Greetings from Southern California! We have experienced a year of favor and fruitfulness in the Inland Empire.
Following the 2015 Bible Conference we took our play The Zombie Apocalypse on the road, and what an adventure that was! The story portrays the apocalyptic end of the world caused by the Lazarus Virus that turns affected humans into the living dead. Faced with overwhelming obstacles, a small group of survivors search for the cure that was created using the blood of a scientist’s only son. People in our congregation who had never acted before rose up to make the play a success and a blessing to the various churches we visited.
The fall also provides one of our biggest outreaches of the year at Halloween. Evangelist Mike Gomez has opened his home for the past four years because his neighborhood attracts hundreds of trick-or-treaters and families. We put up our biggest edition haunted house yet, and the turnout was incredible. At least 500 people were confronted with the Gospel at the end of their tour and given the opportunity to respond. This year we saw almost 100 decisions for Christ in one night. Praise God!
Tragedy struck in December as our neighbor city, San Bernardino, was shocked by a terrorist attack that caused the deaths of 14 innocent people. The city participated in a vigil commemorating the lives of those who were lost, and people lived in fear. But God still moved as people turned to prayer in order to gain some understanding.
Our city hosted its annual Christmas parade the weekend after the attack, and this provided us an opportunity to proclaim that Jesus is Lord and that He is in control of all things. We won first place.
The congregation was blessed with revivals with Kris Hart, Ralph Blanco, and Alfredo Barron. In these weeks of ministry, people received specific words challenging them to do God’s will for their lives. We are excited to see all that will come to pass from these meetings.
Recently, the local schools have turned to churches to help them minister to young people. This is a door that has always been shut, but God has opened it, and now our pastor is collaborating with school officials and speaking to students. We are very excited for these opportunities. Please help us pray that God will speak to our young generation.
One of the highlights of the year was celebrating the thirtieth year that Pastor Eric Strutz and his wife Brenda have pastored in Colton. The congregation organized a fellowship in their honor and many people testified of the impact that their ministry has had on their lives. It was a blessing to look back on pictures and videos of various events and outreaches. It was a truly emotional event and we are so thankful for the privilege of having them as our pastors.
It is amazing to look back on the year and see how God moves even when we don’t realize it. We are excited and hopeful for what this next year holds. Please pray for us as we pray for you. God bless you!
Pastor Eric Strutz