Preparing to Immigrate to Heaven
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4 ESV
Immigration has come under new scrutiny, not only in this country, but throughout the world. Many fear those who are “different” and wonder if they will cause harm or disruption sooner or later. These are difficult days to be an immigrant. We do well to pray for immigrants as well as for our leaders to be prudent in this sensitive work.
We are all immigrants. As believers in Christ, we have been granted citizenship in a better country – a heavenly one (Hebrews 11:16 ). Yet we continue to live in this land where we were born – a land whose ways are not God’s ways, whose values run contrary to the values of our heavenly homeland. That is why we pray to God, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. We make this our prayer for, too often, this world veers far astray from the will of God.
We can get caught-up in the ways of this world ourselves. As born-again believers in Christ, we still struggle with our Old Sin Nature and worldly ways that are far too familiar. Surrounded by people of this world and pressures to conform to the ways of this world can make living as a “Citizen of Heaven” especially challenging. Colossians 2:20-23 teaches that outward rules have limited value in controlling our behavior and desires. Rather, we need to re-orient ourselves to focus on our heavenly destiny. “There is only one thing that will put the collar on the neck of the animal within us, and that is the power of the indwelling Christ” –Alexander Maclaren.
We are to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. The verb suggests continuous action: “Keep on seeking”. Paul goes on to get intensely practical by continuing, “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” It’s one thing to “seek heaven” in a general way, but to devote your thinking to Christ as a regular practice will be life-transforming. Consider how much time you spend in dedicated, focused prayer to God; also on meditating on God’s Word. These work to bend our inner nature in a Godward direction, aligning us more with God’s nature, character and will. This is not monastery withdrawal from real life, but equipping us for Christ-like living in this world. With such an eternal perspective, we no longer live as if this life is all that matters.
As immigrants to our new, heavenly country, we are not yet fully habituated to its ways of life. Since we have accepted citizenship in this new world, we must learn to live in it. Seek Christ. Invite Him to transform your heart, renew your thinking and give you new, Godly desires. Such an inward transformation will surely express itself outwardly in our attitudes and actions.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Guild’s Mother-Daughter Banquet Set for May 4
St. John’s Women’s Guild has planned its annual Mother-Daughter Banquet for Friday evening, May 4, at the church.
The theme is “Tea Party,” and the evening will begin with tea and socialization at 6 p.m., followed by a meal at 6:30 catered by the Woodbury Café. The menu features fruit salad, lettuce salad, choice of soups and sandwiches and desserts.
Following dinner, those attending will move upstairs for a program that includes a skit, “Church Ladies.” Taking part in the skit will be Joy Nelson, Peggy Ritchey, Alaina Gates, Jeanne Detwiler, Kim Rodgers, Barb Thomas, Connie Ochoa and Brenda Colyer.
Serving on the mother-daughter committee are Brenda, chairman, and Connie, Alaina and Joy.
There is a sign-up sheet on the welcome table. Adult reservations are $11 and children 4-12 are half price. Children 3 and under are free. Reservations must be made with Brenda Colyer no later than April 29.
Guild Learns of Bible Bad Girls
St. John’s Women’s Guild met four of the Bible’s “bad girls” during the April 13 meeting in the fellowship hall.
As they have done for several years now, Kim Rodgers and Peggy Ritchey have presented an interesting program and also provided programrelated refreshments for the April guild meeting.
This year they focused on four Bible women who were not a good example to others — Jezebel, Potiphar’s wife, Rahab and “the sinful woman.”
During the business meeting plans were announced for the annual motherdaughter banquet on May 4. (See story on Page 2)
The guild’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, in the fellowship hall. Jean Wakefield will lead the program, and hostesses will be Barb Thomas and Josephine Garman
Ladies portray Rahab and The Sinful Woman in this photo from the April 13 guild meeting. The two changed costimes to also appear as Potiphar’s wife and Jezebel.
It’s Not a Rummage sale; It’s a Discarded Treasure Sale
St. John’s Women’s Guild on May 11 and 12 will sponsor its second annual “Discarded Treasure Sale.” The guild is accepting donations of cherished yet slightly used goods. Donors may bring their items to the church any time between May 5 and 10. A pallet will be placed outside the pavilion door for donated items. All funds raised will be used by the guild to fund church and community needs.
No clothing and no shoes will be accepted. Ask Mava Cottle or Peggy Ritchey if you have questions. Joel Ritchey’s homemade Otis Dawg treats will be offered for sale to benefit the guild.
Also needed are some delicious baked goods.
“We have some interesting things for sale — donate and shop — bring your friends,” said one of the co-chairmen, “and remember, one man’s discard is another man’s treasure.”
Sermon Series During May to Focus on Book of Daniel
Pastor David Meckley is planning a series of sermons during May on the Book of Daniel in preparation for Vacation Bible School in June. The Bible School program this year is based on Daniel’s courage in captivity in Babylon.
BIBLE SCHOOL CHILDREN TO VISIT BABYLON
Babylon, a summer family VBS, will be hosted at St. John's Reformed Church from June 10 to 14, 5:45 – 8:00 p.m. each day.
Children/families will step back in time at Babylon, exploring Daniel's adventures as a captive in a foreign land. They will participate in a memorable Bible-times marketplace, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, dig into Bible-time snacks, visit Daniel and collect Bible Memory Makers to remind them of God’s Word. Plus, everyone learns to look for evidence of God all around them through “God Sightings.” Each day concludes at Celebration—a time of upbeat worship that gets everyone involved.
Tuesday June 12 is the traditional “Penny Offering Day” so start saving those coins now! Our director Peg Wachter is experiencing health issues and we are helping her get organized. To volunteer please call Barb Thomas, celebration leader/assistant director at 766-2507. Beverly Smith (224–2413) is handling all children/family registrations and she is requesting those before June 3 if possible.
Beverly will be e-mailing or mailing forms to be completed and returned to her. If you need one, see Beverly. Early registration enables us to have participants divided into tribes before the first evening rush. It is extremely helpful!
We take an offering each evening. Its use hasn't been designated yet. We are collecting items to build back pack starter kits for children taken into foster care. Pastor Dave pointed out that Daniel himself was in exile, as our local children may feel when they are abruptly removed from various domestic situations. All are encouraged to help us fill baskets with toothbrushes/paste, books & journals, pillowcases, stuffed animals, hairbrushes/combs, shampoo/conditioner, t-shirts, underwear, socks, onesies, pajamas and small toys. Your gifts will make a difference in the lives of local children and youth!
Beth Clark, PeggyAnne Meckley, Kim Ritchey and Deb Bowser are Tribe leaders. Josephine Garman is assisting Kim. Please see Beth, PeggyAnne or Deb if God is leading you to be a tribe assistant.
Alaina Gates is our Palace Playground leader, assisted by Ethan Hess. Pastor Dave will portray Daniel, assisted by Jason Ritchey and other men as needed. Beverly and I (Barb) will lead opening and closing Celebration. Beverly is also in charge of records.
The marketplace will be buzzing with activity! Connie Ochoa, assisted by Julie Russell, will have the Mosaic Shop. Mava Cottle and Jeanne Detwiler are proprietors of the Hanging Gardens Nursery. Kim Rodgers is head of the Astronomy School. Peggy Ritchey will run a Music Shop, and Tina Gojeski has a Jewelry Shop. Please see Kim, Peggy or Tina if God leads you to assist a shop. We are still searching for two people to man the metal working shop. Charlie Mountain will provide animals to pet and learn about at the Royal Animal Courtyard. Brenda Colyer and Linda Henderhan will prepare and serve delicious refreshments in the kitchen throughout the week, and a light picnic after the Thursday evening program. All are welcome!
The closing program will be on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30. Families are encouraged to bring child(ren) 5:45/6:00. Guests will gather with the marketplace shopkeepers who will explain the purpose and process of various crafts while the Babylon participants meet briefly in sanctuary and Tribe time to review closing program. All will assemble in the sanctuary for the 6:30 program followed by the picnic! We invite all of our St. John's Reformed Church family and guests to attend in support of the Babylon students and staff. Please continue to pray that many will attend and be touched by Daniel's courage and God's faithfulness.
BIBLE STUDY CONTINUES
Bible Study will continue to meet a 6 p.m. on Sundays throughout May with the exception of Mother’s Day, May 13.
Pastor Dave is leading a study of Colossians.
National Day of Prayer
Faith United Methodist Church in Woodbury will host a National Day of Prayer Service
on Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 PM
Offering for Homewood
Again this year a Mother’s Day offering will be received May 13 for Homewood. Make checks payable to Homewood Foundation. Envelopes will be provided.
NB Baccalaureate Set
The local ministerium will hold a baccalaureate service for Northern Bedford High School seniors at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. Pastor Mark Lingenfelter of Hopewell Grace Brethren Church, will give the message. Pastor Dave Meckley will offer the welcome and opening prayer. Commencement will be May 31.
Who Do You Say I Am?
On Easter morning an energetic group of St. John’s young folk did an excellent job with the skit narrataive, “Who Do You Say I Am?” written by Skit Guys Studios.
Michael Jasper played Disciple. Joy Nelson performed as Mary Magdalene. Ethan Hess demonstrated the transforming life of Bartimeaus. Chelsea Kurtz portrayed Pilate’s Wife. Cameron Garman strongly encouraged all to continue sharing the Gospel message to all generations, through the eyes of Matthias. Jason Ritchey wove the lesson togther with Sciripture, and Abby Jasper orchestrated the narrataive script.
Thank you, youth, for reminding us all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
--Submitted by PeggyAnne Meckley
40+ Children Hunt for 50 Dozen Eggs
March 31 More than 40 children hunted for Easter eggs on Saturday afternoon, March 31, on the grounds of St. John's Reformed Church and parsonage. Parents, friends and volunteers also numbered close to 40. A Christian lesson, crafts and games indoors preceded the egg hunt, and refreshments followed.
Children gathered in the sanctuary, where Connie Ochoa gave an engaging demonstration, showing the way sin stains us, and how Jesus thoroughly cleanses us from sin and its effects. Also before the hunt Connie and her sister, Alaina Gates, planned and directed crafts and games, assisted by Jeanne Detwiler and Deb Bowser.
Kim Ritchey, Alaina and Connie served on the committee for the egg hunt and were assisted by Linda Henderhan in serving dozens of donated cookies, snacks and drinks after the hunt. Chris and Chelsea Kurtz led the youth in hiding some 50 dozen plastic candy-filled eggs while the children were still inside.
End-of-Life Coach to Speak at Conference Seminar
Dr. Don Eisenhauer will speak on end-of-life coaching Thursday, May 17, at the spring Western Pennsylvania Regional Seminar for CCCC clergy and lay leaders.
The gathering will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Officers Christian Fellowship Retreat Center, White Sulphur Springs, 4500 Milligans Cove Rd., Manns Choice, Bedford County.
Dr. Eisenhauer is an ordained pastor and a professional certified end of life coach, accredited by the International Coach Federation. He is founder and president of Coaching at the End of Life, LLC, providing end-of-life training, resources, and, for those interested, official certification in End of Life Coaching. Dr. Eisenhauer also is co-founder of the Bereavement Management Group, an organization providing software to help in successfully navigating the bereavement process. In addition to engaging end-of-life coaching and leading grief support groups, Dr. Don serves as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator. He is also on the faculty of Coaching4Clergy. He has a passion to help people to live fully until they die; and to help equip loved ones and those who have been called to support and minister to the dying and to assist those experiencing the grief associated with the death of loved ones.
A family-style lunch will be served during the noon break. The seminaar is free, although a donation of $10 will be appreciated to assist in defraying the luncheon cost.
Mums Had to Do
Since enough lilies were not available from greenhouses this year, Kim Rodgers, her dad Charlie Mountain and David Snyder trimmed the old rugged cross with mums to convert it to a resurrection cross for Easter.
Who We Are
We are the rambunctious Ochoas. Our family is made up of Aaron, me (Connie), Malachi, Ivy and Solomon. We live by Diehls Crossroad on Henrietta Rd. We rent the bottom of a farmhouse and its quite the nice location for kids to be outside. The apartment above us just happens to be rented by Aaron's brother Shane, his wife, Vicki and their 16-month-old daughter! Trustworthy neighbors!
Aaron is the sole provider for the family and he is also the sole proprieter of The Lone Jeweler. He works at Sheetz Distribution as a delivery assistant, meaning he gets to ride in the truck and deliver all sorts of Sheetz goodies. His two routes are to Harrisonburg, VA, and Ashtabula, OH. On his off days he practices his jewelry skills or works on custom pieces for clientelle. Aaron also is a big kid and is awesome at playing with his kids. A good father and husband is he!
I, on the other hand, am a stay-at-home mom and basically do all the remedial work around the house! I homeschool Malachi, who is 6. He is a smart kid and is full of compassion. He loves building with legos or pretending he is a ninja turtle! Ivy is 4 and is in headstart this year, same place as Malachi was last year. She enjoys going and all the teachers say she gives the best hugs! She hasn't started on the reading yet, but knows the letters for the most part and can do some counting! Ivy loves to be my little helper, it could be just to escape from her wild brothers. Our third kid is Solomon, the three year old. He is full of life, he recognizes a few words and can count unless you put him on the spot. He will go to the same headstart as the other 2 this coming fall. He really is a monkey all in all. We found a monkey suit and he wears it quite often. “Solly” is not afraid to be himself.
We chose to homeschool for a few reasons, but one of them was because Aaron is familair with it, because he was a homeschooler. He grew up in Woodbury with his parents Rick and Bernadette and three brothers, Richard, Neil, and Shane. Interestingly, he and I attended Martinsburg UCC together with our families when we were little.
My parents are Jeanne Detwiler, Martinsburg, and Denny Detwiler, New Enterprise. My sisters Alaina Gates, Beth Frederick, and I grew up in New Enterprise over the hill from the NB schools. The Ochoas then attended Grace Brethren of Martinsburg, where Aaron spent the rest of his childhood years into teenhood. My family started to attend St.John’s, and for many years I never really knew why, but this was home. I realized as I got older how many family ties I have to this church and that just makes it special.
I graduated and went through all my school years at Northern Bedford. Aaron and I were in preschool together too! Neither one of us really furthered our education with college. I tried Allegany College of Maryland, but I did not put forth any effort. So I started working at Carrol's Rest Home near Bedford. I was there for almost 5 years. But, that is what gave me the confidence and ability to help take care of family members when need be. I have a special place in my heart for caring for the elderly. I truly enjoyed my time there.
Aaron and I then were married and we decided I would be a housewife, so I said my goodbyes at Carrol’s. The owner told me to stay at home as long as possible and raise my babies the best I could! She was a true follower of Christ. Aaron furthered his education when he decided to quit farming and take classes online for gemology. After gemology were the jewelery classes in Tennessee in 2013. They only lasted 12 weeks but he learned so much! Someday the plans may come true, but for now this is our life, this is who we are.
I can't say at the moment what any of our hobbies are. Besides gems and jewelery, Aaron's might be blades, he adores swords and such. Mine might be hiding from kids! We really are a close family, we read together and play board games quite a bit. In the summer we go to Trough Creek, Blue Knob, Shawnee and our own back yard. We enjoy each others company and we enjoy coming to church every Sunday. Every Sunday the kids don't want to sit still, but they forget all about that when it is time for Sunday School!
10 local ladies attend encounter event
The Ladies Spring Encounter with Mary Southerland was well attended and received. Joyful Noise provided praise and worship music both morning and afternoon sessions. Joyce Bassler opened with a warm welcome, announcements and introduction of Mrs. Southerland.
Mary provided a worksheet on the topic of the day, “Sandpaper People.” “Our relationships should demonstrate the love of God and be the reality of a living God” she began. She spoke on 10 principles beginning with #1 check the label, which referred to Psalm 139 which tells us each one is valuable simply because we are created by God. Thank God for sandpaper people was #2, using 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18. Every relationship comes to us for a purpose and sandpaper people are a tool in the hand of a loving Father! We must learn to celebrate our differences with #3: Love them as is.
Principle #4 encourages us to become their cheerleader. Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up. Pray for them was #5 as Mary asked us “Have you talked to God about your sandpaper people as much as you've talked to others about them?” Principle #6 is to listen to them as in James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen.” Listening helps us do #7 – look for a need and meet it.
Mary read Ephesians 4:15 “Speak the truth in love” to introduce #8 – care enough to confront – caringly, gently, constructively and clearly. Principle #9 - Control your emotions instead of letting them control you. She ended with #10 – Learn from them – saying “God uses sandpaper people to chisel away what is not of God.”
Attending from St. John's Reformed Church were Deb Bowser, Brenda Colyer, Jeanne Detwiler, Nancy Detwiler, Connie Ochoa, Barb Thomas and Peg Wachter, along with friends Vickie Ochoa, Sandy Detwiler and Peggy Pepple. Connie and Jeanne created beautiful table favors for the lunch table sponsored by St. John's Reformed, and Connie served as the table hostess. Brenda assisted the Ladies Encounter as a greeter/seater. Deb and Barb were sales reps on Mary Southerland's product table and had the pleasure of working with Mary's assistant, Julie Norman. They were quite busy as Mary's large collection of books, journals and teach- ing CDs practically flew into eager hands! You can check out her inspi- rational works at www.MarySoutherland.com
Please mark your calendar for upcoming Ladies Encounter events. Joyce will be part of a National Day of Prayer team on May 3, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at the Hollidaysburg Blair County Courthouse. All are welcome to join them in prayer for our communities and nation. The Ladies Fall Encounter is Oct. 16, 7–9 p.m. at Faith Assembly of God, Roaring Spring. The speaker is Amy Carroll on “Creating a Life That Counts.”
(Respectfully Submitted by Barb Thomas, Ladies Encounter church representative)
44 Elementary Students Register for Release Time
Pastor David Meckley and Barb Thomas of St. John’s are among the volunteers teaching religious classes for 44 third, fourth and fifth graders from Northern Bedford Elementary School who are enrolled in the spring session of Release Time.
The pupils are bused from the school to the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren for the one-hour classes once a week for five weeks. The spring session will conclude with classes on May 3 and 10. Third and fourth graders are learning about the life of Christ from the Gospels, and fifth graders are learning about the early church from the Book of Acts.
There will be a program for kindergarten pupils and students in Grades 1 and 2 in the fall.