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