Joe lost his wife Stephanie to cancer during the Transformed Campaign. While going through her things back at their house, he found a journal detailing her prayers for her loving husband. This is the testimony of her love her husband and concern for his spiritual life.
Dear Church Family,
As you look through the pages of this Praise Report, my prayer is that you are reminded of the amazing things God did through the ministries and mission of Cottonwood Creek in 2014. The sum total of all the blessings we experienced as a church in 2014, were greater than any year before.
In 2014, more of our Cottonwood Creek members served locally, nationally and internationally than in any year before. However, it wasn’t just seeing the people of Cottonwood Creek serve and go more, we also sent more than we ever have before. Early last year, a large contingent of our congregation left to plant a church in Melissa. That church is now the second largest church in Melissa and it is thriving and growing.
We forged partnerships in Baltimore to see more churches planted in the inner city than had been planted in the last 24 years combined. This year will bring more opportunities for us to further our ministry impact in Baltimore. Plus, our partnerships in Kenya and the Dominican Republic are flourishing.
As we look back on 2014, we can surely pray as Paul did in Ephesians 3:20, which says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
In conclusion, let me ask you to do three things:
- Look at the Praise Report and celebrate what God did in 2014.
- Remember how and when you contributed your time and resources that made such a great year possible.
- Join me in committing your time, talents and resources to make 2015 amazing.
The Gift is a Sunday morning devoted totally to being On Mission @ Cottonwood Creek. We cancel our normal Sunday morning small group Bible Study and dedicate the entire morning to missions.
On Sunday, November 16 over 1,300 people came together to be On Mission. Opportunities included serving with:
- Operation Christmas Child
Packing shoe boxes with gifts for children across the world. What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal. By packing a box, participants became a part of changing children's lives all over the world in Jesus' Name. 961 Operation Christmas Child boxes were collected. Learn more about Operation Christmas Child here.
- Seed Packing
Volunteers created vegetable garden packs. They labeled the vegetable envelopes, filled them with seeds, sorted and ended with harvest packs boxed and ready to send. Our efforts will provide 12,000 new farms in Africa. 28,000 seeds were packed!
- Meal Packing
159,000 meals were packed this year. These meals will be taken to the Dominican Republic and mission teams will help distribute this aid next year.
- Pink Heart Fund
Pink Heart Fund provides free wigs for children and adults who have lost their hair due to illness or cancer treatment. At least 8 inches of hair was required to donate. 25 pony tails were donated.
- Give Blood
Carter Blood Care set up a blood drive and 87 people donated.
- The Gift Canned Food Drive
We partnered with Community Food Pantry of McKinney to collect canned food. 1,638 cans of food were donated.
- Angel Tree
Over 95 Angels were adopted from the Angel Tree this year.
The Gift Testimonies
The Gift not only touched the lives of those received the food, blood, seeds, gifts and hair, but those who volunteered. Below are some of the testimonies of service from The Gift.
I did experience a “God Moment” last Sunday. Ever since I have accepted Christ, I have always remained open to those in need. Helping homeless or helpless in the inner city with a meal or assisting someone broken down on the side of the road are some things I have always felt compelled to do. But missionary work has been something that I’ve shied away from because of a real fear of displacement. I was not willing to step out of my comfort zone. Sure, serving at home was okay but I never wanted to travel abroad to another country where I wouldn’t know the culture and would probably fear for my family’s safety.
After hearing the testimonies from the various different organizations, God revealed something to me that was very obvious. If He loved me enough to sacrifice His only son so that I could spend eternity with Him, how could I have any fear for my well being? Sure, I could tromp through an African rainforest and be captured and killed by the very people I was trying to disciple but that fear is no longer relevant. Brings to mind Romans 8:35-39:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a joy to fill seeds with a family from Gain. I think the Anderson's. My envelopes were filled by a precious 2 year old little girl named Olive. She had four siblings including a sister that was adopted from Ethiopia. Her name was Elsa!
We talked about where the seeds were going and how they would be used. A precious experience seeing these kids serve and already understand what it means to give of yourself for others.
Thank you CCBC for this opportunity to serve!!
God used John Wedemeyer’s testimony at a previous deacons meeting and The Gift to call me to “GO” on the DR mission trip this year. So, I’m making plans!!!
I have a touch of arthritis in my hands and wrists. I am in my 85th year but an amazing thing happened...
I started with opening one bag at a time for the tomato seeds to be tossed in by another volunteer sitting opposite me. Another volunteer sitting by me had the same speed until an 'Angel' directed my hand in such a way that I was opening 3:1! In fact the seeds had to linger much less poised in another volunteers hand which, was also aged like mine.
I feel this exercise was a blessing in disguise for both of us. I must tell this to my arthritis class at the Sr. Center. God's ways are hard to understand, perhaps that would be an invitation for some of my class mates to join my beloved Church!
Our home group signed up to serve by meal packaging together. It was really neat to serve alongside them and continue our fellowship out at lunch together. Every time we get together I am thankful for the Transform Campaign and the ways we are still impacted after it ended. The Gift was just one of those ways I was impacted and I hope we can find more ways through the church and local opportunities to give back.
To learn more about how you can take part in The Gift 2015, click here.
Ron Shrock lived a double life. On the outside Ron was an easy going, yes-man that was always available. On the inside, Ron was constantly worried about his reputation and exhausted from over committing himself. The emotional despair Ron
“I am a grateful believer in Christ who struggles with co-dependency and people pleasing,” Ron said. “I introduce myself that way because for years I was enslaved to what other people thought of me. That took a tremendous toll on me. I always thought that if people knew the real me they would not want anything to do with me.”
Afraid of rejection, he became a yes-man and people pleaser. Ron constantly worried about him looked in other people’s eyes. Never wanting to rock the boat or tarnish his reputation, Ron went above and beyond to accommodate everyone. Over time he found that he was over committing himself due to his inability to say no to people’s requests. After committing he would suddenly regret having said yes. The burden of these commitments began wearing him down.
“You end up telling lies right?” Ron said. “Instead of being truthful and saying what is going on, you only address the positive and make it sound like you have it all together.”
The pressure began taking a toll on a lot of Ron’s relationships and he needed a way out. Ron sought out the help of a counselor and joined Celebrate Recovery at Cottonwood Creek. It was there that he discovered a secret he had been keeping was the root of the issue.
“I had been sexually abused as a child and I had told no one,” Ron said. “I was never willing share or let anyone know because I thought if anyone ever knew about that, that they would reject me and not want anything to do with me. I never realized the connection between that life event and how it shaped my personality. This is what we call a character defect in Celebrate Recovery.”
Ron went through Celebrate Recovery’s 12 step program and transformation took place in his life as he ruled out all of his character defects. He was able to forgive the person who abused him and make amends to the people he hurt by keeping this secret.
“I am now able to say no when people ask me to do something,” Ron said. “I’m not feeling like I always need to say yes. I have much more boldness because I can speak the truth. I can say it in love but without fearing other people.”
The transformation that took place in Ron’s life inspired him to help others. He serves in the Celebrate Recovery ministry and helps other men go through the same process that he did nearly five years ago. Some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships in Ron’s life have been made with other men participating in Celebrate Recovery.
“The biggest change in my life is that God has become big and people have become small,” Ron said. “While I am absolutely sitting here and telling you that I have been transformed, I will also say that I am a work in process.”
Jeremiah 6:14:They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
Philippians 3:12-16: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.