I have never served in a church that serves the needy like Othello! Our people donate food and personal hygiene items every week. Our Helping Hands team of 5 to 8 gathersat least three hours every Thursday to feed, pray with, and help the needy. And though there are seasonal variations, our people serve the gospel in words and in deeds consistently. On top of that our people lead an A.A. and N.A. group and host a Celebrate Recovery group. The consistent love needed to be a help in those areas is intense, and Jesus helps us do it well.

This is one ministry our Pastor Emeritus Bob Luhn has built for years through leadership and direct involvement. His unique role in our church body remains not just as a remembrance but as a living legacy in our church. We are blessed to have Kathy and him in our church!

Our church has always been intimately involved with our community, serving others and being a blessing. It is one of most-frequented wedding and funeral locations. We host other important community events as well. Our Community Garden is starting up as we speak.

 There are lots of other ways we live out a mission of compassion in our world. Being   serving-witnesses is one of our three main purposes, and compassion is part of it. It isalso our purpose to be disciples—to know Jesus so we can follow him faithfully. Our third purpose is worship. In many ways, worship is gratitude expressed unto the Savior of our souls. It is essential for our being as the Body of Christ. So Jesus’ compassionate love is part of all we do.

 We are seeing a new chapter starting to unfold in our church with lots of new babies and a strong crop of new members who are excited about Jesus and are hitting the ground running in service through His church. One of our youth ministry leaders is sensing a call to ministry right now, and our youth group is growing. Things are going well. We are a church who doesn’t give up hope on anyone!

We have given faithfully to the Lord’s causes here on earth including our joyful obligation to world missions, & support for other Nazarene work. This also includes mortgage, staff, and ministry needs. We always get all we need, and I can say we have been good stewards of that.

 We have taken steps in our missions efforts this year, having many of our home-grown missionaries share about their God-called works. It was great to have Grace Shelby share about Zambia, Josh and Petra Taylor share about working in Cru on the campus of EWU, and hear Katelyn Andrews share her new call in Guatemala! Thank you, church for supporting these!

 I was blessed to be sent to Sri Lanka this year to teach a class at South Asia Nazarene Bible College. How amazing it was to later see a “missions photo” of a graduating class with proud, maturing ministers I could name as colleagues and brothers and sisters in Christ! Their testimonies of God’s compassion with them and their service to others in need has enriched my faith this year. Thank you, Church Family and our Northwest District, for sending me!

 Our local outreach has taken big strides with the leadership of our Joy in Jesus Bible Study. Janell Wood, Janice Baginski, and those ladies did an amazing job gathering a team to have a summer BBQ and a New Year’s Eve night of fun and blessing! Our prayer request to really connect with our neighbors in the new homes around us was finally answered! And now that we’ve broken the ice, I look forward to more fruitful ministry with them.

 New this year: We are starting a one-on-one discipleship ministry for new growing believers. Thank you to the six people who are willing to minister so far! This ministry is personal,

flexible, and Spirit-led—just like Jesus’ ministry on earth was. I’m praying about who will lead it. Also, John and Kathy Oord are going to lead Newcomers Potlucks starting in April—a new fellowship time for us to help us connect with guests. Also, Helping Hands is having a ton of new creative energy and input. Please pray for them with me as the Spirit leads them in a time of re-visioning.

 I feel so privileged to serve as lead pastor here. In many ways, I feel it’s my job to not only introduce people to Jesus, but also to build up leaders. Our church is made up of so many capable and active leaders in our schools, government, businesses and homes that part of my job is to help you all lead as Christ would lead. That is humbling to me, and yet I know it simply means going to God’s Word with you and seeing what He has to say about all the facets of our lives. The best leaders are simply the “first followers” of Jesus. It is a joy to support and encourage leaders!    

~ Pastor Eric Depew