Christopher Chelpka

Our Visit To Yuma, AZ

Dear Covenant,

As you know, this last Saturday through Monday I went with my family to Yuma. While there, my wife was able to take an art class with a master painter from Canada (here’s what she’s working on), my kids and I spent time together exploring this unique part of our state, and on Sunday we were able to spend the day getting to know the mission work better.

Though I’ve not been able to visit very many times, Yuma OPC is close to my heart. I helped get the mission work started in the early days and our congregation has done what it can from a distance to help see a new church planted in this part of the state. In the pictures below, you’ll notice that they are still using the logo Bryce designed a few years ago.

The last time I was there, I was with a group of us from Covenant that went to help pass out flyers around town for the mission work, but I had to get back to Tucson quickly that day and wasn’t able to worship or even visit with the saints for very long. So I was happy for the extended time we had last Sunday.

The mission work meets at First Presbyterian Church, a generous and friendly congregation of the PCUSA that allows the OPC to use the entire basement of their building, which includes a kitchen, a classroom, an eating hall, and a meeting room. Last Sunday, the meeting room was packed with more than eighty people. A quarter of the congregation were visitors, many who were Canadians preparing to head back to Vancouver and other places.

I was invited to preach, which I did, and worshipped with the others there. It was exciting to see what God has done since the earliest days when all this was just an prayer request. And it was a joy to connect with old friends as well as meet new ones.

The afternoon was spent getting to know Pastor Baker and his family better. They treated us to a St. Patrick’s Day lunch of corned beef stew, cornbread with butter, and some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, thanks to Pastor Baker’s middle daughter.

Throughout the afternoon, while the kids played, we talked about evangelism and pastoral ministry. Lessons we’ve learned; lessons we’re trying to learn. We all agreed that we were mutually blessed by the encouragement, fresh ideas, and fellowship.

Then, back to church in the evening. This is when the mission work has their Sunday school. The small children met separately, while Pastor Baker helped the rest of us through some catechism questions, singing, prayer, and a lesson. He taught about the sacrificial death of Christ. And I was reminded of how many terms we have to describe Christ’s sacrifice and how important it is for us to understand them. It’s something I’ll be reflecting on going forward.

By the time we said our goodbyes, we were already excited about our next time together, when the Bakers visit Tucson.

Thank you for your prayerful support this weekend, for donating your money to home missions, and for your zeal for the evangelistic mission of Christ’s church.

Encouraged,

Pastor Chelpka

Imperial National Wildlife RefugeYuma Orthodox Presbtyerian ChurchFirst Presbyterian Church of YumaFirst Presbyterian Church of YumaCastle Park, West Wetlands Park in Yuma, AZRoad Sign for Popular Yuma, AZ Restaurant, Mr. G'sGuard Tower at the Yuma Territorial Prison State ParkPrison Cells at the Yuma Territorial Prison State ParkDodger at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center