Andy Hollifield 1-1-18

I got it right! The first time I have written the date this year and I actually got it right! I will screw it up repeatedly over the next few months but right now, I aced it! Don’t take much to make some people happy does it? We should all be that way. Not necessarily like me because when God made me, he broke the mold. I am sure he figured the world wasn’t ready for more than one. All joking aside, on a more serious note, by the time you read this it will already be 2018. Happy New Year by the way. Last year has now passed into history never to be lived again except in our memory and at the judgment. That’s a scary thought isn’t it? What all opportunities did I miss out on in 2017? How many chances did I have to make a difference in a life that I failed to take advantage of? We cannot let our time be consumed with what we didn’t do but rather we need to focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.

I do want to look back at a few things that have occurred in my life over the past year. It may not do anything for you but it will help me to be more attentive to the needs of others if I write them down. I have found that if I write things down, I am less likely to make the same mistake twice. There is nothing I can do now about 2017. Regardless of its triumphs or trials it is to be no more. All we can do is to put forth our best effort to make 2018 an even better year than last year. Don’t get me wrong, last year had its share of heartache and aggravation. But overall, I have had a lot worse years in my life. I have mentioned before that I am a glass half full kind of person. I am an optimist at least most of the time. For that reason I want to give thanks to God for some things he has done in my life this past year.

Beginning with this same day last year, I got to live to see another New Year’s Day. Everyone didn’t have that privilege but I did. When you have been down some of the roads and lived through some of the storms that I have, you learn to appreciate what you have. In 1983 when I had my kidney transplant, I didn’t really know how old I would live to be. I also didn’t know how much God had blessed me through that one storm in my life. I am getting ahead of myself but last October 6th I celebrated 34 years with a transplanted kidney. That is almost unheard of and according to the research I have done on the subject, there are only a few people throughout the world that have had one any longer. However many it is, I hope that I stay right in the position I’m in. I don’t want to climb higher in the statistics because a transplant failed or because someone died. I am just thankful for every year that God gives me because now I realize it is truly a gift from him.

On February 11th I believe it was, we celebrated 13 years of living where we are now. We have lived here longer than we lived in our first home. We appreciate it more now than we did then because of 2011. That was the year I went out of work for a hip replacement that was botched and I couldn’t return to work and I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to lose everything I had spent my life working for. Well, God manifested himself in mighty ways back then and allowed me to keep the place he had given me even against all odds. I never missed a payment and here we are 6 years down the road out of that storm.

Now to get back in chronological order; on March 27, 2017, I got to celebrate the 20th birthday of my son that I wasn’t sure I would ever have. Once we had him there were occasions when it didn’t look good for me keeping him. Yet 20 and almost 21 years later he has grown into a fine young man who I am more proud of every day.

On March 28, 2017 my wife Diane and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. We have had 25 years, going on 26, of weathering the storms and conquering mountains together. We have been through some things that I wouldn’t wish on no one but also wouldn’t take anything for what I learned by going through them. There have been plenty of times when either of us would have been justified in kicking the other one to the curb but we knew that we had too much invested in each other. It’s called life. It has up and downs, peaks and valleys, smooth sailing and stormy seas. If there is anything we have learned it is that you can’t go quitting every time things don’t go to suit you.

In June of last year, sitting in church at State Street Baptist in Asheville, God confirmed with assurance the fact that it is his will to allow our ministry to open a home for unwed mothers called “The Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers.” That night, Pastor Terry Sprouse was preaching on Gideon in Judges chapter 6 I believe. I am not sure what exactly he was preaching but I know for certainty what I was hearing. The Lord told me that what he had for Gideon to do was too big for him and his people and what he had for me to do was too big for me and my people but it wasn’t too big for him. We are currently looking at land and buildings and just praying that the Lord will make the provisions and bring his will to pass in our ministry and we know that he will.

On October 3, 2017 I celebrated 44 years since the Lord saved my soul. I haven’t always been what I should be but he has always been more than what he said he would be. The 4th of October 2003 is when we signed paper to buy the land we live on today and ordered the modular double wide that God blessed us with. The 6th of October as I mentioned earlier was the anniversary date of my kidney transplant 34 years ago in 1983. I still have the kidney that I was told by a technician had rejected and the doctor had written the orders to remove if it didn’t start working within so many days. Now I look back at those days, having grown from a child into a man and having retired both of the doctors I had at the time of surgery. Before retiring, both of them told me that I would likely not die because of kidney failure but something else. This year I will be celebrating 35 years with my kidney. It may one day fail but the salvation that I received 45 years ago this coming October 3rd, will outlive this body and last throughout all eternity without end. Also in October, on the 9th we recalled one of the darkest days of my life when my dad passed away in 2007. Even though it was a dark time, we can still be thankful because God proved in that hour that his grace was more than sufficient and his peace does pass all understanding. This past year, October was special for another reason. God gave me the privilege of going to Texas and Florida with backpacks of school supplies for hurricane victims. He blessed me with some wonderful new friends and also made some precious memories. He also let me realize that out of the 33 states that I have been in, there is only 5 of them that I have not been in on some kind of mission work. I am thankful for the experiences he has blessed me to have. Another thing that was special about October was because I got to take my son with me to Florida. It was the first time we had been on an overnight mission trip together without his mom.

In December, I got a call from a lady I know asking about what I could do for a single expectant mother that was about to be homeless with no family anywhere locally. Even though she was a prime candidate for our home, if we had of had it open, we couldn’t provide her housing. The Lord laid on my heart to put a request on Facebook for a room or home of some kind for this young lady. Within an hour and a half I received a message from a couple telling me that they had a spare room and would love to have her as long as she needed to stay. She is still with that family and expecting a boy sometime this month.

All of this is in addition to how he has blessed and used our ministry throughout this past year. It is also in addition to the fact that he has allowed me to write these posts for over a year now. I fully expect that at some point in time, he will let me compile a book and half of the proceeds from it will help support the ministry. This past year was filled with all kinds of aggravation and expense with vehicle repairs but God used a couple of men to help us get through all of that too. I can’t begin to tell you how God has blessed me in the past year. I have intentionally not dwelt on the negative stuff because I am not looking to complain and I really have nothing to complain about and you probably have problems of your own. I have seen things on Facebook in recent days about how we have 12 new chapters (months) and 365 new pages (days) to write the story of 2018 in our lives. With that in mind; here is page 1 chapter 1 of my 2018 book. How will yours read; praise or problems? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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