Extravagant Generosity Testimonies
What do you love about our church? Where do you see Jesus in our church?
Extravagant Generosity: The Heart of Giving
My name is Sandra Burks – and my husband, Ben, and I, along with our 3 children (Jenny, Garret, and Alli) have been attending Asbury church for over 15 years. We originally came to the Valley when Ben was the minister for the Wesley Foundation at JMU which gave us an instant connection to Asbury.
When we first came to this church, I was a little overwhelmed at first with this “big church” as I grew up in a smaller rural community where I knew everyone in every pew every Sunday. But, we soon settled in here with our new family and are regularly overwhelmed now, not with the “size” of the building – but with the loving support of our family here.
I decided to use this opportunity to give a little shameless plug for The Sound of Music (which, by the way, has one final showing this afternoon!), to give you a little recap of some of my “favorite things” –
- Music – I love the faces of the Cherubs and Carol choirs when they sing, play the chimes, and perform in various musicals. I remember hurrying to church during the holidays on Sundays when the tympani would be here so we could sit near the front – and my daughter saying to me “do you feel it in your tummy mommy?”. I love standing in front of the Barnes family when Laura let’s us sign the Alleluia Chorus at the holidays and pretending that I can sing too. And I love the men’s ensemble and their special gifts so often. And there is so much variety – from the harps to the guitars to the “spooktacular” organ music at Halloween. Something for everyone.
- Mission – I love that mission and outreach is such a vital and growing part of this church. From our garden out back, to the teams traveling to Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Russia, Africa, the Dominican Republic, as well as the mission fields of North Carolina and the gulf coast, I have been honored to say “this is my church”. I love watching 5 year-olds sorting and packing shoes during our massive shoe drive last year for Souls for Jesus, and the amazing response to bake sale after back sale in the hallways – anyone know a good recipe for peanut butter cookies? One of my strongest emotional experiences comes from watching my teenage daughter tell me how she just doesn’t think it will be possible for her to raise the funds she needed to go to Mozambique with Voices of Youth, and then watching her eyes and her heart open even wider as she experiences the power of community and connection once she submits to the calling of Jesus. She returned from that trip with a clear understanding of God’s plan for her life, and a vision for the work that God had in store for her. Quite a gift. You make that possible.
- Worship – I’m someone who appreciates many different kinds of worship – and I love the variety of worship experiences at Asbury for the many different “needs” that come through our doors. I love Kathleen’s perceptive preaching as she speaks directly to “me” even in a congregation of several hundred, and I love Bob’s reminders that prayer works – first, second, third, and last. I love the “traditional” worship experience at Asbury – and I find myself smiling at the gentle integration of radical things like “the screen” and a little liturgical dance, and even an occasional “clap” every now and then.
There is so much that I love about Asbury - and I was actually really excited when given this opportunity to be able to stand up and say “thank you” to all of you during this really important time in our church. We are at crossroads – and we can decide together which way we will go.
I’m excited to see where God will lead us – together – And I encourage you to take advantage of this time – to reflect for a minute about what you love about our church – and then, take a moment to consider what we have yet to accomplish together – and how much sorrow and pain there remains outside these walls – and consider how you can be a part of the solutions. The answers are already evident – we just have to discover them –