December 4, 2020

I came home from work the other day and saw one of my dogs sitting in the grass about 50 yards from the gate. He was wearing a red coat so I knew who he was. I waved – nothing. I jumped around- nothing. Maybe, I thought, the dog is as blind as I am, not knowing who I was? So I called to him. Immediately, he came running, tail wagging, jumping up on the gate to get his ears scratched. The dog had to hear my voice to know who I was and that I was one who fed him, cared for him, gave him a warm bed to sleep in at night. Other animals I have had over the years tended to fall into the same pattern, whether they be cats, horses, chickens or sheep, I could walk around and be watched by them, but until I spoke, no one but one especially friendly cat ever came over until I called them by name. Until they heard my voice, they were cautious. I could be a Navajo trickster fox trying to grab them to eat them or some other animal’s human, not their human, the one they knew cared for them. Animals ignore strangers, responding only to a voice they recognize.

Since I went blind about 10 years ago, I have learned more and more to rely on my hearing. The blindness occurred suddenly. I shot a few blood clots to my optic nerves and, like that I could only see various shades of gray shadows. I was very annoyed at first; I was a teacher who had power points to display and tests to grade. How inconvenient. My condition was rare, so eye doctors had no remedies. I couldn’t see anything, but I could still feel and count the buttons on the telephone to call my sons. Wasn’t it lucky that I still had a button phone to push; a smart phone would not have been much help with its touch screen. I called until one answered and said “This is your mother. I just went blind and can’t see the doctor until tomorrow. I need you to drive me to school and set up the power point. I have a class to teach at 9 AM.”

For the next four months, until I had had several treatments to regain partial sight, my sons took turns driving me to work, setting me up, and driving me home. The college loved it because they didn’t have to try to find a substitute to take over my classes. Fortunately, I had no clinicals that semester. On test days, a proctor came and sat in class until the test was over to guard against cheating. My sons graded the papers. Fortunately, I had taught those courses before, so I knew the curriculum and the power points. I had a student click on them for me and I knew which gory slides would draw a gasp or groan and listened for the reaction. Hearing is not given enough credit in our visual, fast paced world.

Some more operations into my blindness, I am legally blind, but can see large objects like houses, trucks, people over 3 feet tall, so I am allowed to drive. I can see three colors, red, green, and blue so naturally I have a green car, one I can find in the parking lot among all your boring, uncolorful cars. But I cannot see faces; they are blurry. I will walk right past you until you speak, until I hear your voice. It is someone I know, someone who is friendly, not a Navajo trickster fox. Which brings me back to my beginning thought about trust.

Jesus said in John10:1-11 that he was the shepherd of his sheep, the ones entrusted to his care. When he calls them by name, they follow him because they know his voice, they know they belong to him. A stranger comes and calls them; the sheep will not follow him because they do not know his voice. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for us that we, his sheep, might live. All we have to do is trust in Jesus and He will guide our path into righteousness. Thanks be to God for infinite mercy and grace!

-- Dee Billops
Matt & Amy Greer perform "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" byTaylor Davis
During Advent you are invited to participate in personal Advent Evening Prayer and Worship in the comfort of your home at the close of each day. Download this guide HERE.
Let’s share the spirit of Advent and Christmas by sharing photos of our at-home altar spaces, the lighting of Advent candles, and our holiday decorations! Please also consider sharing a favorite Advent & Christmas memory! Email your photos and a description to Shea at
The list of Advent and Christmas events has been updated! Click the image above to see what is new.
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at! Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
  • A Focus Word or Phrase
  • A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
  • One page of a Devotion
  • A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
Saturday, December 5 | 7:30 am
We don’t know the exact dates of travel, for Mary and Joseph south across the flatlands of the Jordan River, then over the hills surrounding Jerusalem and on into Bethlehem. It is believed it was during the winter months. They were forced to take this journey, due to an edict from the Roman government, in the late stages of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus. The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, depending on the route taken is between 70-90 miles. (Read Luke 2)

Come join Mountain Cathedrals THIS Saturday December 5th. We will be exploring several major biotic zones in New Mexico at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge includes pinon-juniper woodlands, Colorado Plateau shrub-steppe, Great Plains grassland, and Chihuahuan desert zones.

Our journey will take us south on Hwy 25, approximately 60 miles from the Big I. We will be hiking the Mesa View Trail, which is a 5.5 mile loop. The trail difficulty is rated easy to moderate, an elevation rise from 4839 to 5096.

Please plan to meet at St John’s parking lot on Saturday December 5th at 7:30 am. The hike itself will be about 4 hours, the travel time will be 2 hours: one out and one back. Plan on being back in Albuquerque by 2pm, perhaps a little earlier. PLEASE CALL THE CHURCH OFFICE BEFORE FRIDAY AT NOON TO REGISTER IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HIKE. WE ARE LIMITING THE HIKE TO 10 CARS.

Mountain Cathedrals will be making 2 hikes in December. The next one will be Saturday December 19th. Be looking for more details about this hike.
Sundays | 9:30 & 11:00 am
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service on Sunday morning at 9:30 am (Contemporary) on the Abide Facebook page and 11:00 am (Traditional) on our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastors Pam and Kelly will lead, along with Shea Perry, Jim Ahrend, and Matt Greer). We hope that you’ll participate by singing and praying at home! Any questions? Email Matt at

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom registration is HERE.
Please Pray for:
The Gruen family in the passing into glory of Marge

Ann Boland and family in the passing into glory of Bob

Roger and Donna Eaton in the passing of sister Virginia Davis

Donna Bruce in the passing of her brother

Karen and Hal Tidler in the passing of their brother-in-law
Elaine Montague is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for November 23 - December 7.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Elaine: “Father, we ask that Elaine will know that you are by her side and that she will feel your deep tender love every moment of every day."
 DECEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Two Ministries for Children
This month, we have the opportunity to support two wonderful ministries dealing with children. The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas, has helped troubled children (ages 12-18) find a place to heal and grow in a loving Christian environment for over 125 years. Younger children thrive in homes of loving foster parents. “They (MCH) are here for me when no one else is.” “They never give up on us.” “I now know that God’s going to be there for me.
      A second Methodist-supported haven for children is Providence Place in San Antonio, Texas. Its motto says it all: “Giving God’s Children a Faith, a Family, a Future.” “Providence Place loved me and helped me make the best decision for my child without any pressure,” said one birth mother in the open adoption program. And, as an adoptive couple puts it, “It is indescribable the joy that Abby has brought into our lives.” Providence Place also helps young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities develop their full potential and learn to live on their own with minimal assistance.  Both of these fine ministries rely on our generous donations.
Contact Us
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at