What a beautiful, scenic drive from Albany to Northern Saratoga Springs. The air is cleaner and God’s beautiful creation was the perfect forward to what was going to be a blessed time in the Lord. Living Waters Church of God is located 30 miles North of Albany; just a 35-minute drive which, by the way, was perfect timing for me to finish my morning cup of coffee. The church building sits upon 18 acres of land, and as I pulled in I noticed 3 wooden crosses in the distance.
I was immediately greeted by the pastor’s wife, Lois Jenkins, who said I could call her “Cokie”. Pastor Eldred Jenkins then came over to say good morning and told me he goes by “EW”. The nicknames made it feel like immediate family, which it was! Entering into the sanctuary, the sun was shining through the numerous windows. What a bright and cheery place. People were happy, and the worship team was filled with joy. They played some upbeat, contemporary songs, followed by a few “oldies but goodies”. It was refreshing to hear this honest, heartfelt worship. Following the music and announcements, we had a time to greet one another. In this church it seemed so easy and comfortable to talk to strangers. During this time, I met a woman from Witherbee, NY, a town 80 miles NORTH. Her husband was a pastor and they were visiting today as Living Waters is considered their “mother church”. And what a pleasure it was to see some familiar faces of people who have attended the Upstate NY Ministry Network meetings and the Women of Worship conferences I hold in the Albany area to help bring UNITY to the Body of Christ.
It was Father’s Day, and Pastor “EW”’s message was all about leaving a legacy of faith. First, we need to speak in faith. Men of faith say “WE CAN”! “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Let’s have a “CAN DO” attitude. Secondly, we need to sow seeds of faith. We live in a “ME FIRST” society, but Jesus needs to always be first. We must always say, “If it is God’s will”. God cannot be glorified if everything is “ME FIRST”. What grows out of our life is determined by the kinds of seed we sow. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8) If we don’t sow seeds of faith into our own life first, we will not have a harvest and will have nothing to give. Thirdly, we need to stretch our faith. Don’t let the enemy hoodwink you into being lazy in your faith. If you are lazy, weeds will grow. Drive your tent stakes into the ground strong! “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.” (Isaiah 54:4) A hundred years from now none of us will be remembered on this Earth. It is not important that WE are remembered, but that GOD is remembered. Let us aim to leave something behind so people can remember the LORD. This is our responsibility to the next generation.
In closing, the pastor called the men up to the altar and then called the women up to stand behind them. We all sang “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and together we prayed that God would open our hearts to see clearly what He has called us to do. It was a truly genuine display of men seeking to hear and follow the Lord. Afterwards, some lingered around the altar and continued to pray as others made their way into the fellowship hall. There they had a “food pantry” for all to take freely. A large variety of meats, produce, fruit, breads and desserts are given away here every week. I took some pita bread for myself as I talked with a woman who helps pick up the food. She was excited to tell me all about the ministry as we watched people filling bags and being blessed.
Living Waters holds Sunday morning services at 10am and Tuesday night prayer services at 6:30 pm. They also have a Spanish Bible study on Sundays at 5pm, followed by a 6:30 pm Spanish service (with translators). This church also supports the New York Race Track Chaplaincy (RTCA-NY), a ministry that serves the workers that toil behind the scenes of the thoroughbred racing industry. They hold services on Monday evenings at the Saratoga Race Track and provide a home cooked meal. There are about 30-50 people who consider these Monday night services their “Church”. Alberto Matos from Living Waters Church serves as their pastor, and several other church members are highly involved. Speakers for the Monday night services come from 6-8 different local churches and denominations. RTCA-NY also provides 7 weeks of camp for up to 50 children of backstretch workers during the racing season, as well as financial help, help with housing, back to school backpacks, counseling and more.
If you live in the Saratoga area, Living Waters is a “must visit”! If you are in Albany area, this is certainly worth the “cup of coffee” length drive. Come and meet the family. EW and Cokie are looking forward to meeting YOU! Church Website – www.lw-cog.com www.facebook.com/Living-Waters-140173296667307
By Donna Hansen Munafo