By Faith - Barb's Story

More from Barb below:

As I reflect on my years of life, I see it as a faith journey.

By faith, I received the Word of the Lord that my parents taught me.

By faith, one night as a teenager kneeling by my bed, I submitted my life to Jesus Christ and His lordship.

By faith, I was often driven to the woods on our farm to seek the meaning of my life through tears, prayers, and God’s Word.

By faith, through the help and influence of Aunt Margaret, I went to college to become an elementary teacher.

By faith, I stepped out of the Mennonite community to attend Millersville State College (PA).

By faith, at the suggestion of my brother, I went to an unknown place in South Carolina to attend Columbia Bible College. The motto of the college fit well with my own life desire: “To know Him and to make Him known.”

By faith, in my second year at Bible College, I refused financial help from my father so that I could trust God for my needs. God provided for these through a job and through unexpected gifts.

By faith, while at Columbia, I was able to say, after soul struggles, “I’m willing to serve you single, Lord.”

By faith, single and insecure, I applied to the Latin American Mission and trusted God to provide my financial support.

By faith, on a remote jungle airstrip on the border of Venezuela and Brazil, I accepted Jim’s proposal for marriage, trusting that God would unite us to serve God and others.

By faith, Jim and I adopted three children from Latin America. I had confidence in what God was going to do in each of their lives and in my life as a parent.

By faith, God carried us through each experience of our three years in Colombia: my ruptured disk, an airplane accident (fatalities: two pigs), Jim’s typhoid fever (even after receiving preventative shots), a failed refrigerator, a failed communal living attempt, and a car accident with the two kids and me. Though we were robbed various times, though there were accidents and failures, though we lost our first rented house along with a year’s rent, I will rejoice in the Lord and I will be joyful in God my Savior. Because of God’s grace, we are not bitter, but value that time in Colombia as a time of growth.

By faith, we left Mission Aviation Fellowship, along with its financial support, when Jim went to graduate school.

By faith, Jim and I choose that I should be an at-home mom, even though there was little income. I believed God would help us live with less and would provide for us, and He did.

By faith, I spent many nights weeping and praying for my children through their difficult years.

By faith, we live each day allowing Him to lead us in our contacts, bringing blessing and truth to them, be they neighbors, counselees in the Counseling Clinic, older homebound people, our prayer group, or parents of adoptees.

We serve a great God. We call on our God who is worthy to be praised. He is our strength, our rock, our fortress, our savior, our shield, our stronghold for now and forever.

Packing 55,000 meals for Ukraine

Last Wednesday, the Church came together to serve. Young and old, Protestant and Orthodox, American and Ukrainian stood side by side to pack 55,000 meals for Ukrainian refugees.

The reason for this Church unity is an unfortunate one. The war-torn Ukraine is in crisis, and people are in desperate need of food. Families have fled Ukraine, and families have stayed; both are without food and many other everyday resources. Some refugees have even made their way to the US and served with us last Wednesday. They told of the destruction firsthand, sharing that only 10% of their town was still standing.

The reality is dire, ugly, and heartbreaking. Even so, God is on the move in His Church.

The Church showed up. Over 300 people came to serve: the combined Refuel ministries of Fervent Women, Real Men, Youth, and Kids and an overwhelming number of individuals from North Heights, Meals from the Heart, Convoy of Hope, St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the broader community. A complimentary dinner was available before the packing, and a meal for 150 served 223. The Lord was multiplying soup in front of our very eyes.

The Church gave generously. We raised $24,668 in less than a week for Ukrainian relief. In fact, we raised enough for a down payment on another meal pack.

The Church served well. There were so many volunteers eager to help that we had to rotate serving shifts, and some people waited for an hour for their chance to serve. The efforts paid off because we packed over 7 pallets of food.

God is uniting His Church to do His work. The Holy Spirit was moving powerfully on Wednesday night, and we’re excited for Him to do it again. On Sunday, May 1, we will have another meal pack opportunity to support even more Ukrainian refugees in Eastern Europe.

Let's do it again, Church family! 

Posted by Hannah Varberg

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