Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Church Picnic

August 27th, 2005

Well, the Lord was good in regard to the weather that He gave us for the picnic today. Pleasant, in the eighties, with a breeze, and no rain. Can't ask for much better in NYC in August. The picnic was a pleasant success to match. We didn't have a huge crowd, but we had a very comfortable number. Tottenville Evangelical Free church joined us for the picnic, as they have for innumerable years past, and brought a small but (I'm going to say it again) pleasant group. The speaker, a deacon in their church, gave his fascinating testimony of a life devoted to demonic, occultic music groups, reading, lifestyle, etc. redeemed and changed radically by the grace of God. He wasn't dynamic, but he was sincere -- and I think that's more important.

Some of those who attended are people we've been praying for: teens who have been to past youth activities and made professions of faith, but whose families have not yet been receptive; a husband and wife recently reunited, with his son and their child; a neighbor whose child is mildly autistic, and whom we've been trying to reach out to (they used to attend the church before we came); a recently saved man whose wife is still Catholic (both she and their three children came today and had a great time, although I don't think she stayed for the service). It was really a blessing to be able to throw a football around with him and his oldest son; the son has had developmental challenges (for several reasons, I think, including a brain tumor as an infant), and just a few months ago underwent emergency surgery for a brain tumor. At first there wasn't much certainty that he would even survive, then there was a strong chance that he'd be paralyzed on one side of his body (he actually was paralyzed for a while, I believe), and there was great concern throughout for his mental condition. But God answered prayer, and he seems to have made a complete recovery, and perhaps is even better off now than before the operation.

We were also very pleased by the number of children and youth present. We rented a moonwalk (one of those big inflatable bouncy thingies) for the kids, and there was concern about whether we'd even have enough kids to justify having spent the money on it. Not a problem. We were missing a number of the older members of the church, who are simply reaching the point where their health makes it very difficult for them to get out, even on a beautiful day like today. But I think we're seeing a changing of the guard, with as many new believers and their children present today as there were older saints absent. This changing of the guard means that we don't see great numerical growth. But we're praising the Lord, just the same. He's still working on us.

Speaking of working on something, I'm still plunging into the mess of HTML that is our church website. The upcoming events page is mostly updated, though I don't have a date or two nailed down. I'm very proud of myself. I created a problem and fixed it all by myself. And there's still some stuff in the code I just don't understand, so I'm carefully circling around it and poking at it gently with a virtual stick until I figure out if it's poisonous or not. At least I finally got a book on HTML and XHTML. (See, that sentence is much more impressive if I don't admit that I don't even know the difference between HTML, XHTML, and I think there's another one out there too (SHTML?) -- not to mention the whole Java thing. Oh well, at least I know they exist. But I still say telling a coral snake from a milk snake is a lot easier. Give me life-threatening snakes to identify any day over website and sanity threatening computer languages any day.)


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