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January 1, 2012

God Is Present where We Least Expect

We believe God is up to something with the many places and people in the North East USA Field.

One such place is the Dundalk Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. I was blessed to share there in a Wednesday-night service. I experienced God’s Spirit moving in a place where hope is difficult to find and people are struggling with difficult issues.

Yet, this is an example of how God is present and active in places we least expect.
The following testimony comes from Dundalk’s Kevin Betlejewski.

“We wanted to start a program that would make us a community church, but we didn’t really know how. We as a congregation wanted to be involved in getting the word of God to our neighbors, but we just couldn’t get it moving.”

That changed when a man named George appeared in the congregation. He said he wanted to work on bringing the Word into the lives of others. He said God had led him to Dundalk. So George, and his wife, Gail, went to work.

“They started a Wednesday family night,” Betlejewski said. “That first Wednesday, seven came, including George and Gail. But the belief that people would come prevailed. The program consisted of a short service, a meal, and then a movie.”

Since that first Wednesday, much has changed. Betlejewski explained.

“I felt a very strong calling that God wanted me to be involved, so I started going and helping, mostly by playing the guitar. But God had other intentions. Today I’m the outreach pastor. We have learned to listen to God.”

They still watch a movie and have a meal. But first they have a service that includes a mini-sermon, praise to God, prayer requests, Bible trivia, and a variety of Christian songs.
“Then, listening to God, we added a Communion service once a month, an adult Bible study, a young-adult Bible study, and a children’s program,” Betlejewski said. “We have had several weddings, child blessings, administrations, and visitations to homes where we encountered God’s blessing.”

Nearly all attendees on Wednesday evening are homeless or out of work. But they tell others, “If you want to feel God at work, go to this church. You’re not judged; you are loved.”

Betlejewski explained, “We believe God has given us a responsibility to be a community church, reaching out to all who enter our doors. There are many people who work very hard and long hours. At the end of the evening you can see in their eyes that they are tired. Yet you see a smile on their face that says: ‘This is God at work here in Dundalk.’”

No matter how many barriers we place before God, no matter how hopeless a situation may appear, God affirms the promise that we are never alone. God is fully present, always in our midst.