Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since that awful day we remember as 9/11. All of us old enough to have experienced it remember where we were and what we were doing as the tragic events unfolded. On that fateful morning, the World Trade Center Towers had been destroyed, the Pentagon had been attacked, and another airliner with many passengers had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives in these coordinated and brutal acts of terrorism. And many more thousands were left grieving the loss of their loved ones – emotional scars they still bear to this day.
I didn’t personally lose anyone in the 9/11 tragedy. But I felt as if I had. And even those of us who were far removed from the horror knew that life would never be the same again. And it hasn’t been, has it?
We saw both sides of human nature. In the aftermath of the ruthless cruelty of the terrorists we began to hear many stories of courage and self-sacrifice. Heroism side by side with evil: the contrast and contradiction is hard to understand. But it reminds us that we are, when all is said and done, made in the image of God. And it is through the person and work of Jesus, the Son of God incarnate who has taken our evil upon himself, that ultimate healing will come. So, though evil continues, in faith we look to the day when all this horror will be just a distant memory. And as his followers, we seek to share in what he is doing.
However, this Sunday the horrors of 9/11 will not be a distant memory for many thousands of people. So I want to ask our congregations to be sure to remember them in our prayers this weekend. And if you, personally, know someone who lost a loved one, or whose life was shattered by those events ten years ago, why not call them, or send them a personal note? Let them know that they are not forgotten and that you are praying for them.
In the last Weekly Update, I noted the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene. We learned this week that some of our members in the U.S. experienced significant damage to their homes. Among them were GCI Pastor Al Nelson and his wife Arlene, who live in Vermont. Irene left 17 inches of water standing on the first floor of their home. Also, two of their vehicles were destroyed. Insurance covers the vehicles but not the house. They are seeking financial help through FEMA. Al’s brothers are helping him rebuild. Al figures that the house won’t be back to normal for six months. In the meantime, he presses on in serving the congregation that he pastors. Please pray for Al and Arlene and others affected by this tragedy.
In this issue, we share exciting news about our new church plant in Los Angeles. We also feature a video of a discussion I had with Dan Rogers concerning the importance of church planting for GCI. Also check out reports on the 50th anniversary of our Elkhart, IN congregation, the commissioning of John Pairitz as the new senior pastor in our Michigan City, IN congregation, and the Caribbean Women’s Conference.
Let us, in prayer, fight together the good fight of faith. Please join me in praying for several mentioned this week (see the links under Prayer and Updates).
Love from my family to yours,