My friends and family, I hope and pray you all are well. The last couple of months have gone by so fast. It is hard to believe it is Thanksgiving this week.
There has been a lot going on lately. It is so exciting to see what God is doing first hand here in our community and church. I will have to be honest and share that I have been in a weird place the last couple of months. I don’t know that I could even fully explain the feeling other than having a great expectation for God to do something while at the same time feeling my flesh scream at me that there is too much to be done before God can meet those expectations.
I am blessed to experience God’s patience as I learn to lean on Him. Learning to understand that a move of God is not dependent on me getting stuff done. If that were solely the case, then it would just be a move of Matt. I am fully aware that we have seen enough natural movements, my heart desires for something not-natural, something super-natural to be done. For several months now I have been preaching through the book of Acts. The pattern of supernatural movements I see in that early church seem so easy. I see a people that are just genuinely in love with Jesus, the one that gave His life for them. I see a people that had something in their lives just click, realizing that they could take Jesus at His word, understanding that a movement of God was not dependent on them but rather the faithfulness of God. I am at a loss when I look at my own life of why I have such a hard time wholly trusting and leaning on the faithfulness of my Father. If anyone could testify to the unearned favor of the Lord it would be this guy, and yet I somehow still have fears as I look ahead at what He has put on my heart.
I share this not to complain or sound like I am having a pity party but rather to ask you to pray for me in this area. There seems to be much that has come against us in the last few months, I am not usually one to get too concerned with circumstances around me, but I would be lying to say it does not get to me on some level. When many annoyances, as well as many petty material things, seem to come at you they tend to add up to feeling like there is much coming against you and yet, God is faithful. I choose to believe what the Lord says, that no weapon formed against me shall prosper.
A couple of months ago we were able to have a great meeting with our staff here to look ahead at next year. In doing so, it allowed us to make some changes to next year’s summer camp, some changes that I believe God will use to propel us as a ministry to a new level of growth. I feel it is easy to become comfortable with taking an easy path with little to no resistance. God has not allowed us that luxury and we believe He is leading us to press on, seeking Him for a new vision for how we can continue to point the Lakota nation to a relationship with Jesus. We were able to have a great weekend staff retreat in the Black Hills with all of our families; it was both enjoyable and rewarding as we seek the Lord in these areas of the future.
We have really been moving forward with our adult ministries having more consistent men’s gatherings and the ladies have been doing a great job at demonstrating fellowship and community meeting a couple of times a week with the ladies in our church. Teen nights have been going strong on Sunday nights.
Around a year ago, I asked several of you to pray for two specific men that God had placed in my life. One of them is named Santee. I am blessed and encouraged to say Santee came to me after a Wednesday night service a few weeks ago and said that He knew Jesus was Lord in his heart, but he wanted to let those around him know that is what he believed and be baptized. I had the privilege to baptize him the following Sunday morning. Before I baptized him, he was so excited telling me how glad he was to be able to point his family and children to Jesus as he began his journey following him. So even in the moments, I start to wonder what in the world is going on I remember Jesus is still on the throne. Please continue to pray for my second friend, Jr, to come to a saving relationship with Jesus as well.
This month we have been blessed to have Mr. and Mrs. Ray Bullock from Nehemiah’s outcry, here teaching welding to some of our men as well as blessing us with some metal-work around the camp here and in the barn building a storage level to help with the growing chaos.
The children’s ministry is doing a fantastic job both on Wednesday nights with AWANA as well as on Sunday mornings. The children are currently working on a Christmas program for the second year now. With how some of our age groups have grown, we are in need of some extra space in the children’s building. If you are familiar with our children’s ministry you would remember us meeting in the basement, having all the kids in one place, we later took over the parsonage to make that our children’s building and did some renovation in there to create an open room for large group time. I am hoping to make some more improvements between Thanksgiving and Christmas to be able to divide the age groups once more. We are hoping to remove some walls and add two partitions to make a more usable space; while also closing in the garage to make a teen room for our teens that are beginning to come to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. We are in need of some funds to be able to complete these projects.
A few weeks ago, Amanda had the opportunity to go to a training in Denver to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. The Grief Recovery Method is an educational based process that walks people through the grief process whether it be the loss of a loved one, divorce, or any other loss. She will be able to hold support groups for our church families and community members. Grief is universal and affects everyone in different ways. This is an incredible opportunity to come alongside others as they deal with grief and loss while also pointing them to community, and the gospel.
With Christmas around the corner, we are hoping to be a blessing to some of the families in our church. If you are interested in taking on a child to sponsor for Christmas, please let Amanda or I know, and we can get you a specific list with clothing sizes, needs, and desires for that child.
God is so good. I pray each of you has a very blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Learning to serve the Lord in all we do, The Haddens