A Tribute to Women this Mother’s Day – by Amy Young

To those who gave birth this year to their first child - we celebrate with you.
To those who lost a child this year - we mourn with you.
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains - we appreciate you.
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away - we mourn with you.
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment - we walk with you.
(Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don't mean to make this harder than it is.)
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms - we need you.
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children - we celebrate with you.
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children - we sit with you.
To those who lost their mothers this year - we grieve with you.
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother - we acknowledge your experience.
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood.
(We are better for having you in our midst)
To those who will emptier nests in the upcoming year - we grieve and rejoice with you.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising - we anticipate with you.
This Mother's Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.
We remember you.

Mission Moment

Spring Road, primarily through the efforts of Rick Johnson, has supported the spread of the gospel in India since 2008. Even though he currently lives in Fort Worth, TX, with his wife Penny, Rick is known by many in the congregation as he is the son of Barb Johnson and brother of Cheryl Prichard. Once a year, Rick makes a trip to the east coast of India, traveling from the city of Chennari to the state of west Bengal, then to the country of Nepal. A typical trip usually last about 90 days. During that time, Rick works with local ministers to preach to several people, often conducting four to six meetings a day. During his most recent trip, over 1,000 individuals were baptized. He helps support many ministries there including a sewing center that teaches younger widows an income generating skill. His efforts support the construction of worship centers and provide local ministers with bicycles. If funding is available, his goal is to distribute 10,000 Bibles during a trip. Medicine, food, and clothing have been given to those residing in two leper colonies and support provided for medical clinics. Rick has made use of garage sales to help raise funds for the ministries and last year Spring road sponsored a garage sale. any church members and others contributed items for sale and over $6,000 was rasised to purchase Bibles. Working with Billie Thorne and Ranee Brown, children raised enough through their bake sale to buy four bicycles for ministers. Rick operates his personal mission efforts through his organization, HIM (Humanitarian International Missions) which operates under the oversight of the West Freeway Church of Christ in Fort Worth. Rick would welcome donations to help support any of the ministries especially funds for Bible purchase and distribution. Donations can be made out to and sent to the West Freeway Church of Christ, 1900 S. Las Vegas Trail, Fort Worth, TX 76108, with a note that it is for HIM.

Mission Moment

For many years, in one way or another, Spring Road has supported mission work in Honduras. One way has been through the purchase and installation of over 1,000 water filters in residents’ homes over the past 19 years. These are simple and inexpensive (around $35) devices that can easily provide drinkable water for a family. With proper care, the life span of a filter is about 1,000,000 gallons. Another area of support is through the program, Ambassadors for Christ (AFC), which is operated by the Smyrna Church of Christ in Tennessee. In addition to providing financial assistance for 5 Honduran ministers in the country, AFC also operates a medical and dental clinic as well as a nutrition ministry in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Several years ago, Spring Road members as well as members from other churches of Christ participated in 1 or more brigades to Tegucigalpa. These week long trips involved participants working on house construction, assisting in the medical or dental clinics, making and distributing large bags (750 on 1 trip!) of food, clothing, & personal care items, and teaching daily Bible classes to children. Honduras is a very poor country, and there is much need, but there is a lot of evangelistic and mission work going on in the country.

While not directly supported by Spring Road, the Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa operates a 4 year, university level school to train and prepare it’s students to become preachers, missionaries, & leaders in the churches of Christ. The Institute also operates a medical clinic and children’s nutrition program. If you would like to know more about Baxter Institute and AFC and how you can support their work, check out their websites at http://www.baxterinstitute.org/ and https://ambassadorsforchristhonduras.org/.

Mission Moment: Bulgaria

Tom and Sheryl Black have been missionaries since 1971, and Spring Road has helped support them for several years. They have something of a connection with Spring Road, as Sheryl’s brother, Archie Walker, who is married to Brady and Clara King’s daughter Susan, used to attend here.

The Blacks have worked with congregations in Germany, Austria, and since 1990, in Sofia, Bulgaria. During this time, they have made multiple trips during most years to Sofia and stay several weeks.

They help support a small local congregation there by preaching, teaching classes, supplying educational materials, coordinating fellowship activities and providing financial support. They also host seminars that attract many throughout Bulgaria.

The church there faces many challenges from time to time. One is keeping a suitable place to meet for worship. One location they rented had no heat, and on a couple of Sunday mornings, the members were locked out. Last year, they were able to find a more suitable location at which to worship. Another challenge they experience is obtaining the necessary visas.

Last year, the Bulgarian government was expected to enact new laws that would have restricted worship activities at Protestant churches, but it seems the government will be lessening the restrictions. Most of the church members, like many Bulgarians, are poor and live in very small apartments. A typical Sunday morning collection is four or five dollars. On occasion, the Blacks help purchase needed medical supplies for the members.

Due to their age and health condition, Tom and Sheryl are cutting back their trips to Bulgaria to once a year with a 2-3 month stay. While in the U.S., they will continue to provide educational materials, church supplies and financial assistance to the congregation in Sofia.

They are very appreciative of the financial support Spring Road has provided over the years.

The Mission

The people of Israel in the Old Testament knew that God had chosen them. They were a chosen people – that was one of their most fundamental beliefs. But they were not chosen for a unique and exclusive privilege that would forever belong to them alone. They were chosen for a unique and inclusive responsibility which would ultimately extend to all nations on earth. Their mission was to fulfill God’s mission by being the vehicle of his blessing to the nations, or – to use the language of Isaiah – to be a light to the nations that God’s salvation should go to the ends of the earth. Israel in the Old Testament was not chosen over the rest of the nations, but for the sake of the rest of the nations.

How was Israel to fulfill this mission? Did it mean that they were supposed to set off on missionary journeys to the other nations? I do not find evidence in the Old Testament itself that God ever intended Israel to go to the rest of the nations during that era. Occasionally an individual might be sent – as, for example, Jonah was sent to Nineveh. But on the whole, the mission of Israel was a matter of being rather than going.

There was something fresh and unprecedented when Jesus after his resurrection told his disciples to go and make disciples of the nations. That was the dawn of a new era. So, mission in the Old Testament was “centripetal” – that is, attraction to a central point. But mission in the New Testament is mainly “centrifugal” – that is, going out from the center toward the edges – an expanding mission. This certainly involved sending people, as the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas.

-Christopher J.H. Wright, “Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament”

This is why Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 10:2: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” We are called not to sit in the pews and wait for the community to come to us. We are called to go out to share Jesus and serve others.

Goodbye 2018 and Hello 2019

John 14:12; “I tell you the truth, whoever believes in me will do the same things that I do. Those who believe will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

It always amazes me how quickly the time passes. It is helpful to look back and count all of the blessings God was able to give through your works in the kingdom. Many people in out community and outside our community were served by you in 2018. From events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, the Ladies Day, Trunk or Treat, Breakfast with Santa, Willow Brook Christmas Party, and Joy in the Box to other ministries such as Food and clothing for Mifflin School, socks and meals for the men at the homeless shelter. Many youth events took place such as Winterfest, church camp, and the monthly events held during the year. Approximately 370 classes were taught from the youngest to the oldest. You helped raise over $6,000 to purchase Bibles for HIM missions through a church-wide garage sale. You helped support two missionaries, a mission trip to Honduras, and a mission agency serving Honduras.

Each week you served anywhere from 20-40 meals to members and friends who struggle to provide their own meal through the Meal Ministry. When you add it up, served more than 1500 meals. Several of our members were blessed through baby showers. You transported needy persons to W.A.R.M. almost three hundred times. Community organizations such as Boy Scouts, the Woodworkers, and Alchoholics Anonymous were able to use our building for their weekly events. Many members of our community were aided by our food pantry.

We had 83 visitors last year that filled out communication cards, as well as many others who did not. A number of new members were welcomed into the church including Liz Costas, Rachel and Cami Potvin, Kristi Woods, Torri Readnour, Sue Ballinger, Colin, Dana, Olivia, Benjamin and Judah King, Joey, Sherry and Kelly Atkinson, Tom and Wandalene Daggett, Kyle Ryan, Danielle Spryn and Alex, Jessica, Abigail and Eleanor McGaughy.

At the same time, some of our members went home to prepare and receive their eternal reward this past year. Ronnie Dye, Edith Maust, Vivian Gaskalla, Esther Bankes, Dorothea Patterson, Bob Stanley, Jessica McCoy, and Harrison McGaughy.

There were other events and works God were able to accomplish because of your willingness to serve not the least of which included building and grounds maintenance, decorating, and cleaning. All glory goes to God for His marvelous works and many thanks to you for allowing God to work in your life. May 2019 be filled with even greater works!

Children and Youth Caroling

The Children’s and Youth Ministry students under the direction of Billie Thorne caroled for 10 of our Senior members. They enjoyed the young people and their Carols of Christmas. The students then went on to Ray and Billie’s home for games and food. Thanks to the Thornes, Browns, Weiers and Caleb and Maggie for driving and helping out!

Trunk or Treat

Wednesday, October 31st 6-8pm

Spring Road Church of Christ

Kids will receive treats, prizes, food and fun!

It’s not to late to sign-up. Volunteers are still needed to decorate the trunks of their cars (by 6pm) to hand out candy. Please sign-up on the sign-up sheet in the hallway or see Robin Weier. There will be cookies, hot cider, and coffee. We also need donations of candy to give out for trick or treat. Please place the candy donations in the basket in the hallway. Thanks!

The Parables of Jesus

When I was a freshman at Ohio University (many years ago), I took a course on economics. The class was listed as being about one to one-and-a-half hours in length.

The professor (who often taught after having had a few too many alcoholic beverages) would teach about 10-15 minutes, assign the required reading for the next class, and then dismiss the class. When it came time to take a test, he would administer a standardized test from the book and would not even stay in the room during the test.

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn much about economics that quarter. It was obvious to me that he could not have cared less whether or not we understood economics because he would not take the time to explain it. It wasn’t long before he was dismissed from his own class as well as his teaching responsibilities.

Most teachers care about the success of their students. They want their students to learn the material not only because they care about the student, but also because it is a reflection of their teaching skills.

This week, I am beginning a series on the Parables of Jesus. A parable has been described by some as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” The disciples of Jesus did not understand why Jesus spoke in parables, so Jesus explained to them why He did. Fortunately for the disciples, Jesus explained “everything” to them by later explaining the meaning to them in private. After all, he was their teacher, and He cared about His students. But, interestingly, Jesus didn’t always explain the meaning to the religious leaders. In fact, many of the parables do not have an explanation attached to them. It raises some questions that I will attempt to answer this morning.

– Todd