We often sing Scripture songs at Livingston’s Mission On The Hill on Sunday mornings, in our Nacogdoches’ Sunday evening services, and in our Wednesday night services in Lufkin. From Psalm 100:4 we sing, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart. Enter His courts with praise. Sing, this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice for He has made me glad.” From Psalm 118:24 we sing, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Christians can make the choice to be glad because of the assurance that “today” and the events it contains are not happenstance or accidents. We are assured that God is providing just what we need, not only for our spiritual growth but for the benefit of His Kingdom.
If choosing to give thanks to God, praising Him, and blessing His name (by obeying His Word) is the means whereby we enter into His presence, it is overwhelmingly well worth the “sacrifice,” Psalm 116:17, to give thanks even when we may not feel thankful. It is an act of faith, trusting that God is love and is in control—that He has ordained this day and that all things will ultimately work together for good as Romans 8:28-29 tells us.
Admittedly, being thankful and joyful has become a bit more of a challenge due to COVID-19, wild fires, riots, and earthquakes in various places, but I view these as signs that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent — and that makes me very glad.
Thanksgiving Day 2020
In years past we have provided a Thanksgiving devotion and meal for the three communities where GODTEL operates homeless shelters but this is a different sort of year. We still plan to have a traditional Thanksgiving service and meal for our residents but will not invite the general public to join us. We will miss the fellowship of the many helpful volunteers who, in past years, have chosen to spend this special day with the homeless. Our prayer is that they will be blessed however they spend the day this year.
American Legion Post 312 in Livingston blessed us with a generous donation last month which, along with the faithful support of others, helped us meet all our financial obligations (food, utilities, insurance, staff salaries, etc.). We are amazed and thankful to see how God continues to provide for GODTEL since we do not have fund raisers and we do not accept government funding.
In Need of Space
We never imagined this would happen, but things are getting crowded at the Nacogdoches mission. Partly due to the COVID-19 constraints of social distancing, we gave away the comfortable, roomy cloth-covered chairs used for our Sunday evening services and replaced them with hard plastic ones that can be more easily sanitized. We also purchased more tables for our dining and devotion areas.
More than ever we see a need to have our Christian Help Center housed in a separate building and move the chapel into the space currently occupied by our Christian Help Center. That would also give us the ability to have a “fussy-baby room” where toddlers could play and the moms could still see and hear the Bible studies. Many of the children who come with their parents have not ever been in a church service and loudly object to having to sit still.
We spoke with an architecture student from SFA about drawing the plans as a class project but have not heard from him lately. We are working to set aside any special donations in order to fund the project. Now we are trusting God to lead us and provide what is needed to make these changes.
One of our former residents has been coming back to the Livingston mission for frequent visits and often provides and serves meals. Accompanying her is her almost-three-year-old son who calls our Mission Manager, Ms. Benita, “Gran’ma.” Since Benita is constantly on the go, managing, cooking, cleaning, working in the CHC, etc. and often in the middle of a chore when the mother and son arrive, she allows the young man to work with her. He empties trash cans, runs errands, helps load or unload items, and recently helped clean the carpet at the mobile building which houses GODTEL’s Mission On The Hill. (See photos.) We enjoy his energetic willingness to help. His mom just wishes he was that willing to help at home! We are looking forward to their next visit.