Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Zion, Laramie Wyoming Responds to AIDS Orphan Needs in Africa

The wide open space of Laramie was the most recent trip for Friends of Mercy. Pastor Kumm, the senior pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, and the members of Zion graciously welcomed me last Sunday (Oct. 23). I flew into Denver and elder, Bill Schrage, picked me up at the airport and we began our 2.5 hour trip to Laramie. It sure was fun to be out west again. At about 7200 feet above sea level, the air was cool and dry.

Zion has a few members whose vocation was in foriegn service. Bill Schrage was a dimplomat and lived in various places around the wolrd. Others lived in Africa for a time for business. They have experienced the cultural realities of working and ministry in a third world country.

Thank you Pastor Kumm and members of Zion for your Christian hospitality.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Members of Zion, Beecher, IL Respond in Love to AIDS Orphans and Girls Fleeing FGM

Proclaiming the Word of the Lord at Zion, Beecher, IL - Pastor's Rock and Moldenhauer Celebrate the Lord's Supper

The text was from St. Luke's Gospel, 15th chapter. "This man receives sinners and eats with them." Thanks be to God Jesus eats with sinners! It was a great text to speak about the "one, holy, Christian, and apostolic church" throughout the world and heaven. It is this unified body of Christ, into which our Lord called us in baptism. That baptismal call from our Lord is mercy and forgiveness and our resurrection unto the new life in Christ. Therefore, our Lord calls us to love and eat with sinners. To bring the gospel to them in our daily vocations\calls is the baptized life of love. To do to the best of our ability what God has given us to do as a mother or father; son or daughter.

What was interesting about this visit was the fact that my sainted mother's maiden name was "Moldenhauer." I thought that "this" Pastor Moldenhauer was the son of my cousin, Pastor Paul Moldenhauer in Walled Lake, MI. He wasn't! What a surprise that was to me. I obviously lost track of my family and their graduations. Sorry Pr. Paul Moldenhauer!

The saints of Zion were touched by the word of God and the role the sacramental life plays in the lives of our work among AIDS Orphans and young girls in the Maasai Tribe. What a blessing it was to witness another great relationship between pastors and the people of God.

After bringing in extra chairs to the bible study\presentation, the people of God responded lovingly to the plight of the AIDS Orphans and the young girls who are "cut." Sometimes there is simply not enough time to provide as much information as I'd like.

Finally, my visit to Zion ended with a filling brunch with a group of ladies and a retired grade school teacher. Yes, I ate too much, but couldn't get enough of the company of these faithful Lutherans. I thanked the retired teacher for his dedication and service. I'm a Lutheran pastor because of my faithful Lutheran teachers!

Thanks Pastors Rock and Moldenhauer for the opportunity to serve our Lord in your congregation. Please keep us in your prayers and I look forward to our next visit.

Next week - Wyoming!

Zion, Beecher IL - FGM - AIDS Orphans and LWML

LWML Fall Rally - September 15th

Faithful Lutheran Women Supportive of Kenyan AIDS Orphans

Every chance I get, I speak to the ladies of LWML and other women's groups. These ladies are wonderful examples of Christ's love in action. The gifts they offered to support the work of Friends of Mercy was amazing.

We met at St. Paul's in Kankakee, IL. They were wonderful hosts, the food was great, and the fellowship in the Word was a blessing to all. Pastor Ron Rock (Zion, Beecher IL), the pastoral counselor of the zone has wonderful relationship with these saints of our Lord.

THANK YOU LADIES! Please keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mercy and Ministry for AIDS Orphans & Girls in Kenya at Immanuel, Carrollton, MO

This past Sunday (9-10), I was invited to speak at Immanuel, Carrollton, MO for their mission festival. Carrollton was about 3 1\2 hours from St. Louis. It was a beautiful drive through the countryside.

Pastor Swyres and his wife Kelle were gracious hosts on Saturday evening. We engaged in some great theological discussions, laughs about our children, and enjoyed some great bourbon and cigars on his back porch beneath the star filled September sky.

Sunday morning, as always, was a blessed event as our Lord called us to His holy table to enjoy the benefits of eternity in His body and blood and the proclamation of the gospel! I'm sure the preacher preached too long, though.

I was able to present on the work of FoM during the bible study and review how a theology of mercy is a theology of Christ's body.

The members of Immanuel were loving and caring. Pastor Swyers has served Immanuel for 11 years! Both he and the congregation are blessed in this wonderful relationship between God's people and their pastor. What a joy it is to fellowship in the midst of such a group of saints. Country congregations always seem to have such an appreciation for what counts.

Thanks Immanuel for your wonderful support of our mercy work and for being another example of "Lutherans making a difference!"

Hospice - Comfort from Christ's Cross at the Loss of a Child

... Continued

Christian Peace in the Midst of Christian Suffering - It Isn't a Feeling

As I was leaving, I had the opportunity to speak again with the grandparents. It was an opportunity to speak the gospel of comfort and hope in the gift of baptism.

On my way to my care, the father came out to talk again. This was another opportunity where he, too, was able to grasp the comfort of forgiveness and mercy in the midst of his emotional roller-coaster ride. The comfort of the gospel, especially in a crisis like this, where we can not make heads or tails out of "why?" that we trust what God promised. The father was struggling with hatred, anger, frustration and then back to, as he said, "God has a plan and has promised that this will work for a reason, even if I can't see it yet."

I let him know that God's grace and forgiveness is greater than our emotional rides of ups and downs. Even when our emotions are filled with doubt, anger, hatred and other emotions, Christ still paid for our sins. He still forgives us. He is still gracious to us.

Our Lord is patient, understanding, and He perseveres in His faithfulness to us. As humans, there are times that we just have to be human and understand that Christ and His Word will endure. This is the peace that Jesus gives to the Christian at the very same time that we go through our crises in life. It isn't a feeling. It isn't that we will not suffer. It is that we have the victory in the end. Our God is all suffering with us.

"These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have 6the world." Jesus John 16:33