Give thanks for three blessed years of full-time ministry! I took a morning walk by the water to celebrate this special day. It was a nice break from the rain, and thankful for the quiet time that allowed me to reflect on the ups and downs in the past three years and see the Lord’s guiding hand and sufficient grace in it all. There is a lot to be thankful for, and here just to name a few.
Disciples Union Youth Wednesday Fellowship.
After a long search and much prayer, God provided us with a convenient and safe place for our youths to gather after school on Wednesdays during early school dismissal, to learn about God, and to reach out to other students in the community. Through a connection from a good neighbor, Alameda Christian Reformed Church (ACRC), a neighborhood church in Alameda, graciously opened their doors, welcomed us in, and collaborated with us to hold our after-school youth fellowship. It is such a miracle and a great blessing to me!
It started with my little dream to have an after-school fellowship with our youths in church. So the fellowship began at my house in 2019. I first had a few students who attended the neighborhood schools come to my place and fellowship together. By January 2020, we had about ten students, and soon, my house reached its capacity limit. Then in March 2020, COVID hit, and we had to move all meetings online. In hindsight, that was a blessing in disguise. Because when everyone had to stay home during shelter-in-place, they had the time to join fellowships on the weekdays, too. We could run three fellowships for the youths in a week instead of one, nurturing those who attended the neighborhood schools and in other cities. Fellowships tailored to the needs of not only middle schoolers but for kindergarteners to high school and college students. By God’s grace, we kept everyone closely knitted and supported through each of these fellowships. Together we overcame the challenges the pandemic brought.
After a year of shelter in place, we saw our youths needed in-person connections and fellowship. When things were gradually relaxed and reopened after COVID, we started the search for venues to host our after-school fellowships. Before going to ACRC, we had fellowships in an HOA clubhouse in our community in December 2021. We experienced providence from God, although we could no longer use this place for liability reasons. It did not stop our hearts from coming together. Give thanks to the warmer weather in spring. We met at a park every Wednesday after school until the end of the school year in Spring 2022.
And when the new school year started in the Fall of 2022, the Disciples Union Wednesday Fellowship officially opened in ACRC. I’m forever grateful for the warm welcome and support from the ACRC brothers and sisters! They have shown us what it means to be one church under God. And I also want to thank the team of faithful and selfless servants serving alongside me! I look forward to accomplishing more great things with them!
As I begin the 4th year of my work, I’m also grateful to receive the following assurance and promise from the Lord through 1 Peter, chapter 5. These words touched my heart while preparing the “Crowns” series for the Middle schoolers’ Sunday sermon.
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.1 Peter 5:2-4
My Chief Shepherd knows me and knows every intention of my heart. I answered His call three years ago to enter His ministry, not because I must, but because His love compelled me, and I was willing to serve. Tending God’s flock of sheep hasn’t been easy. I long to see the growth of His flock and sometimes would run out of patience. I would feel tired and defeated from time to time. But amidst it, I also found tremendous unspoken joy. While I’m tending His flocks, I know the Chief Shepherd is also watching me, and He is with me. It is reassuring to know that I am walking on the path He desired. “When the Chief Shepherd appears” – the day every God’s child looks forward to, “you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” – I will shed my happy tears, and worship Him with the crown I receive.
Until that day comes…
It’s the new year, and I wanted to restart something that I did ten years ago — keeping a thanksgiving journal to count my blessings daily. But instead of posting it on Facebook as I did ten years ago, this time is on my blog. God’s love and grace exist in little things around us, which are only noticeable through a thankful heart. I am looking forward to a year of thankfulness. And may my Daily Grace blog also be a blessing to everyone who reads it and be a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us to be more mindful and thankful for the small blessings we often take for granted.