In 2020 was a hard year for Sam. The end of a marriage, the lost of a grandparent, a job and a pet. For Sam, depression crept in and he felt alone.
According to the World Health Organization, 280 million people in the world struggle with depression. "Depression is different from regular mood changes and feelings about everyday life. It can affect all aspects of life, including relationships with family, friends and community. It can result from or lead to problems at school and at work...Depression can happen to anyone. People who have lived through abuse, severe losses or other stressful events are more likely to develop depression" (World Health Organization, 2023).
The COVID pandemic effected more than just people's physical health, it also brought to light a huge mental health problem in our nation. Many of us struggle with things like depression and anxiety. Much like how Sam found community in the college ministry group, being connected with others socially and spiritually creates a system of support and directs us back to faith in Jesus.
Facing the giant of mental health is no easy task. The good news is that Jesus has paid our debt and empowers us to face our giants bravely.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, getting connected with care resources or a Christian counselor through RiverGlen is a good first step. Click below to find out more about support through care ministries.
The grief of divorce is a heavy burden to carry. For Nancy, the pain of an unexpected divorce was holding her back.
Nancy was invited to RiverGlen by a friend and was introduced to Jesus. Through faith in Jesus, Nancy made the brave decision to let go of bitterness and forgive.
Freedom and peace are found when we forgive those who have wronged us. Nancy extended forgiveness to her ex-husband through prayer. Nancy found peace through gratitude for all God had given her: her beautiful daughter, grandson, and son-in-law, her church family and friends.
Nancy's story of hope through forgiveness is a true inspiration to us all!
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller with the mission to provide affordable housing to families in need. Since its inception, Habitat for Humanity has grown into a global organization with affiliates in over 70 countries.
One of these affiliates is Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County, located in Waukesha Wisconsin. Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County was founded in 1990 by a group of dedicated volunteers who were passionate about the mission of Habitat for Humanity.
Over the years, Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County has helped countless families in the community by providing them with safe and affordable housing. The organization works with volunteers and partner families to build and renovate homes, with the goal of creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Affordable housing can help to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for people who might otherwise be forced to live in unsafe or overcrowded conditions or spend too much of their income on housing, leaving little money for other essentials like food, healthcare, and education.
In addition to providing housing, Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County also runs programs that help families achieve financial stability and improve their quality of life. These programs include financial education, home maintenance training, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives.
This summer, Habitat will be building a multi-home neighborhood, the first of its kind, in Waukesha near the Hadfield Elementary School.
It's exciting to see an organization so passionate about helping people make their homeowning dreams a reality.
One of the recipients, a single mom of three, will be one of the first to move into Domenica Park upon its completion.
We have serve opportunities this May with Habitat for Humanity to help build these homes. You can signup here.
Generosity is a powerful force that can create a ripple effect far beyond what we can see. It can inspire others to do the same, uplift the lives of those impacted, and share the love of Jesus.
When we received the call from MOHI, Mission of Hope International, their call for urgent child sponsorship struck a chord. Every day, there are kids in first-world countries with little to no financial support to get them through school. For something that comes so naturally, and can often be taken for granted, education is a privilege many around the world have to fight for access to.
Thanks to our church's generosity, during our Big Offering Giveaway in 2022 we were able to raise $210,000 dollars to send to partners locally and around the world. One of those partners was MOHI. RG, along with other churches across the country, were able to provide financial support for those students needing urgent sponsorship to pay for their transportation, school supplies, and tuition.
School in Kenya where students attend, who were impacted by RG's financial support.
Generosity can take many forms. It can be giving money to a charity, volunteering your time to a cause, or simply being kind to someone who needs it. No matter how we choose to be generous, the impact can be significant, just like this. When we give to others, we create a sense of community and compassion. We show that we care about the well-being of others and that we are willing to help when we can.
In a culture that promotes more taking than giving and excessive consumerism and materialism, it's difficult to exercise our generosity muscle. For many, we've become lazy and lethargic when it comes to generosity. But just like a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet affects our physical well-being, not practicing generosity can lead to a negative impact on our health.
For instance, a study published in the journal "Social Science & Medicine" found that people who reported higher levels of charitable giving had lower levels of depression, even after controlling other factors such as income, education, and health status. Similarly, another study published in the journal "Psychology and Aging" found that older adults who volunteered more frequently had higher levels of life satisfaction and well-being.
Research has also shown that generosity can have positive effects on physical health. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that older adults who provided tangible support to others, such as helping with daily activities, had lower levels of chronic illnesses and disabilities compared to those who did not provide such support.
Generosity has also been found to impact social well-being. A study published in the journal "Social Psychology and Personality Science" found that people who engage in more prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering or donating to charity, tend to have more positive social relationships and a greater sense of social connectedness.
The far reaches of generosity are truly limitless. When we give without expecting anything in return, we create a positive energy that can spread far and wide. It can touch the lives of people we may never meet, inspire others to give, and create a better world for all of us. Including ourselves. It can improve our quality of life, our relationships, and our health.
So where do we start?
There are many practical ways we can practice living generously, and they don't all involve money.
Volunteer: One of the most effective ways to practice generosity is by volunteering your time and skills to a cause you care about. You can volunteer at a local nonprofit organization, community center, or school. Volunteering not only benefits the organization but also provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Donate: Donating money to a charitable organization or cause is another way to practice generosity. You can donate to a local charity, an international organization, or even set up a monthly donation to a cause you support. Even small donations can make a significant impact.
Give Blood: Donating blood is a simple yet impactful way to practice generosity. Blood donations are always needed and can save lives.
Pay it Forward: The next time you're in line at a coffee shop, pay for the person's order behind you. This act of kindness can create a ripple effect of generosity and kindness.
Help a Neighbor: Offer to mow your neighbor's lawn, help carry groceries, or shovel their driveway in the winter. Small acts of kindness towards neighbors can create a strong sense of community and generosity.
Listen: Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is your time and attention. Take the time to listen to someone who needs to be heard, and provide emotional support when necessary.
Offer Skills: Do you have a particular skill that can benefit others? Offer your skills pro-bono to a nonprofit or individual who needs them. This could be anything from graphic design to teaching English.
Being generous doesn't have to be a big, lavish thing. It can be as simple as listening or showing kindness. Anybody can do it - where will you start?
Boehm, J. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). Charitable giving and its effects on happiness in a representative sample of the German population. Social Science & Medicine, 97, 202-208.
Musick, M. A., & Wilson, J. (2006). Volunteering and psychological well-being among young-old adults: How much is too much? Psychology and Aging, 21(2), 287-297.
Brown, S. L., Nesse, R. M., Vinokur, A. D., & Smith, D. M. (2003). Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it: Results from a prospective study of mortality. Psychological Science, 14(4), 320-327.
Many of us aim to live good, meaningful lives. We desire to connect and help others, achieve our dreams, and make a name for ourselves. For TJ Fekete, an attender at RG, his life was good. He didn't bottom out, or have an extreme low, and was blessed with a job that involved doing something that he loved.
But TJ's curiosity continued to grow when attending RG. Despite his belief that he was living a good life already without God, he came to understand that there was something missing. He would later discover that faith would make his life all the more better.
As TJ delved deeper into his faith, he began to see the ways in which it enriched his life. He found comfort and strength in knowing that there was a loving and caring God who was looking out for him. He also found community and support through his interactions with other believers at RiverGlen church.
For TJ, baptism was a natural next step in his spiritual journey. It is a symbol of his commitment to his faith and his desire to live a life that is aligned with God's will. Baptism is an important step for believers as they seek to deepen their relationship with God and live a life that follows Jesus.
The act of baptism is also significant because it is a public declaration of faith. By getting baptized, TJ is letting the world know that he is a follower of Christ and that he is committed to living a life that reflects his beliefs.For TJ, baptism wasn't an immediate response to his newfound passion for faith. In fact, TJ wanted to get some things in order first. But at the end of the day, baptism is what he felt was necessary to start fresh, and fully commit to his spiritual walk.
If you feel that God is calling you to take the next step in your spiritual journey and get baptized, I encourage you to do so. Baptism is a beautiful and meaningful symbol of your commitment to God, and it can be a transformative experience that brings you closer to Him.
TJ's decision to get baptized is a testament to the important role that faith plays in our lives. It is a reminder that even those living the best versions of themselves, God still can offer us so much more than we could imagine. If you are considering getting baptized, we are having baptisms in service Easter weekend. You can signup here.