Done with Chemo party

Written by Esther Hylden

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:15

 

Carol Hensrud and Maxine Larsonweb ready

 

 

 

 

Bethel Free Lutheran WMF, Grafton, North Dakota, hosted a “Done with Chemo Party” last Thursday for two dear ladies, Carol Hensrud and Maxine Larson.  In the early autumn days of 2013, both were diagnosed with cancer, and faced a long winter filled with chemotherapy.   Their church and WMF friends watched as their faces grew pale, their hair thinned and fatigue became the way that they started every day.  We sent cards, called with words of encouragement, offered rides…but felt helpless as we watched our dear friends struggle with yet another round of chemo.  How many weeks left, we would ask?  Eleven more weeks, nine more weeks…then finally one more week!   At last they were done, and we rejoiced!  However…we wanted them to know just how much we loved them, and how happy we were that their chemo was completed.  So, we decided to “shower them with love” at our May WMF meeting.  The Fellowship Room was decorated with flowers and balloons.   We brought cards and presents…and waited for them to walk through the door.  “Surprise!” we yelled as they entered.  “What is going on here,” they gasped as they looked around.  “We are having a Done with Chemo Party,” we told them.  The room was filled with laughter as they looked around in disbelief.  WMF opened that evening with a rousing chorus of, Count your Blessings, Name them one by One.  We looked at each other as we sang…and know that each was a blessing…and that friendship was a gift.  As we studied God’s Word that night…each verse…each comment…was precious.

Carol Hensrud shared Isaiah 43:2 with us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”     “Ladies,” she said, “notice that it says when you pass through the waters…not if.”  “We have all been through hard times, be it chemo, the loss of a loved one, a job, trouble at home…but God is here with us…even in the hard times.”  We nodded our heads in agreement …we had all been through hard times…and yes…God had been with us. We closed with this verse…a benediction…a prayer… “May the God of Hope full you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”  Romans 15:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search

by Lynn Wellumson

Last weekend I got to help out at my sister and brother-in-law’s ranch.  They are in the middle of calving, always a challenging and exciting time for them.  The calf puller had accidently been misplaced in the tractor bucket.  The tractor had unloaded several loads of hay to many feeder spots and our mission, armed with a very large magnet, was to locate the three pieces before they were urgently needed.  It had the feel of looking for a needle in a haystack.  It also gave my sister and I a great chance to visit.  The cow/calf pairs in the corrals we were searching seemed a little too aware of us.  I spread my arms and announced “We come in peace”.  My sister laughed the first time, but not the second or the tenth.  It also had the feeling of walking through a minefield, as any misplaced step would result in serious shoe cleaning.

I’m happy to report that within a relatively short time, the lost was found! All three pieces!  Order was restored in the calving world.

Jeremiah 50:20 says “In those days, at that time”, declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.” (NIV) 

Even God cannot find the sin that is covered by Jesus’ blood.   Even things we think are impossible to find, are possible to find with God’s help. Jesus bore our sins on His body on the cross.

Amanda in Ecuador

Amanda Bellefy is a Short Term Assistant (STA) in Ecuador.  STA’s are volunteers who go out on their own to serve on the mission field with the blessing of AFLC World Missions.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:8-10

We had a blessed week this last week working with the bilingue school in Cuenca.  I stayed with the Aletheia students in the mission home and we worked alongside the AFLBS team from the states and the team from the Paz de Dios church.  Everyday we had a special presentation for the elementary students.  On Monday (4/7), we performed a passion play 7 times for the different grades.  On Tuesday, the groups split up, so the group from Aletheia shared puppet skits with the kids.  On Wednesday, we went to the different classrooms and did crafts with them.  Thursday we watched videos, which had a powerful response from the children.  Then on Monday (4/14), we wrapped up our time with a performance continuing from the previous Monday’s performance, starting at the crucifixion and ending with Jesus going back up into heaven, using a pulley system and scaffolding.  It was a great time filled with God’s Spirit.

  • Please pray for the children that responded to the Gospel, that they would grow in their faith and relationship with Christ.
  • Please pray that my visa application would be accepted.  I am planning on handing in my paperwork next week.

As always, thanks for your prayers, support, and words of encouragement.  God is always at work, and I feel blessed to be able to serve Him here.

In Christ,
Amanda

Be Hospitable…Without Grumbling! (Cont.)

  By Esther Hylden

continued from last week…………………………………..

  Now…you may be saying to yourself…that is all fine and dandy…but how can I live this out in my life?  I can barely get the breakfast dishes cleaned up before lunch???  Even though we all say that our house doesn’t have to be perfect…we know that we don’t want our home to be a health hazard!    

So, here are a few things I have learned from 38 years of “being hospitable”

  1.  Clean your house once a week…just do it!  Then, don’t re-clean before company. ( OK…maybe you will have to spend a few minutes giving your bathroom a quick cleaning)  If you don’t have time to dust…just leave it alone.  Remember that dust is a protective coating for your furniture!
  2.  Spend 10 minutes picking up clutter every night.  One family I know puts on upbeat music, and everyone picks up the house together while the music is on.  It can be a lot of fun!
  3. Wash the dishes every day (or use paper plates).  Just don’t let the kitchen mess get too big, or it will become overwhelming!
  4.  Unless you are a gourmet cook and love to make complicated recipes…  have around 3-4 easy meals to prepare, that you feel confident making, that don’t take a lot of time, and that  can be at least partially prepared ahead of time. My Go-To main dishes are Bar-B-Q’s,  Esther’s Lazy Lasagna or Coleen’s Chicken!
  5. Being hospitable doesn’t mean you have to make a meal; it is a connecting of the heart!  You can invite people over for popcorn and a board game or movie, you can meet in a park for a picnic, or you can meet for lunch.
  6. When someone says, “Can I bring something…say…  yes!”  Or if they don’t offer, just ask them to bring something.  When the meal is over and someone asks, “Can I help you?”  Say YES!!!!!  Some of the best conversations occur while washing dishes together.
  7. Pray!  Sometimes I get stressed and worried…and tired, my knee starts to hurt, and my heart is not very kind…or loving.  At this time I often pray Psalm 51, starting with verse 10.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…”  And guess what…God answers prayer!
  8.   Even with all this talk of being relaxed, keeping it simple, I often find myself doing a million last minute things…and I look at the clock and it is 15 minutes until people arrive…at this point, I am usually in a dirty sweatshirt, my hair is uncombed, and I’m in mis-matched slippers!  The Esther Rule at this point is to stop what I’m doing in the kitchen, go to my bedroom, change clothes, comb my hair, apply lip gloss, go to the bathroom and try to look presentable!  My Rational:  People like to feel needed, when they arrive they can help with any last minute details …and I will feel 100% better if I don’t look like a HooDoo!

As I was working on my WMF Bible Study, Following Christ, A Disciples Walk of Faith, I was struck by this verse from Ephesians:  “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us…”    Jesus…did he have a house, did He have fancy company dishes?  No…but He offers us the best example of hospitality…He fed the 5000, fed the 4000, he washed feet, he took time to listen, he had compassion, he ate with the sinners, He made breakfast for the disciples on the beach…He was hospitable…and He didn’t grumble.  Therefore…let us…be imitators of Christ!

 

Be Hospitable…Without Grumbling!

By Esther Hylden

1 Peter 4:9

     Ladies…isn’t this the scariest verse in the Bible?  Did Peter really know what he was talking about when he slipped that verse in between the End Times, Prayer, and a discussion on Love?  Did he know how long it takes me to clean my house, including vacuuming , washing the floors, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, picking up and organizing the clutter that threatens to overrun our  home, making food…all the while taking care of children, answering the phone…and to do it all without grumbling???  What was he thinking?  Or maybe the better question is, what was I thinking about when I read, “Be Hospitable…without grumbling.”  Am I the confused person?  Am I the person mixing up Entertaining with Hospitality?

Many years ago, I read Open Heart Open Home by Karen Mains, and you could say that is changed my heart, and my life.    Karen Mains is a Pastor’s Wife, she wrote this book during their time of ministry in the inner city of Chicago.  During this time, they rented church space on Sunday morning, thus the Mains home was open to Council Meetings, Bible Studies, Counseling sessions, their neighbors, people who needed a place to stay; it was the site of almost weekly suppers for people in their parish and  popcorn parties.  It was the house where neighbor kids came to play.  Karen knew what she was talking about!   As a young wife, I took what she said to heart.   I grew up in a hospitable home, my Dad was a pastor, and my parents hosted many meals, housed many missionaries, VBS teams, visiting speakers and neighbors.  I learned to “serve from the Left, clear plates from the right!”   It seemed that the best conversations always occurred around the dinner table.  So…I was comfortable with having people over… or so I thought!

When I read this book, I was in my early 20’s, married to Mark, and living in married student housing at NDSU.  The first Thanksgiving that we were married…I decided to host Thanksgiving for both sides of our family.  Our little married student housing measured around 12 ft by 50 ft!  We borrowed a card table and chairs, and squeezed 10 people in our little apartment!  It was a lot of fun, we had more than enough food, and somehow the turkey fit in our little oven. The Bible has a lot to say about hospitality…   in 1 Timothy 3:2 it reads; “Now the overseer (what is an overseer?  It can refer to a pastor or church leader) must be the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable…and hospitable!”

Hospitality…what exactly does it mean?  What is God telling us to do?   Especially in contrast to what our society calls “entertaining.”  Karen Mains puts it this way: Entertaining has little to do with real hospitality.  Entertaining’s source is human pride.  Entertaining says, “I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating and my gourmet cooking.”  Hospitality, however, seeks to minister.  It says, “This home is not mine.  It is truly a gift from my Master.  I am His servant and I use it as He desires.  “Hospitality does not try to impress, but to Serve.”  Hospitality focuses on the guests, their needs; whether it is a place to stay, a hot meal or a listening ear.  Hospitality can occur in a messy house, sitting around a table eating a warmed up can of soup.

Entertaining always puts things before people. “as soon as I get the house finished, the living room decorated, my housecleaning done—then I will start inviting people over.”  “Hospitality however puts people before things.  Hospitality says, “We have no furniture; we’ll eat on the floor, the decorating may never get done, please come just the same.”    I understand this all very well…when our children were young, we spent a Sunday attending many High School graduation parties…when we were on our way home; Jarrod said to me, “Mom, did you know that some people have matching furniture?”    Obviously, he had been raised in a home filled with mismatched, hand-me-down furniture!

The desire for a lovely home is a common desire, and sometimes this longing becomes a barrier to our Lord’s directive, “Be Hospitable”.  When I was a little girl, I used to draw house plans…I filled notebooks with plans for the house that I hoped to live in someday.  They were quite grand, filled with many rooms, and I even remember outfitting one with a bowling alley!  When I was a newlywed, many of our friends built homes, or moved into lovely homes.  However, we were a struggling farm family…and we built a basement, thinking that we would stay in it for 2 years, and that then we would finish our home.  2 years stretched to 5, 10, 15 and finally, about a year ago, after 25 years, we finished our home and moved out of the basement!  That was a joyful day!  So how do you think that I felt about being a basement dweller for 25 years?  Well…we had many moments of joy, and laughter often filled the walls…and we had some moments, especially in the winter when we had blizzard after blizzard, and we had to spend day after day in our little space, that I thought I would go crazy!  So, I guess that I would say that living in a basement home, without a garage in Northern North Dakota for 25 years was not easy…in fact it was very hard.  At first I would pray every day, please God let us finish out house soon…day after day, year after year.  Then, I got a little mad at God…and Mark…and had a slump…a time of bitterness.  One day, during my dark time, I read 1 Thessalonians 5: 16: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  It seemed like a light bulb went off in my head…”God is telling me to give thanks…now…in everything…”  And so, in obedience, I started to give thanks, I thanked Him for our two bedroom, basement home…I thanked Him for the dirty dishes that I had to wash, I thanked Him for the piles of laundry that threatened to overflow the laundry room…I thanked Him for my husband, I thanked Him for our sons, I thanked him for my job…   And so the years passed, we didn’t wait to be hospitable until we had a grand home.  We opened up our little basement home with the ugly entry way, to many youth group events, bonfires, decorating Christmas cookie parties, holiday meals, sledding parties, suppers with friends, 4th of July parties, Bible Study’s, coffee parties, pre-hunting meals, meals for the combining crew.   I didn’t apologize for my home; I welcomed people as they walked down the ugly outdoor entry to the door that lead to our house.  And I learned, that hospitality is not about having a perfect house, it’s not about making the perfect gourmet meal…it is about Loving God, and loving others,  it’s about sharing the Good News of the Gospel.  Because…  a Christian home is a miracle, it is a treasure, and God calls us to share it.

Now…you may be saying to yourself…that is all fine and dandy…but how can I live this out in my life?  I can barely get the breakfast dishes cleaned up before lunch???  Even though we all say that our house doesn’t have to be perfect…we know that we don’t want our home to be a health hazard!

Continued  next week………………………………