God, your goodness reaches far above the skies. You have done wonderful things. God, there is no one like you. You have let me see troubles and hard times, but you will give me new life. You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again!
Psalm 71:19-21 ERV
We are heading into a new year, and this passage of the Bible reassures us that no matter what troubles we have experienced, God wants to give us a new life or a new start. He will help us do even greater things in the future than we’ve done in the past.
There is no greater impact we can make in this world than changing the lives of people around us. Today, we want to inspire you with the story of a house church in Contra Costa North led by Gabriel and Dorise Lacayo. This group faithfully believed God would help them do great things this year, and they have striven to help their friends experience new starts too.
Doing great things through studying the Bible with friends
One of these new starts was experienced by Alex and Shanna. After Shanna became a disciple a few years ago, she and friends helped her husband, Alex develop a relationship with God, get baptized, and experience a new start after years of battle addiction.
Alex now helps others seeking recovery to experience a new start, too. He collaborates with Turn 180, a group that supports people recovering from chemical addictions through turning outward and serving the community. His hope is to start a chapter of Turn 180 in Contra Costa North to meet even more needs in the community.
Doing great things by bringing E-Hoops to the Delta
Aaron and Jamie McCoy, another couple in the Lacayos’ house church, decided to make a difference in the lives of families in their community by bringing E-Hoops to the Delta area of Contra Costa this year. E-Hoops is an inclusive sports program that empowers kids of all abilities to reach their full social and athletic potential. The program has been hugely impactful in other parts of the Bay Area, bringing the hope of full inclusion to kids and families who otherwise might not have it.
Aaron and Jamie wanted families with both typical and special needs in their community to have access to this program, too. They worked hard to launch their first session this past fall, serving 30 kids in the community right away. Even more families have already signed up for the winter session, and they look forward to empowering these kids to do greater things in the years to come!
Doing great things through middle school “doing good” projects
As any parent knows, raising a middle schooler has its challenges. That’s why Don and Mel De La Cruz, who are also part of the Lacayos’ house church, have inspired us by working with other middle school families to put together “doing good” projects that they can do together with their kids. They have volunteered in the community, helped at shelters for unhoused single mothers, fed fire firefighters during the wildfires, and raised donations to send to senior centers in the Philippines. As they have served other people, they have also helped their kids catch a vision for doing great things by making a positive impact in other people’s lives.
Doing great things for Bay Area single professionals
The Lacayos and those in their house church are just some of the disciples we have in the Bay Area Christian Church that aspire to do greater things for others. We also have inspiring people in our church that are hosting a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball this weekend at the Emeryville Hilton. A team of men and women in our professionals’ ministry came together to plan this event in an effort for singles and married couples alike to create a fun, safe, and faith-building place where they and their friends could ring in the New Year.
This beautiful venue has an indoor ballroom where guests can enjoy dancing, music, food, and prizes, as well as an outdoor patio with heated fire pits for relaxing and connecting with friends.
The Masquerade Ball is a great way to start the new year, and it inspires us that God has great things ahead for our professionals’ ministry in 2023!
Happy new year!
Sam and Tenea Manuel
East Bay Lead Ministers