We’re spending a few days at one of our very special happy places as we celebrate moving forward into a new adventure! Eleven years ago God placed on our hearts the opportunity to plant seeds in the international mission field and then several years ago the chance to begin Waterside Missional Community. We are now seeing those seeds really starting to grow! We are excited to see what God has in store for us as we move forward into focusing on this adventure that God has placed on our hearts. We are blessed by all that God has already poured upon us and trust that His blessings will continue! I love it when God calls you to something and you really have no clue what is going to happen! Life is an adventure and God is so good!
Tonight we’re watching “The Passion Of The Christ”. There are parts of this movie that I want to turn away, close my eyes and not watch. But, I force myself to keep my eyes on what is happening. I want to be reminded of the significance of this day.
Thank You Jesus for enduring the pain of beatings, carrying the cross and ultimately your death.
I see the beauty of God’s creation surrounded and protected by thorns preventing it from destruction or harm.
Just as this flower is protected are we not as well?
For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the LORD, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off. Isaiah 55:12-13
What do you see?
We all have people in our lives that have been influential, mentors and in some way have shaped us for who we are today. One of mine was my Pastor, Reg Holle from Parma Lutheran Church in Parma, Ohio. Pastor Holle came to PLC when I was in high school. He was dynamic, soft spoken, preached a sermon that as a high schooler I could understand, fun, and compassionate. Our family soon became very close with he and his wife Marla, I hung around with his daughter, Joan and when I met Jon and was soon to be a Preacher’s wife his family was what I envisioned what I wanted our family to be like as a clergy family. Marla became my role model, someone I wanted to pattern my life as a PW after. He officiated at our wedding, ordained my husband, became our Bishop when we were in Michigan and installed my husband when he became the Pastor of St. John’s in Romeo, Michigan. I’ve often remarked that I’m so blessed because my husband has turned out to be exactly the same type of Pastor to others as Reg was to us.
I’m writing this because Reg passed away on April 5. How appropriate though that it was just in time to for him to celebrate Easter with our resurrected Lord! We know that along with all those others that our family holds close in our hearts, Reg is looking down on us, smiling that big smile with his rosy cheeks glowing and giving us that nod that we knew exactly what it meant.
Thank you Reg for all the ways that you blessed my entire family and the family of Parma Lutheran. You will be missed!
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!