Hello to all! Life has been exciting, busy and blessed in our neck of the woods. God is truly good! (This greeting was expressed before the world turned upside down with pandemic concerns, but it still remains that even in the midst of trials and trouble, we are STILL greatly blessed by our God, who is and always will be, truly good!)
As many of you know, in August 2017 we started clearing trees from our church property to make room for a newly planned addition. At that time, we were meeting in a small building with one room that served as four Sunday school classes, a sanctuary, and a kitchen/dining area. Sunday school classes struggled to hear and concentrate on their own class topics. On dinner Sundays, as soon as the church services ended, the room was rearranged and transformed into a very crowded kitchen/dining room. Our young people really appreciated nice weather on these Sundays, so they could head out to the picnic tables. It was much better than standing while eating! And they also had the advantage of being closer to our only bathroom facility, the outhouse!
Now we have a sanctuary that STAYS a sanctuary. We have indoor plumbing and bathrooms, and a basement where Sunday school classes are permanently located. The old building is now our full-time kitchen/dining area. We were blessed (and thankful) to have experienced and willing carpenters in our congregation who used their talents, time, and muscles to make our building endeavor a success. The entire local (our great bunch of young people included) pitched in and helped where they could, also putting in many hours of willing labor.
We were richly blessed, and are deeply grateful to all the individuals and church locals who contributed so generously to help fund our building project, and for the individual contributions of labor. We are thankful to all of you for your support and for your love and for the many prayers offered on our behalf. It has been our goal to prepare for future growth and to plan activities and events that will allow us to share our blessings with all of you, by creating opportunities to meet together for fellowship and to praise the Lord. We look forward to seeing you at these extra activities and events, but we also hope that you will feel free to just drop in and worship with us during our regular Sunday services. In the house that God has provided for us, for that purpose.
SPECIAL NOTE: Before going on with the news of our activities and events, I want to take a moment to share with you that it is evident that we have indeed been blessed by the Lord these past months. The house that He provided for us, where we could gather together with one another to fellowship and worship has remained open – not only for our little group, but for all who have chosen to join us, when they’ve been unable to personally attend their own local churches. We have no internet at our country church where we can have online services. Many of us have no internet at home. So maybe our “lack of technology” was just another blessing – one that helped keep us together – person to person.
Now back to the news. One of the special activities that we hosted at the end of December 2019, was a JAM SESSION. The instrumental music and singing (and fellowship) was enjoyed so much by all those that attended that we decided to continue working future Jam Sessions into our activity scheduling.
We are blessed to have an active group of young people in our congregation. They call themselves the WYGs (pronounced wig) – short for Warrensburg Youth Group. They started the new year with several meetings to watch videos on “Apologetics”, attended and participated in the January TL Local Rally, and in March, they hosted a Chili Cook-off Fundraiser to help raise money (along with their odd jobs of yard work, etc.) for their anticipated trip to the Colorado Church Reunion in June. It was a huge success. However, as they have found out, even the best of plans can suddenly and unexpectedly change. The Colorado reunion was canceled, but they remained optimistic, and almost immediately started considering possible options for an alternate plan. Cancellation of the July Church Teen Camp was a great disappointment for them also. But they are overcomers, and continued on with new plans.
May was filled with a flurry of planning and activity. Our 18-year olds, Emma Gill, JoJo Wiley and Abby Wiley graduated from their home school studies. Although their formal ceremonies were canceled, a short graduation ceremony followed by an open house reception, was held for the young ladies at the Warrensburg Local on Sunday afternoon, May 31st. Many friends and family attended to take the opportunity to share in their success and congratulate them on their achievements.
During the month of June, we held a 3-day Vacation Church School. The theme was the “Title of Liberty”. (Alma 21:41&42) A timely reminder that our liberty and our religion is not, and never will be, “non- essential”. It was a huge success, enjoyed by all. Children from Independence joined with our Warrensburg group for a total of about 20 children attending. And the teachers and helpers added up to about another 20 people! Thanks to all who contributed their time and talents to make this event possible and successful – especially the parents who entrusted us with their children, and to those outside our local, that volunteered as teachers and helpers.
As plans were being made for a themed “mini teen camp” to be held at the Warrensburg local July 17-20, we received word that the Yates family was inviting the church youth to spend time at their AZ ranch on the same dates. Many of the youth were excited at the thought of taking a trip, having missed out on their Colorado trip in June, (and their normal “teen camp” in July) so the decision was made to postpone our mini-camp until September and start making plans to head to Arizona, instead. So, on July 16, two big vans loaded with Independence and Warrensburg youth and adults headed out. It was a long trip to the ranch, but all agreed that the adventure and the time they were able to spend reuniting and visiting with friends at the camp, made the trip well worth it.
On the last day of July, we were saddened by the news of the death of our sister Becky Adams. It was her desire to have her funeral service at our local church where she had spent many happy hours in fellowship, and in praising and worshipping God. It was a beautiful service. The church was overflowing with family and friends who will miss her greatly.
We also had another graduate this year. Katherine Gill celebrated her graduation from college (UCM) with an open house at the church on Saturday, August 22nd. We were able to host our 2nd Jam Session on the fifth Sunday of August. It was enjoyed by all those who were able to attend.
Finally, I will bring this lengthy update to an end. Plans for the postponed “mini teen camp” were revised and put into motion. Teens from Independence and Warrensburg, along with ministry and sponsors, enjoyed 3 days of fellowship over the Labor Day weekend at Randy & Becky Sheldon’s cabin in south Missouri. The theme was “2020 VISION” based on the Proverbs 29:18 scripture. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” There were study classes with the ministry, activities and bible trivia games by the youth, hours of fun at the river, campfires, testimonies, and quiet times for talk and thoughts about life and God. And of course, there was food!
At the time of this writing, we are in the process of organizing our annual September Church Yard Sale. Proceeds from the sale will help us continue with our unfinished building projects. Also, before the end of the year, we hope to plan and host a one-day Church Rally.
Thanks for letting us share our news and our blessings with you, through the pages of the Advocate. God be with each and every one of you – until we meet again.