Learn to see the blessings.

Thanksgiving is behind us. Yesterday I noticed many nice Facebook and Instagram posts where people shared kind words about their friends and family. What about now? Will this same spirit continue for a few more days or weeks? I certainly hope so. It is easy to see the blessings for a day or two, but it takes some serious effort to learn to see the blessings every day. Yes, that requires learning and determination. Learning to see the rays of light through the dark clouds of pain and disappointment. Learning to find the crumbs of kindness in a world of cruelty and hatred. This way of life requires more than physical eyes which may be clouded with tears. No wonder Jesus said, “Having eyes, do you not see?” (Mark 8:18). It is only through our spiritual eyes that we start seeing what Peter stated: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3).

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For the last couple of weeks our Pathfinders were actively engaged in helping people in our community. They were collecting canned goods and taking them to the families in need. Here are a few nice photos:

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Last Sabbath Afternoon our church Youth went for a nature hike. Thank you Jenny and pastor Matthew for planning these activities.

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Our Christmas church potluck is planned for December 4 after the 11:30 Worship service. I hope we will have a great time celebrating the spirit of love and friendship in our church.

The Church Christmas social is planned for December 18 @ 7 PM.

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This Sabbath is our big Christmas concert with Steve Darmody!!! Invite your friends and family!

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Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter

Walking with Jesus.

“The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life.”
–Faber

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Last Sunday was a big day for our church. Many of you worked hard to make the Cornerstone Gala a huge success. The venue was spacious . The food was absolutely delicious (a heartfelt Thank You to Rhonda Hicks and her team) . The serving team of our church youth was classy. Music was inspiring. The spirit of unity and excitement was God-given. I felt honored to be a part of such a great church. I have to confess that the level of participation exceeded my usually “extra positive” expectation. It was so good to see many young couples with children. Praise God for the submitted pledges for the church expansion project. We’ll have the total amount of pledges ready by November 27, the Thanksgiving Sabbath. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the event, but are interested in filling out the pledge card you’ll find one in the foyer of the church.

Here are a few photos from the event

The Hall family provided rocks with the Cornerstone fund name artfully written on each one of them. Those who attended the event each took a rock with them as a reminder of their commitment to this project. If you didn’t have a chance to take one of the rocks, please do so after the Sabbath service. These rocks will be later positioned on one of the interior walls of the future building.

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Our own OAKS Band played for the Collegedale Veterans Day celebration. Aaron shared this photo with me:

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Our church website is fully renovated!I am very grateful to Emmalee Shallenberger for making this upgrade happen. I hope you’ll find this new site user friendly, helpful and elegant. Check it out for yourself:

www.ooltewahchurch.org

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The spiritual message this Sabbath morning will shared by Mike Harrell. I am looking forward to that.

See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

A Time To Move Forward

Growing up in a pastor’s family I hated moving from one city to another. Every move meant losing my friends and starting all over again in a new school. When I started my own family and had my own children I had to take them through the same ordeal every time we moved. Imagine how shocked I was when a few years ago one of my daughters gave me a nice birthday card where she thanked me for moving her from one city to another. She wrote that it helped her to learn and to appreciate people of different cultures and backgrounds. It helped her to learn how to get out of her comfort zone and to move forward. As Christians we also hate the concept of a journey. However, Christian ministry is a journey. Christ did not even have His own home. He was always on the move. We get used to our pew, to our circle of friends and gradually we hate the concept of change even if the Lord is calling us to move forward. The Israelites hated the journey to the promised land. They missed their “meats and pots” in the land of Egypt. Let us ask ourselves if maybe we are too comfortable in our soft church pew? “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

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I was so excited to receive these photos from last Sabbath’s Game night. Youth and Earlieteens came together to enjoy food and fun activities. There are many more events planned for our children including a Youth Vespers on November 13. Enjoy the photos sent to me by Jenny Spicer.

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Matt Geraghty shared the following picture report with me from the recent Men’s Ministry project. I am so glad we have this active group of men in our church. Thank you, Matt, for your leadership.

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Late Wednesday night I received a text message from Ryan Matthews. There was a photo of his wife Heidi and baby Asher. Healthy and happy Asher (5 lbs 14 oz) and his mama are doing great. Congratulation to the Matthews family!

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This Sunday is our Cornerstone Gala. The banquet will be at 5 PM at Howe Farms. Everyone is invited. If you did not RSVP, no problem. It is not required. Just come as your are. This is your church event. We do not want anyone to miss this very important event. The venue address is 7600 Runyan Road, Georgetown, Tennessee 37336. If you prefer a ride call or email me, and I’ll help you with the shuttle van arrangements. More info is available here https://www.ooltewahchurch.org/copy-of-new-page

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Last week Galena and I had a wonderful time in New England. There were eight of us. We spent a few days in Portsmouth, NH and then drove to Woodstock, VT. Here are a few photos from our trip.

See you this Sabbath morning.

pastor Peter

Saved Through His Life.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10)

Our reconciliation with the Heavenly Father became possible only because of the death of Christ. By His death He met the requirements of the holy law. Peace with God was pronounced on the cross for every human being who accepted this gift by faith. No more wrath, not more enmity between the Creator and His creation. No need to run from the glory of the Holy God. If this was accomplished by the death of Jesus something even greater is offered to us by His life. It is because He is a living Saviour we can receive the gift of salvation. We are saved by the life of Jesus. This salvation is the present reality. This is a great reason to “boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11). “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 6:14)

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Last Sabbath we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. It was good to see many of you who came to remember Christ’s death and His resurrection. I am especially grateful to the Head Deaconess, Bonnie Hicks, and to the Head Deacon, Rick Banks and his team for making the necessary arrangements for the Communion and for their assistance during both services.

While we had the Communion service at church a good number of church families with younger kids participated in an outdoor church service at Red Clay State park. Cory Goss led the program at the park and shared the following photos with me:

Here is what Cory messaged along with the photos: “Today was a wonderful time. About 16 families came out to worship together. We had a scavenger hunt, leaf rubs, singing,  we made a skit of our lesson and our worship was about letting our lights shine like the five wise virgins. Squirrels, birds, even the trees are getting ready for winter.  Likewise we need to be ready for Jesus to come.”

Thank you, Cory!

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On October 9, the Voices in Worship group presented a wonderful afternoon concert. Thank you, Larry Otto, for planning this event. Here is a photo from that afternoon and under the photo you will find a YouTube link to the the recording of the concert.

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Have you already sent a text message to this number (423-779-4774) to confirm your participation in the Cornerstone Banquet on November 7? Please do not wait till the last day. This is your event. Please, send your RSVP today.

Click on the picture below to learn more about the banquet:

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This Sabbath morning, during the first service, we will celebrate Roy and Yasmin Teal’s baptism. There will be joy in heaven and celebration in our church family. Praise God for their decision.

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Happy Sabbath to y’all!

hugs,

pastor Peter

Faith Against All Odds

“Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at his word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: “Your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count!” ” (Romans 4:18)

Abraham’s faith was so strong that nothing could shake it. He never stopped believing and because of His faith, He glorified God. Not only was perfect righteousness credited to His account, but Abraham received His promise (Rom 4:19-22). I love Romans 4 because this declaration was not just spoken over Abraham, but it was spoken over you and me too! When we believe, we too receive righteousness and the promises we have been waiting for (Rom 4:23-25).

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This Sabbath morning many families with children will worship at Red Clay State Park. The program will start at 10:30 am. Cory Goss will lead the service. Unfortunately, pastor Matthew and Emmalee will not be able to attend the event because their son, Malachi, is struggling with the COVID19 virus. We all hope that Malachi will feel better soon. If you need additional info about the Red Clay Park program please contact Cory or any of your Sabbath school teachers.

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Tomorrow is the Communion Sabbath. I believe in the great spiritual significance of the Communion Worship service. Christ told us to “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). There is a special blessing for each one of us in attending the service. We are enriched spiritually by the Holy Spirit when we gather at the Lord’s table. We are united with Christ and with each other. We find assurance of our salvation in the death and the resurrection of Jesus. I invite you in the humility of our spirit to forgive those who offended you. Christ forgave us on the cross. How much more should we forgive each other. Set aside your differences; there is so much more that we have in common when we are with Christ. I expect tomorrow to be a high Sabbath. Don’t leave your seat empty at the Lord’s table.

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November 7 Church Banquet plans are finalized! Every church member is invited to participate. As a matter of fact I’d like to encourage you to invite one another. Call your family and friends from church; talk to you Sabbath school class members; message your ministry team. Let us all set this as our priority. This is YOUR banquet. Dinner starts at 5 P.M. at Howe Farms located at 7600 Runyan Rd, Georgetown. This is a beautiful facility where you’ll be offered uplifting music, dinner and fellowship.

If you do not drive after dark that will not be a problem. A van shuttle service is arranged specifically for you. The van will pick you up at either the ABC store or the church parking lot and will bring you back.

You’ll find more information and directions on the church website http://www.ooltewahchurch.org Please send a text message to RSVP to the following number 423-779-4774.

https://www.ooltewahchurch.org/copy-of-new-page

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Happy Sabbath.

See you tomorrow morning.

pastor Peter

Justified by His Grace

“We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. . . . He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. . . . More than this, Christ changes the heart. . . . You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. . . . So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. . . . Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us” (Steps to Christ, pp. 62-63).

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Healing in Jesus Bible studies continue every Tuesday and Thursday. It is never too late to join the class. These studies help us dig deeper into the teachings of the Bible about our salvation and the end-times events. Last night our study focused on the antichrist. It is so easy to be spiritually confused. I am glad that we have God’s Word as our sure guide.

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Last Wednesday I was invited to eat lunch with the Young at Heart group of our church members. This time they met at City Cafe in Cleveland. The food was good, but the best part was to see how our dear church members fellowship with one another. This is truly a wonderful way to make friends. If you are not yet a part of this group talk to me and I’ll connect you with them. I wanted to take a picture but got carried away with good conversation. I’ll definitely try to join the group in November and will take a nice photo. Thank you, Willis Adams, for overseeing this ministry.

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Here is a link to a great testimony shared by Dr. Klinner:

There are many important announcements in the church bulletin this week. Here is the link to the church website where you can download the bulletin, donate your tithe and offerings and find lots of helpful information.

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Here are some highlights of our church plans for the next two weeks:

  • Prayer Warrior potluck at our home at 1 PM on October 9
  • Voices in Worship concert at 4 PM at our church on October 9
  • Youth Vespers at 6 PM in the Youth room on October 9
  • Communion Service during both services on October 16
  • Young Families outdoor church on October 16
  • Cornerstone Project all-church banquet on November 7

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Happy Sabbath. See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Who Do You Worship?

This week I am starting a short sermon series based on the Book of Romans. In the heart of the first chapter we find an important issue of worship. God gave us the full revelation of His nature from the very beginning of this world, but we chose to ignore Him and worship something or someone else. Turning away from God we lose the battle with our sinful nature. We “exchange the truth about God for a lie” (1:25). The righteousness of God stands in stark contrast with the sinfulness of man and describes God’s holy and just character.

God could never forgive sinful men the trespasses and sins in a way that would compromise His own perfect character, and the wages of sin is eternal death to all who fall short of His unsurpassed righteousness. But God in His love and grace gave His only begotten Son, to be born into the human race, so that His sinless life would become the one and only payment to fully and finally satisfy the righteous requirements of God’s perfect Law. God’s righteous judgement on sin was secured at the Cross of Christ, purchasing forgiveness of sin to all who believe.

I invite you to study this chapter in more details this Sabbath morning.

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I believe that cell groups are critically important for the church to be spiritually healthy. Currently there are several groups meeting weekly for fellowship and Bible studies. One of the groups meets on the veranda of the Gerber house. Mike Haughee, who attends these meetings shared a few photos with me from the early September meeting. Have you considered joining one of the existing cell groups? Would you be interested in starting a new group closer to your home? If yes, please contact me right away. We need this ministry to expand and to grow.

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The first phase of the Healing in Jesus Bible seminar is over. We had a wonderful time together studying God’s Word and finding answers to the pressing needs of the present reality. I am very grateful to all our volunteers who have been doing their best in their various areas of responsibilities. Larry lined up great music for every night. Ann Weeden and her team were providing delicious food. Table leaders were building friendship ties with their guests. I felt blessed to share God’s Word and to lead the seminar participants to a decision to give their lives to Christ. Now we are in the second phase of the seminar with meetings continuing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Its never late to join this class. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Below are a few photos from the Seminar and a short paragraph from Laura Standish who was leading the children’s program.

Kids Evangelistic Meetings – “A special thanks to Pastor Matt, Ron Malloch, Matt Geraghty and Laura Standish for their help with the kids series.  Each night, different bible character or topics were examined to correspond to the topics Pastor Peter shared with the adults.  From Creation to Jesus’ Life and Joseph to Daniel, the kids learned how healing can come through the hardest of times.  Here are a few pictures of the fun and faith-building that was had.” – Laura.

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Last week Galena and I visited our daughter’s family in Flagstaff, AZ. Our daughter, Anastasia, is not in the photo as she was the photographer. We had a great time running and biking with the grandkids 🙂 They are adorable.

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See you this Sabbath morning for the worship service.

pastor Peter

Making Friends Like Jesus

It is hard to find a friend. We want someone who likes us; some one flawless; someone who shares our worldview and our lifestyle. Where are these perfect people? No wonder many of us have no friends in church even after twenty years of attending the same place . However, this was not the case with Jesus. It took him less than three years to say to at least twelve people, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). How many of us have twelve people who we truly can call ‘friends’?

I suppose the problem is that we do not see other people through the eyes of Jesus. We see them as thieves, drunks, immoral, unreliable, selfish, etc. These were actually the people Jesus saw as His friends. He saw them as the ones needing help, love, support, guidance. No wonder they were inviting Jesus to their parties and would run on foot to find him on the other side of the lake (Matt. 9:10; 14:13). Friendship for Jesus was nothing but immersing Himself into the life of those who needed help, and identifying with their joys, burdens and pain. Try this approach and you’ll never say that you do not have friends.

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OAKS is off to a great start with two weeks of school already gone. Students and teachers took a break from their studies to enjoy a water day hosted by our Home and School organization led by Patty Geraghty. A big thank you to the many volunteers who came to help the kids play safely and to serve a yummy lunch. OAKS is very blessed with a community that supports our program in so many ways. More pictures and news to come on our OAKS Sabbath, September 25. -Shelly Caswell

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Kitchen and Youth room renovations are going full speed. A huge Thank You to Laura Herren for coordinating these extremely important projects. Here is just a peek into the new kitchen:

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Last minute preparations are being made for the Bible Seminar starting at our church in exactly seven days! Let this be the Seven Days of Prayer and Action. Below is a link to the seminar website:

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Happy Sabbath. See you in the morning.

pastor Peter

The Bread of Life

If we receive the Bread of Life without sharing it we become spiritually obese. Hungry crowds are all around us. Christ is still speaking to us saying, “You give them something to eat.” Take the Word of God from the hands of Jesus and share it with your family, friends, and neighbors. Christ is expecting us to be His coworkers in this important task. Ask yourself what is your mission all about? Do you feel the burden of sharing the Bread of Life with your community? I invite you to examine this crucial command of Jesus this Sabbath morning during our hour of worship.

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Last Sunday morning dozens of young people gathered at Harrison Bay to celebrate Melinda Jubea’s baptism. I could see that her baptism attracted other people who were there on the lake. They stood nearby listening to the beautiful spiritual songs and witnessed Melinda’s decision to follow Jesus. This Sabbath morning we will welcome Melinda into the fellowship of the Ooltewah Adventist Church. Here are just a few photos from that wonderful morning.

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On Monday night the church Board met for the regular monthly meeting. I was very happy to see a good turn out and the spirit of unity among our church leaders. Among other important decisions the Board approved a new budget for this fiscal year. In this new budget a strong emphasis is made on supporting our school and academy students. The Building committee presented a proposal for the General contractor and other subcontractors for the Cornerstone project. This proposal was unanimously approved by the Board. Church leaders also reviewed the final steps in preparation for the September Bible seminar.

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In the last few weeks many of our church members have been receiving phone calls from the church elders. Our plan is to help every church member feel connected with church leaders. If you need help, encouragement or a prayer don’t hesitate to contact your elder. Here is a link to the directory of our church elders.

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This morning I had a wonderful experience speaking for the OAKS chapel. Thank you for remembering our students and teachers daily in your prayers.

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On Wednesday night I came across a group of Adventurers meeting at the picnic table by the school. Thank you, Adventurer club leaders, for your love and support of the little ones in our church.

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Happy Sabbath. See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

With Christ in the hour of crisis.

“There comes a crisis-hour to each of us, if God has called us to the highest and best, when all resources fail; when we face either ruin or something higher than we ever dreamed; when we must have infinite help from God and yet, ere we can have it, we must let something go; we must surrender completely; we must cease from our own wisdom. strength, and righteousness, and become crucified with Christ and alive in Him. God knows how to lead us up to this crisis, and He knows how to lead us through.” (Streams in the Desert, L.B.C.)

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Last Sabbath I had the honor of ordaining two new elders in our church. Mrs. Donna Caswell and Dr. Tom Klinner accepted the call to serve as church elders and joined the team of the church leaders. Please uplift them in your prayers as they pray for you and serve your spiritual needs.

Below is a photo from the ordination service.

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A new school year at OAKS had a great start. School teachers and staff were presented to the church during both services last week. We promised to support them daily as they educate our children and lead them to Christ. Here is a photo of our school team:

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We are 20 days away from the Healing in Jesus Bible seminar. More info is available on the following site: https://www.prayforhealing.net. Have you put this seminar on your schedule for September 10 through 18?

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Please extend love to the Hartman family. Dr. David Hartman’s father, Carl Lee Hartman, passed away last week. Hartman served in pastoral ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for more than 40 years in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, and Iowa.The Memorial service is scheduled to be August 28 @ 5 P.M. in our church. In the photo below are Carl Hartman and his wife Betty.

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A number of our church members are in quarantine because of COVID19. We have no reason to believe that they got infected while at church. Please pray for their health and their soon recovery.

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I also invite you to extend loving support to Mary Ellen and Marlin Walter. They lost their sister-in-law. This week they travelled to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral service.

I extend my sincere condolences to Marichu McCatcheon and Ann Weeden who lost their father. They both travelled to Florida to attend the memorial service there. Please pray for these dear families.

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The Church bulletin and other helpful resources are available on our church website: https://www.ooltewahchurch.org .

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This weekend Galina and I are spending time with my mother Anna in Greenville, TN. Last month we celebrated her 88th birthday.

Happy Sabbath and many hugs to you,

pastor Peter