Posted by: Emily Shemwell | January 18, 2010

January Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope this finds you doing well as we welcome a new year, a new decade – the year 2010. I spent the start of this New Year in my hometown enjoying a refreshing and much-needed vacation from the ministry here in Louisville.

A new year brings the start of a new beginning – a fresh start so to speak. I don’t know about you, but I find myself looking for a new year to help me forget about the trials of the past year or to bring better days ahead. Often times the coming of another January 1st signals a coming of change.

While I may associate change with the start of a new year, change is taking place all the time. I’m blessed to be serving at Jeff. Street, where I see change occurring in people’s lives regularly. I talk to our residents here, many who are in our 6-month Fresh Start recovery program, and listen to the positive work God is doing in their lives. My friend Jeremy was one of four men who made up the first graduating class from the Fresh Start program. Jeremy recently acquired a job last month. He enjoys the work he is doing and is making progress towards leaving Jeff. Street soon. Change is happening.

I see change in our neighborhood as well. For Thanksgiving a neighbor cooked us dinner, rather than us cooking for her as a ministry opportunity, which we’ve done numerous times since the summer. Our relationship with a Christian single-mom, domestic abuse victim, and cancer survivor is changing too. Ms. Nancy, our neighborhood “mom”, invited us to go shopping with her last month; it was the first time we went out of our neighborhood and did something together as friends. Change is happening.

Change is happening. God is at work. Whether or not we want it, expect it, or hope for it, “a change is gonna come” (to quote the song originally written by Sam Cooke during the Civil Rights Movement). Change is most certainly going to be a part of this New Year. It is inevitable. Change may bring about joy such as the union of two lives in a Christ-centered marriage. Change may bring about suffering with the loss of a loved one or the discovery of an illness. No matter what the changes may be, God will ultimately be glorified and honored in and through change.

While we may not see why such changes are occurring in our lives, we can have faith that one day we will see things clearer than we do here on this earth. The apostle Paul writes these words to the church in Corinth, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Yet, until that time comes, until we arrive at Heaven and see Christ face to face, we are to lean on Him for strength in the midst of change. Paul writes in Philippians that, “…I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (4:12-13).

I pray that in this year ahead, you will seek Christ and lean on Him in all situations and circumstances. May you place your faith, trust and hope in Him in all the changes that are to come.

Thank you for your continued love and support!

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