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My Dear Church Family and Friends,
It is with mixed emotion that I write you this note. For I am happy, sad, proud and Excited!
I am happy that I have been given the privilege and honor to know you! I am sad that I have to leave, for you have found a very special place in my heart and I will Truly Miss You! I am very proud of you, for you see, either you have taken a new step for Jesus or you have strengthened your existing walk. I am Excited that we (that’s you and me!!) have the assurance that we will meet again this time with Jesus in our New Home in Heaven!! Wow what a day that will be! Let’s make a date to meet then. Also in 500 years from the day Jesus comes, we are invited to Joe and Marie Tabies City mansion for dinner (We baptized them in 1994 effort and they asked me to invite as many as I could).
How do I begin to thank you for your support during this year plus. I can not even begin to tell you how much God has blessed me through you. Thank you so much for your prayers. I pray that you will receive a rich blessing for the support and love you have shown my family and myself.
My friends, you have in front of you great new responsibilities. Each of you have new brother’s and sister’s in Christ and as family you must strengthen each other. Draw close to one and other as Jesus is close to you. When you see your brother or Sister down, stand by them, and pull them up again! For it is far better to reach and give a helping hand than to jump into a pit of despair, and now both of you are stuck.
As Jesus taught Paul, fight the good fight that a Crown may be set aside just for you!
This last year plus has been such a blessing! Together we have, labored and prayed hard! Together we have worshiped the Lord. Together we have held two evangelistic meetings where more than 40 precious souls were born again through baptism! Together we have seen our church grow by (100%) one-hundred percent, 70% or more was true church growth! What an exciting year this has been! Would you have ever imagined so much in so little time?
We have seen happy times together, a few sad, as you were there for me helping me deal with the loss of my Sister Trudy! I have tried my best to be there for you as well. And even though we have experienced some growing pains, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Blood of the Lamb, we have and shall continue to overcome every and all obstacles the enemy throws our way! GOD is so GOOD!!
With great joy, I cannot begin to tell you how privileged I have been to be your Pastor, as well as, being part of the vision of our church! What we have done here, is nothing short of Gods miracle and it is already recorded in the “books of remembrance of life”. God takes record of everything we do with delight!
Malachi 3:16. Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
God loves us so much!
Together we have taken our little church in The Woodlands to new heights and to the “Next” level. I am so thankful I have been a part of it.
It is with a certain amount of sadness I tell you this next part, because, if you remember when I first arrived, it was Dawn’s as well as my desire to settle down for a while, work for some years in a local church and grow together! Well we did work! We did grow, incredibly! But, as far as settling down? …Not so much… I have learned over the years of service to Him that one should never say. “This is where I will spend ________ years”
Because, you never know what God has in store for us! We only know what this very minute brings and even that moment can be a surprise. I realize you understand this all two well! My dear family, please know; God has The Woodlands in His Hand and all this is and was by His divine design! How marvelous it is to contemplate His Mighty purpose.
So you understand, I was not necessarily seeking a call. Therefore, when the call came to ask me to be President of Adventist World Aviation, I was amazed and even somewhat in shock. Dawn and I went into long and heavy prayer! We labored many days over this decision! It became abundantly crystal clear that God had presented this opportunity for us to work in areas of our passion: Evangelism, Over- seas Evangelism, as well as Aviation. A complete mixture of our passions in one calling! Wow! And yes, I want to mention He is designing a ministry where upon we can have reunification of our lives together. I ask you, how could I say no? So, just days before our meetings ended, I accepted the Call.
My last Sabbath with you all will be June 25. I will be around for a few more days to visit with you and wrap things up with you and Elder Gary Brady and will begin my travel home at the end of the month.
I have made many new, forever friends here.
In ways, I wish we could have spent more time together as we could accomplish so much more. However, the reality is what it is. I must be about my Fathers Business.
I will miss you! Yet, I take comfort from an old friend’s words as he moved up to Canada, he said “grieve not!, we will have more time in eternity to spend together than we have had here!” and that time will ALL BE GOOD! So knowing that is the case, I look to God and wonder at his marvelous and mighty hand and look forward to spending more and even more time with you!
I pray this blessings be upon you! May the Lord Bless You and Keep You!
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
You are all now grafted into that promise!
Galatians 3:28, 29. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
I Hope and pray you will stay in touch with Dawn and I! We will keep our phone numbers as well as email address the same. I also pray you will consider supporting Adventist World Aviation. http://www.flyawa.org
. Like everything else they are in need financial support as well as prayer, or even if you wish to join us in mission work! Please consider at least the gift of prayer then pray some more!
In closing, my family and I would enjoy hearing from you from time to time to hear how each of you are doing. Please stay in touch, or if you just need a friend to talk with please, call or write.
May the King of the Universe bless you and yours!
Pastor Ric Swaningson
Your Friendly Neighborhood Pastor / Evangelist Woodlands Fellowship
President “Elect” Adventist World Aviation
A message From Dawn:
It has been a wonderful experience being a part of The Woodlands church. I have made many new friendships, even if they have been long distance. While I can see that God had a definite purpose for directing my husband to The Woodlands, we did not know what it was at that time and we stepped out in faith. Yes, it has been a difficult year on me and Pastor. We are a team. This is the first time we have been apart for this length of time. I can see where it has made me stronger, and it certainly has made us appreciate one another as we took for granted what the other did. God specifically hand-picked my husband, a Pastor on fire for God with the gift of Evangelism, to participate in what has taken place for His glory in The Woodlands. It was necessary to accomplish the outreach and to spread the word through evangelism in the community. Wow! Look at our Church now! We have many new babies in Christ, hearing the truth and wanting to follow what the bible says! Many great things have happened in the past year!
Sometimes, it is beneficial to step back and watch what is happening. This has been my role, since God never opened the doors for things to complete the move to Texas. I have been with you in prayer daily and it has been awesome watching God’s guiding hand. I will miss you all. It is now upon you to continue the outreach, leadership and teaching. God has something good in store for The Woodlands. I pray that you will continually seek God’s guidance and always stand for what is true and biblical. This is God’s Church and you have been given a mission to reach as many as possible in these last days. I (we) will never forget any of you, or for the great work that God has helped us accomplish here. It has certainly has been a blessing to each one of us!
Please remember to stay in touch. You all have been a special part of our life. God Is Good!
Your Sister in Christ,