Abby Shields
Dear Friend,

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was a blessed one. Mine was filled with peace and joy from time spent with family and reflecting on all God has blessed me with over the past year. Like many others, I use this time of year to reflect on where we have been as a ministry, and look ahead with hope to what God has for the upcoming year.

Its crazy to think that an encouragement from two friends to pursue the tugging on my heart to bring the gospel to hurting people in our community is now entering its 12th year of ministry. My heart is overwhelmed when I think about all that God has done through the ministry over the past 12 years. He has moved us from the occasional discipleship session to a full counseling schedule. He has taken my life experiences in parenting and marriage, both good and especially the bad, and formed our family-focused classes that are being shared across the Northshore.

Our CARE ministry has grown into a resource that is recognized across St. Tammany for families and individuals in financial crisis. For over 12 years, moment by moment, need by need, God has given us the means to help plant seeds of the gospel to people in need through things like money for an electric bill, a car to get to work, or a mattress to sleep on at night. As we wrapped up our Christmas Adopt a Family outreach this past month, I sat in the quiet sanctuary and looked around at all of the gifts and bikes that were going out to over 170 children whose parents came looking for assistance. My heart smiled at the memory of when this program started with 14 families, and a couple ladies from Slidell who had a heart for wrapping.

No matter if I was speaking to an audience, counseling a couple, or walking alongside someone who had lost their job and didn’t know how they were going to make it, this ministry has always been about one thing and that is the HEARTS of hurting people. I look back at some of the letters that I receive from hurting people who have come to the ministry looking for hope, and I am in awe to read about how God’s word is changing their lives and healing their hearts. Our focus and commitment has always been and will continue to be to “heal a hurting world one heart at a time with the word of God and the love of Christ.

As we looked ahead to 2018, and prayerfully considered the direction for this coming year, we are continuing to believe God for a building for NHLB to continue growing and developing a stronger presence in the community. Our vision to grow and expand comes from wanting to follow the command of Jesus who tells us in Matthew to “go and make disciples of all nations.” The whole purpose of this ministry is to reach people for Christ, and show them the hope and love that is found in knowing Him.

With this goal set before us, there are a few things I would ask that you would be in prayer for myself and the ministry.

• For me to keep my eyes on Jesus.
• For the Lord to provide the finances for operational costs and our vision to have a
building for NHLB
• Steadfast focus
• Our annual vision meeting with the board on January 29th.
• Discernment of the opportunity for good things to not distract me from the best things God has planned for this ministry.

As always, I am ever thankful for your prayers and financial support. It is people like you who allow me to pursue my calling to heal a hurting world one heart at a time with the word of God and the love of Christ. God Bless!

In His Grip,

Abby Shields