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01
Jan

New Year’s Choices

By Kim-Marie Coon

New-Year-960x140aIt’s the new year. New year. New choices. Some people call them resolutions, but I don’t like that term. Resolution seems like a word that will set you up and let you down. Why not call it a choice? I choose to get myself healthier this year. It’s a choice, I don’t have to do it, but I want to. I choose to buckle down in my studies this year. I chose to go to school, I now choose to spend more time doing the work.

But what if I take it a step farther? What if I choose to have a more Christ-like attitude? What if I choose to try to see others as God sees them? I can choose to reflect God’s grace towards me on to other people. I can choose to cut that driver ahead of me some slack when they don’t seem to understand the basic rules of the road. Because, really, like I’ve never pulled a stupid move. I could choose to let it go and not cause more problems. What if I choose to try to see the other guy’s side in a disagreement? The world could use more empathy. Or what if I choose to pay a stranger a compliment – I think her outfit is stylin’, what’s keeping me from saying that out loud, maybe make her day? We can all use better days.

Here’s my big choice though, I’m going to choose to trust God for everything. What’s holding me back? It’s not like I /like/ worrying about the stuff I can’t control (or frequently the stuff I can). What if I choose to say, “Hey God, I can’t handle this, you deal with it”? Do I doubt He can do it better than me? Even God’s worst is better than my best. God has been so faithful to me, especially during the sordid episode I call the last 21 months of my life. He has shown me over and over that He’s there, He knows me and He cares what happens to me. How many examples do I need to know that He’s going to handle the next thing, too? The world can be a pretty scary place. I can choose to be afraid of what the future may bring, or I can choose to trust God to have good plans for me. I’m going to choose to trust God.

Happy (and trusting) New Year, everybody!

23
Dec

Our Season of Giving is Ongoing: Introducing the Stroman Fund

By Pam Bush, Mission Committee Secretary

In 1989 FPC members John and Patricia Caldwell established the Stroman Fund with an initial gift of $500,000 given to the glory of God and in honor of the ministry of Dr. Richard Stroman who pastored the congregation for over thirty years. The endowment’s earnings above the initial gift are to be used to support mission work above and beyond the church’s yearly mission budget. Over the years Dr. George Goodrich and Dr. Stroman’s widow, Joan, would discuss with the Mission Committee Chairman the distribution of the funds. Currently the Mission Committee, chaired by Elder Ron Scheese, makes the decisions about distribution. Since its inception the Stroman Fund has distributed nearly $1,000,000 to advance the Gospel worldwide. Here are some of the distributions for 2015:

Missions$1,285 to Worldlink Ministries International for Nepal Relief
Worldlink Ministries International, located in Audubon, PA, links western churches and individuals with indigenous missionaries for an increased spread of the Gospel through the work of the missionaries. Worldlink currently has 236 supported missionaries, most living on $25-$200 per month. There were five Worldlink Nepalese missionaries needing assistance after the April earthquake. The membership of First Presbyterian gave $1215, and with the addition from the Trust, a total gift of $2500 was given.

$2,500 for Bob Lehman’s cataract surgeries
Bob and Debbie Lehman are Wycliffe Bible Translators missionaries in Manila, Philippines. Bob is a teacher for the missionary children at Faith Academy. The Lehmans asked for assistance so that Bob’s eyesight could be restored. Both surgeries were successful.

$11,250 for expenses on furlough and return to Kiev for Eide Family
Jon and Tracy Eide serve with Mission to the World planting churches in Kiev, Ukraine, and have been there since 1996. They visited First Presbyterian in January 2015 while home on a one year furlough. They needed $14,500 in extra gifts, mostly for airfare, tuition for their children, and repairs to their Kiev home when they returned and found it in serious condition.

$5,000 for Brad and Lori
This couple serves with ZOE International in Asia. For security reasons we do not publish their surname or location. ZOE is a ministry that rescues children from sex slavery, ministers to their needs, prepares them for adulthood, and houses them until they are 18 years old. Brad was an undercover detective and Lori an office administrator before heading to Asia in 2014. Brad now heads up the team which rescues children, and Lori applies for grants from different sources to support the work of ZOE.

$6,000 for Leurbourg Orphanage, Practical Compassion
Practical Compassion, based in Lebanon, PA, pours 100% of its donations into a town, Ponte Sonde, in Haiti. Their staff serves as volunteers. They built and support 3 orphanages, 3 schools, six wells, and a medical clinic in the town. They needed to raise money to feed 200 orphans, some in later stages of malnutrition. The $6,000 supplies 6 months of food for the children. Practical Compassion raised a total of $18,000 for the children’s food supply.

$5,000 to Worldlink for the ministry needs of Frances & Melvina Bella, Central African Republic
Frances and Melvina Bella’s home was ransacked and burned down two years ago. Since then they have lived in a refugee camp in Bangui, Central African Republic where Pope Francis recently visited. Frances, a pastor, has developed a daily ministry in the camp, and together he and Melvina have seen many come to Christ as Savior and Lord. The money requested was used to provide further evangelistic tools to reach more of the refugees, many of whom are Muslims, with the Gospel.

$50,000 to Worldlink – Matching Funds Campaign
Worldlink President Jack Nelson asked First Presbyterian to be the matching donor for the ministry’s year-end matching gift campaign. We have committed to matching up to $25,000 in 2015, and an additional $25,000 at the start of 2016 if the ministry partners donate the total $50,000. This money will be used to stabilize the ministry while Worldlink’s Matching Gifts Team raises additional large gifts for the ministry in 2016. The goal is to have a total of 400 supported indigenous missionaries by December 31, 2016, and to assure the ministry is financially stable.

$25,000 to Kenya Orphanages The Very Rev. Bernard and Mrs. Eunice Muindi requested this gift for the continuing ministries at Tumaini Destitute Children’s Home and the Humura Handicapped Home in Nyeri, Kenya. Rev. Muindi has been a faithful and detailed correspondent for many years and we are thrilled to be able to assist him in this great need.

$15,000 to Hebron Zion Presbyterian Church, Johns Island, SC
Rev. Washington has been keeping us well-informed of the disbursement of yearly gifts and we are also delighted to support this greatly needed food ministry there on Johns Island.

$1,500 to Amanda Keeny Odessa, Ukraine
Amanda Keeny, a native Berks Countian, serves with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) as a church planter in Odessa, Ukraine. Amanda is a new missionary and joined the team in Odessa in August 2015. The $1500 was to help with moving expenses to get her onto the field.

$2,000 to River of Hope Therapeutic Ministries
River of Hope is headquartered in Lebanon, PA with satellite offices in Berks and Lancaster Counties. This agency nurtures healthy relationships by providing hope and healing through preventative education and professional, Christ-centered therapy for all ages and life stages. FPC member Becky Hollenbach, who has her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, is on the staff of River of Hope.

$1,000 to Fireproof Ministries for support of David Domanski
FPC member David Domanski regularly participates in mission trips with Fireproof Ministries, which seeks to minister to those involved in the pornography industry, and those addicted to pornography. David, a 22-year old college student, is on the Missions Committee and is dedicated to seeing men and women set free from addiction to pornography, and new life in Jesus Christ.

$3,000 for City Light Ministries
City Light Ministries is a center-city shelter in Reading, PA that ministers to those no other shelter will help. It is a ministry of Spring Valley Church of God. In the past year the shelter needed extensive repairs in order to meet city codes inspection, and First Presbyterian joined many other local churches and businesses in providing the funding.

16
Dec

The 2015 Salvation Bell Ringing Experience

We had an exceptional response to the First Pres bell ringing efforts at Redner’s Market. Thank you everyone who participated!

Bob & Lynn

Bob & Lynn

Don & Lee

Don & Lee

Joan

Joan

Jim & Ginny

Jim & Ginny

Ron & Jose

Ron & Jose

Interested in Joining Us?

First Presbyterian Church
A Member of ECO – A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians

37 S. Fifth Street
Reading, PA 19602

610-375-3389
info@fpcreading.org

SUNDAY WORSHIP & PRAISE
9:30AM                      Worship Service                                                                    /Children’s Church
10:45AM                    Coffee/Fellowship
11:00AM                    Education for All Ages

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