I am thankful for my church family. The above isn't a picture of the people because I'm not sure how they would feel about their images being posted, so a picture of our church is the next best thing.
We started going to the above church October 2010. We had been back in America visiting family and my dad made the comment that we needed to find a church to go to. Thinking back, there was almost an urgency to it....something he never did before. We said we would...he made us promise. Hubby had heard about a church that we decided to try find before Sunday. We found the above one. We ended up going on a Sunday night. Our plan was to go to this church the following Sunday and Sunday night, then go to another one Sunday and Sunday night, etc. until we had "hit up" all the churches we had heard about. Then we would sit down and make a decision about which one to go to. Yeah....it didn't go that way. We went on that first night, then the following Sunday/Sunday night. The next Sunday morning, we go up and as we were getting dressed, hubby made the comment, "We're not going to that chapel (next on our list) are we?" We didn't and never looked back. We discovered later on that this church wasn't the one that his contact was referring to....that church was across the street. It was God's hand. We went to the church that we were meant to go to. And I am soooo thankful we did.
July 9th, 2011 I broke my leg (story in a later post). If it weren't for that loving church family attached to the above church, I literally have NO clue on what I would've done. One lady broke into the house to get to me (all the doors were locked and I couldn't get to them) and stayed with me until I finally got to my hospital room...she also stayed that first night and then the day of my surgery. One lady brought toiletries and drinks. Two families stopped by and brought flowers. One lady came to visit and to cheer me up (took 2 buses to do so). One lady picked me up from the hospital and helped me up the 24 steps to my house. After I got home, most of the church stopped by at one time or another....half the time bearing something for me. Two or three of the ladies took me to run errands when I needed to get out of the house as well as to church. One of the guys took me to church and helped carrying things up or down the stairs. Oh! I forgot to mention....hubby was deployed during this whole time.
While my church family was there during a very hard/trying time of our stay here, that is not the only reason I'm thankful for them. I say family because it's true. Just because most of us are Christians doesn't mean we're not human. We all have failings and character traits that aren't perfect. We all make mistakes and do/say the wrong things at times. If we learn there's an issue, we try to make it right and at the very least apologize for our particular role in it. We are there for one another through the hard times and cheer the good times and celebrate victories. When the military ones of us have upcoming tests (PT or the next rank), we pray. When the test is passed or the rank is made, we cheer and celebrate. When the military member is deployed, we pray. When they return safely, we celebrate. When there is an issue in a family, we come together, pray and close ranks against the enemy. The church family that is found within the walls of that little church have helped families in financial need so they won't go hungry; an orphanage last Christmas have a Christmas; an orphanage this year with shoes and boots and toys. We are currently helping a pastor that was pastoring a poor church (his family could live comfortably on 250 euros a month) that had to come to Pisa in order to get a new liver...we're sending 50 euros a month (through donations from our attendees that want to give) along with other church in order to support him while he waits for his body to fully recover from the surgery.
The outpouring of love and support from my church family is humbling. If there is a need, they/we will find a way to meet it. I don't
say type all of this to brag on us as a group of human beings. I say type this to brag on God's love and work through us. We as a human race tend to be rather selfish. The Lord taught us to love Him and to love our neighbors and to give. Everything that our little church does is not to make us proud as peacocks, but to give Him the glory. We do everything in His name. When a need arises, there is prayer. When the need is made known, the abundance of giving would amaze Scrooge himself. People that don't even know where the church is have stopped by to give. Is that us? Not one bit. That is the Lord working through them. There is not. a. single. thing. that is impossible with Jesus Christ. And I for one am thankful to be part of a church family that loves the Lord and follows Him and His Word.