February 2010

Hope That Sustains US
Do you remember the story of Pandora's Box in Greek Mythology?  The lovely Pandora was sent by Zeus to be the bride of Epimetheus.  One of Pandora's more endearing charms was her curiosity, but that quality also proved to nearly be her undoing.  One day Mercury, the messenger, sent a box to the young couple.  It was meant for them to  enjoy, but under no circumstances were they to open it.  Well, of course, it is the old story of the forbidden fruit.  Told that she could not do it, it became the thing that she desired to do the most. 

So one day she pried it open and peeked inside.  Suddenly out flew swarms of insects that began attacking them.  Both lovers were stung with the poison of suspicion, hatred, fear and malice.  Now the once happy couple began to argue.  Epimetheus became bitter and Pandora wept with a broken heart.  But in the midst of the quarreling, they heard a tiny voice cry out: Let me out, to sooth your pain.  Fearfully they opened the box again, and this time a beautiful butterfly flew out.  It touched the couple and miraculously their pain was healed and they were happy again.   The butterfly we are told was hope.  It is hope that sustains us; it is hope that sooths our pain.
This is also the story of mankind in Genesis three when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and went their own way.  In effect, they opened the box that brought sin and death and every evil that leads to death.  God in his great love promised a Savior, and that promise was fulfilled in the birth and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.  God became flesh and blood for us.  It is not only the death of Jesus, but the opening of his tomb on Easter morning that reverses everything, giving us the peace of sin forgiven and the sure hope of the resurrection to eternal life. 

During this upcoming Lenten season, we have the opportunity once again to rehearse the events that are at the heart of our salvation, and in the process to walk the way of the cross with Jesus in preparation for his Easter victory.  Please note the Lenten theme and schedule.

Amos:  Restore the Roar!
The messages for our Wednesday services are based on the book of Amos.  Throughout our Lentenworship we will learn much about prophet Amos and his message for the people of his and for us today. The tribe of Judah and the promised Messiah were associated with the lion.  Amos helps us to better hear the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, whom John identifies as Jesus.  The roar of the lion seeks to awaken us to a lively and active faith.  Make this part of your Lenten observance and preparation for Easter.  

Beginning February 17,  (Ash Wednesday)
Lenten Soup Suppers at  6:30 p.m.
Worship at 7:30 p.m.

Overview of the Lenten Series

Feb. 17: 
Part 1: Ash Wednesday, (1:1-2) – “Rescued from the Rubble”

Feb. 24: 
Part 2: (3:1-8) – “The Four R’s of Election”

March 3: 
Part 3: (5:18-20) – “This is the Night the Lord has Made!”

March 10: 
Part 4: (6:1-7) – “Grieving for  Joseph”

March 17: 
Part 5: (7:1-6) – “Locusts Here, Locusts There, Locusts Are  Everywhere!”


Stewardship for January      
Average Attendance:          103     
Communed:                      262
Average Offering:           $2,431
Budget:                         $3,261

Thank you for your Stewardship!

Also Given in January
Helping Hand Fund:           $130
Mexican Orphanage:          $310 
Other Missions:                   $50
Building Fund:                     $85
Food Bank:                       $119
Piano Fund:                        $25                       
Haiti Relief:                       $975
Youth Retreat:                     $65


Lenten Devotional Booklets from LHM
In From The Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary—A Lenten Journey, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Pastor and Chaplain Vern Gundermann takes the reader alongside Jesus as He completes His earthly mission in His Father's service.  Everywhere Jesus went—whether along a dusty road or a paved city street—what stood front and center for Him was the cross. And it was against those rough timbers that He—the Christ, God's "anointed one"—would ultimately find Himself nailed.  Gundermann puts us on the scene as Jesus interfaces with the elite and rabble of His day, converses with and provides comfort for His friends and, finally, submits to the will of the Father upon His final destination—Mount  Calvary.

In Walking With Jesus, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod educator and author Chuck Strohacker applies insight and observation, showing how it's in the nitty gritty of life that we need to walk closest to Jesus. And it is in that same arena—in the everyday and commonplace—that Jesus followed His Father—faithfully, obediently, sacrificially—so that through His life, death, and resurrection we might have eternal life. It was a more contemporary voice and conversational style.

Preschool News
On January 5 the students came back to school, after a two week break. 
We  are learning about winter this month in class.
Our students have had the  opportunity to watch crystals grow in class.  We enjoyed making predictions about how much the crystals would grow.
In our class we have put up a tent.  The students are enjoying pretending to camp out in class.                   
Toward the end of the month we will had a campfire sing a long around our tent.
During class we are started small groups.  During this time students were pulled out to play different games.  We played learning games, and games using gross motor skills.



Hazel's Mexican Mission Journal 2009
We arrived in Morelia on November 11th after a 10 ½ hour bus trip from Puerto Vallarta on a wonderful and very comfortable bus.
We traveled at night getting into Morelia at 9:30 a.m.  Coming from Seattle we all three were able to get on the same flight.  (we travel on standby so this was an iffy thing)  I have a wonderful cousin Ken, who along with his wife Donna worked for Alaska Air for many years and they have provided stand by tickets for the 3 of us and they have been doing this for several years.  As we pay all of our own expenses on this trip, their help is wonderful.  I have only missed one flight in all the years I have traveled in this way. God is good!  When we arrived at the orphanage the kids were so excited. There were many hugs and lots of kisses.  Many shouts of Na Na…which is what they call me.  What a wonderful sound for me.  I love it that they remember me.  They had even made a sign for our door welcoming us “back home”.  We had special water glasses plus HOT WATER in the shower!  Ya Hoo….Life is good.

They covered our windows with heavy cloth so we could get some sleep but we couldn’t.  We were so excited to see the kids plus we knew it would interfere with our sleeping that night.  So, no sleep and my ankles were swollen.  What is up with that?  Oh well.
We had a great lunch.  Even before we got here I had gotten an e-mail asking what we wanted for dinner our first day.  The staff treats us so good.

Andrea is a young woman who has been asking me for the past 3 years if she could go to the orphanage with me and this year she turned 21.  That is what I had been waiting for.  She was so good with the kids and they all loved her.  She pitched in and helped at all times plus she was always on time.  Both she and Mary were greeted warmly and soon the kids were talking with them big time.  They love visitors especially when they get attention.


LCMS World Mission Global Links
Grace Lutheran is linked to Newark, N.J., where missionary Rev. Jim Buckman serves.  He writes, "Sheeba and Joseph have a vision.  They live in an apartment complex with 400 units and 75 percent of the residents are Asian Indian, just like them. Sheeba and Joseph's house church divides up into four prayer walking teams as part of each week's gathering. The four teams are assigned 100 of the 400 units in the apartment complex.  Each week, the team returns to their100 units and  continues to build relationships. Last week, in 20 minutes of prayer walking, our four teams contacted 49 homes; 26 were home and 12 of them shared prayer  requests with our teams.  We now have relationships built with more than 40 of the 400 families. We will continue this-building up to our first 'Community Meet and Greet,' which will be held at Joseph and Sheeba's apartment."

You're Invited to the Interfaith Coalition Choir Fest
Members of our church choir will be performing with ten other choirs in an Interfaith Coalition Choir Festival on Saturday, February 20 at 1:00 pm.  Individual performances by each choir will culminate in the  performance of two compositions by a combined choir of more than 225 voices.
This wonderful concert of inspirational music will be held at Assumption Catholic Church, 2116 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham.   An offering to support the Coalition’s programs, which assist local people in need, will be gratefully accepted.


At the meeting after worship on January 31, the following business was done:
Received all the reports from pastor, boards, and treasurer.
Adopted the 2010 budget as presented which represents a 1% decrease over 2009.
Authorized the Board of Church Property to spend funds from the Building Fund to replace one of our three furnaces with a new gas one.
Authorized up to $6,000 from undesignated memorial funds for a new church sign.
Authorized Pastor Dennis to make nominations in the name of Grace for president and the five vice president slots of the LCMS.  These elections will take place at the synod convention this July.
Annual Reports are available at church if you were not present to receive one.


Valentine Potluck Dinner after worship Sunday, February, 14.  Everyone is invited.  Please note the sign up list on the kitchen counter.


We offer our Christian sympathies and the hope of the resurrection to Lucy and Duff Chambers at the death of their son, Ben, on January 27 in Seattle.  A memorial service was held on February 8.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the God of all consolation.  He comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have  received from God” (I Corinthians 1:3).

We rejoice over two children received into God’s covenant of Grace through Holy Baptism:
Arisara Intaraprasert, infant daughter of Tim and Fawn Ventura on January 10.
Ella Ashlynn, infant daughter of Jeff and Jessica Large (preschool family).


Bookcase in Narthex
A bookcase has been placed in the Narthex for congregational use.  Please feel free to take home and enjoy the books and return. There are many children’s books also which may be taken home  and kept or used while at church.



Statement issued for 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 20, 2010

Friday, January 22, marks the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that altered how our nation had valued life for the previous 200 years.  Abortion has caused nearly 51 million deaths since 1973, when medically assisted termination of a pregnancy was declared legal.
Yet this solemn anniversary also gives us reason to hope as throngs of people will converge on our nation's capital - as they have each of the past 37 years - to call for repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision.

We thank the LCMS Lutherans who will join an anticipated crowd of more than 200,000 pro-life marchers on this day to worship, to pray, and to share with the nation the truth of God's Word that life begins at conception.  This year, their  presence in Washington, D.C., is more important than ever as Congress considers health care legislation that could allow the use of taxpayer money to fund abortions.

The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod has consistently affirmed and given thanks to God for the miracle of human life from conception until natural death and fought for its preservation.  We have also taken action through international and domestic programs to demonstrate our care and compassion for those who live on the other side of the world, for our neighbor down the street, and for the unborn in the womb.

As we reflect on the significance of this day, we boldly profess our belief that Christ Jesus sanctified all human life by His birth, life, death, and resurrection for all mankind.  Both in our church body and in society at large, the LCMS remains committed to upholding the sanctity of human life and devoted to caring for those who are the most vulnerable and helpless among us.
Gerald B. Kieschnick
President The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod