“Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”-Psalm 50:23
I can’t believe that this week is Thanksgiving. A year has passed in the blink of an eye. I still vividly remember our first day at the Upper St. Croix Parish having a joint service at Atlas UMC. Summer turned to autumn, though it is unexpectedly long this year, autumn is almost done. Time flies so fast. According to the church calendar, this week is the last week of the Christian year. After Thanksgiving Day, we will begin the new season, the season of Advent. Advent can be understood as a season of waiting. During the four weeks before Christmas, we are waiting for Jesus’ coming as we light four candles: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. As I live in the season of Thanksgiving and waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ, I would like to share all the blessings that I received from God this year with you. I hope and pray that you may have personal devotion time and you are counting your many blessings and naming them one by one in front of God.
First of all, I graduated from seminary. For the last four years, I survived as an international student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Secondly, I passed my Board of Ordained Ministry interview, so I was commissioned as a provisional elder in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference. Thirdly, I was appointed to the Upper St. Croix Parish, which has four beautiful churches, with my husband as co-pastor. Especially, for me, it is my first appointment as a provisional elder, and I am so lucky to start my very first ministry with generous and faithful congregations. Fourthly, as pastor, I have had the chance to preside over two baptisms for new life and over two funerals by celebrating their lived life. Fifthly, I have started a confirmation class and a parish youth group with my passionate co-pastor Kookho. Every week we have a chance to spend our time with our church’s hope and future- the youth! They go to different churches, different schools, and they live different places, but as one body of Christ and one parish, they are learning and growing together by sharing the love of Christ Jesus. Sixthly, through a lot of visitations, I have had a chance to share the good news and love of God with family and friends of the church. Seventhly, although each of the four churches are small and located in rural area, as one parish and one body of Christ, we have hosted various amazing events. As the United Methodist Church, our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Through hosting a film screening, “Church of Felons”, we have supported the people who are struggling with issues of addiction, give them hope for second chance, and raise awareness with many people in our community. Furthermore, through hosting a Free Thanksgiving dinner, we are able to share our grateful hearts and love of Christ with the community of people by serving delicious food.
Surely, I have a lot more to share, but I will stop here. I just hope and pray that our Upper St. Croix Parish: Central, Atlas, St. Croix Falls, and Wolf Creek UMC will extend this community of faith by loving and serving one another in Christ Jesus. As we count the blessings that we received this year, we pray together and wait for Jesus’ coming in great hope and expectation.