We had a GREAT weekend up in Cherokee and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of you for helping make the trip a success. The boys worked hard and we were blessed to work alongside Jim and Debbie for the weekend. I have a simple philosophy with short-term mission trips – Short term missions support long term missionaries. I hope our time encouraged the church to continue the work they’re doing in the mountains and with the people in Cherokee. It’s not an easy place to work and live, but they’ve been doing it for many many years now. If you get a chance, make sure you stop by and visit in the future, they love having guests and people visiting. Seriously. Just because we’re home doesn’t mean the work in Cherokee is finished. Continue to pray and be an encouragement to them.
Our theme for the weekend was to “Feed the good wolf.” An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
We were all encouraged to feed the good wolf this weekend and are excited for the future of the church in Cherokee.
Thank you for supporting your boys, our trip, and the church in Cherokee.
Grace and Peace,
Summer 2015 Update
Friends, family, and loved ones,
This is both very late and painful to write. The pain has much to do with why it has taken me so long to send it out to you, and for that I can only ask for your forgiveness. Several things have made for a difficult period of time for me personally and for the family here in Cherokee. One of the families that had become close to us moved to live in eastern Tennessee, and when they and their 4 children left we had a hole that was not easy to used to. Their participation and faithful attendance were welcome and we miss them, while at the same time being glad for their new opportunities after the move.
Perhaps the most difficult thing to deal with was the loss of one of the stalwarts of this congregation. For about as long as there had been a church of Christ in Cherokee, there has been a Winnie Cooper singing, learning, loving, and sharing her life with all that were part of our number. She was a personal friend to Debbie and me, she was an example to many here, and when things got tough for the church in 2004, when there were only 3 regular members here, Winnie was very much the glue that held out the hope that if they just hang in there, God would help the church turn the corner. After nearly 3 years without a regular minister, with the congregation here on the ropes, a series of things brought us to Cherokee to work with the congregation. We were new to this kind of work but people like Winnie and Rege McCauley were patient with me as I learned to preach and learned to be 'the minister'. Winnie passed from this life to her reward and we miss her still.
About 6 weeks prior to losing our 'Miss Winnie', Sam Swayney (one of our converts of the last year or so) lost his mother to cancer. She was not someone that I knew closely, but my relationship with Sam is close and his family asked me to take the lead in her funeral services. I had no idea how respected she was among the people here... there were more people than the building could hold for her services. She and her husband had taught one of the most respected Baptist preachers on the boundary how to speak Cherokee. He and another minister from the other large Baptist congregation were at the funeral, and both spoke highly of her after the services were over. They were also both very kind, complimenting me on my message and speaking about how much they were glad for the positive influence that my wife and I have had on the boundary.
Less than a week after Sam's mothers burial, a young man (early 40's) who worked for the tribal DOT was killed while on the job early in the day. I didn't know Brad Allison, but I did know his daughter. Kathrine Allison worked at the coffee house that I stop at virtually every day for an hour or so. It is an opportunity for me to meet people that I wouldn't meet any other way. As folks talk to me while they are waiting for their coffee, we sometimes get into deeper topics about how their lives are going, what is difficult that I can pray with them about, etc. Well, Kathrine asked me to officiate for her dad's funeral. She and her brother were left to deal with all of the arrangements as he was a widower. I met with other family members in order to gather what I could to prepare myself for the days ahead and helped Kat and her brother Cole with the things that must be done at a time like this. It was such a public death that we used the auditorium at the high school for the memorial services and nearly 850 people were there. The next day for the graveside committal the number was still well over 250. It was a chance to make an impression on many people here in Cherokee, but first and foremost it was a chance to help my friend bury her father.
Three deaths in a very short period of time, all people very close to me... it took quite a bit out of me. In a few weeks there was to be another death. Bruce Martin was my friend. He and his wife Nancy became our best friends here, they were both Native Americans, both well respected people on the boundary, and losing Bruce to cancer was the hardest thing for me personally. He passed on a Saturday and because it was his wish not to be embalmed, his funeral was scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4:00. I was committed to a wedding the same day, also at 4:00 in a community about 45 minutes away, so we left the early visitation with the family and headed to the wedding. While waiting at a traffic light about halfway there, we were rear ended by a vehicle going about 50 MPH... none of us were injured, but it was a father's day that I will not remember fondly.
Numbers have remained strong, in spite of losing 7 people in a short period of time, we continue to have 35-50 on a regular basis for Sunday worship, our evening numbers are still in the high teens to low twenties, and our bible studies are going strong. We have been so blessed in so many ways. The final difficulty for me personally was about 3 months ago. On a routine doctor visit it was recommended that I see a dermatologist about a few spots, one on my neck and one on my back. Some biopsy's later, it is confirmed to be Basil Cell Carcinoma... a skin cancer that is relatively easy to treat, so after 2 rounds of surgery the margins are 'clear' (good news) and I am due back for a 6 month checkup. Other people get cancer, not me. Some of you reading this may know exactly what I mean and the range of emotions that ran amuck at times in my mind. It was just another ride on the emotional roller coaster that Spring/Summer 2015 has been.
Some of you are aware that our oldest daughter is trying to get her life back on track and has lived with us since the first part of the year. While she is making good progress, there is still a long way to go. Pray for her and for us... I especially ask you to keep Debbie in your prayers as she has a front row seat to all of this! We continue on, this is a long and sometimes difficult road to be on, but we feel that God has called us to this place and as long as we can do the things needed in this community, this will be home. We'll never be 'from here', but our acceptance in the community is unquestioned. There is a new Chief and Vice Chief of the Cherokee people and I know but of them closely enough to call and be called by name. Pray that we may have even more opportunities here!
I feel as though there are many things that I have left out, we had folks from Creve Hall church of Christ bring a group in and we had a successful VBS, there have been other groups come for quick weekend work days, and our ladies just got back from attending the Diana singing a few weeks ago in Tennessee. At times I think that I am waking up from a numbness, like when your foot falls asleep and as it 'wakens up' the tingling has a really odd feel to it... well that is the way I am still feeling to a certain degree, but the normal is returning. Fall is approaching, cooler temperatures will be upon us, and the time that heals will soon help this to be a memory that is easier to view from afar.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, it is a great comfort to know that people that hardly know us bring us before the father on a regular basis. May God bless you all!
Jim and Debbie
2014 in Review
The latest newsletter from Cherokee... please post, circulate to interested parties, and continue to bring us to God in prayers!
Cherokee, North Carolina... summer/fall 2014
Well, for starters, Debbie and I would like to wish you all joyous holidays, as they are approaching faster than we even are aware. Life in Cherokee has in some ways become 'normal' and we can't really remember the way that our lives once were before coming here. In other ways, the culture and way of life here is so different from anything we have ever experienced prior to this, and there are some things which will always mark us as 'You're not from here, are you?'
Cherokee as a community is a place that is in our lives and hearts, and even when things seem to be dragging along with little visible change, we always are looking for the change that is not so easy to quantify... people learning from God's word and making changes to their way of life; people who call on us for help that in the past would have never considered doing so. Being part of the ebb and flow of this place has taken time, but invested time is exactly what it takes.
Our ladies' day in June was once again a success, and that is in large part due to the women that come from the West 7th Street church of Christ in Columbia, Tennessee. There is a commitment from them that is noticed and appreciated by many here in our area, not just by our own ladies, but also by others in the community. That also goes with the 'spa day' that Sue Fox and her folks come and bless us with as well. It opens up people on a level that can't be done in a church foyer. It is personal and breaks down barriers. People who have often experienced the physical act of 'touching' as a painful experience are overcoming their fears and letting strangers touch them with gentleness and love. These occasions have made a powerful impression with this community.
These visits have paved the way for a new adventure that some of our ladies have braved. At the end of September, Debbie and 5 of our ladies drove to Columbia, TN to spend the night and attend a ladies' program at the West 7th church. This doesn't seem like a big thing, but some of these ladies have never ventured outside of this area before, much less spend the night at a stranger's (and a white stranger at that) house. It was an excellent adventure and helped to strengthen the bonds we share with other Christian women. A couple of weekends later, we attended a ladies' day program at the church in Andrews, NC. These are big steps for our ladies who have difficulty speaking or looking strangers in the eyes. We are so proud of these women who have opened up and who have become so welcoming to the visitors at our services.
And speaking of visitors, we cannot say how much we truly love and appreciate our summer members who live in the area during the nicer months of the year and who worship with us on a regular basis. They are a continued source of encouragement and examples of Christianity as they share their lives and friendship with us all here. We eagerly await each spring when our summer family members return and mourn the cold weather when they leave us. For Debbie and I, they are a taste of "normalcy" that we miss from our past life as we share conversation and meals together.
A few of our members have experienced some major health problems that are being dealt with, and as much as we realize no one will stay on this earth forever, we continue to pray that we can hold on to our friends as long as possible. Western Carolina is known to have a higher incidence of cancer in its population than most of the country. It is hard to find a family not touched by some form of it here. Debbie has volunteered with the Cherokee Cancer Support Group for most of the time that we have lived here. Our Miss Winnie, who was recovering from lung cancer and surgery to remove one of her lungs when we first moved here, was treated again this summer for a re-occurrence. She has made it through, but the intense radiation has definitely taken its toll on her. Another of our ladies is currently going through testing, but it is pretty certain that the diagnosis is kidney cancer. In our small congregation, there is quite a large percentage of our people dealing with some major health issues. Just more hardships to find a way to live with. Finding joy as we daily live for God is a tough subject!
If you have always lived where you currently live, then you can appreciate how it is that new people in town are watched, examined, and even tested to find out their mettle. One of the worst things that happens here is when a minister comes for a couple of years and then leaves, for whatever the reason. It is seen as a non-commitment: here today and gone tomorrow. Stability and knowing who you can count on is of great value to the people here in the mountains, not simply the for the Cherokee but to all the 'mountain folk' of the area.
With our economic climate as it currently is, there are fewer visitors to this area than we once enjoyed. Those who do come through and visit with us are of great encouragement not only to Debbie and me, but the visitors that come through every year helps to give a real sense of acceptability of who we are and who we belong to. We are the Cherokee Church of Christ first and foremost, but there are people who have told us that the warmth they feel, the welcome that is extended, and the feeling of a home away from home for worship makes us proud. If you were to come and visit at some point, you will probably be asked to help on the Lord's table, to lead a prayer, and in rare cases lead singing!
In spite of that, our numbers are really just as solid as ever... contributions are stronger in the 'visitor' months of the year, but people that took years to give for the first time are now weekly contributors, and do so with a great attitude. The core group is continually evolving, some new faces and some that are gone. One of the things that I find, and sometimes get a little bit sad about, is that so many people want easy Christianity, one that doesn't ask them to change and transform into who God wants them to be. After a while they return to either not going to any church, or they move on to a group that gives lip service on Sunday, but is teaching a 'once saved always saved' gospel that is really no gospel at all.
We have begun participating in a program that is targeted towards people living with family members who have addictions. Mostly it is those who are trying to deal with the crazy lives that take over their children who are using drugs. Meth, opiates, crack, heroin (various kinds) and others are rapidly destroying families, often previously good families. The group meets in our building on Tuesday evenings, for anywhere from 90-120 minutes. We have seen people that we would never have met otherwise, and are getting a chance to influence and become part of their lives; perhaps to show them a Christianity, a church, and caring that they have not been accustomed to in the past. There are many churches, but very few that offer food and baby needs like we have. Many churches, but none that wanted to open their doors to this group and take a chance with addicts (a few of them are in the meeting and are seeking a way out) like we have. I pray that this outreach will result in opportunities to reach, teach, and hopefully baptize some of them and help them begin a new walk, one that is worthy of the calling of Christ.
On a personal note, it has been busy beyond any year since we've been in Cherokee, busy with family sadness and joy, new challenges and new birth. We now have 2 granddaughters to go along with the 4 grandsons. June Sexton and Olivia Rowe have joined our happy band! We are a proud Poppa and Noni, and wish they were a little closer for spoiling purposes. Our oldest daughter has been experiencing some ongoing health issues. Debbie's folks are going to be selling their home and moving into an assisted living complex, a reminder that we have less time with them each year that goes by. Jim's mom had 5 1/2 hours of abdominal surgery in June and then it was discovered that she had a seriously deteriorating heart that required 7 1/2 hours of surgery, a couple of bypasses and a replacement valve in August. Two major and intrusive surgeries in a very short period of time had all of us praying and holding our breath. I flew up to Wyoming to spend almost 2 weeks with her as she recovered, while Debbie was with new grand babies and then in Rochester, NY to help her parents downsize and have an estate sale in preparation for their move.
For the 4th fall in a row, in another case of appreciated consistency for us, a group of young men (5th-7th grade) made a weekend trip to Cherokee to help clean gutters, clear flower and vegetable gardens, and rake, trim and do whatever might be needed to help some of our elderly people in this community get ready for winter. The school also has sent 2 groups of girls who have done some impressive cleaning and painting to brighten our entryway and classrooms in the building. These folks come up from the Greater Atlanta Christian school and we are already looking into things for next year's visits.
One really great sign is our evening attendance, no matter the season... it is rare for us to have fewer than 15 people for bible study Sunday and Wednesday evening. There have been nearly a dozen weeks when we have 20 - 25 at each study! Imagine a congregation that routinely averaged 350 for morning worship and could reasonably have 200 to 250 return for evening bible study. We are currently going through the book of Genesis, something that we did the first year that we were here, but now the difference in understanding is obvious and in questions that show insight. "Lot was really a terrible man to do what he did", was from just the other night when we read and talked about him offering up his daughters to the men of Sodom.
Keep us in your prayers, that we may be strong, stay grounded, and continue the task at hand! This is home, we are part of the community in more ways every year, and owe so much to the people who support this work. God is so good! Thank you so much for the love, concern, prayers, cards, and other ways that you help to keep us here doing God's work.
We thank you and love you,
Jim and Debbie Sexton
2013 in Review
Hello dear friends,
Another year has come to a close and it just seems normal to look back and see all that God has done for us. We will be starting our ninth year here in Cherokee this April! Where has the time gone? In so many ways, things have not changed and seem to be the same; but then again, are they?
Cherokee remains a lovely place with the Tribe continuing to make cosmetic improvements to what we see around us. The water table, ever so close to the surface of the ground, seems to be continually floating around us as we ended the year with over two and a half feet above the normal rainfall for the year. But more important than the physical aspects around us, are the changes that we are seeing within those who are involved with the church here.
Early Spring brought us Jack Hilliard and Ben Flatt to hold a gospel meeting for us. It was so good to have them share with us their years of experience, learning and service to God. Those who came certainly benefited from the experience. Jack has been a long-time supporter of the work here in Cherokee and we so value the love and prayers he always sends this way.
In the Spring, we rejoiced as Sam Swayney and his 11 year old son Hunter became family when they put their Lord on in baptism. Sam is someone who we became friends with not long after arriving in Cherokee. It was overwhelming to know that we had a part in helping him to see his need for a Savior. We pray that he and Hunter continue to grow in the love and knowledge of God. We welcomed David and Brooke Ratcliff along with their children Brianna, Austin and new baby Ceran. David and Brooke are managing the Smokey Mountain Cabins about 1/4 mile from the church building and moved here from Valdosta, GA two summers ago. Along with Logan who was baptized a year ago and Ian our song leader, we now have a small source of "men" who can help with activities during our church services. David and Ian have stepped in a couple of times to lead the service on Sunday nights when Jim was not available. It has been a growing experience for them both and one that we are grateful they will step up to. David is a fairly young Christian man and it is a testament to his faith that he overcomes his fears and speaks from his heart to our people. And we know that you all have experienced that same sense of pride that we have as our young men assist during the communion service.
Spring also brought us some new friends as we made the acquaintance of a group of Jamaican women who were staying in Cherokee to work at a local hotel through the end of the year. Several of them worshiped with us from time to time, with 3 being fairly constant when they weren't working. We spent much time with these women as we helped shuttle them to Sylva, and Asheville for shopping expeditions and filled in, now and then, as a spiritual advisor. These women ranged in age from their 30s to 50s and have come year after year to the US to work and send money home for expenses and to their grown children as they attend colleges and universities here in the States. It has been a pleasure to get to know these women and learn a bit of what life in Jamaica is like. Some of them hope to return in a few months to work again and we look forward to seeing them again.
The Fall brought us two groups of youngsters (5th-7th graders mostly) from the Greater Atlanta Christian School near Atlanta, GA. This is the second year they have come to help work on projects around the church building and in the community. They are a terrific group of young people who work hard, without complaining, and are so polite and helpful. We have really enjoyed getting to know Joe Edelhuber, their group leader, who takes the time to stop by and visit when going by the area, even if it is for just a quick afternoon visit. We pray that our relationship with these young people continues to grow as they serve this community and as we hope we are encouraging and helping them to grow spiritually as well. Joe has also assisted us with the development of a website that will be of great use to us as we learn to work with it. We have found that there are several places on the internet with contact information for the church in Cherokee. Unfortunately, not all of the information is currently correct and there is not a way to change it.
Other signs of growth in our members are hard to see from the outside, but they are definitely there and make us so thankful. It is difficult to put into words, but our ladies seem to be developing more caring for each other and themselves. The activities that have happened this past year really seem to be drawing our friends closer together. In June, the ladies from the West 7th congregation in Columbia, TN (led by Faye Kinzer), came to help us with our 7th annual ladies day. These women have been devoted to coming every year to lead our program with speakers, song leader and activities. We have just had to supply the place, attendees and food. Faye was saying that with this last visit, they feel more of a connection with our ladies than ever. It is something both groups look forward to as personal relationships slowly grow. Having this group of women come back year after year has really been a lesson to our ladies about the caring and sisterhood that is shared within the church. Another wonderful happening for our ladies, in fact for all, was when Sue Fox brought friends from her personal spa business and the community of Columbia, TN, and even a couple from Louisville, KY, to bless us with a spa day. This group of folks spent the entire day with us providing haircuts, manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, food, crafts and spiritual fellowship to our community. They worked consistently from 8 in the morning till 8 at night providing services to our women, men and children as well as several from the community. It was an unbelievable work of service and one that was so unique in that it provided such a personal experience to each individual. It wasn't until afterwards that we realized what this meant to some of our folks. For some of them, being touched was not always a loving experience, and to allow someone to be so personal was such an act of faith on their part. We so easily forget, or just don't realize, that to accept a hug or touch on the arm can dredge up very unpleasant memories for many of these people. Debbie realized this as she watched one of the ladies getting her hair trimmed. As she saw the stylist brush her hand down this women's hair, telling her how pretty it was, Debbie realized that here was a women who had lived with a lot of abuse over her lifetime, who stiffened when given a hug, and who flinched when her arm was touched; yet here she was allowing someone to touch her so intimately with love instead of anger. What a revelation that was! And what an unknowing blessing given by these folks from Columbia. Praise God for all His wisdom and surprises!
We continue to be humbled and in awe of how God continues to bless us and the work here by people outside of this community who care about sharing the love of God with others. We are so grateful for the financial contributions that allow us to live here and daily be available for the people and their needs. We appreciate so much the friends who send supplies for our food pantry and personal items that cannot be gotten with food stamps. Every Sunday the congregation uses study material supplied by others. People stopping by to attend a service while they are on vacation or passing through the area are a breath of fresh air that we look forward to. And we are thankful that they see the importance of making time to worship even while away from home. There are several families that are regular visitors as they stay in the area for the summer. It is so nice to have their time with us. Our potlucks are especially blessed by them (ha ha). All of these blessings help us to cope with the daily frustrations, and sometimes loneliness, as we struggle with trying to share the love of God with those around us. We never know when the phone will ring or when there will be a knock on the door from someone needing food, diapers, baby formula, a ride somewhere, selling crafts to make some money, gas or spare tire. Believe it or not, we get knocks at the door sometimes at 10:30 or 11 at night from people with these needs. Sometimes a phone call will come at 2:00 in the morning from someone who needs to talk, usually someone who has had too much to drink and is feeling down. Jim always responds (and Debbie always reminds him to take his cell phone) and God has always protected him.
Debbie continues to work with the Cherokee Cancer Support Group as their secretary and volunteer. She and Jim are both now working with a new program through the American Cancer Association called the Community Health Network. Western Carolina has one of the highest incidences of cancer in the country and part of that problem stems from being an area of low income and mountainous living. How the CHN works is very similar to friendship evangelism in that people within a community can better speak with each other and encourage one another to move in a right direction - in this case, seeing the need for and getting screened for certain cancers that are shown to be more readily identified and treated. We hope that this will be another way that we can meet people to serve them in more than one way.
The church building and house remain in fairly good condition. We had to put some work into plumbing and electrical issues with the house this past year. They seem to be okay now. This year, we will need to pay some attention to the electric and plumbing at the building as well as work on painting the outside trim. The lease, which expired the end of 2012, has still not been renewed. We have been assured that there is no problem and that all will remain as it has been. We continue to wait on the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to complete the paperwork and have it approved by all involved. As you can tell, doing things in a timely manner doesn't always happen here, but we continue to be assured that all is well. We have met members of the family that own the property our buildings are on, and they are pleased with what they see. The Wolfetown Community Club who holds the lease also say they are very appreciative of all that the church is doing here in the community, and so we believe that we just have to be patient and the new lease will be completed sometime soon.
Personally, our family continues to grown and stay healthy. We were able to spend a few days around the New Year in Tennessee with our children and are looking forward to the arrival of two babies this Spring. Debbie was able to visit her family in Rochester, NY this past summer and hopes to go again this year. Jim's mother is doing well and living in Green River, WY near his sister Donna. We miss our friends and family, but continue to believe that God has a plan for us here, and that here in Cherokee is where we need to be. Progress is slow, but God is patient and so must we be. Thank you all for being patient as well. As Paul said, we must continue to run the race knowing the value of the prize before us. We pray that day comes soon, but until then we will continue to do the best we can in His name.
Fall Mission Trips!
We're looking forward to seeing Greater Atlanta Christian School again this year! Two groups will be coming up to Cherokee and we couldn't be more excited. We'll have a girls trip and a boys trip (24 junior high boys!) and a lot of work to do. Please be praying for the messages of hope and love to be spread during their time here and for safety as we work around the city. More updates to come soon!
End of Summer Update
Greetings from Cherokee and the church that worships here!
There are several things that have made for a busy spring and summer here in Cherokee. This is the first time that I have had the pleasure and honor to baptize 2 members of the same family into the body of Christ at the same time. After much anticipation, Sam Swayney and his 11 yr old son Hunter were baptized on a cold spring afternoon following our Sunday morning worship.
Sam was one of the first people that I got to know here outside of the church, and having him come to the Lord and make changes to his life in doing so is very rewarding. Then, watching his son come to a realization that he needed to be baptized, and having Hunter be the one that helps to encourage his father was something that warms the heart.
We have had a steady number through the spring and summer with Sunday worship numbers being regularly in the 30-45 range, although we will, as always drop to a smaller 20-25 average once the visitor season is over late October or early November, when the 'leaf lookers' are finished coming through the area.
Something that we changed was our evening hours, now we meet at 7:00 rather than 6:00. This was in response to several of our members having jobs that require them to work Sunday's until 5:30 or 6:00 and it has helped them. In addition we have been blessed to have several women from Jamaica that are here on work visas, employed at Harrah's as housekeepers.
They are regular and faithful in their attendance on Sunday and Wednesday evening. There have been several Sunday evenings that had as many as 9 or 10 take the Lord's Supper as they were working during the day, and we have on several occasions had more than 20 for evening service and bible study.
In June we hosted our sixth annual ladies day and had an encouraging turnout from ladies in and around Cherokee. For the first time there were women from the Central Haywood and Hendersonville congregations and the day was another successful time of study, uplift, and fellowship. Our thanks go, as always, to the ladies who come from the West 7th congregation in Columbia, Tenn.
One thing that has grown is the number of local visitors who have come at the invitation of our regular members. The focus of my lessons for this year has been based on the title of a book that we had at our house as I was growing up. The book was written, as I remember, by Ivan Stewart and it was entitled "Go Ye Means Go Me".
As we look around us, we are overwhelmingly aware that churches are getting older with few, if any new members. The focus has been on teaching and understanding Jesus' parables, seeing the effect and impact of His miracles, and finding a way to have those things impact our lives and the lives around us.
We need to have a sense of urgency about the people around us, this summer has seen people of all ages live their last days for a variety of reasons, and the realization that we may have even known them and yet didn't look for ways to bring them to the Lord has been sobering. Pray for us as we learn to identify those that are seeking God and give us the determination to help them find Him.
As our nation and our world grows ever closer to another conflict that increasingly looks like WW III, our focus needs to be on seeking the lost, finding those that are seeking God, and showing Him to them in our lives, our teaching, and our everyday decisions. When we realize that the world around us, our closest friends and co-workers, and even our own family is being tempted regularly, then perhaps we can refocus on keeping the main thing as the main thing. Preach Christ and Him crucified!
We have just (and I mean just) started a website www.cherokeecofc.com and if you go to look at it, please feel free to make any suggestions that may be appropriate. It has been started for us by a young man that has brought a group last fall and will again this October to do some yard work in the community. His name is Joe Edlhuber and when he comes up in October he will teach me the ins and outs of updates, changes, additions, etc... so what is out there right now is very basic, but it is a first step for us!
Thanks for your continued support, prayers, letters, and those of you that can drop in on us! We are always excited to have folks that have know of us for years come by and give us a chance to meet them. One such visit came from one of the elders of the church in Ft. Walton Beach who came with some really great ideas of how we and they can help each other grow in the work of the Lord.
Until the next update, or till be meet again...
Cherokee Church of Christ
PO Box 498
2350 Old Mission Rd.
Cherokee, NC 28719