Byron Nelson never imagined he would chair a meeting to close his church, but it's exactly where he found himself when members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Walnut Creek, Calif., made the difficult decision to close. Byron said they experienced a loss and grief similar to the death of a loved one. "It's hard to drive by a place you've been for 46 years, where your kids were communed, confirmed and married — and say, 'Wow, that's over.'"
But the promises of Easter remind us that from death springs new life. The sale of the church building gave Byron and his Trinity Lutheran family the opportunity to leave a legacy of love.
"This will grow the kingdom," Byron said. "This is our calling and our legacy."
Creating a legacy of love for a world in need
Byron helped create the Legacy of Trinity Committee, which generously donated $194,000 to Lutheran World Relief. This gift is reaching families in India and Nepal, who are struggling to survive in an extremely poor, rural and flood prone region.
Their love is helping entire communities conduct emergency simulation exercises, so they can quickly evacuate before the next flood. They are helping families learn how to protect their crops from flood waters by using flood tolerant seeds and planting gardens on their rooftops. And they are helping families protect themselves from COVID-19 with face masks, sanitizers and information about how to prevent the spread.
Vijay Singh is one of the more than 15,000 people that Trinity Lutheran is reaching with their gift. Vijay and his family live along the Gandak River in India.
"The coronavirus combined with the flood have caused us great harm," he said. "I hope that my children will be healthy and they'll be able to go back to school. I pray we'll be able to make ends meet once again."
Generosity changes the lives of both givers and recipients
While Vijay prayed for his family's well-being, halfway around the world Byron Nelson prayed that Trinity's legacy would change lives. Though the two men will likely never meet, God's love in action has forever connected these two men and these two communities through answered prayers.
Even as Trinity Lutheran members find new congregations to join, Byron says they will never be the same again.
"We will be talking outreach, outreach, outreach and worrying a lot less about ourselves because we have found so many opportunities to witness," he said.
Thank you, Trinity Lutheran, for being a living example this Easter season of the new life Jesus promises.