In some of my readings this week, I read a blog written about Zechariah and how the journey he had was/is a lot like the post-pandemic church. During reading, I was struck by the words because they echo the sentiments many of us share/feel. Check it out.

“The book of Zechariah takes place in a tender moment in the story of the Israelites. The book is written to a group who has just returned from decades in exile. They are home, but their temple has been destroyed, their families have been fractured, and they are trying to figure out what it means to move forward.

They set about rebuilding the temple, but the temple they begin is modest and not nearly as grand as the one they had before. The book of Ezra says the older members of the community wept as they began because they remembered what the temple had been like. Zechariah tells them not to “despise the day of small things” because God is still at work.

Maybe we had something we loved before the pandemic, and now we’re beginning to rebuild, and it feels disappointing or exhausting. We can be tempted to believe that a small beginning is a sign that God is not with us and that our best days are behind us. But that just isn’t the story of how God works.”

Certainly, the seats at LNHS are not the same as they were 13 years ago. It would be tempting to chalk it up to West failing, but that simply isn’t the case.

At the end of 2023, we were compiling an infographic of the many “wins” of 2022 as a church. The ways we impacted the community, the folks that are engaged with West, and the new people who have found their way to West.

We wanted to communicate those wins with you, the supporters of West.

However, our communications volunteer in Uganda was not able to continue working on those projects. With the craziness of the end of the year and holidays, we were not able to finish the publication! Someday soon, you’ll get the info. But in the meantime, just know – your engagement with West is anything but insignificant.

We may have reopened small, but just like Zechariah, God has continued to do great work in our midst. Because of you.

With that being said, with the sincerest of “Thank yous,” I want to thank you for your response to the generosity campaign during November and December. We had a $70,000 difference between what we needed the budget to be and what our 2023 giving projected. When we made the ask for families to take a step deeper in their generosity/gratitude to God with the support of West, over $50,000 was committed, and the difference is already seen!

We feel confident we will reach our 2024 budget needs.

You are always so gracious in your generosity. Words on a page just don’t seem to convey the depth of emotion behind them.

The fact that you keep this mission and vision going is huge.

Thank you!

Grace and Peace,