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It has been a great October for our relationship with Schwarzkoff Elementary School. We entered this partnership with the school 2.5 years ago. In our leadership, we prayed that God would open a door for us to be able serve the kids of our community. We had specifically been looked at elementary schools. When the parent group at Schwarzkoff approached us to send some volunteers to help with a carnival, it was an answer to prayer. Skip ahead to today. In the past month, we helped with their Trunk or Treat event. They had over 1100 bags of candy and 37 cars decorated to pass out candy. Kids started lining up 25 minutes before the doors opened and lined up from the front door to the street and down the entire block! As a church, we provided support to help make that whole event happen. We had volunteers who helped with parking, passed out cider and donuts, ran bags of candy out to each individual trunk in the parking lot. We just didn’t provide volunteers, but donated hundreds of pounds of candy and bought the cider and donuts for the event (with money you gave in your offerings). You have no idea how much small things like candy, cider and donuts can mean. This year was their largest event, and we're proud to know we helped to make it a success.

October was also the month our Reading Coaches began working directly with the kids. We have 16 reading coaches working with the school every week! We go in right after their lunch and for the next 45 to 60 minutes we work with three students each, one at a time, on their reading skills. The kids are exciting. Most of them are 4th graders who are preparing for the national test. We have spend a lot of time getting to know the kids and them getting to know us. It is so cool to get to know them and interact with them on a personal level. For the past few weeks they’ve been excited about Halloween and costumes. They always have something they want to talk about. God creates such a variety of children and they are all so precious to Him. We are excited to see where God will take these opportunities.

"You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13-14

When we talk about God mobilizing our church for the transformation of the community, it's events like these, that we see the church at work in our world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described the church in the world with two different analogies. He said we are the salt of the earth, and then He said we are the light of the world. Light is proclamation. It is bright. It is noticeable. It sparkles. It draws attention. Salt is not flashy. It is subtle. It permeates everything. It enhances. It preserves and helps. We are light when we are proclaiming to the world the truth of God’s ways. We are salt when we are serving the world and showing people God’s ways. Notice which came first. Salt comes before light. Goodness proceeds message. Service comes before teaching. Caring comes before sharing. We do good works in our community because Jesus knew that without them, no one would even listen to the message of the gospel. He just didn’t teach in the town He visited, He went in doing good deeds. Sometimes it takes a long while of goodness before we earn the right to speak. Many in our society are asking the question, “What good is God anyway?” And based upon the current revision of history, many are taught that religion has caused most of the world’s problems and wars. Loving and serving is the only way to transform the thinking of our world. At Schwarzkoff, God opened a door for us to be good and show people that God is good for something. Our society is very skeptical of religion. They believe that every religion is just out there for itself. To build its own reputation. The world believes that religion is based upon convictions that will divide humanity. But when we serve people, we show the world that Christianity is different. We are not in this for ourselves. Our conviction causes us to unite around things that are good for people. We are not just serving children and teachers at Schwarzkoff, we are changing the perception in people’s minds about what God is all about. Thank you for your contribution and hard work. Thank you for being the salt of the earth. There are more great things to come.

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