Christmas in July
by Linda Hutchinson
As the newest member of the Whitewater team, I have a lot to learn – new faces, new procedures, new technology which I am super challenged with by the way. So I apologize right now if I have to ask your name a time or two or even three. But I love the fact that one thing remains the same – the hope of the Gospel! God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 4:4-6 that there is one body and one spirit…one hope…one Lord…one faith…one baptism…one God and Father of all! I love that we can go ANYWHERE in the world and that promise holds true.
The hope of the Gospel is what Whitewater continues to preach, teach and live both inside and outside these walls, and I’m excited to be a very small part of that. I’ve been on staff less than a month and already I have witnessed your incredible giving of time, talents and resources. If you were at Whitewater last Christmas Eve, you may have remembered the special offering that was collected specifically for the Whitewater Benevolence Fund. In just one day, Whitewater Crossing Christian Church was able to raise over $50,000 to be used to help those in need both in our church family and out in the community in 2015. When I heard how this money came to be, I was blown away by the fact that it was all given in just one day! Wow, what a generous church family!
Thank you for your generosity. As Whitewater’s Pastoral and Community Care Director, my new role includes oversight of our benevolence ministry. Your sacrifices last Christmas Eve continue to help those who are struggling today. The benevolence team, already in place before I arrived, takes each request very seriously and tries their best to be good stewards of the monies you have entrusted to the team. The benevolence fund is not about a hand out, but a hand up where accountability, counseling, and prayer are offered and encouraged. We want to come alongside families who are ready for life transformation. Time is taken to verify information, meet and pray with clients, and offer financial, spiritual, and personal counseling. An invitation is also made to join us for a weekend gathering.
In just the short 3 weeks I have been on staff, I have personally had the chance to meet with and/or worship with 10 different folks from the community. One of those families was an older couple who live near the church. I’ll call them John and Lisa. John took an early retirement to care for his wife suffering from dementia. They have struggled to make ends meet ever since falling behind on their rent. John and Lisa came in and met with me. Neither one grew up with a church home. We talked about the importance of a faith foundation for their family and the legacy they could begin for their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We discussed a plan to help him work off his back rent with his landlord working around the property with Whitewater matching his pay. John felt empowered when he left with a plan to help himself. Free financial counseling through one of our team members was offered as well as an invitation to worship with us. I shared the amazing opportunities here for both of them and the cool things for their children and grandchildren.
Only God knows what will come from that interaction. As we were reminded last week, EVERY interaction is an opportunity for relationship, and EVERY relationship is an opportunity to share the Gospel. Your gifts last Christmas Eve continue to plant seeds of faith and hope today in our community. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving!