Submitted by Jane Ahuero
My path to Magdalena House was not a straight line, but such a rewarding destination I could never have imagined. When my grand girls were still in elementary school, they brought home a flyer about a presentation the San Antonio Police Department was giving on human trafficking, and recruiting techniques that were being used in our city. It was staggering, and too overwhelming to believe. Our city is a hub. Yes a hub, and the numbers take your breath away.
I started focusing on the battered women’s shelter as a ministry, but this is a temporary shelter, at best, and though it meets an immediate need, it does not solve many problems. Through the Diocese, I heard about a home right here in town that provides a long-term residential plan to provide the tools for living independent lives for the residents, and fell in love with the concept. There were few rules for living there (at the time only one house that would hold 4 women and two of their children each), but one of them was to attend a life enrichment program held on Tuesday nights.
I volunteered to help care for the children while their mothers attended these classes. I quickly fell in love with both the children and the mothers. Since I first began, they have added two new homes and now house, not four but twelve families. I have been there long enough to see eight women “graduate” and establish homes for themselves and their children. Three of the women are now working as volunteers in the community because they want to give back, as one of them put it “I want to give back to the place that gave me life.”
I truly believe one of the best ways we can serve others is to keep ourselves educated and informed. This is an excellent source for informing ourselves on what is truly a national epidemic. Be sure to watch the video. http://texasatt.prod.acquia-sites.com/initiatives/human-trafficking.
The 2018 Adopt A Needy Family project has begun! For over 12 years, the St. George community, through our middle school service organization, the Beta Club, has participated in this Christmas gift-giving project. Each year, we adopt nine families with the goal of providing a few special gifts, some Christmas decorations and items of true need. The St. George community has earned an incredible reputation for always going above and beyond in providing needy families with Christmas joy. Click here to read about our 9 adopted families.Ornaments are available for selection on the bulletin board in the Gathering Area hallway. The ornaments specify the gift item, as well as the name, gender, and age of the person who will receive the gift. All unwrapped gifts with paper ornament attached are due no later than November 30.
In addition to gift sponsorship, the Beta Club would greatly appreciate donations of gift boxes (shirt size and larger), tissue paper, pre-made bows and Christmas wrapping paper. The nine adopted families also have a variety of larger needs, such as bicycles, beds, microwaves, etc. Click herefor specific larger needs.
The Adopt A Needy Family program is a wonderful opportunity for St. George to give back as a community, and we hope that you will prayerfully consider participation.
Thank you for your continued support,
Your 2018 AANF Coordinators
Michelle Matthews-Kasson, Rudy Davila and Tinker Notzon, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time for our Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive in partnership with the Beta Club at St. George School, we are collecting donations of food for the San Antonio Food Bank and for Christian Assistance Ministries. Food collected for CAM will be boxed along with donated turkeys to create full Thanksgiving dinners for the clients at CAM. Donations can be dropped off at the collection table in the Narthex by Sunday, November 18. Contact Marti Nodine for more information: email@example.com. Click here for food items needed.
When: November 18
Time: 3:00 PM
Where: The Commons Room of the St. George Leadership Center
We are very proud to present the next event in the St. George Fine Arts Series. The Pearl Trio, made up of our own pianist, Vivienne Spy, violinist Karen Styles, and cellist Barbara Paddock George will be performing some of the greatest classical repertoire for trios. All are members of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra!
Donations at the door will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The Holidays are a time many spend with family and friends. In an effort to accommodate this, our offices will be closed for the week. There will be no Wednesday Bible Study or Choir Practice on November 21, and no Fun and the Son for both weekends of the Thanksgiving Break. Youth Group will meet on November 25 to decorate the Leadership Center Commons.
As the Stewardship Chair, I thought it important to share my story. Over the years, we’ve tried to increase our giving. It hasn’t always been systematic or proportional. The following is failure on both parts.
In September of 2012, I went back to work. The timing coincided with a stewardship campaign. Before I could get use to spending this new income stream and instead of trying to inch up to 10%, I decided that for this income I would start out at 10%. The stewardship message had taken root and it wasn’t just the percentage. I wanted to write the check weekly to prove, to someone, that I was thinking about God. I became obsessed with writing a check on a weekly basis. This was no easy feat for me. You see, since my job was part time, my income varied from week to week. Additionally, I was paid once every two weeks. I didn’t receive a pay stub in the mail. I had to log on to a payroll site and remember my user name and password. Further undermining my efforts was the fact that my office had the worst WiFi reception in the entire house.
Each week, I found myself making a mad dash up the stairs, to log on to the website, move the decimal, divide by two, write the check and make it out the door to get to church on time. All this was for the purpose of putting something, however symbolic, in the plate.
The idealistic stewardship moment that I had envisioned of me writing a check with a cheerful heart, over a cup of coffee, while pondering God’s numerous blessings never happened – not once. In fact, I grew so frustrated with the self-imposed process that I only actually wrote 3 checks.
I had become a Pharisee. I placed more emphasis on the check writing than the check giving. Despite using auto pay for almost all our bills, I didn’t auto pay God. Somehow I thought that auto pay meant I wasn’t honoring God, thinking about God, on a weekly basis.
Which is ironic, because while auto pay relieves me of due dates and late fees, it also frees up my time so that I can spend it on something else, like time in communion with God. Writing a check was actually a way for me to resist systematic giving because I could always stop writing checks. Although I set out to act, to give, on a weekly basis, my heart was still giving out of convenience.
If you have mastered checking writing, this is not an indictment of you and your practices. Keep doing what you’re doing. But if you, like me, need a little help in giving systematically, consider the modern methods like Tithely. Don’t confuse a convenient method of giving with giving out of convenience.
But it wasn’t just in systematic giving that I fell short, there was also the proportional giving.
Yes, I was giving 10% of my new salary, but I had stopped writing checks. 10% of zero is still zero. Again I was behaving like a Pharisee. I had placed more importance on moving the decimal than giving generously as called. While my income did vary week to week, the variance was not enough to make a huge difference in setting a weekly check. And if it did, I could make adjustments on a quarterly or yearly basis. I do get sent a statement. By moving the decimal point, I was giving exactly what was required, not what was generous. Not one penny less, but not one penny more. My one penny, your one nickel, our collective dimes might affect a budget, but my one penny could never make or break God’s financial plan. But more importantly, I don’t think my relationship with God will grow, if it comes down to pennies.
The point of the giving worksheet is to spend time assessing your financial position; assessments that are honest, prayerful, and accurate. In two weeks, when we fill out our pledge cards, we shouldn’t be focused on decimals or check writing. Our focus should be how our small steps up are actually giant leaps in our walk with God.
Some of you may be wondering, if I only wrote 3 checks, what happened to the rest of my pledge. Tune in next week to find out the rest of the story. A story sadly called, “The Time I Stiffed God.” Amen