It is time to close the year of 2013. Around this time of year, many people will try to recall what they have achieved and what they have lost. There are things that can be measured easily, like changes in someone’s financial situation or social status. In contrast, there are subtle things in our lives that can’t be recognized clearly. Are you happier this year than last year? This kind of question should be answered with various standards and concepts of measurement. 

When I recall the musical activities at our church this year, I can say that this year was even better than last year at First Presbyterian Church. We have had a successful Spring Concert in May, and we will have another great joint Christmas service and concert with First Congregational Church on Sunday, December 8. Everyone of our Sunday services has had heavenly music that our choirs prepared. And, I should mention that my organ playing skills have improved a lot since I started playing here in the Fall of 2011. We sent a few singers away after their graduations, but welcomed some other new faces to our musical groups, including two volunteer students from the University of Northern Iowa. Our new bell choir group for beginners, Praise Ringers, has played for services and concerts successfully throughout the year. 

But the more important achievements that we have experienced are beyond these visible accomplishments. I have found ample possibilities for even more and rapid growth in our ministries. Through the Advent season, we come to think about the meaning of waiting. Time is always in God’s hands, but His answer is for the people who keep trying and searching for God’s time and voice. I have found that many of our church members are giving such heartfelt efforts here and there in every corner without ceasing. God will know these people’s efforts and hear their prayers. 

I believe that this coming year of 2014 will be an even better year for our ministry. The reason I believe so is not because of what we have done, but because of the people I have witnessed at our church, and our God who supports us when we fully rely on Him in pursuing what He wants us to do.