June 20, Father’s Day, was the anniversary of my first Sunday in Salem. I volunteered to attend the worship with the Morningside church. The turn-out was more than I expected; about thirty members of the board and their families attended. I got to witness the love and welcoming nature of the people of Morningside church. I was also blessed with the hospitality of the Salem First on the following Sunday, June 27. I left the Micah building with a joyful heart. I felt the presence of God in the faces of the volunteers and those who attended. Last Sunday, I was with Trinity Church; love and excitement fill this worship space. Everyone was attentive to the directions post at the entrance and the ushers to ensure safety protocols are observed. I walked away, singing happy Hallelujah because I know God is with us.
After a year of doing ministry mainly on the phone and the virtual world, I look forward to meeting more church people in this 2nd year. This past year was a challenging year for all of us, especially those who had lost loved ones to the pandemic, illness, and accident. We have yet to overcome this deadly pandemic which is still hovering over our communities.
It was not an easy transitioning year for my husband and me. A week before we moved to Salem, my husband was hospitalized, and his health continued to deteriorate to the point he needed more care. He has been living in a Foster Care Home now for a year. In January, I contracted COVID-19 and experienced the devastating effect of this pandemic. It was on the milder end of this deadly sickness, but I would not want anybody to go through this experience.
Although we had encountered these health challenges this past year, we thank God for our faith in Christ and friends who help us through these difficult times.
My reading of Ephesians 6:10-20 helped me process the calamity of this past year and continue to trust in God’s time and direction.
“…put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breast plate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all these, take the shield of faith, with which you be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times…v.11-18
Pastor Kalina Malua Katoa