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Friday, December 29, 2006

The Letter of the Month

Two sisters from the Westside campus have recently emailed me and I wanted to post one of the letters because it was not only an encouragement to me, it spoke of what God is doing over on the Westside. It also speaks that YOU NEVER KNOW what your presence means to those around you. The truth is you influence others just by your attendance and participation.

Here is the Letter of the Month:

"Dear Pastor,

...I know my sister, Hazel, has already shared with you the details of God's prompting that led us to call Shepherd of the Hills (and now Westside SOTH) as home, but I also wanted to personally express my gratitude for the key role you have played to help make us feel at home at SOTH.

What really drew me to SOTH that Sunday when Hazel and I both felt unexpectedly led to the church was the real sense of family there. I distinctly remember a family sitting in front of us--a husband with his arm around his wife, and she alternately patting the heads or caressing the necks of their children beside them, as they all received your message together that morning. Coming from a family in which my father does not attend church, my brothers no longer attend church, and my mother has not attended the same church with us for almost two years, I was overwhelmed by the love that overflowed in that family as well as their communal reception of God's word. I was so affected by them that I stopped the couple after the service to let them and their family know how moved I was by their simple yet open expression of love for each other. I felt like they also personified the family community at SOTH. Since then I've seen SOTH as a church in which individuals as well as families can grow closer to God and each other.

After several months of attending SOTH and Westside SOTH, I've come to see that no one models love more openly at church than you, Pastor Dudley--from your proud commentary of your children, your introduction of your family at Westside SOTH, and the efforts you make to get to know members of the congregation personally (even though we number thousands upon thousands), to finding a balance between the demands of being a pastor to two campuses and being a husband and father to your family..."

Thank you Hazel and Rhona for your VERY KIND words....

I pray that your journey with Christ will always encourage those around you as you have encouraged me this day.

In love,

Pastor Dudley

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