much that goes unnoticed.
As important as Martha is, we can’t forget about Mary. Even with all the work there is to do, she decides to sit with Jesus. Mary decides to just be there, be present in the moment. To take time to take in Jesus’ teaching. In a world that is so busy, we need time to just breathe.
Many people feel that they need to be either a Mary or a Martha. If they are completely Martha, they do all the work of the house. They do everything for everyone else. Others are fully Mary, sitting there, watching others work, being thought of as lazy. The fact is, what we need is a mixture of both sisters. To be willing to do the work, but to also know when to relax, and let Jesus refill us.
Thank you, moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, and other ladies,
for all the ways you serve.
Spring has come to Bdecan!
The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. The snow is melting away, and the grass is coming back. I love this time of year. I just feel like celebrating.
One of my favorite celebrations in the New Testament happened on Palm Sunday. Luke 19 tells us,
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.
33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
How I would have loved to be in Jerusalem on that day! What a street party it must have been. Everyone in the streets seeing what was happening. This is an exciting day. Laying their coats in front of Jesus’ donkey, and waving palm branches in the air as He entered. Can we blame them? The promised Savior is making his way into Jerusalem for the Passover. Everyone is crazy excited for his arrival. Well, almost everyone.
The Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of that time were not happy about this. They were already not happy about what Jesus was teaching. It went against how they understood the Old Testament, and what they had learned growing up. They wanted someone who was just for them, but Jesus came for all people.
They were worried about the crowd getting out of control. They were worried about the news of Jesus continuing to spread. They were worried about the number of Jesus’ followers continuing to grow. They realize that there is no way for them to quiet this crowd down on their own. They ask Jesus to help quiet the crowd down. His followers were leading the celebration, maybe if Jesus got them to stop, everyone else would as well.
Jesus tells them that this would do no good. Even if the crowds were silent, the rocks would cry out. Now I don’t know about you, but I think rocks growing mouths would look pretty silly. I think what Jesus means is this. If the crowd stopped praising God, creation itself would begin. This is how important this news was. It was news that was too good for people to keep to themselves. Their Savior had arrived!
I wonder how much Jesus knew about the week that was ahead of him? Did he know that he would be eating his last meal later that week? Did he know that he would be betrayed and disowned by his own disciples? Did he know that there would be another crowd gathering just a few days later. Instead of shouting praises, they would be shouting crucify him? Did Jesus know the pain that he would endure getting beaten, abused in every way, and nailed to the cross?
Jesus is the son of God, so he must have known what was ahead of him. I’m guessing he knew most of what he would face that week. Even knowing all of this, Jesus decides to enjoy that moment. To take in this celebration while it lasted. We can imagine him laughing, smiling, waving at the crowds during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a welcome that was fit for a king!
As we continue through this season of lent, let God prepare our hearts for what is ahead. First for the celebration ahead of us on Palm Sunday and Jesus’ entry. Then, for the even bigger celebration of Easter, when we celebrate our Savior raising from the dead.
This news is too good for us to keep to ourselves. As we celebrate the life coming back in the spring, let us celebrate Jesus coming back to life.
Let this celebration not end at Easter. Let us celebrate throughout year that we are saved! Not because of what we have done, but because of what Christ did for us.
As I look out of my home office, there is nothing but snow. Everything is covered in white. So far in 2019 many of our wind chills here have been below 0. There seems to be a new winter weather warning just about every week. I often have a feeling of being trapped inside, waiting for it to be nice enough to go out. Sometimes I wonder if I can get my car out of my driveway. Many times, I wonder how much longer it will last. If you live in the Midwest, you may know this feeling.
This time of waiting for spring reminds me of the hope found in the story of Habakkuk. He is a prophet. Most of his short book shows his complaints, and questions to God, and God’s response back to him. At the end of chapter 3, we find something hopeful. It says;
“17 Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
This is a very difficult, but also very beautiful conclusion to his story. Although there is death and destruction all around him, Habakkuk ultimately chooses hope. Although their trees, fields, and stalls are bare, Habakkuk chooses to trust in the Lord. Although this is the end of his story, it is not the end of God’s story. God is still at work doing many great things.
In these (sometimes) long winter months, it can be easy to feel like Habakkuk, trapped. Being surrounded by snow, cold, darkness, and lifeless trees and plants. Like Habakkuk, we can be assured that something better is still on the way. The temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, the days will get longer, and the lifeless trees and plants will be full of life again. More than that, we have the assurance of Christ coming back for us. Life here is only temporary, with Christ, we have life eternal. Habakkuk hoped that something better was still coming. We can be assured of it, we just have to wait.
God has done so many amazing things at Bdecan. God has grown this ministry in ways that I cannot even imagine. Things are happening that were just dreams years ago. Even though God has already done and is continuing to do wonderful things, I am convinced that He is not done yet. I believe that God still has great plans for this ministry. Plans that don’t even know about yet. We still have work to do here, and we still need your continued support. We believe like Habakkuk, that God’s best is still before us.
If you are lucky, you may be able to see the fruits of your labor here. Many of you probably won’t get that chance. I want you to know that the time, energy, supplies, and money that you invest to our ministry is making a difference, and will continue making a difference in the months and years ahead. We are thankful for what we have received, and we are full of hope to see what God does with this ministry in the years to come!
Bdecan Presbyterian Church
Phone (701) 294-2283
Valentine’s day is coming up this month. It is a day where we think about love, and showing each other that we care about them. There are many ways that we can do this. Many send cards, chocolate, flowers, and other gifts. Buying gifts is one way to do this. There is another way to show love too, in our actions towards each other. An example of this is shown in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
First, lets talk about what we don’t see happen to this man, lying on the side of the road. The first 2 people to passed by this man. The first one was a priest, a Jewish religious leader. We expect him to stop. We expect him to show compassion on this poor man. But no. He sees the man, realizes he is too busy, crosses the street, and keeps on walking, forgetting all about him. There comes a Levite, an assistant to a priest. We expect him to stop. Once again no. He again sees the man, and crosses the street, and keeps on walking. This story specifically tells us that both these men noticed him, but neither one would stop to help one of their own Jewish brothers in need. We don’t know why they didn’t stop, but we know they keep walking.
Finally, someone else comes down the road. It’s a Samaritan. This is the worst possible person. From other stories, it is obvious that the Jewish people and the Samaritans did not get along very well. We expect this traveler to do many different things. We expect him to just keep walking, like the others. We expect him to laugh at the man. We expect him to finish off what the robbers had begun. At that moment, it would have been easy. What we see is unexpected. He cares for the man’s wounds and bandages him up. He loads the man on his own animal, and leads him to an inn. He pays for this stranger’s stay, and for someone to care for him. He even offers to come back, and pay more money his next time through, if that is needed. Which of these 3 acted like a neighbor? It is obviously, the third. Jesus closes by saying “go, and do likewise”
How sad it is that in 2019 we are still surprised by the outcome of this story. What the Samaritan does is still unexpected. Many times, it is easier for me to just keep going rather than stopping to help someone who needs it. But Jesus calls us, to go, and use the Samaritan as an example.
Through my years at Bdecan, I have seen something time and time again. This congregation may do things differently than others. They may eat different things or sing in a different language. But repeatedly, I see that we have way more similarities than we have differences. One of my favorite moments is when individuals and teams realize this, that they are people like us. That what they desire most, is what everyone wants, to be valued, to be accepted, to be loved.
I love people and teams coming to Bdecan, and would love for you to come and see what we do. Know that ministry doesn’t end here though. My guess is that many of you have neighbors in need in your home communities, or at least closer to you than we are. Although we are separated by miles, we have the same mission, to go out, and love our neighbors.
You may be able to do what the Samaritan did. If you cannot, there is still plenty you can do. Get a group together to help serve a meal to those in need. Give those things that you no longer use away to those who may need it more than you do. Go and hold the door to someone whose arms are full. Mostly, just go and be present. Listen to someone’s story who isn’t being heard. Go and be LOVE.
In this month where we are constantly talking about love, my hope is that we continue going out, and showing God’s love to others. Showing love in what we say, and what we do. My hope is that the more and more that we go out in love, the more and more regular it becomes. It is then that the Good Samaritans actions will be less unexpected, and be more of an everyday thing.
Blessings to you all!
Bdecan Presbyterian Church
Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year.
Since I was young, I’ve always loved the moment that I can put my Christmas decorations out. I love seeing others Christmas lights and decorations going up all over. I love going to Christmas pageants, concerts, and programs. I love going to Christmas movies, or watching them and Christmas specials at home. I love the Christmas baking. I love shopping for the perfect gift for others. I love all the festive events that lead up to Christmas. As much as I love all of this, this month of December always seems to get busy.
But then Christmas comes, the thing I love the most. I feel joy as I see the kids at Bdecan presenting the Christmas program I work weeks to put together, and the smiles it brings to our congregation. Then, I go home, and get to celebrate with my family and friends. All the work that goes into getting ready for Christmas seems to fade away, and I get to experience what Christmas really is.
It’s about Mary and Joseph giving up their plain, ordinary, comfortable lives to become the parents of the Savior of the world. Jesus, the King of the world, not being born in a palace or a castle like he deserved, but in a manger, in a barn, surrounded by animals. For Jesus to save us, he had to be born like one of us. A humble, quiet, non-extravagant birth. The shepherds leaving their sheep (the things that mattered most to them) to be the new King’s first visitors. Wise men traveling thousands of miles to meet the new Savior that they had only been told of in a dream. Bringing him the best of what they had.
In the Nativity story we are reminded what Christmas is really about. The lights, the decorations, the extravagant gifts, and all the rest are nice, but these things pass away. Jesus didn’t have much of this on the first Christmas. It was a simple event.
It is about being together with those who we love, and remembering those not able to be with us. It is about relationships. It is about keeping traditions alive, and creating new memories. It is about letting those we love know how much they mean to us. Besides the gifts we give to friends and family, many also feel this special urge to give to those who don’t have what we do.
This shouldn’t be just a Christmas thing, but many seem to be more willing to give at this time of year. We at Bdecan and on the Bdecan Ministry Team are so thankful for how you have all opened your hearts to Bdecan. Not just at Christmas, but for what you give us year-round. Whatever need we bring to our supporting community, it is met. We cannot thank you enough.
With so many people around the country struggling right now financially, I expected our giving to be down this year. I am so proud that we have received more donations this year than ever before. Because of what you give, we are able to involve more kids and youth in our programs. We rely on donations from others. You are the ones that make this ministry as successful as it is.
The thing that we are the most thankful for is the way you have spread the story of what God is doing at Bdecan way beyond what the members of the Ministry Team can do on their own. When you go out, and share our stories with your groups, churches, families, and communities awesome things happen. You have no idea how many relationships that have been built because someone shared our story. We cannot say thank you enough for all that you do for us both at our church, and in your home communities.
Know that you are loved and appreciated. We could not do what we do without the work of all of you. This is OUR ministry, you are an important part of it.
My hope for you is that you may never loose the magic of Christmas. May this feeling of generosity that this season brings continue to grow in us throughout the year. In the busyness of December, may you never forget the reason we celebrate. Remember to go back to the Nativity.
On behalf of the members at Bdecan Presbyterian Church, and the Bdecan Ministry Team,
We want to wish all of you, and your families a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Christmas Blessings to you all,
Youth and Outreach Coordinator
Bdecan Presbyterian Church
My name is Joe Obermeyer. I am the Youth and Outreach Coordinator at Bdecan Presbyterian Church.