I’ve been thinking…  I have to chuckle to myself because it’s always been a standing joke in our family that when someone says “I’ve been thinking” it was very much an uh-oh moment in our lives.  Sometimes it was the kids and we never knew what I’ve been thinking meant.  Sometimes it was Jon when he would come home from work on those cold February days to tell me it was time to fill out the “green” papers, which included mobility status, for his synod report and he’d preface it with “I’ve been thinking”.  This time it’s my turn to say “I’ve been thinking”.  I’ve been thinking about what has been the reason we’ve been placed down here in Southern TX in a small town called Orange Grove in a small church called First Lutheran.  I’ve often thought maybe it was because God knows my love of hot weather, beaches, sunny days and no more winters.  I’ve often wondered why would He take us so far away from our family, which is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  I’ve been thinking…. And here’s what I’ve been thinking.  It’s because of what is happening at First Lutheran and the events that are starting to surround us.  I’ve been thinking that it’s because of what took place this past weekend.  Here’s why…..

I’ve never dreamt that a small church in a small town could keep us so busy and things would be buzzing like they are, but God is so working in the people here that it is just amazing.  We have the potential of building a new building to accomodate the growth that we are experiencing and God’s work that is being carried out as we walk off the campus.  We have about 20+ folks signed up to participate in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University who are so wanting to make sure that they are using their wonderful God given resources as they were intended to be used.  We have a high school group, Catalyst, that is primed and ready to “make things happen”.  We have a women’s group that doesn’t care about themselves but is constantly looking for ways to reach out to help others.  I could go on and on and on- but here’s the real crux of the matter and why, while I was in my best thinking spot this morning (the shower of course).

I’ve been thinking about how blessed Jon and I are that God called us to this small church called First Lutheran in this small town called Orange Grove in not so small South Texas.  It may be a small church and a small town but the people have hearts and a love for what we are called to do by helping others that is bigger than the entire state of Texas (which is pretty dang big).  We’ve kind of known this all along, but it was so evident this weekend by the response of the people as we celebrated Rally Day/Mission Sunday.  We hosted Dan & Irene Jensen from Faith Missions International who brought the story of the children of The Gift of God Orphanage.  As a result- 49 children of Haiti are now being prayed for by 49 people of First Lutheran.  Letters and notes were written by our children here along with a sweet picture collage wallhanging signed by the entire Sunday school (resplendent in Orange Grove colors of Orange and Black) and sent along with Dan & Irene to be passed along to the children on their next visit.  They were laden with monetary gifts for support for the orphanage.

We also collected donations for the victims of the TX wildfires in the Bastrop area three hours north of us.  As a result-we witnessed our youth filling a trailer & pick-up to the brim with donations was taken up to the folks in Bastrop that have lost everything to the wildfires.  A box in the fellowship hall is already overflowing with more donations that will be taken up this coming Sunday as well.  Monetary donations were also overflowing for the purchase of even more items for those in need.

So as hard as it is being so far away from our family  I guess I don’t have to say anymore I wonder or I’ve been thinking why….  I know why!

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