44th Anniversary Theme:

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Nehemiah 2:17)

Defeated and defenseless—such was how the Israelites felt when they found the walls of Jerusalem in ruins. They just returned from exile, but could not enjoy their newfound freedom because their bare walls were essentially inviting other nations to attack them.

We may feel the same way, too. As cases lessened and restrictions loosened, we looked forward to the dawn of the post-pandemic world—only to see not light at the of the tunnel, but a clearer sight of the pandemic’s wreckage: economies struggling to recover... fears and anxieties mounting and escalating... childhoods forever altered... family and friends forever gone.

As if those were not grim enough, other troubles also came breaking in: there’s the multi- country monkeypox outbreak... the skyrocketing cost of oil and other goods... several earthquakes, flashfloods, and other calamitous disasters.... and wars among nations.

But we do not falter. God has so filled our hearts with His triumphant hope; now it is our time to spread hope and be hope. Now, it is our time to take action. To ARISE AND BUILD.

First, we arise. The walls may be ruined, but not us. We will get up from the rubbles and rise up. We will shake the dust off our shoulders and stand above the debris, above the damage, above the devastation. We will stand tall and emerge—stronger, wiser, better.

Then, we build. The walls may be ruined, but not irreparable. Together, we will gather the broken pieces of what remains, put them back together, and make the most out of them. But we won’t end there. Our task is more than just repairing; our task is to build something new. With God on our side and armed with the right tools, strategies, plans, and systems, we will set new records, make new history, and reach new horizons. In this precious ministry. In our homes. In our community. In this world.

And as we arise and build, let us not forget to come before the throne of the God of heaven, who alone will give us success. He did so during Nehemiah’s time. He certainly will this time.