1 Thessalonians 1:2–3 ESV (English Standard Version)
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
As my wife and I think back to our initial visit to New Piney Grove, a spirit of thankfulness fills our hearts. Of course, we acknowledge our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ as the source of all the blessings we have experienced during these 30 years of serving the saints of NPG. But we are compelled to also express our gratitude to our church family.
We can relate to the Apostle Paul’s emotion of thanksgiving for the Thessalonians church family. He was grateful for their “work of faith.” It is a term for moving forward in confident trust, even when the pathway is unclear. Paul also mentioned their “labor of love,” which implies dedicated, loyal, and active emotion of concern and well-being.
What a joy it is to see those who were babies when we first arrived now have babies of their own. And just like their mothers and fathers did, they seek us out to give us a big NPG hug. That alone overshadows any and all hardships we encounter along the journey.
Yes, many things have changed during our time serving you, but one thing has been steadfast. And that is our faith, hope, and love for the LORD and each other. And for that, we give You praise!