Arizona Church Blesses Local Families as Students Return to School

 In All Church of God, Change the Story, CHOG, The Way, Western

By Kim Ousley

It’s August, and children everywhere are heading back to the classroom. Many were stuck at home over the past school year with online learning. As most of these students go back to a social educational environment, many challenges lie ahead. Thankfully, God’s people are stepping up to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Pastor Estaban Rodriguez recently stepped in to fill the pulpit shoes of the now retired Hector Gonzalez. He transitioned into this position by alternating Sunday services with Pastor Emeritus Gonzalez. This weekend Pastor Rodriguez held a “back to school event” for the children both in the church and the local community.

“This event was open for everybody, all activities,” said Rodriguez. “Our kids were inviting their friends to come and be a part of the party.” Rodriguez stresses how excited the children are to head back into the classroom.

There were games such as sack races and water activities, as well as making slime. Pizza was served to about thirty-two kids total from both services. After a time, the children were brought back into the main building into the sanctuary.

“The children’s director said a special prayer for the children and the parents were invited to come up and lay hands on their kids and pray over them,” shared Rodriguez.

Each child received a special day-by-day devotional with words they can understand, expressed Rodriguez. God’s Blessings Day by Day is the title of the book. “They can start creating the habit and practice having time with God every day,” he said.

God is doing “great things,” and Rodriguez expressed how the Spirit is moving in and through God’s Word.

Worship service at Nueva Vida Church of God.

“That’s one thing that fills us with joy.”

The last Sunday of this month (August), each service will be targeted to the youth, with both the youth leaders and the youth hosting. Just recently, the youth were finally able to gather and have a pizza party, enjoying fellowship with each other.

“During the COVID season, we started services online on our website,” said Rodriguez. “When we started to decide to re-open and have service again physically, we started with around 85 percent of our usual attending. This past week it increased.”

Pastor Estaban Rodriguez is married to his wife, Debbie and has two children: a girl, Gretel (8) and Diego (6). They reside in Glendale, Arizona.

Kim Ousley is a freelance writer from Anderson, Indiana.

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