I am not a lover of the month of January. Christmas decorations are boxed away (as they should be) so the environment is starker than it had been from the holidays. The lights which had shone so brightly have now gone dark. And then there is that annual meeting to prepare. And the budget to finalize. And a new year to plan. And it is cold (sometimes). So, January is just depressing for me. Always has been. Maybe it’s just more a letdown after the joy of December.

As I’ve worked my own entry in the Annual Report — and searched through the pictures of 2017, I’m actually encouraged this month (a little). And what’s encouraged me is the realization that 2017 was not as rough as I thought. It was a pretty good year.

Passion week was amazing. We had a huge crowd and (I think) a clear message. Our Journey Classes changed many lives, as reflected in at least some of the 21 baptisms this year. That’s right, 21. God is using us in the lives of those who genuinely want to know Him. What an honor.

And though the summer was brutally busy and crazy (the remodel, remember?) that celebration in September made it all worthwhile. That, and the screams of laughter which now fills those rooms regularly. And then there was the 10th anniversary of annual medical mission in Bombo. The celebration in Uganda was genuine and appreciative. Of you!

And then there was the provision of three new part-time staff added to our number. Colleen, Andrew and Brooke came to fill some huge gaps in ministry leadership, and we have enjoyed the fruit of their labor and of their ideas for six months now. What will it be like to have them in place for an entire year? Only God knows. But I can’t wait to watch what happens.

So, for at least this January, I’m battling the post-holiday blues. God is doing something. We are reading the New Testament before Resurrection Sunday (it can be a challenge to keep up, but you really should join us). We have some new areas of discipleship to explore and students to reach and children to serve.

In the midst of the gloom of January, there is a reason to look up. Well, there always is if we’ll just stop and do it. But our God still rules the heavens. The Savior still never leaves us. The Spirit still fills and empowers us. It’s exciting to look ahead, but what have we seen of God’s faithfulness along the journey so far? He has never let us down, and He won’t start now. Take some time this week to get away from the routine of life if you can, and just thank God for what He’s doing here at Peninsula and in our own families. We are so blessed, and so much will be required of us. We can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. There is too much at stake. We have the only message of true hope in the world. Let’s live like it. And act like it.