Thursday, October 28, 2010

LIVING WELL, November, 2010

Giving Thanks - Thanksgiving

Sounds the same, looks the same. Are they the same?

Thanksgiving is one of our most loved holidays in America. But is Thanksgiving still about “giving thanks?” And if we are giving thanks, to whom are we giving it?

As I (Donna) look back on the last year, it has been one of the hardest years of my life.
  • A year ago, I had emergency surgery for a ruptured colon, in the hospital for a week and home for six more weeks recuperating.
  • Because of the shortfall in donations, we have not been able to take full salaries, even while paying for hospital costs.
  • My mother has faced many severe health issues; she is in ICU right now.
  • One of our young couples, to whom we are close, have a son who came down with leukemia a year ago, has been in the hospital many weeks, and has had many complications.
  • Ed had significant hearing loss in one ear.
  • Our pastor died.
  • Two months later our associate pastor of 43 years died; he was a friend and a mentor.
  • While in Africa, I came down with an intestinal bug and was ill for several days before and after we got home.
  • As we arrived home from Africa, we learned that another one of our young couples had their baby, but he had problems and died two days later.
  • My niece had her first child 14 weeks prematurely and he is still in the hospital
  • .. And last week, we learned that Ed’s sister has stage 4 lung cancer (a nonsmoker).
  • All of that does not include the challenges of parenting adult children who have stressful situations of their own.

And then we listen to the people’s problems all day. How do we do that? We have learned the Power of ONE.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
                                                                                    (Ephesians 4:4-6)

We can have personal tragedy in our own life and in the lives of those we love but still encourage others in the ways of the Lord because we know The ONE who is “over all and through all and in all.” He has given us His Power, His Strength, and His Presence.

How does this idea relate to Thanksgiving?

We can focus on the bad experiences of the last year or we can see God’s hand in the good.

We can give thanks because ….
  • I survived the emergency surgery, the African bug and am back to normal now.
  • we are able to pay our bills at home and at the ministry.
  • mother is still with us and has hopes of recovery.
  • our two young couples each experienced their tragedy with God’s grace, ministered to each other, and are beacons of faith and hope to our other young couples.
  • Ed can still hear without hearing aids.
  • after serving five months on the pastor search team, we have a pastor coming “in view of a call” next Sunday.
  • my niece’s son is still making progress, hopes to go home soon.
  • Ed’s sister still feels well and is at MD Anderson for further diagnosis this week.
  • and both our kids still love us, love the Lord, and are working towards solutions in their lives.
We choose to give thanks to The ONE!

At our dinner, we were able to share the Power of ONE through many different areas of ministry.

One young couple, Zach and Jennifer, shared the Power of ONE to change their legacy of divorce, which they inherited, to a legacy of a strong marriage for their future, starting with a premarital class. Zach's parents were divorced and he travelled from one home to the other, often across the country, even across the ocean. Jennifer's parents divorced when she was 18, when her dad left her mom unexpectedly. They are commited to each other for a lifetime, seeking to strengthen their marriage before the vows and continuing throughout their marriage.

We shared one couple’s experience of coming to Living Well for the first time. [see the video]

We shared the results one year later of the Power of ONE conference in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Hear the testimonies of pastors about how God has used what they learned last year to bring reconciliation in marriages, even after 10 years of separation, and to teach other pastors and lay people. [see the video]

We shared the Power of ONE conference in Morogoro, Tanzania, to convict pastors of sins against their wives, to bring the truth of God's design for marriage to pastors for the first time, and to encourage pastors/wives in their ministry. [see the video]

One person can make a difference!

Think of the power of one dollar to change lives, consider this …. one dollar a day.

If all the people who read this letter would donate for the first time or increase their donations by a dollar a day, we would make our budget, which means training and guiding more people.

Our love in Christ,

Donna and Ed Edwards

P.S. Please thank our Lord with us for what He has done this year!