We've been very busy since our last update. We've been joined by two Mennonite groups, Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) and Christian Disaster Relief (CDR), who were in Lyons during the muck out phase. They have come back to help with the rebuilding/reconstruction of homes damaged by the flood. They have been a huge blessing to the areas that we are serving in. They have also been a great help in getting The River Church restored. The picture above on the left is from the home of Ruth and Esther Snyder, two widows who lost half of their home. The picture on the right is the fellowship hall at The River Church with the new floor and new drywall! Things are moving along, although there is still a lot to do on both of these projects as well as several others.
The authorities have been slow in letting us know what we can do, what we need to do to move forward and then in allowing us to move forward once we think we have everything figured out. It would've been nice just to come in and concentrate on working in a smaller area, but God has a much bigger plan for what He wants to do, so He has been opening up opportunities in areas outside of Lyons: Big Elk Meadows, Pinewood Springs, Longmont, Jamestown, and all points in between. It keeps us hopping to move around so much and keep everyone busy, but we know that God is in control and that what He is doing to draw others to Himself cannot be measured by time, distance, and money.
It has been a huge blessing to see how well we have all worked together to accomplish the task that God has put before us! Often in disaster relief, many Christian groups come in with their own agendas, "private clubs," and "their" way of doing things and they refuse to work with each other. This lack of unity goes against what the Bible teaches and seems to thwart the amount of work that gets done as well as the whole reason we do it-to share the Good News. If we would all just heed Jesus' words and serve together, we could show the world what unity and reconciliation is truly about. Also, most of the groups that do disaster relief make no connection to a local Bible-teaching church. They blow in and out of town, getting some work done (not always good quality; usually more focused on quantity), and forget about the Great Commandment from Jesus in Matthew 28 where He tells us to go and make disciples. We have been careful to involve the local church in all that we are doing and both CAM and CDR are right alongside of The River as well. We all meet for fellowship and dinner on Thursday nights at The River, which has truly also been a blessing to us! Pastor Mickey commented that of all the volunteer groups who have come to him to help, we are the one group who truly has been a help rather than an additional burden to all he and his church body are going through. All glory to God for allowing us to come alongside The River at this time.
The River Church moved back into town and is currently meeting at Lyons High School on Sunday mornings. It happens to be in the neighborhood where we are living so it has been fun to walk back and forth to church each Sunday, even in the snow!! There have been several visitors from people from Lyons whose homes we have been working on. Jesus' name continues to be made great in this community amidst many trials.
We continue to meet many dear people who are lost and in need of Jesus. While the flood was five months ago and many people are still displaced from their homes, we need to remember that The Holy Spirit is working in His timing to draw those whose lives we are part of to Himself. While it would be great for us to see all of them come to a saving knowledge of Jesus while we are here, we are only called to plant seeds and water when we can and as the Holy Spirit works in their lives, God will bring the increase! While only some have even come to church so far, many continue to recognize what God is doing in their community, and while still skeptical about our God, they continue to involve us in their lives to see if what we say is truly how we live our lives! It is a huge responsibility, yet an awesome privilege and we watch in wonder as God uses the physical work we do to open the doors to point others to Him!
We're not much of numbers people but because we have paperwork to fill out, we can look back and see the work that God has allowed us to be part of. As of January, we have assessed over 130 homes, and cleaned out and prepared 50 of them for reconstruction! We praise God that He has allowed us to touch so many lives in a truly unique way of showing others His love for them!