New friendships forged, old friendships deepened, Christ’s body strengthened!

Chua Family Reflections on ACSC 2018:

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by Shannon Chua

What a blessed time to be with our church family at Evergreen SGV! From the moment we were so warmly welcomed by the registration team up until we loaded up our car alongside our friends, we felt an undeniable presence of community at our first ACSC. A huge “thank you!” to all who faithfully served to coordinate such a refreshing and fruitful weekend!

In all honesty, we came into ACSC in a rough place. Packing, loading kids and luggage (and lots of guitar equipment…), fighting traffic, and forgetting that the car was low on gas all added up to a stressful afternoon heading into the conference! However, from the first night’s worship and preaching, and simply being surrounded by our church family, God was able to set a positive tone of community for us from the very outset. Here are the highlights for our family.

Preaching: Pastor Cory sharing story after story of God’s faithfulness throughout Evergreen’s journey reminded us that God is so intimately and intricately involved in the lives of those He loves, and that He is not only “God with us,” but also “God for us!” We loved hearing about how our church is involved in feeding its members, serving the local community (especially the kids at Don Julian Elementary) and in reaching the lost around the world! It was so exciting to hear Pastor Rocky reaffirm the church’s commitment to the Word, loving Christ, and sharing God’s love with the lost. One moment that sticks out in our minds is Ian Nagata’s testimony of how God is working in Japan; in the midst of countless seemingly random coincidences, God is telling a story of redemption for a nation that sorely needs Him. It was an amazing reminder that in our lives, even if we can’t see it, God is fulfilling His purpose, and it is beautiful.

Seminars: Shannon attended a seminar, Restoration Therapy, by Aimee Machida Angeles on Friday afternoon. She found new ways to think about conflict; specifically, replacing the pain cycle (the lies we believe) with the peace cycle (the truth). It was a great antidote to the conflict that arose from the stress of Thursday. Jason and the kids loved making capes and busy bags at Diane Lieu’s seminar at the same time. The whole family enjoyed Jill Hatcher’s art seminar on Saturday afternoon (making an undersea collage) and came home with some beautiful artwork and new art skills.

Worship: How great was it to be in a smaller auditorium and to hear our brothers and sisters worshiping together! God is worthy of our praise!

Small groups: There is so much wisdom to be found amongst our brother and sisters here at Evergreen SGV! One of the best moments of the retreat for Jason came from something someone in his small group said--in essence, when we take risks according to God's call, all the risk and all the loss is in the temporal and physical realm. As far as the spiritual realm is concerned, we only stand to gain. When we are worried about what we may lose by giving our all to God, what is God giving us in the spiritual realm? God is constantly after our hearts, even if it means taking away those things that make us comfortable in the flesh.

Community: This was the top highlight of the weekend for us. From “kid swapping” for children’s ministry drop off to goofing off in the pool, from spontaneous prayer meetings to watching our kids run around in capes (in the words of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, “NO capes!!!”), we were acutely aware of how God was using the time to strengthen our existing friendships and form new ones. Whenever we felt just a little (or a lot) overwhelmed with the kids, someone was there to help. When our hands were just a little too full, someone miraculously appeared with a wagon. When Taylor didn’t like her milk tea boba, there was a youth group member ready to drink it for her! What a miracle that as God’s children grow closer together, Christ’s body is strengthened! Indeed, our God is worthy to be praised, and He is indeed “God for us!”