As the year 2020 comes to end, it would be an understatement to say that we will not miss it. As a church family–-young and old–-we have had a mosaic of experiences, including bewilderment and frustration, laced with sadness and doubts.
But all of us were also adjusting to a carousel of worship options, creating Zoom communities, engaging in technological creativity, and discovering, for some, that we live in a community that invites us to practice our Christianity by helping the vulnerable, the poor, and the needy–-all beyond being “one day Christians.”
And we learned in 2020 about a need to rely on Jesus much, much more, wishing He would return now! At RMC, we especially noted that Christian stewardship lives on, even in these trying times.
NewsNuggets editors asked several randomly-selected church members, educators, and ministers in RMC to share their memorable moments or experiences during 2020, personally, and as believers. Here is a selection, perhaps a mirror of your own experiences.
May the Lord of our lives give us patience, forbearance, victories, and compassion in the year to come as we trust in Him and His leading in 2021.
Pastor Steve Schwartz, Delta, Colorado
“Life is not put-on hold by a pandemic, and neither is God. I will apply this learning when the pandemic is history.”
Dorie Panganiban, La Vida Mission, New Mexico
“In our experience here at La Vida Mission during this pandemic, I have seen first-hand a repeat of the story of the five loaves and two fishes and its blessing to thousands. God miraculously multiplies our few bags of rice, beans and flour to bless hundreds and hundreds of Navajo families in the community.”
Ellie King, age 9, Estes Park, Colorado
“I got to celebrate my birthday with some of my favorite people!”
Anderson King, age 6, Estes Park, Colorado
“This year was hard, but I still got to see my cousins.”
Samantha Nelson, Cody, Wyoming
Personally, I will mostly remember the discouragement that I could not meet my new niece born in February, that–-for the first time in 15 years since we left CA–-I would not be able to return to visit family this year, that I nearly lost my husband to COVID-19 and pneumonia, and that I struggled with several health issues myself. On a positive note, I will always remember how wonderful it is to share love and hugs with family, church members and friends.
As a pastor’s wife, it’s been difficult to not be able to offer the in-person support that people need. Texts, calls and emails are helpful, but sometimes people just need a hug or to see the love and care expressed on your face.
Principal Sandy Hodgson, Erie, Colorado
On a personal note, not only was this a year of the fear of the unknown, but also [the year] of cooking, game playing, neighborhood walks, and Zoom!
As an Adventist educator, let me say this was a year of being creative with remote learning and being overjoyed with a return to in-person learning.
Natasha Gibson, Denver, Colorado, a junior nursing student at Union College.
2020 has been an interesting year for me. My friends and I were not able to connect like we did in the past. Nonetheless, we found creative ways to stay connected. 2020 also taught me how to be resilient and push forward in everything that I do.
Being an Adventist during this time hasn’t really affected me. As the Bible tells us, things will get worse before Christ comes and I truly believe this. Therefore, as an Adventist during this pandemic, I simply rely on my faith to carry me throughout each day.
Karla Klemm, Grand Junction, Colorado
“In 2020 I have learned, as I work in public health, that I am stronger than I realize. Having to take on an additional role of coordination in the COVID pandemic, I am thankful for the experience it provided me. Creative ways to worship have “risen to the top” in my interaction with the Adventist church. New online venues are appreciated and hopefully, we will learn to integrate these practices into the future.”
Ed Barnett, RMC president
“The thing that struck me most was how much I miss the fellowship of family, friends, fellow employees and our church family. The other thing that really has hit home is that we have no idea what will happen tomorrow. We need to rely on Jesus every day for direction. I have always known that, but it has become more sharply focused.”
Diane Johnson, Louisville, Colorado
2020 finds me with “compassion fatigue,” and with dismay with my fellow humans who deny a few simple requests to keep others safe. I am one of the healthcare workers who is tired and frustrated. 2020 seems to be–for many people–the year of “I’ll do whatever I want.” That’s what I see online with those in church who disregard guidelines. Sad, in my view.
What keeps me going are worship services, even on Zoom, and Boulder’s connect group which kept me grounded and hopeful…”
Pastor Bob McAlpine, Alamosa, Colorado
I learned that digital/virtual church is also a real church and that digital/virtual community is real community. I will always remember seeing people interact online during a worship service back in July and realizing that they were having a meaningful experience of God and others even though they weren’t present in the church building.
Ron Johnson, Grand Junction, Colorado
During the virus, we have been impressed and inspired by how friends and church members reach out and support those who are homebound making sure their needs are met. And we realize more how important singing hymns and praise music and fellowship is to worship. Without these activities, worship is incomplete and leaves us half satisfied spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
It is a blessing that my wife, Linda, can play the piano at home to enable us to worship with singing.
Pastor Micheal Getz, Campion, Loveland, Colorado
For me as a pastor, it was watching the parking lot fill up on the first night of a drive-in vespers–the community longing to spend time together and worship even if it’s just cars in a parking lot.
On a personal level, I will remember the ache in my heart when my kids tried to understand a sickness that would close their park.
Ron Price, Farmington, New Mexico
I believe I will look back one day and see this time as a preparation practice run for what I will be experiencing then. As bad as it has been, I believe God’s Word is clear that life will get far more difficult before it gets eternally better.
Pastor Shayne Vincent Mason, Casper, Wyoming
While Casper creatively rose to the challenge of remaining open for most of 2020, it has also been a journey into the realities of Ecclesiastes. The Lord has re-awakened our awareness that this world is only temporary, and that He truly will return. The beautiful truth found in losing the illusions of control is that we learn to, “cast all of our cares upon Jesus.”
–photo by iStock