Over the last year and a half, we have all been challenged in so many ways, and yet week after week my faith has been built by the stories I have heard about each of you.
Your faith in God amazes me; it leads you to overcome obstacles, serve others, and make a difference in the Bay Area and the world.
Like the Bible says in Proverbs 25:25, each of these pieces of good news is like cold water to my thirsty soul.
And that’s why I’m excited to tell you that starting today, our team of Lead Ministers will share inspiring stories from around the church with you every week. On Friday afternoons, we’ll be sending you “The Good Stuff,” an email with a roundup of inspiration from different parts of the Bay Area Christian Church.
We hope these stories build your faith and energize your soul. I’m so proud to be part of a life-changing, non-traditional, and non-denominational church where we can serve God and serve others together.
A heart for The City
For our first story, I want to tell you about a couple here in San Francisco who inspires me to make a difference here in The City.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.1 Peter 4:10
My wife and I have lived in San Francisco now for over 16 years, and we love the diversity and many distinct neighborhoods of each part of The City. But walking around so many different parts of The City, it can be really troubling and heartbreaking at times to see many people in need. This is why I appreciate and admire my friends Erik and Heather Nelson for being such difference-makers.
Erik and Heather had always dreamed of building a family together and were overjoyed at the birth of their first daughter. However, at that time, Erik was also battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol and it was putting a strain on their marriage. Even after joining a recovery program, he had no idea how to rebuild his marriage and reconcile all the damage that had been done.
Two years later, Erik and Heather became friends with Rod and Kathy Lisam because both of their daughters were in the same music class. The Nelsons and Lisams became great friends.
Eventually, Erik and Heather began coming to Bible Talks and Sunday services. They were inspired by the other marriages, friendships, and families around them. Through Bible studies and friendships, Erik and Heather completely rebuilt the foundation of their marriage and family and were baptized in 2017.
But that was only the beginning
The Nelsons were so grateful for God and his new vision for them that they were eager to give back and help people in the same way they were helped. Compelled to find more ways to change lives, Erik took the initiative to connect with the Turn-180 support group in Silicon Valley, which helps individuals overcome their past addictions by doing good in the community.
Erik was so inspired by this program that he and Heather began a Turn-180 support group in San Francisco. Heather’s mother Sylvia has also been so impacted by Erik and Heather’s hearts to keep doing good for others during the pandemic, and she was baptized earlier this year.
Since then, the Nelsons have continued to rally friends, co-workers, and extended family members together to not only be involved in Turn-180 but to serve many others in the community as well.
They have handed out over 1000 bagged meals and over 100 toiletry bags, started an annual blanket and coat drive, and the Food Bank “Souper Bowl” canned goods drive in San Francisco for those who are without homes or in need.
This past September, the Nelsons rallied together the SF Professionals and Families ministries along with Turn-180 SF to put together “Bags of Love” for those in need in The City.
They filled over 240 bags with PB&J sandwiches, bananas, water, and granola bars, and distributed them throughout the city in the Bay View, Mission, and Tenderloin districts.
Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Through constantly building new relationships, studying the Bible with friends, and doing good together, they are determined to keep helping others break the cycle of addiction and change lives in San Francisco and beyond.
I hope this story inspired and refreshed your faith as much as it did mine! It reminds me that each of us has a unique purpose and everything in our lives is part of it.
Till next week.