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December 19, 2018

December 22, 2018

Dear Friends,
 
Last Christmas, in the waning days of Advent, as we waited to celebrate the birth of the Holy Child, these two little ones arrived much earlier than expected:
 

 


As a church, we prayed and hoped and wept together, asking God to protect the lives of these two. 
 
And now, almost a year later, Violet and Beckett’s mom is reflecting on the past 12 months.  She asked if I would pass this note on to everyone.
 
Hello RCC family,
I talked Bob into letting me take over his newsletter for a day for a very special reason. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to all of you.  My babies are turning one this week and, for those of you who don’t know, that very statement is a massive answer to prayer from this church body. 
 
A very quick back story for anyone who doesn't know me (especially if you’ve started coming to RCC over the last year). My name is Laura White. My husband, Kendall, and I welcomed our twins, Beckett and Violet, on December 22 of last year at just 23 weeks gestation. For those of you counting, that’s 17 weeks early. They were both about a pound and a half. Twenty-three weeks is borderline for viability in a preterm birth. 
 
Over the course of the months following their birth, both Beckett and Violet had extremely serious situations that caused doctors to think they would not survive, but the Lord sustained them in miraculous ways. What my family has experienced over this last year has been exhausting, traumatizing, miraculous and amazing. And this church body has been a huge part of that. You all have walked with us, pleaded with us, cried and rejoiced with us. You have served us and loved us in ways we will never fully know. 
 
Thank you.
 
Many of you know, I had a lot of trouble getting pregnant and when trouble first became evident I was working through Betty Thomas’s study on John. We were studying the man born blind in John 9. Jesus’ disciples ask him why this man is blind; who sinned to make it so. And Jesus tells them it wasn’t because of anyone’s sin but so that “the works of God might be displayed through him.” 
 
I was so struck by this. And Kendall and I prayed that God might display his work through my barren body. He answered our prayer in a way I never dreamed of or wanted. But I’m so grateful for that prayer he gave me years ago. I was able to see him work and our situation as an answer to prayer instead of an abandonment of God. 
 
And one way God showed his work was through you all. Redeemer has been the work of God displayed to my family and me this year in mighty ways. You all have taken ownership of my children and prayed for them as your own. I know some of you pray daily for them. Some of your children have been able to take on prayer as their own for the first time through praying for my babies. Your mothers, brothers, children living all over the country have prayed along with their church bodies. And I am so grateful. What a beautiful ministry you have been. You have been a true body to us. God has heard and answered your prayers and my miracle children are a result of that. 
 
A day after the babies were born a neonatologist gave me the advice to take every day one at a time but also somehow keep up hope for the future. I was reminded of the line in "Great is Thy Faithfulness", “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” so that became my prayer daily as I pleaded for the lives of my children. 
 
I prayed for strength to get through today. And there were days I did not know how, or if, we would all make it through. But God gave us the strength. He gave Kendall and me the spiritual and emotional strength, and he gave Beckett and Violet miraculous physical strength to survive what they have been through. 
 
But I also prayed that, in the midst of the nearly unbearable day-to-day, he would also give me hope. Hope to see and pray for tomorrow, a bright tomorrow. And y’all, I’m here to testify today that it feels like were living in a bright tomorrow. The bright tomorrow we all pleaded for. 
 
Don’t get me wrong, our life is not easy, the life of an ex-23 weeker is complicated. But it is FULL of bright hope for tomorrow. I see God’s faithfulness every day in my thriving, happy, 18 pound, one year old babies! 
 
And I thank God for all of you. We will never be able to fully express our gratitude. I pray God will use our family in all of your lives in just a glimmer of the way he has used all of you in ours. Praise God for his mighty work through Beckett and Violet's lives. He answers prayers. He does not forget his people.
 
All glory be to Christ, the true reason for our ultimate bright hope for tomorrow.
 


 
While we’re on the subject of prayer and babies, thanks to all of you who have been praying for our daughter Katie and son in law Elliott.  Katie is almost 29 weeks along in her pregnancy and has been in the hospital for more than two weeks now with some complications.  She and the baby are in stable condition, but the doctors want to continue to monitor her pregnancy and have her nearby just in case.  Long hospital stays are no fun for anyone!  But in this case, the longer, the better for their new baby.
 
By the way, here’s a picture of our newest grandbaby! 

 


 
Matt Gurney will be placing the order tomorrow for copies of the two Cornerstones books we’ll be using in our worship services in the New Year.   

If you want Matt to order copies for you, email him today at Mattgurney77@gmail.com    
 


 
We've been busy at David O Dodd Elementary School this week.  On Monday, we served lunch to the teachers and the staff (thanks to all those who helped out!) and we gave everyone a copy of this book by Matt Chandler as a Christmas gift:

 

 

 
And we followed up lunch by passing out books to the students earlier today.  The books were provided by Goodwill Industries in exchange for a service project we did for them.  A great way to bless the kids at Christmas.
 

 



And while we’re showing pictures, here are some shots of the newly poured foundation for our new church home! 
 

 

 


 
Thanks to all who have made year end gifts to help with some of the upcoming transition costs that will be part of our move to our new church home in 2019.  If you’d like to make an on-line year end gift, you can click here to donate:
 


 
This coming Monday night, you and your family and friends are all invited to our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carols Service.  We'll start at 5:00 and be done by 6:00.  We'll sing and celebrate and light candles to remind us that the Light of the World was born for us at Christmas.

 



One final note this week.
 
Kelly Rackley, who makes sure we always have a team of folks available to watch over our babies in the nursery each week, is starting to put the schedule together for 2019.
 
Kelly is looking for folks who would be willing to volunteer to serve on a regular rotation (maybe 4-6 times a year?) and folks who would be willing to be on-call if a need arises. 
 
She’d love to have you sign up either option A or option B.  How about it?  Send Kelly a quick email and say “Okay, I’m in.”  Her email address is  suubifamily@gmail.com.
 
And Kelly wanted me to let grandmas and grandpas and anyone else who is interested know that they are welcome to serve as full time baby holders and rockers.  No diaper duty or child lifting required!  My mom would have been the first to sign up.  Holding babies was her favorite job in the world.
 
Thanks to all the heroic folks who help out in the nursery to give other moms and dads a chance to worship and be fed spiritually each week.
 
 


 
We’ll light the fourth candle in our advent wreath this Sunday, and talk about the first, the second and the third coming of Jesus.
 
Before you declare me a heretic, hear me out!  J 


See you in church.
 
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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