“We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’ Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!”
“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.”
As we come to the end of 2022, many words come to mind and these words reflect on what we as Candlewood have experienced. Words such as flexibility, restart, disappointment, excitement, faith, and patience all come to mind, as they seem to describe the rhythms of life and the rhythms of the church.
Proverbs 16:9 reveals the heart of the matter: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” The prophet Isaiah also reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9: “’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” This reminds us that God is the director of our steps. We are thankful for and mindful of His leading in 2022, which included some of the following highlights:
- We joined the M28 Alliance of churches. These churches have similar roots, beliefs and practices, and we are excited to be a part of it.
- Pat and Cindy Sokol came and blessed forty-five of Candlewood’s couples in our marriage conference.
- We also had to restart and change the course of our expansion plans. We are learning to be flexible as we were disappointed, yet trusting the Lord is leading.
- We had five people participate in a four-week mission in Virginia that was a time in which their faith was deepened.
- We held our Annual Springtime at Candlewood and all were excited to celebrate a new season together.
- We hosted our Annual VBS in support of our families and community. Parents and youth attended their summer conference in Colorado.
- We sent a team to serve partner missionaries in Gordon, NE.
- Four student campus missionaries joined up with Matt O. and Jim W. on the UNO campus.
- We held our Annual Leader’s Retreat and had Bill Young from Utah come and lead us in that time.
- Compassion International and Candlewood partnered together with the sponsoring of nineteen children.
- Campus Fellowship and the Young Professionals both participated in their fall retreats.
- We began our two-year Leadership/Aspire class as we look to the future in recognizing our next generation of leaders for Candlewood’s future.
- Your pastors traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the M28 pastor’s conference.
- We hosted approximately 1,100 people with our Annual Trunk or Treat.
- Operation Christmas Child was a blessing from our church to our community by being a drop-off point for 9,243 boxes, and the Candlewood family directly contributed 797, our highest total ever!
On top of all of that, we know of at least ten salvations this year, in addition to eight baptisms and fourteen baby dedications, to God be the glory.
Through all these activities and ministries we have been amazed at how you, the church, have responded. You have given your support, your time and your service without complaint or criticism. Thank you! What a blessing it is to be a part of this church.
As we complete this chapter in 2022, may we all be filled with faith and anticipation as God continues to lead this church. May God richly bless you and yours. The pastors of Candlewood would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.