Giving Thanks, Receiving Peace

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Our dear sister Ellie Soto, beaming joyfully after her baptism. Next to her is her mother Leah, Ruth Quintanilla, and Amy Ciaramella.

Over the past eleven months, God has done great things among us! We are especially grateful to our Father in Heaven for granting us a major victory in our efforts to raise funds for missions! Our family of churches has planted many new congregations this past year and continually serves those planted prior in less developed nations. Our mission efforts support churches in places like Lagos Nigeria, Dubai UAE, Manila Philippines, Mexico City Mexico, Phenom Penh Cambodia, several churches in Haiti, and many more. It’s such an honor to know that our offering will support men and women becoming disciples in nations all over the globe. This year what was needed from Phoenix was $44,030. On November 19th , God gave us victory and our church family gave generously $44,617.19! And we give thanks to our God for his blessing for he promises to “open the floodgates of heaven!” (Malachi 3:10)

 

Tony Rivera just after his baptism! With his wife Angela & their two beautiful daughters Aviana and Ahliviah!

Another powerful victory from God was the baptism of our newest sister, Ellie Soto! Ellie’s transformation through Christ is a testimony to the power of God, his Word, and the love of God’s people as well as the persistent faith of Ellie’s mother, Leah. Ellie’s tears of gratitude and her heartfelt testimony were moving to see. God gets all the glory when we see someone like Ellie who has been raised “in the church” say “Jesus is Lord!” We are so thankful that God had allowed Elizabeth McDonnell to be in town this past Sunday as she actually studied the bible with Ellie initially about seven years ago while Ellie was in the teen ministry! It was also refreshing to see the sisters of the Chandler/Mesa and Tempe house churches collaborating to study with Ellie and help her become a disciple. We give thanks to God for him blessing our unity “to let the world know that [God] sent [Jesus] and [God] loved [Ellie] even as he loved [Jesus].” (John 17:23)

Jayleen and Stephon McGehee’s “Kingdom Wedding!”

Bianca and Juan Carlos walking down the isle just before they took their vows! It was another glorious “Kingdom Wedding!”

Chris Burdick (back left) and King Burke (from right) encourage Seta at his restoration!

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” (2 Thess 1:3)

It has been an amazing year so far – we’ve seen so many miracles this year! It was a total joy witnessing the baptism of Juan Carlos and Bianca earlier this year! And then, just a couple months later, being able to see them married in God’s kingdom! Shortly after that, God blessed us with Stephon and Jayleen – who both repented, were baptized into Christ, and then also married! All the disciples gave thanks when we saw the miracle of Angelica’s husband, Tony Rivera, making Jesus Lord and being baptized!

Our “precious” sister Bianca Preciado just after her baptism for the forgiveness of her sins! Pictured here are the Chandler sisters who studied the bible with her and her(now) husband Juan Carlos!

Stephon McGehee’s baptism! Pictured here are the brothers in the South Phoenix House Church who studied the bible diligently with Stephon!

We thank God for our sister Myra Shepeard joyfully joined God’s Kingdom in May! We give thanks as well for Cara Higgs, who is a great servant in our administration team and is also going to LA to support the ministries sending out disciples to the Albuquerque planting! The teen ministry gave thanks to God for the miracle of seeing Natalie’s (not-so) little brother be baptized into Christ – Christopher Burdick! The campus ministry gave thanks and rejoiced as God gracefully added to their number CJ Young, Chelcie Jolly, Isaiah Johnson and Lemuel Hardy!

Myra Shepeard (center right), just after her baptism! Pictured with her are the sisters from the Chandler/Mesa House Church. From left to right, Bianca Preciado, Amy Ciaramella, Kinji Davis, Myra and her son Anthony, Regina Holmes and Karen Grover!

Cara Higgs just before her baptism Feb 4 2017! She’s moving to LA to fill the gaps left there by the Albuquerque planting Jan 2018!

 

This year, the church has seen more restorations than any in the past five. We are so encouraged that Michelle Weil was restored to the family of God! Bavan Damon repented, came to his senses, and was restored to the LORD! All of our hearts were moved (many to tears) when our dear teen aged brother Setaleki (aka “Seta”) returned to God. We were also privileged to see Joseph and Stephanie Ewing joyfully restored to the LORD along with our precious brother Brent Madison. It is also a great encouragement to have had Jason and Aurora McNeill join us and place membership with us in February! We give thanks to God for all of our brothers and sisters that God has added to our family this year!

Chelcie Jolly joyfully emerging from the waters of baptism- immersed by the dear sisters of the ASU Life Ministry! we “give thanks” and are encouraged by her joy and love for god!

Our dear sister CJ Young- Baptized by the sisters in the ASU Life Ministry!

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.” (2 Thess 1:3) “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7)

Our dear brother Isaiah Johnson rejoicing after his baptism, Pictured with Charles Day and Nelson Brown!

Christopher Burdick just after his baptism with his sister Natalie!

 

Our brother Lemuel Hardy right after the waters of baptism! Pictured with Nelson Brown and Charles Day!

It is God’s will for us to have “Thanksgiving” all year round – “in all circumstances.” The power of being grateful is undeniable and is taught as the key to “the peace of God” that “transcends all understanding!” Giving thanks is the path to gentleness and to conquering anxiety. Giving thanks is the fulcrum of having an evident gentleness. When we realize the LORD is near we naturally give thanks. Let us gratefully hold on to our Holiness during these “Holy Days” and remember all the miracles and wonders our God has performed for us this past year – giving thanks for every one of them! As we thank God for all he has done in the past, let us thank God for what he will do to his glory in the coming year – knowing it will be “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

In Christ,
 
We are family-to the end!
 
JMC

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