It is always nice to start a new year, looking forward to new opportunities and friends.
Epiphany by Christine Hales
One never knows what is over the horizon and it is our hope that life will get better for those who are battling very difficult times. The world is facing some extraordinary challenges which are constantly being aired in the media. The same kinds of problems which people have always been challenged with; war, poverty, displacement, child labor and trafficking, intensifying climate change. The list goes on but thankfully, so does our faith in God. There is a way forward through recognizing God’s hand at work, even if what we witness appears insignificant compared to the world’s needs as a whole, we are sure God is always at work.
“The Lord, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory.”
Christine had another TV story about her iconography, this time on the Catholic channel EWTN, aired just before Christmas, here is the link taken from part of the show Divine Mercy, https://youtu.be/c07vOqJj2JU . She also has a large commission from California to write an icon of Our lady of Guadeloupe, which she is excited to research and begin. Christine has also started to show her other hand in the painting world, which takes the form of symbolic naïve style with acrylic paint on canvas, very different from the icons. The gallery is a co operative artist’s gallery in Sarasota and is bringing Christine into a new circle of friendships. She is also teaching another online Icon writing class this month. This task takes a huge amount of preparation – she videos each demonstration, researches talks and prayers suitable for that particular icon, and then assembles it all into 8, ninety minute sessions over the course of four long days. Please keep her in your prayers for this- it’s very demanding but it is the work God has called her to, so we know He will give her strength.
Michael, continues with his Chaplaincy and is grateful for several of Christine’s friends from her studio neighborhood use their their skills and time, sewing blankets and knitting shawls so that people who are ill or who have no one to give them Christmas presents will know that God remembers them. Michael has been privileged to give to those in nursing care- and to one lovey lady for her 102 birthday! It means so much to the people and the joy of giving them is wonderful. Christmas has come and gone with all the trimmings and a beautiful Christmastide service for the community, which several family members visiting from New York, were able to attend.
“Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful! Their delight is in the way of the Lord, and they meditate on his law day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper. ” Psalm 1: 1-3
Looking back over the last month of ministry to commend things which stand out, there have been Bible studies, Alpha courses, Sunday services, Memorial services and many bedside visitations; but nothing that waves a huge flag of victory. Perhaps the most noteworthy incident was being still and holding the hand of a 96 year old man, who had recently shattered his pelvis in a fall, as I prayed for him, he tightly held my hand. This lasted about twelve minutes in our time, but how long that was in God’s time or what He was doing, I have no idea. All I know is, God is always working and love flowed.
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
We love keeping in touch with you all, and thank you so much for your prayers!
Love and Prayers,
Christine and Michael Hales