Excerpts from September Newsletter
From the Pastor…
John Beekman was born with a defective aortic valve. It was the size of a match when it should have been about the size of a thumb. John served 8 years as a missionary translator in the rugged mountains of southern Mexico before realizing that he would have to have an operation on that valve.
At Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C. a plastic valve was inserted into his heart. The valve operated by having a plastic ball rise and fall as the heart pumps and as the ball hits the top and bottom of the valve it ticks. “If all goes well,” the doctor assured him, “you should live at least five more years.” 12 years later John Beekman continued his work as a translator in Mexico. He can usually work an eight-hour day as long as he paces himself and sticks to a very strict diet.
In 1963 John was called to Chicago by the Moody Bible Institute and given the school’s “Alumnus of the Year” award. In his acceptance of this award which was broadcast over the radio, John said, “It’s interesting that before I start to ascend a flight of stairs, the ticking of my valve picks up speed, as if to prepare me for the extra energy I need.” The doctors were never able to explain this, although John noted that “It’s just the Lord giving me strength to do His work.”
Many of you know that I was in the hospital this week with chest pain. Each time I’m admitted to St. Clair Hospital I am reminded of all the issues that I have had with my heart in the last 23 years. I had my first heart attack at age 44. By 54 I had my second heart attack and quintuple by-pass surgery. Another heart attack occurred 5 years later. In the midst of all this were 9 heart catherizations. Yet I’m still here and still doing the Lord’s work.
I know that many people are faced with all kinds of ailments and problems, and yet the Lord still has work for you to do. It may not be what you have done in the past, but the Lord still has need of you. My hope and prayer is that you won’t give up no matter what the trial or tribulation, but stay in the presence of the Lord and gain strength and courage to continue to do the Lord’s work.
Grace and Peace,
A LITTLE BOX
There is a little wooden box on a wooden pole located outside of the Ingram Borough Building, on the parking lot side of the building. Originally this little doll house shaped box was used as a tiny lending library. Books could be picked up or dropped off to share with other readers in the community.
Due to economic issues, brought on by the virus, this little box is now a depository for food contributions. Those in need may take what they need and those with more plentiful resources can add non-perishable food donations.
If you or someone you know has a need, remember the little box. If you want to contribute your excess, please remember the little box.
A Prayer to Trust God and Surrender All
Heavenly Father, I surrender every area of my mind, will and emotions to You. I choose to dwell in Your goodness and faithfulness so that the good seeds You’ve planted in my life will take root. Keep me close to You and direct my steps down the good path You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Prayer For Physical and Emotional Strength
Heavenly Father, I ask you to strengthen my mind, body and spirit today. When I’m weary, may I be refreshed. When I’m worn, may I be renewed. When I’m broken, may I be restored. When I’m fearful, may I become faithful. I pray that I walk in complete confidence today knowing that the Lord Almighty is with me. Amen.
A Prayer For Renewal
Heavenly Father, I pray for Your strength to be renewed in me, a boost of faith to overcome my fears and a splurge of power in my state of powerlessness. Help me to get back on my feet once again and to run the race that is set before me. Amen.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all of us. We wonder what the “new normal” will be. Church services were cancelled for a period. Some churches are not open yet. Those of us currently attending church may no longer give a friendly handshake or hug. We do not sit next to our friends anymore. Social distancing has taken much of the Christian companionship from our services. Some of us fear going to church services as the threat of contamination is present. This is all new to us and we think that this break in our services unprecedented.
In looking through a history of our church I found that during the autumn of 1918 the church services were discontinued because of the nation-wide epidemic of Spanish influenza. The session, however, met for special meditation. They read scripture and prayer while the pastor spent a great part of his time ministering in the homes of the sick.
The difference now is that when the physical church doors were not open congregations were able to turn to the television and internet to remain part of the church family. Let us all continue to keep the church’s spiritual doors open with our prays and meditation. Reach out to fellow members by phone, email, or letter just to say “hello, we miss you”.
BREAKING BREAD TOGETHER
Please invite your family and friends to join us at the U.P. Church in Ingram for a Free Dinner. The dinners are held on the last Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6 pm. The menu varies each month, but it is always a full meal. To follow safe distancing rules, there is seating both inside and outside with take-out available. Masks are requested except when eating. Again, there is no charge, but donations are welcome. Helpers for set up and clean up are always needed. Be part of this “breaking bread” together and bring a neighbor.
Mr. John Howe made his trip to Heaven August 12th. Many of our church members do not remember John Howe. He and his lovely wife Gloria joined the U.P. Church in Ingram after their home church, the Sheraden Community Presbyterian Church closed. Both were active in the Sheraden Church. Mr. Howe was the church treasure and Clerk of Session. Both taught Adult Sunday School and both held church offices. They carried their service skills to Ingram with John singing in the choir and Gloria teaching in the Sunday School. Married 71 years, Mr. and Mrs. Howe were a loving Christian couple that followed Jesus in their thoughts and actions. The world is better for having John Howe being a part of it.
Thanks to Janet Wood, our news reporter.