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God's Aim

by Ian Kayser
"Our spirits are most satisfied when we discern God's aim in everything." -Thomas Merton

During the shelter in place, I developed some new habits. Some of them are good and some of them bad. One of the good habits that I've developed is a daily morning walk with my dog. I am usually the first one up in the house and we go out for about an hour each morning. Our dog has come to expect it. In fact, on mornings when we can’t go, she follows me around the house looking sad and mopey. While we are out, I listen to podcasts about the lack of sports, some leadership content, some sermons here and there, and the news. Its been something good that has come from this and I hope we get to keep it up when society re-enters into some sort of normalcy. 
This is how God seems to work in our lives during the hard times. The hardship brings about something good in our lives. Maybe we are more empathetic. Maybe we are reminded of what is actually important. Maybe a new good habit is formed. Sometimes we don't see the good thing that God has brought about immediately, and we aren't promised to be able to see the good that comes from suffering and hardship. But we can always know "that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." It is a wonderful promise. I hope we always see that promise even if we can't see what good God is bringing about! 
Here is a little update on our life in Clinton. This year we moved into our “real house” after spending a year in a temporary house. It has been good for the girls to have their own room again, we have a yard again, and its just nice having room for the family to spread out. And with the new house has come some work projects. We have knocked down a wall, there is a a new stovetop, new paint, and one day Harper got tired off the fireplace so she just started painting it and it looks great.  Our favorite part of the house is the backyard. It has lots of space and this year we’ve managed to put in a zip-line, trampoline, mud kitchen, swing set, and a hammock. Next year we are going to work on putting some stuff back there for the girls to play with. Seriously though, it has been a great place for us to get outside together. 
Ruby just finished 3rd grade and Julia graduated from kindergarten. Their school meets at our church and it has been a real joy to watch them during the day. I know their schedule so I always need to "go to the kitchen to get something” when they are at lunch or at break. I really just want to see them. 
Before the quarantine, our church was on a good trajectory and I felt that we had some good momentum. Of course, there have been some bumps in the road, but in the last year we mapped out an assimilation strategy for guests, put a new emphasis on children’s ministry, and began wrapping our brains around what being a faithful presence in our community might look like. And we were beginning to see some fruit. In the last year we received about 15 new members, our people were inviting friends to church, we have had a steady stream of visitors, there were new groups forming, and the Lord even opened a door for us to refinance our debt which has freed up some of our resources. There seems to be a fresh energy and excitement in our church and we are anxious to see what God might do next.  
We do miss our church family at Westminster. Our time there was very sweet. During the Christmas break, we dropped by the building and it was fun to see all the progress that WPC has made. The renovations look fantastic. It was nice to see the building, but it would have been better if the building was full all the people that make Westminster a great church. We wish you all well and look forward to seeing you soon (hopefully sooner rather than later). -Ian, Harper, Ruby, and Julia 

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