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Bennington

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Bennington, Vermont: You Did More than You Know!

God can take a little and make a lot. Remember back in the very beginning of what we thought would be a short Covid season, when we tried to encourage that little church in Bennington, Vermont?  Well, it’s their turn to encourage us and they are doing that now in a powerful way!

Back in the spring we heard, from Sarah Floyd, the preacher’s wife at this small congregation, that members were struggling. A difficult mission field in any season, it became particularly difficult for the little group at Bennington church of Christ to remain cohesive and encouraged as meeting together and blessing each other with fellowship became more difficult. Some were having health issues and others were new Christians. Younger members were feeling isolated and funds were often in short supply. 

Lots of you sent cards, just to encourage them. As the minister, Jason Floyd (shown here), explained to me, he and his wife, Sarah, became a mini post office for a while there, unpacking boxes of your letters and making deliveries to the homes of the various members who are spread out over a large area around Bennington. The Floyds covered a lot of miles as they, and perhaps others,  hand-delivered your encouragement to the members. 

On one of those runs, Jason met a house guest of one of the families which attends the congregation. She answered the door when Jason delivered your mail. As Christians do, Jason engaged this lady, whose name is Sally Bristol, in conversation, which eventually resulted in a Bible study, and another and another…

Yesterday, this lady put on the Lord in baptism (Gal. 3:27) and became your sister in Christ! Our little cards helped, in a teeny, but important way, to produce something that was beyond what we had asked or imagined, according to His power that is working within us and especially is at work in Jason (Eph.3:20). If you were among the many who sent cards to encourage this family of His people, I hope you will bow before the throne and praise Him for using those little cards as tools of evangelism even when we were unaware of that occurrence. He is so good and His word is exceedingly powerful. I hope this baptism will make you want to continue to offer support to mission work and keep sending cards when you see those in God’s family struggling. I hope it will make you believe even more strongly in His providence for us as we pray for the gospel’s full effect on lives we may reach, even across hundreds of miles. It is doing all of that to my heart!

You might even want to take the time to drop Ms. Sally a note to let her know that you are praying for her life in Him and for continued influence for good as she now has a chance to take the message to others. You can send it to this address:

Sally Bristol

℅ church of Christ

 524 South St

 Bennington, VT 05201

And, if you have children who helped make the cards, be sure to tell them about this amazing day that THEY helped facilitate! Visible results of service projects WILL appear and they do wonders in growing the faith of kids.

What a glorious God we serve! I praise Him today in the words of the Spirit through Paul: 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph.3:20,21)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Spikes through Unwashed Feet (…and Bennington, Vermont Update)

Today, a sweet sister who lost her home in a recent tornado brought lunch to our family at my daughter’s home.  She’s living in a rental right now and trying to figure out what all has been lost and what may have been salvaged. She’s not a member of the congregation where my daughter worships. She has an infant herself and she traveled several miles from a nearby town to make the delivery. 

As I explained all of this to Ezra and Colleyanna, I asked them what it is that makes people love enough to reach out and help others even when they are hurting themselves. Even they knew the answer. “She wants to be like Jesus.” 

They are right. He prayed for the unity of His followers in God the Father and Son, when Father and Son were facing at Calvary the great “forsaking” that would facilitate that fellowship (Matthew 27:46).  He washed the disciples’ feet, while the feet through which the spikes were to be nailed, went unwashed at that Passover dinner (John 13:1-17). He replaced the severed ear of the One who came at Him with the sword (John 18:10-11). He was the One, hanging by the spikes on the tree, who said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34). He provided for His mother’s physical care from a hilltop at which no one was providing for His own. He, in the truest sense, taught us to “overcome evil with good,” (Romans 12:21). He conquered the evil one by the goodness of placing himself on the sacrificial altar and rising from the tomb. 

In 2020, we have some extra opportunities to share the goodness. There are, perhaps, more hurting people this year, in our country, than there have been or will be in the current century. We have the light of life in us, as Christians, and it’s a prime time for us to diligently place that light on the outside of the bushel’s darkness and be the city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14,15). That’s what the sweet sister was doing at my daughter’s door this morning. Helping from a place of hurt. Shining through a time of darkness, Reaching from a place of desperation. I want to be more like her in this amazing time of opportunity. 

And, speaking of this, I want to share below a letter I received from my friend who is the preacher’s wife at the congregation in Bennington, Vermont. A while back, I posted about this discouraged group of Christians and you responded (https://thecolleyhouse.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=13175&action=edit). You sent light and sweet fellowship through the USPS and it has made a positive impact. 

Here’s what she said: 

Hello! I just wanted to thank you again so much for that blog post a couple of months ago. Each of our church members on my list received 15-20 cards, and they appreciated them so much. One of our families tried to thank every single card sender individually (a few didn’t have return addresses), leading to one of your blog readers sending the family’s kids some paper and an art set! That same family also is in touch by email and regular mail with at least 3 of the card senders. The encouragement has been phenomenal.

In addition, one of the members on my list, Mitt, was living in a rehab center, forbidden to visit his family, and his family was able to deliver cards to the staff to give to him so he could still be encouraged. He passed away this week somewhat unexpectedly, at the age of 93, a faithful Christian until the end. Alan and Jen, two other people on my list, are his son and daughter-in-law, so an extra dose of encouragement was good to help build them up for this experience too.

Is there any way you can convey our thanks as a congregation? As a footnote on a blog post, maybe? There were so many cards sent that we just couldn’t keep up! What a wonderful problem to have!pastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic_1.png

Also, please keep praying for our congregation. Out of our group of 30-35 members/somewhat regular attendees and their close relatives, there have been two people with heart attacks, one who was hospitalized with what was expected to be a heart attack, and two deaths (one was Mitt, the other a church member’s mom). Of course, all of these situations are miserable right now because of our continued stringent Covid restrictions (despite having zero confirmed Covid hospitalizations in our entire state right now). I know we share these burdens with congregations worldwide, but as a small group, we don’t usually have so much going on at one time.

Thanks again!pastedGraphic_2.png

So thank you from me, too. What a great time to be His! What a great application for those of us who are studying the compassion and confirming the deity of our Lord in the book of John this month. I love you, sisters!