The most important announcement had to do with the survey we're being asked to fill out at the bottom of our church website, NewLifeCov.net.
The intro to worship was by our quartet, which included a new face, singing Worthy of Worship. After a word of prayer we sang several songs from the blue songbook. The offering was taken and we entered into a time of prayer.
A passage of Scripture preceded each testimony, the first being I Peter 3:15.
John Peyton was asked a couple weeks ago to respond to the question "What has God done in my life?" He began his early childhood in Catholic school, and after plenty of misbehaving he was sent to public school. He continued this same path, hurt a lot of people and after a failed marriage and being inconsiderate toward others he began to experience a depression that indicated he needed to change his life. Eventually he returned to the church, a Methodist church, and began to see changes in his life and attitudes.
He shared how Nancy became part of his life, how God's hand brought them together.
John had 2 children by his first marriage, children whom he stayed in touch with as they grew. When his son was old enough he entered the navy, but after a year abroad he was killed overseas in a traffic accident. This hit John hard. Five years later he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. It was a time when only 12 of a hundred were surviving this kind of prognosis. He shared how God's mercy brought him through.
Nancy and John became very intentional about their faith and committed to helping others, both exhibiting a humble and genuine faith.
Kelly Smith shared what God is doing in her life, one with difficulties that have challenged their faith and their family. Kelly said she always felt growing up that she was called to be a mom. Her son was born with a disability and was told he would never walk on his own, never breathe on his own and never smile. He has lived to do all three, though not an easy road to get there.
They adopted a girl who was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and she shared the host of issues they have had to deal with. She shared her hurt, fear, pain in a moving manner. The ongoing struggle with incident after incident, things never dreamed of, yet God is a God of hope. It's been hard on their marriage, hard on their children... but they are trusting God in the midst of it.
Pam read from II Timothy 1:5 as an intro to Kristina Vanderscheuren's story. Kristina grew up in the church, went to church with her dad. The services were long and boring. But she looked forward to going out to eat with her father afterwards and this was meaningful.
When her family moved to Ashland they were the only colored people in a white school. This led to her acting up and getting in trouble. When her father died early, she became angry at God and hating God. These were hard times.
One day she met a pastor who was very real and down to earth, and went to his church, and ultimately encountered God. After this she began going to church every Sunday and became hungry to do more. As a result of this she met John and has a beautiful child.
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It was a very special service as we got to see unvarnished some of the realities in some of the lives of our church family, and God's part in bringing people through.