Sparks Keeps on Serving
By Nancy Albin
The first community service project of the new year at the Sparks church was an incredible experience. It provided an opportunity to collaborate with the Bernice Matthews Elementary School, a local school with a very high percentage of children from low-income families. Many of these children come to school with no coat and/or holes in their shoes.
The church initially received the names of 30 children in need of shoes or coats, but the generous response from the members was so overwhelming that the Community Service Department leaders were able to go back to the school and ask for 20 more names.
On February 21, 50 bags of much-needed clothing were delivered, each accompanied by a card with encouraging words to show these children that someone cares.
In appreciation for the gift from the Sparks church, the following note was received:
“The kids were all so excited. I handed some out on Wednesday and the rest on Thursday. Those that received theirs on Wednesday showed up to school with their new shoes or coat. Best, Erika Ruiz, Bernice Matthews Elementary School
I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me
The Blessing of Disaster
By Nancy Albin
So don’t be afraid of sudden disasters.… You can be sure that the Lord will protect you from harm.
On the morning of January 31, a major sprinkler water pipe burst in one of the rooms of the Sparks church. This incident caused significant damage throughout the whole building, including its ceilings, walls, floors, equipment, furniture, supplies, and materials.
Although the earliest projection is for the building to be ready for occupancy by September, the church congregation intends to continue to meet regularly for worshipping together. After all, the church is the members, not the building. God has provided and will continue to provide for them as they navigate through this hurdle. It is exciting to see the various ways the Lord is taking care of His people. A neighboring church, Bethel AME Methodist Church, immediately and graciously opened their doors to allow the Sparks church family to continue worshiping together.
Pastor Neat Randriamialison said, “I believe things like this happen as a precursor to new beginnings and that God is working on something that, as a church, we haven’t experienced yet.” Sparks is asking for prayers as the church begins rebuilding.
The Power of the Word
By Rudy Alvir
There are many great events during the Pathfinder year—camporees, fairs, investiture, etc.—but nothing compares to Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE). The positive changes brought about by this experience are exciting to see. The book to be studied this year is the Gospel of John. Thousands of young people from all over the North American Division are being immersed in the Word of God.
In the Nevada-Utah Conference, there were three regional PBE competitions held on February 18th: Reno, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. The top teams then moved on to Reno for the conference round. Following the conference round competition, four teams are now heading on to Los Angeles, Calif. to compete at the union level.
Why PBE? The Word of God has the power to reveal to us certain things that we would not know in any other way. For example, in Genesis 1-2 we learn:
- How and when the world was created.
- The reason people are the way they are (the effects of sin and salvation).
- The true nature of God.
Never underestimate the power of God’s Word to change a person’s life—to change your life.
My word… shall not return to me empty, but it… shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God’s Word can bring change in your life when nothing else can or will.
Timothy, a young man Paul had recruited and trained as a missionary disciple, was reminded of the gift he had received in being taught the Scriptures from his earliest years. “From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17, ESV).
Because Scripture is no mere human writing, but is authored by God Himself, it has a unique power to transform the human heart, to make us “wise for salvation.” Scripture enlightens our minds, unveils God’s glorious plan of salvation, teaches us His ways, and shows us how to live as His people. In order to meet the many challenges of our time with confidence and wisdom, our Pathfinders need to study the Word every year. We praise the Lord for this opportunity.
Please pray for these determined young people. As they choose to study the Word of God for the PBE, may the Word become a very real part of who they are becoming.