Friend for Life,
A pleasant Happy New Year to you on this wonderful day! We must always keep the holy scriptures in mind, Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Be confident that it is working out for our good. Since you are a recipient of this letter, I know that you love God. It is within Him that we live, move and have our being. I hope that you are like me and will continue to trust in God all of your days here upon this earth.
Let me say how happy I am for you and what you have meant to the advancement of the kingdom. We saw multiple months pass by last year that seemed for some like a decade, but “through it all” we made it to this point. The gospel did not go without being preached, evangelism did not stop taking place, giving to the poor did not go lacking, and attending to the temporal matters continued to be addressed. We have collectively done the work that He has assigned our hands to do. It didn’t matter if the Word was preached on the corner on our lot, in the sanctuary, on the internet, the gospel was proclaimed each Sunday in 2020. Each Wednesday, we prayed together and shared God’s Word. Evangelism took place in multiple ways. We had many who stopped and parked in our lot. Some in cars, others riding their bikes, and some who were walking, and they heard from The Lord. We took one member in by letter, one through Christian Experience, and another as a candidate for baptism. God moves in the midst of threatened governmental shutdowns and pandemics. He is God! Just in case you don’t know when to get happy, that’s something to shout about. Many thought in the month of March of 2020 that churches would close down, they thought that there would be a huge “falling away,” but you beloved have as a whole remained true to your call and your commitment. I must admit that there have been some who have been non-responsive. I have not heard from them, they have not communicated, nor joined our internet worships, nor prayer calls. Some would suggest to leaders, “if they abandoned you in 2020, let them stay gone.” Well, that’s not my way of thinking. That is not something that is on my heart. My superlative example is Christ. I must continue to try to reclaim those who have backslidden or those who have not been exercising their faith. You play a big part in this, because you too can reach out to those who we haven’t seen or heard from. Take a part out of your day to check on them, and remind them that they are loved and that we are concerned about them. Share with them that we welcome them with open arms, because we are “The Church.”
The homeless and hungry continue to be part of the ongoing concern. The Food Pantry, winter clothes, winter blankets, and sock distribution, just to name a few has been a blessing to many. I’d like to thank everyone who has volunteered and contributed in one way or another to make sure that we care for those who are less fortunate. We never look down on them, but we see them and help them. That’s the way of The Master.
Friendship M.B.C. has shown her true colors. She hosted the Missionary Baptist Convention of Texas in December and everything was phenomenal! The extensive prep work prior and during was nothing short of amazing! The President and the delegates were very complimentary regarding the way that we hosted. Prior to the pandemic, in bible study we were studying “The Five Star Church” and you are just that. I am still overjoyed with the way everything was handled from our security, deacons, sisters, visitor’s courtesy, culinary, music, and audio/video ministries. We thank God for each one of you that assisted. I must say that it was a job well done.
I would like to also take the time to recognize our Youth Ministry and their presentation for The Lord for Christmas. We appreciate hearing and seeing young people who know Christ and who are not afraid to talk about Him. Our parents had to work with many of them and record them, so please know that we appreciate it and the time that it took to make it happen.
As we closed out 2020, I wanted us to gather together in a way that was wise. Our Zoom Watch Night Worship was Spirit filled, and for that we are all thankful. Strong testimonies, we were blessed by those who bragged on God. What better way to close out an old year and bring in a new year! We made history in 2020, it was our first time having a preacher from Friendship M.B.C. preach on foreign soil to our congregation. That was a blessing in more ways than one. We talk a lot about freedom of religion in America, but that is not the case in every country across the globe. People are killed, just because they may have a cross in their purse or in a drawer at home. Thank God, we were able to hear a Word from a majority Muslim practicing country. Jesus told us to go into all of the world, and that’s exactly what we did!
We are definitely looking forward to God doing what He is going to do this year and in the years to come. I want you to always be reminded as we embark upon a new year, if you are a child of God, you are in the boat. He is the captain. There may be treacherous waters around us, but with Jesus on our side things will work out fine. We are going to make it! Look in the mirror and remember to keep your CHIN UP, because we are FRIENDS FOR LIFE!
Servant for Him,
Pastor F.D. Sampson, Jr.