With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of.
— Ephesians 3:20 ERV
There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing God change a life! The past two weeks have been nothing short of amazing as we’ve seen God’s power at work in the lives of three West Bay families and beyond.
The power of families who pray
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
— Colossians 1:9-10 NLT
Earvin Tam became a Christian over three decades ago. Coming from a large family with five siblings, he dreamed of inspiring his family with his faith. Despite going through different challenges in his own life, he persevered and continued to pray for his siblings. Earvin and his wife, Sandap, began to pray daily for Earvin’s sister Connie. Sandap invited Connie and Earvin’s other sisters to a Girls’ Night Out event. Connie was deeply impacted by what she heard, and she decided to come to Easter service in San Francisco soon after. It was there that Connie, despite having built an accomplished life and family of her own, realized that she was still searching for happiness.
These events and the subsequent friendships she built inspired Connie decided to study the Bible. God’s Word showed her how much God loved her and had been pursuing her all her life. She was moved by God’s forgiveness and faithfulness, and she radically changed to grow deeper in her love for God and her family. This past Sunday, Connie was baptized, and her extended family came to support and celebrate with her!
Amy and I were so inspired by Earvin and Sandap’s prayers, Connie’s immense gratitude for God, and the way God surrounded Connie with friends who have become like family. She’s now eager to live out God’s purpose by helping people around her discover the happiness she found in a relationship with God.
The power of faith-building friendships
I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith that we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.
— Romans 1:12 ERV
Mason, a freshman at San Jose State University, had a hard time expressing what he really thought and felt when he was growing up. Wrestling with insecurities, he kept a significant amount of pain in his life and relationships hidden. Instead, he immersed himself in physical fitness and kept an emotional distance from people around him, which strained his relationships with family and friends.
Mason’s parents had been praying for him to discover God, and they encouraged him to go to church once he moved to San Jose from Sacramento, where he had grown up. Through the friendships he began building with those in the SJSU campus ministry, Mason’s faith started growing stronger; he began to see how God was helping him overcome insecurities in ways he never thought he could. Mason decided to study the Bible to learn more about God.
Mason learned from the Bible that God wanted him to overcome his past pain rather than conceal and be burdened by it. He learned from his spiritual friends how to be vulnerable and transparent as they each shared their lives and their faith with him. It became clear to Mason how much pain he had been carrying and how he had negatively affected his relationships by avoiding it.
The Bible changed his heart, and understanding God’s love began to teach him to care for others. He not only learned from the guys around him in the campus ministry but also gave back to them and strengthened their faith, like Romans 1:11 describes. Mason’s relationship with his family also changed, and he decided to get baptized just a few weeks ago on October 29!
Because of his gratitude for all God has done to change his life, he is passionate about helping his friends pursue God. As he studies to become a physical therapist, Mason is excited to embrace his new dream of letting God use his talents to help people in his program and beyond to know God.
The power of dreaming together
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
— Psalm 32:8 NLT
Chris and Cynthia Beach had always believed that God had a special purpose for their twin daughters, Taylor and Makena. But like many parents, they had no idea how and when God’s dream for their girls would unfold. Makena decided to pursue God during her high school years and was baptized when she was 16. Taylor also began studying the Bible in high school, but her path was different from her sister’s.
After high school, Taylor decided to attend Foothill College. When she arrived on campus, she was enthusiastic about continuing her Bible studies. Despite facing health challenges, Taylor began making radical changes that led her to build closer relationships with her family. God answered prayers as Taylor was also baptized on October 29, with her family and friends by her side!
Now, Taylor is thrilled to have found God’s purpose for her life. She is eager to inspire her many other friends in college to experience the love and purpose she discovered in her relationship with God. Together the Beach family is grateful and inspired to live out God’s dream of changing lives together!
The power to build the next generation
I remember your true faith. That kind of faith first belonged to your grandmother Lois and to your mother Eunice. I know you now have that same faith.
— 2 Timothy 1:5 ERV
This past Sunday evening, hundreds of moms from all over the Bay Area had an extraordinary experience at our Congregational Y-Moms Devotional! Mothers of middle schoolers, teens, and college students got to hear hear an amazing lesson from Gail Ewell and Tenea Manuel about passing on our faith to our children. The Scriptures encouraged every mom to persist in prayer, believe in the power of the Bible, and keep connecting with their kids to help them pursue God.
Moms who attended shared compelling responses afterward:
“I learned that I need to have strong faith in myself and not let it waver. That I am planting the seed and God is the one that will make it grow. I also came out grateful that I have a group of moms that can give me advice and help me know that what a kid is going through is normal.”
“I really loved the point that I’m not perfect but can be faithful! I can’t control life, kids, etc. but I can control whether I turn to God and work at my faith.”
We are looking forward to having more devotionals for both moms and dads in 2024 to not only to help each other grow in our faith but also spiritually influence the next generation!
Until next time,