A Note From Chris - December 9, 2021

One of the things that continually blows me away about our church is how we are willing to respond to needs placed in front of us. It’s one thing for our staff and elders to step up and take risks as a leadership. That is fantastic, and we will continue to do so. But when our church responds in droves, that really gets me excited.

Let me share two exciting highlights with you from recent weeks as well as one challenge for this Christmas season.

CELEBRATION #1 – CICM Youth Conference
As I’ve mentioned in other Thursday notes, we annually sponsor a youth conference in India through CICM. I could spend a few weeks talking about the incredible ways God is moving and using us as a church. It is far away and beyond us in many ways. But in others, it is close to our hearts and possible because we give sacrificially and regularly and keep the mission at the forefront of our efforts as a church. The conference has always been a huge success, with up to 2,000 students attending. This year, God truly blew the lid off this event. It was broadcast to people groups in four different languages digitally (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Nepali) over 3 weekends. Over 10,700 students attended across India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. An astounding 2,900 students made first time decisions for Christ at the conclusion of the conference. Someone asked me Sunday how many baptisms we had this weekend, and I jokingly said, “2,901!”. Isn’t it incredible to get to be a part of something so special? Way to go, Cornerstone!

CELEBRATION #2 – Christian Activity Center (East St. Louis) Christmas Party/Gifts
Over the past few weeks, you were asked to take a name or two and buy gifts for kids at CAC in East St. Louis. All 225 gifts were taken, and the gifts have been flooding in all month. The celebration party at CAC is this Saturday morning, and the volunteer team is fully staffed and ready to rock. It will be a fantastic celebration for many reasons, but especially since we were forced to skip this party for the kids last year. Way to go, Cornerstone!

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE – Cornerstone Cares Giving Initiative
In 2020, we started a giving outlet called Cornerstone Cares to give us a direct funnel for giving to our community and meeting needs around the world. This is in addition to our normal giving, and went to help meet some specific needs that were brought to our attention at the time.

Since Cornerstone CARES launched, we were able to meet needs in these ways:

- Fed 657 families in India for a month
- Provided coats, school supplies, lunches, and other needs for kids in the Metro East
- Cared for teachers and administrators at 6 schools the last two years
- Provided over 400 holiday meals for families in need

As we wrap up 2021, we once again want to encourage gifts toward Cornerstone CARES to meet some specific needs in our community and end the year strong.

All of our Christmas service offerings will go toward this venture. I also encourage you to prayerfully consider a sacrificial year-end gift to help us reach a goal of $60,000 this month for this particular initiative.

The first $20,000 given will go to Oasis International in St. Louis to help Afghani refugees flooding to our region, specifically in Belleville, Illinois. They are arriving weekly, and often have very limited resources. The remainder of the gifts will be earmarked toward community projects in 2022 that will allow us to respond quickly and significantly as needs arise locally or globally.

Would you consider joining this cause financially? Please pray about a year-end gift to serve others.

My family is preparing to bring our gift to Christmas Eve services. I hope you are making plans to attend one of our services. I look forward to seeing you there December 23 or 24. You can check out the times and details here.

Yours and His.
Chris VandeLinde

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