A Note from Pastor Chelsea
I have a love-hate relationship with the “Memories” feature on Facebook.

There’s the hate side: “Did I really think that was a good outfit choice?” or “How was college that long ago?” or “All the children need to stop growing up so fast!”

But there’s also the love side. Memories of family vacations or nights out with friends or encouraging ministry moments.

This past week, a photo popped up and, boy, did the memories ever flood in! I was reminded that three years ago I was in the midst of one of the most difficult seasons of my life. Those of you who were in service on Mother’s Day heard me share some of that story.

I was at a crossroads. I sensed God was calling me to a new ministry role, but wasn’t sure just yet what that was. I’d just gotten wind from a friend that her church in Texas was still accepting applicants for a new Children’s Pastor. I was prayerfully considering applying for the position, but didn’t want to act out of haste rather than out of the Holy Spirit’s leading.

My folks sensed I wasn’t doing well, and my mom decided to fly out for the weekend. It wound up being cheaper for Mama to fly into O’Hare than Indianapolis, which was fine with both of us since we love Chicago.

So, on a Saturday morning, I trekked out to pick Mama up. The airport wasn’t too crazy and we were able to duck out in a decent amount of time.

We stopped to shop a little and grab lunch. While we were out, I received a phone call from the Senior Pastor of the Texas church and he encouraged me to get my application in ASAP. I knew from the moment I talked with him that this indeed was where the Holy Spirit was leading and I needed to freshen up my résumé.

About an hour or so later, my sweet Mama started having some pretty severe abdominal pain and it only got worse. We ended up deciding to take her to the Emergency Room, since as far as we could tell every Urgent Care in the greater Chicago area closed at 3 p.m.

I’m glad we did because the hospital ended up admitting Mom overnight. Mom has a history of GI issues and so the hospital staff wasn’t messing around.

Let’s back up a few steps and make the story a little crazier. I was scheduled to baptize two elementary-aged girls the next morning at my church back in Indianapolis. After deliberating with Mama and – via phone – my dad back in Oregon, we decided I needed to drive back to Indianapolis so I could be present for their baptisms. Mama’s pain had radically subsided by this point and she was now comfortably resting in her room.

So, around 9:15 p.m. Chicago time, I hopped back in my car and drove the 3-hour trip to Indy. I arrived home at 2 a.m. Indiana time. I know it sounds crazy, but I did not want to miss this sacred moment with these sweet girls, who had invited me into their faith journeys by asking me to officiate their baptisms!

I rolled out of bed 7 a.m. Sunday morning, got ready and headed into church. I sat in our Early Childhood Center offices wrapping up a few final Sunday morning details when I heard a massive BOOM and watched as all the electricity in the church suddenly shut off, the emergency lights flickered on, and the alarm system began beeping in discomfort.

A quick investigation showed that the transformer powering our church was smoking, falling victim to a squirrel … who, in a cruel twist, fell victim to an electrical surge.

After some deliberation, our staff decided it wasn’t safe to host services in a pitch-black building and we needed to cancel. It wasn’t an easy call, but we had no idea when power would be restored.

I’m going to be honest. My first thought was, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” These sweet girls had worked so diligently preparing their hearts for baptism. Their families had traveled in from out of town. Even I’d spent hours in the car to ensure I’d be back in time for the morning.

Enter the Hydro Rush.

What’s a Hydro Rush you ask? Well, it’s a massive backyard water toy – a pool base with a slide and a sprinkler soaker. It’s a great thing to set up if it is a 79-degree day in Indianapolis and you’ve got a ton of families coming over to celebrate your daughter’s baptism.

And – incidentally – it became a great thing in which to actually do a baptism.

One of the girls’ moms had the brilliant idea to host a “Backyard Baptism” and invited the other family to be a part. After planning in the church parking lot, we decided to reconvene at this family’s house in an hour and a half.

I grabbed everything I could think of to help this baptism feel as true to form as it would have at the church – baptismal robes, the plush terry cloth robes we let folks wear afterwards, baptism certificates … loaded up my car and joined the family at their home.

What transpired next felt like a glimpse of Heaven right here on earth. The girls’ dads read their testimonies, my high school intern prayed over the girls, and I officiated the baptisms – right there in the Hydro Rush! The girls publicly declared their faith for Jesus in front of family and friends, in a pool of freezing cold hose water.

After the baptism, I headed back to Chicago to pick my mom up from the hospital. We checked into a local hotel and, just before we called it a night, I submitted my application to Parkgate Community Church.

Friends, if someone had told me that weekend that three years from now I’d be living in Texas (as would my brother and his family), serving in a life-giving ministry role and engaged to be married, I’d have told them they were absolutely bonkers.

Even as I felt tangled in the thorns of life, experiencing a wide swath of emotion, God was at work pruning and shaping my life into something new, something I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

I don’t know where you’re at as you read this today – but I want to reassure you that whether you’re in the thorns or reaping the benefits of the harvest, God’s with you. And he isn’t stagnant – he’s a constant gardener, cultivating and caring for your life even if you can’t quite see the growth yet.
Who knows? Three years from today, you might find yourself looking at a Facebook memory and thinking, “Wow, God did all that while I wasn’t even looking!”

I leave you with the words of Philippians 1:6 from The Living Bible translation: "And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns."

Pastor Chelsea
Shortly after the Backyard Baptism
THIS SUNDAY:
Grace > Religion
Galatians 1:6-10
 
News & Events
Grief Support Class
Sundays | 9 a.m. Room 23
It's not too late to join our Grief Support Class! Join Dr. Nehiel Rojas at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings as we study grief, a natural process when you lose someone or something dear to you. Come and take a step toward healing. This class gathers in Room 23. Pat Miley will be speaking this Sunday about grieving the loss of a spouse.
Nursing Home Visit
Saturday, May 25 • 10 a.m.
You're invited to join us as we minister and bless the residents of a local nursing home through fellowship and singing. Simply meet at Vista Continuing Care, 4300 Vista Road. Questions? Contact Danette Lawson.
Baptism Service
Sunday, June 2
On Sunday, June 2, we will celebrate what God has done among us by baptizing those who have come to Christ. If you have made Jesus the leader of your life and would like to take this important step, contact the church office .

ESL Classes at Parkgate
Interest Day June 1 • 9 a.m. - Noon
Know someone interested in attending our ESL program? Invite them to our ESL Interest Day on Saturday, June 1. On this day our team will administer placement tests and stations will be set up to introduce the different classroom activities we will be using to teach. Contact Frankie Duenes for further information. Classes officially begin Monday, June 17.
Guest Services Breakfast
Saturday, June 22 • 9-10 a.m.
If you serve on a Guest Services Team, either as an usher or a greeter, then you are invited to a special breakfast in your honor Saturday June 22, from 9 - 10a.m. This is Parkgate’s way of saying thank you for your ministry ... it matters!

We’ll also be talking about how to improve the effectiveness of our ministry by helping people feel welcomed in our church. Remember, when we make people feel welcomed, we open up the possibility that they will welcome Christ into their lives.

Hope to see you there! Please let Pastor Kenneth know if you can attend this breakfast.
Worship Team Brunch
Saturday, June 22 • 10 - 11:30 a.m.
If you are involved in the worship team then you are invited to a Worship Ministry Brunch on Saturday, June 22, from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. During this time, we'll get to know each other better and discuss our ministry. Your role is important and Parkgate is extremely  grateful for it.   THANK YOU!

Please let Pastor Kenneth know if you can attend.
VBS Donations Needed
Vacation Bible School is the largest outreach event at Parkgate Community Church each year. We are excited to see what God will do through this year's program and the hearts he will reach for his kingdom.

We are able to offer VBS for free because of generous donations from folks like you. We have several items still in need of purchasing. Take a moment and peruse our lists by clicking the buttons below.
 
Birthdays & Anniversaries
June Birthdays
1 Brian Deshotel, Ron Elkins • 2 Luke Stanley, Dane Torres • 3 Betty Smith •
4 Virginia Jenkins • 5 David Smith, Rick Stanley • 7 Katelyn Feirtag, Erin Montanari • 10 Ethan Al;varado, Bert Muston • 11 Michael Spiller, Chelsea Walker • 12 Maribel Hyatt • 14 Kendal Boyd • 16 Becky Hicks, Meekah Pinney, Sharon Reynolds • 17 Marissa Estimbo, Bill Kilgore • 19 Diane McClanahan • 21 Diane Barber, Cherilyn Keeney • 22 Donna Schultz • 23 Landen Boyd, Joanna Rojas • 26 A.J. Vasquez • 27 John Braswell, George Duncan • 28 Britnee Cortez, Shirley Votaw
June Anniversaries
1 William & Sheila Gonzalez • 4 Paul & Lisa Heacock • 6 John & Cydni Choate, Glen & Judy Stevenson • 8 Bryan & Amy Axtell • 10 Joel & Elvia Tellez • 11 Mark & Jill Wiess • 13 Carl & Liz Hicks, Kevin & Becky Hicks • 21 Dale & Margaret Johnson, Earl & Donna Schultz, Jack & Andrea Wissel • 26 Charles & Judy Shafer • 29 Brad & Jenni Barnes