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I count it a privilege to serve the Tyler Seventh-day Adventist Church. I never expected that my family and I would live in East Texas, and truly, it has been a pleasant experience for us. God is wise in His ways, and for that, Lavenda and I are grateful for such an opportunity.

As a church, our mission is four-fold: First, we share the Love of God to the world. Secondly, we are to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ. Third, we proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12), and fourth, we are to prepare the world for Christ’s soon return. Jesus tells us that when “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached into the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”. (Matthew 24:14). As I study Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12, it is clear to me that our mission can only be fulfilled corporately as God entrusts His body, of believers, the church to fulfill! I'd like to share a simple, yet profound story that emphasizes this important concept of courage in “working together”.

One evening while a man was driving down a country road, he lost control of his car and wound up in a ditch. He walked to the closest farm house and asked for help pulling the car out. The farmer said, “Sure. Let me hitch up Dusty and you’ll be out in no time.” A few minutes later the farmer appeared with Dusty, an old, swaybacked, almost blind mule. After Dusty was hitched to the car, the old farmer cracked the whip and said, “Pull, Buck, pull!” Nothing happened and the stranger looked around for a mule named Buck. There weren’t any other mules. There was only Dusty, who wasn’t moving. The farmer cracked the whip again and said, “Pull, Clyde, pull!” The stranger took another look, but there was still only one mule hitched to his car, and that mule’s name wasn’t “Clyde.” Nothing had happened, so the farmer cracked the whip again and said, “Pull, Dusty, pull!” Dusty began to pull until finally the car was out of the ditch. The man thanked the farmer, and then said, “But I’m really curious. If your mule’s name is Dusty, why did you say ‘Pull, Buck’ and ‘Pull, Clyde’? That didn’t make sense!” The farmer said, “Well, you know Dusty is old and he doesn’t see too good, and he doesn’t have much confidence. Why, if he thought he had to do all the work himself, he’d never even try.”

As we journey through the different phases of life, and especially through our mission as a church, we will always need encouragement! As life challenges arise, and they do, often we succumb to them, and tend to be at the mercy of those obstacles. They become barriers to our responsibility as a church to fulfilling our mission. 

Brothers and sisters, let us not lose heart. It is at these times when we need to "pull together" and encourage one another. Let (we must) us rise above the challenges and cling the Hand of Him who calms the raging seas of life. Have courage! Let (we must) us thrive together, as the Body of Christ.  After all, Jesus has promised, “...and surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.

It is my hope and prayer that you find courage and fellowship with us and as we walk hand-in-hand to fulfill the mission God has for us!!

May God Bless You,

Pastor Michael Tuionetoa