Pastor’s 2014 Fall Report

Now is an exciting time to be a part of Good Shepherd UMC.  Good things keep happening.  Yesterday I went to a luncheon provided by the North Texas Conference Mission Office to meet David and Cindy Ceballos, United Methodist missionaries in Panama.  What delightful servants of our Lord Jesus, and what good work they are doing with the people who have become their neighbors and friends in the jungle of central Panama! 
I do hope you will come to meet them nextCindy and David Ceballos Wednesday, November 12.  Be sure to be here at 6:00 p.m. because our UMW is providing Hobo Soup.  You will love getting to know Cindy and David.  Their enthusiasm is contagious as they tell stories about how God is moving and blessing people.
Our church is working to establish a long-term covenant relationship with the Ceballos.  That is definitely exciting.  We will stay in touch with what they are dong through e-mails and Skype.  Imagine — our children can actually make new friends with Panamanian children in real time!  Who knows, you may find yourself on a mission trip to Panama one of these days. 
More exciting news:  Our trustees have approved the plans and signed the contract for a beautiful pavilion cover for the patio on the east side of the church.  Thank you to the members who had the vision for this addition to the church and made it happen.  If the weather holds, LandCreations will complete our outdoor gathering space before Christmas.  Then just imagine the ways we will use it!  First of all, we can have an afternoon Family Christmas Eve Service. And we can have the Easter Sunrise outside — rain or shine.  I envision having shady pot-luck dinners even in the summer.  And how about an outdoor musical concert in the spring?  There are so many possibilities.
In the area of outreach in our community, it was just one year ago that we began dreaming about developing an on-going relationship with Harper Elementary in the Princeton ISD.  We began by donating funds to their Book Fair so that each student could purchase a book.  Then we dedicated half of our Christmas Mission Offering to Harper.  In January, 2014, we got involved in a more personal way when 11 of us began mentoring students once a week.  It is exciting to see how God has been blessing and multiplying the things we do for others.  Members of Creekwood UMC joined with us this past September, and now there are over 50 mentors at Harper.  Then last month we expanded our efforts to include teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to Harper parents.
Our Mission Offering for November will go to purchase books for the Harper Library.  You can dedicate your gifts for Harper anytime during November by writing “Harper” on the comment line of your check.  Instilling a love of reading in a young child is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Next week your church Council will meet to develop the budget for 2015.  If you have not turned in your Commitment Card yet, please do so on Sunday or mail it to the church this week.  Good Shepherd UMC is on the move into God’s future.  These are exciting times in the life of our church.  Your generosity determines how fast and how far we can live into God’s dreams for what we can become. 
One last bit of excitement comes from our Water-saver Garden.  In the first full week of November we have a harbinger of spring.  It’s a promise of what our garden will be when it bursts into bloom in a few months.  I just love being a part of a church that dreams, hopes, and then does something about it! 
I pray you are relishing the fall and growing in joy and faith and that I will see you on Sunday!