The Little Things

by Jonni Sliver

It is exciting to see God’s hand in our lives! I have a friend here in Brazil who has undergone surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. There was an army of intercessors holding her up and expecting to see God move on her behalf. The peace we have, in facing huge challenges, is an amazing gift, something only a child of the Father can know. But somehow, there is a special sweetness in seeing God’s hand in the little details of our lives that reminds me that He isn’t just my champion in time of trial, but the Lover of my soul every day. The problem isn’t that God isn’t moving every day or every moment, but that I just don’t always pay attention!

About two months ago a project that the Miriam Home had presented to the city council was approved, to replace a very old computer tower and to buy a laptop. The laptop wasn’t an extreme necessity, but it was helpful for Pastor Silvio to be able to do the administrative work of the Miriam Home, Bible School and the retreat center. I was glad for the grant, especially because I knew how much Tibby (my Toshiba laptop) means to me, and that it would make ministry easier for Pastor Silvio.

Around that same time Tibby started showing signs of age. Little things like freezing when I would start her, so I would have to shut down and restart. A few times, when I left the desk for a while, without turning her off, I would come back to find her, not in sleep mode but with a blue screen, scolding me just a bit. Yes, there were signs, but I didn’t expect the end to come so quickly. Last Saturday I went to turn Tibby on and there was no response. Well, actually you could hear the motor running, but the screen didn’t even flicker. A crashed computer is always frustrating, but for me it was even more – maybe 75% of all I do is on my laptop, but I had hope! A young man from church is a truly gifted geek (I call him my techno-medic), and he took my computer Sunday morning – I was pretty confident that I would have it back on Monday! I was wrong. But with the help of my trusty (almost recent) backup and the borrowed desk top (with the new CPU) I was able to redo my class plans for the Bible School before my classes were to begin. In the meantime Mateus was trying everything he could to get Tibby up and running, but the system still didn’t work. By the end of the week it was clear that my computer was not coming back.

It just so happens that most of last week Pastor Silvio was in a series of meetings. For that reason I was able to use the new laptop we had just acquired. On Friday Pastor Silvio left for a week long ministry trip to a neighboring state giving me a few more days to work. And Mateus, my faithful techno-medic, has ordered my new computer, which will be here before Pastor Silvio returns and wants his laptop back.

I know something as small as a crashed computer doesn’t rate as a “trial”, but it has been sweet to see how the Father is concerned about my little things. Seeing His care over the details increases my faith for the big challenges that come up, and they always do!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

After the Whirlwind

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by Sarah Langness

I might as well come right out and admit it: I am feeling sorry for myself. Because for the first time since 2001, I am not attending the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention. Six times I’ve gone; three as a student, three as a counselor. A majority of my family is in Estes Park, Colorado. Many of my close friends are there. People I haven’t seen in years, don’t keep in good contact with, but still consider dear to my heart – they are there too. But I stayed home. Back in February, when Jordan and I were praying about Zeke and I attending, we felt a peace about staying home. All I’d like to know now is: what happened to that peace?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the past three weeks, I’ve been surrounded by people. Family reunions and wedding activities for two weeks in Minneapolis; then nearly four days of family visiting us here in Beulah. And now, it’s just me and Zeke. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. But after so much activity, after that whirlwind of three weeks, it’s pretty quiet around here.

So in the midst of my moping, I’m reminding both my heart and my head that the Lord knows what I don’t know. Maybe He wanted us home because of that suspiciously snotty, sometimes congested nose of Ezekiel’s that hasn’t gotten worse but hasn’t gone away. Maybe He wanted us home because He knew those two weeks away really would be enough for us, despite the fact that I currently feel like we could be gone another two. Maybe He wanted me to stay home to remind me that I don’t always have to be in the midst of the “action”, of the exciting things. To remind me that there is ministry to be done right here at home in Beulah. To show me the importance of and power of prayer for a gathering that is 670 miles away.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt . . . ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.'” – Colossians 4:2-3, 5-6, 17; NASB (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately, it’s always one thing to know truth and entirely different thing to believe truth. That’s what I’m working on right now. Who knows, maybe it’ll take all week for that to take place. But I’ve simply got to trust that God’s thoughts and plans are better than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I better be faithful with the time He has given me in the place He has led me.

Little Things for God

by Sarah Langness

I’ll be honest: when I hear about people like Katie Davis, I feel guilty. At 24, she is the mother of 13 orphaned Ugandan children. She has also started a child sponsorship program, a feeding program, and a vocational program for women. She also wrote a book, “Kisses from Katie” and started her own organization, Amazima Ministries International. Ya know, I’m also 24. And my list of life accomplishments isn’t nearly that impressive.

In fact, I live in little Beulah, North Dakota. I’m a wife and a mom (to one). My involvement in youth ministry and church ministry has drastically declined as I now have a little man to care for and a bedtime to meet. I  missed last summer’s mission trip to Haiti, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going there or to Africa in the near future. I hang out with middle schoolers for a hour or so on Thursday afternoons, but the Bible teaching doesn’t come from me. On Sunday mornings I lead a group of elementary kids in singing songs and dancing around like a hippopotamus. No adopted orphans. No starting feeding programs or sponsorship programs. No book to inspire fellow believers.

By all appearances, I’m not involved in anything “big”; anything “significant”.

As Jordan and I wrestled with a difficult decision over the past weeks – a decision that would definitely lead us down the road of something that appeared “big for God”, I was reminded of an Adventures in Odyssey episode I heard back in November. It’s called “Something Significant” – and if you’re lucky, you may be able to go back in the archives and listen to it for free at www.whitsend.org.  If not, all you need to know is that Trent DeWhite found himself in a similar position as myself: wanting to do something big, something significant, for the sake of the Kingdom. After sending him on an Imagination Station adventure, Mr. Whitaker told Trent:

“I know you want to make a big difference for God, but often times that means doing the little things, whatever we can do – and letting Him decide if they ever become big. More than anything, He should receive the glory. Because anything good that happens, happens ultimately because of Him.”

Doing the little things. Letting God decide what becomes big. I needed that reminder. God calls me to be faithful with what He has entrusted to me. He has placed upon me a different calling than He has Katie Davis. He has gifted me to do certain tasks, to impact certain people.

“‘It is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his ability; and he went on his journey. . . Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents . . . His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”” – Matthew 25:14-15, 19-21 (emphasis mine)

The question is not “What big things will I do for God?”; the question is, “Will I be faithful in the little things God has called me to do?” May we all be faithful . . . no matter how small and insignificant the tasks seems to be.

Praying for Your Pastor – Day 20

Pray for a fresh divine anointing on your pastor’s ministry. Pray that God’s working will
be powerfully evident both in his personal life and the spiritual life of the congregation.

But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.  1 Cor 9:27

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  2 Tim 1:7

For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders ,and in the power of the Spirit.  Rom 15:18-19a

Taken from Revive Our Hearts

WMF Resource Manual

It is here!  The WMF Resource Manual is ready.  Some of the WMF groups who attended WMF Day and Conference 2012 received their copies while there.  These Manuals contain all the information that you need as a WMF that is functioning or as a women’s group interested in getting a WMF started.  It explains the set up and function of the WMF on all three levels (local, district and national) with other information on Bible study helps, women’s ministry and leadership development.  It has project descriptions, missionary information and program ideas from which to draw.  It also includes some history of how the WMF began and who has served as officers throughout the years.  We hope to get the rest of the manuals distributed by the end of the year to those who didn’t receive their copies yet.  The grant that we received did not cover all of the expense of the manual, so if your WMF group or ladies would like to give towards this project please send a donation to our treasurer Lois Grothe.