How the first 7 months of 2011 flew by so fast is beyond me. I barely remember it all, it’s like a daze of confusion to me. I read through some of the Sonoma Church journal entries and I’m thinking “what, when was that?”. We have photos and videos to show for most of it but you, the reader, probably know what I mean – the time just flies by so fast.
For those of you who are leaders, pastors and parents, you (hopefully) know what it’s like to pour out all of your resources; time, money, prayer and very being into something. It’s what we are all doing for Sonoma.
Sonoma Church celebrated Canada Day on July 1 at the park on Jim Archdekin Rec Centre. Brampton was alive with games, fireworks and lot’s of fun (and of course, pizza).
Also, I need to take a moment to mention that God is amazing. From Feb to now I’ve been wondering about some prayer requests that have gone unanswered and God has shown me today that they were answered and are currently being answered and that there’s actually tremendous progress all around even though there is silence in many areas. It’s one thing to believe and believe to your wits end but to actually see prayers being answered with your eyes and hear with your ears and have the miracle in your hands is an amazing thing for us. Wow is all we can say. God is moving aggressively.
There’s so much going on that we can’t keep track of it all.
Some of our youth and young adults show up even before the leadership does. They are there waiting for us whether it’s an in church or out of church event. Even when we are meeting at a partner church for service, they are there right from the start, they help with setup, running the services and events and even clean up, we never have to beg for help. It’s such a powerful blessing.
We are trying to have at least 1 service per month that is dedicated to hearing testimonies from people and it’s been working out. We’ve heard so many amazing things that Jesus has done and is doing. He’s changing lives, making people of all ages stronger and wiser and healthier. He’s changing hearts.
One of our congregation sent us this poem, we thought it would be good to post on our blog:
The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans
dissolve. An awful clarification occurs
where a place was. Its memory breaks
from what is known now, begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.
As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect–but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.
Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothing
is the seed of all–the clear eye
of Heaven, where all the worlds appear.
Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,
stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal. – Wendell Berry
God is working. He’s amazing.
We’ve been increasing Outreach efforts in Brampton, partnering with other churches that reach out to the community, volunteering our time so we can learn, serve and grow. Being a servant can actually make you stronger. We continued our soup kitchen nights on Tuesday and in August we are planning something different, maybe more outdoor outreach events.
On July 8th was the 2011 Fearless Youth Conference in Toronto, our good friend Laura-lee Cascagnette was one of the worship leaders. She’s such a powerful blessing and the anointing is strong on her. The church it was in was a Portuguese church, in an industrial building they converted. They had a large cafeteria, large front foyer, and large sanctuary, which could fit at least 1,000 people. They had gigantic speakers that shook the building, it was really nice! The street that the church was on (Colville Road) had about 5 other churches on it, so weird to see that on one street. The conference was really great, youth and young adults from various churches coming together to worship and be encouraged and strengthened so we can serve God and serve others, become the people God wants us to be. Put it on your calendar for 2012!
Random fact: Sonoma Church is on it’s 4th printer for 2011. We print up a lot of things, maps, permission forms, welcome letters, envelopes. So our budget printer usually gives up after a short while. One day we’ll have a quality color laser printer, but it’s not really something we long for, seeing all of these lives being changed is the most powerful blessing we can have, more valuable than all the things we want (like a printer, bus, driver, better equipment, etc).
In July we partnered up with more churches in the GTA who are committed to authentic, honest, God ordained ministry. They care about their congregation’s whether large or small, and interestingly enough most of them do local outreach.
Again, I’m going to mention it – God has been very loving and kind to us, answering many prayers, even the ones we thought He would maybe put off for a while. He’s moving so quickly in areas, we are happy and scared at the same time.
Some lessons we learned: There will be good times and bad times. If you give up during the bad times, you won’t be around to enjoy the good times.
We had a prayer night on one of our Friday’s, then on another we had a movie night at Trinity Mall, the group watched “Cowboys and Aliens.” Now that we have a movie display license, we’ll be able to show movies in the sanctuary. All we need is a projector and big screen lol. Our plan is to have a family movie night every single month.
Oh – we launched The Garden which is our children’s ministry. We’ve already had some parents bring their small children and we’ve done games and fun things, we’ll do trips to the zoo and parks and other fun places.
We ended July at Scooter’s Roller Palace. They have a Christian rollerskating night regularly through out the year. It’s at a very inconvenient time (midnight to 4am) but there are 200 – 400 youth and young adults from other churches that party the night away skating, singing and having a good time making friends with each other.
Thanks so much for reading, remember to email us and join our email list, so we can keep you up to date on our events. What a year it’s been so far. We’ve got fun events planned for August. God is so good to us, take a moment right now to worship Him, Jesus is what you’ve been looking for your whole life. He is the answer!
God’s message for us this month: Move forward, because He is moving forward.
Scriptures for this month include: Matthew 11:19, 1 John 2:12-14, Matthew 5:14-16