This month’s sermon series “Encourage One Another” speaks directly to the heart of Bethany’s mission activities. While volunteering at the Cold Weather Shelter, which is being housed in a local hotel due to COVID, a guest of the hotel came up to us when delivering meals. She asked about what we were doing and then handed us $40. I want to help, she said. She encouraged us at a time when we were encouraging others!

At the shelter, your donations of money, food and time, have allowed us to serve 21 guests and two children. It is heartwarming to watch the young mother and her very young children welcome us to their room as meals are served. The guests have come to know Bethany this week and they are encouraging us! Tonight, Catherine said, where is your partner? There is normally two of you! What an encouragement to know that she knows us. We are greeted with smiles and thanks each night because YOU, as Bethany, are encouraging the CWS guests and they are encouraging us.

There are too many people to personally thank, but your time, money and food for CWS are an encouragement! Gift groups, individuals, families all pitched in. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry and transportation were all covered because of YOU! Emily encouraged her family to package hygiene kits for CWS. Joan asked, how can I help from my home. Thank you!

We want to take time to thank everyone who supported Bethany’s holiday activities! Angel Tree encouraged 40 children! Your food drive donations encouraged families needing support that Bethany was there for them. Thank you! 10 families received holiday meals through the PDF fund. They were encouraged. Your donations allowed us to remind everyone of the dedication of Harry Smith to Toys for Tots. You encouraged 25 individuals returning to the community from the Howard County Detention Center with a backpack filled with necessities to ease the transition. Operation Christmas Child encouraged children throughout the world with your message of Jesus. The scarves donated to Operation Gratitude encourage our military. The Board of Child Care gifts encouraged children in foster care. We encouraged 60 residents of an addiction treatment program with holiday gifts and meals.

This year the mission team decided to publish a prayer calendar each month to share ideas on how you might pray for those needing encouragement. It is on the website! Take a look.

This year, thanks to encouragement from a special Bethany member, we collected donations for the Maryland Coalition of Families. These donations will be encouragement for families seeking support for behavioral health needs. You make a difference!

We encouraged over 500 people in various ways this holiday season donating over $7500 in goods and services.

Encourage One Another … what a simple gesture with profound impact. The mission team and our volunteers are continually encouraged by the gifts and dedication of the Bethany congregation. I hope that we in turn encourage you. You can play a role with missions if your heart is called. Visit the www.bethanyum.org, Missions Page or email bethanymissionserve@gmail.com.

Look for details coming soon on February activities, including preparations for our summer campership program for children whose parents are incarcerated, hygiene kits for Open Doors America, and our food and housing security programs. You are encouraged to participate!