May 23, 2014
Greetings from Ashland Christian Fellowship,
Here we are, enjoying another beautiful spring season with all the new life it brings. As I write this I have my windows open listening to the sweet sound of the birds singing. God truly has made all things beautiful in His time! As you may have already heard, Lori and I are starting a new season of life. After much prayer, and certainly, some sadness, we have decided to resign from pastoring the church. Being so far from our children and grandchildren, plus certain health issues for Lori, is our primary reason for this change. Of course after thirty four years of being 120 miles from a town of any size, this also has an impact on our decision. But we will never forget the people of Bethesda Mennonite Church, our conference ministers, and others in the Central Plains Mennonite Conference for all their love, support and prayers. We were truly blessed while pasturing in Ashland! We are forever grateful.
This spring has also been a beautiful season in our church. Last Saturday I was blessed to help at a branding along with several other people from our church. What made this branding so special to me was that the man whose cattle we were branding has recently been saved, and is part of our church. Praise God! This man was an alcoholic for twenty years. His conversion has been a great witness in our small community. Another man in our church led this man to the Lord and continues to disciple him. It’s so awesome to see a brother coming along side a younger brother in the Lord! Another brother “branded for Jesus”!
This Easter was the first time we had a joint sunrise service with the Missionary Alliance Church. We hosted the service at our church. We were blessed to have about fifty people in attendance. I thought it was awesome to raise that many from the “bed” that early in the morning! Actually, that’s about ten percent of our community. Praise God! Following the service we enjoyed a breakfast together . We also gave everyone a helium balloon . On the count of three we all let them go and yelled “He is risen.” This, I think, has become a new tradition in our church. It was also great to see some “unchurched” people at this service and enjoying it.
It’s been exciting to baptize four people this month. One of those baptized was a young man who was recently saved through a jail ministry. Him and another man that we baptized, you might say, had made a “career of crime”. But they are now part of God’s family. “All things are possible with God!”
On Mother’s Day following our worship service the guys served lunch to all the mothers. We also gave each mother flowers to plant. It’s kind of fun to see which guys really can cook! We did ok.
This week we are preparing to host the Bethesda Mennonite Church youth group. We look forward to good fellowship and working together on church and community projects. Hopefully the Bethesda group will learn some things about our native people and area history,…. and just have some fun!
We continue to have our mid week men’s Bible study and a mid week family Bible study. We are excited to have both well attended. Following are some prayer requests.
1) That God will provide a pastor for the church
2) That our church will work together through this transition period
3) That God will help Lori and I with all the work and busyness of this move
4) That God will help Lori and I to find the right place to worship and serve
Thanks so much for all the prayers, and support through the years.
Grace and Peace,
Doug and Lori Bishop
Ashland Christian Fellowship
Central Plains Mennonite Conference
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