November 1, 2021

Rejoice always pray without ceasing in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —I Thessalonians 5:16-18

2021 has been interesting, to put it mildly. The year started with a Covid surge and it transitioned to the worst winter storm and freeze in decades in February. Unlike the rest of town, the church never lost power but one pipe did burst—and that pipe flooded the sanctuary building before it was discovered and the water could be shut off (an amazing story in and of itself). The months since have been a blur of drying out, cleaning up, waiting, bureaucratic red tape (I now know more about asbestos removal than I ever imagined possible.), reconstruction, waiting, and, currently, supply chain issues. (Our carpet is out there, somewhere…) In the meantime, I managed to catch a mild case of Covid (after being vaccinated) and to be hospitalized for a mystery infection in my leg that apparently got me top billing in a UT Med School lecture a few weeks ago. And, to me, the best way to sum up this year’s insanity is to thank the Lord for how blessed I am, and for how blessed we are as a church. Let’s count the ways: The broken pipe was in a room with a drain, so the water in the sanctuary didn’t get nearly as high as it could have. The water reached the top of, but not over, the threshold between the buildings so the education building was unscathed. Our plumber came the Tuesday after the freeze ended, when others had to wait weeks or months. We had help from a mission team from Oak Grove Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia, who helped us with demolition and some much needed renovation work and from the Austin Baptist Association, who helped us with pew storage and with arranging the mission group. We have insurance. Despite being immunocompromised, I recovered from Covid fairly quickly and my leg is healing well. These barely scratch the surface of the Lord’s blessings and none of them were coincidence or chance. A close look at all that has happened this year shows the Lord’s guidance, protection, and care at work through all of this, and through so much more. And I’m thankful. I’m also thankful for the chance to share our blessings as a church family. I hope you can join us for the return of our church Thanksgiving Dinner after a one-year hiatus, so that we can give thanks together for all the Lord’s blessings in these unusual times. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endureth forever!

Have a blessed November! —Jarred Parnell