March 2010

Compassion for the Suffering
In England in the 1940s a young woman entered Oxford University with little focus.  She had no idea what to do with her life, but she soon came under the influence of a colorful professor of English, a writer with a gift, named C. S. Lewis.  She became a Christian through much of his influence.

She left Oxford, against the advice of friends and family, and began to study nursing. After five more years of rigorous training, she was certified as a nurse.

But her story doesn't end there, for her questing Christian spirit would not let her rest with the way things were.  You see, she ended up working on a cancer ward in a London hospital.  Gradually, she came to realize that most of the doctors   ignored the patients who were deemed terminally ill.  As a result she watched many of them die virtually alone.
Greatly troubled she felt that Christian compassion needed to be expressed to these patients in a visible way.  She approached the hospital administration with an idea she had for surrounding those dying of cancer with friends and loved ones during their last days, rather than isolating them in sterile rooms with strangers.  Her radical ideas were quickly rejected.

But undaunted, she decided to enroll in medical school to try to make a difference even though she was already 33 years old and would not graduate until she was 39.  This she did and later a movement soon grew around the ideas that made it possible for dying patients to live their days in a setting of love and     support.

Cicely Saunders, out of Christian compassion and a sense of calling to help in a specific way, began this movement in England in the 1950s.  It later moved to the Americas and is now used everywhere and in every town.  It is called the Hospice movement and it draws its inspiration from Jesus own passion and compassion for his children.

We see God’s compassion for us in Christ  Jesus during this Lenten season as we walk with Jesus the way of the cross and see his suffering and death for us.  We also see our Savior conquer the powers of death and sin and Satan for us in his resurrection.  We head for Holy Week with the  vision of Easter on the horizon.  Please note the Lenten schedule that follows.


Our Stewardship for February
Average Attendance:     97
Year to Date:                  100
Communed:                    260
Average Offering:          $3,140
Year to Date:                  $2,747
Budget:                           $3,261
Our offerings are up 3% over 2009, but about $500 per Sunday below budget.

Also Given in February
Helping Hand Fund:       $128
Mexican Orphanage:     $690 
Other Missions:                $55 
Building Fund:                  $60
Food Bank:                    $100 
Piano Fund:                     $25 
Haiti Relief:                    $100
Sea Scouts:                     $15
VBS:                                 $15
Youth:                                $10
Preschool:                        $10

…"Don’t forget to remember to include the Lord’s work in your will.”

Preschool News
February was a short month, but a very busy month at Grace Lutheran Preschool.  We started off by introducing a coffee stand in our house play area.  The students have enjoyed taking and placing orders.  We have used this stand as an opportunity to introduce basic math and  writing skills.  The kids have play money and a cash register and they also wrote up a menu.  February brought the Olympics to Vancouver and has also brought the preschool Olympics to our classroom. The preschoolers participated in a ‘ski jump’.  We had a skating race using paper plates as skates and created a rink for the students to display their figure skating moves. 
We concluded our games with a curling match.


Children and Faith
Research is Very Clear
If Jesus is not already part of their lives by the time they leave junior high school, the chances of them accepting Him as their Lord and Savior is very slim (6% to be exact).
With Children, it is Just the Opposite
Because of the challenges and insecurities they face in life, they are very open to being a part of a community of like-minded people who grow together.
Children have a tremendous influence within their families and on the choices they make in all areas of life…
Ideas That Everyone Can Do to Make Our Children Feel Welcome at Grace

Greet children by name.
Smile and say hello even before names are memorized.
Recognize and make a special effort to acknowledge children.
Be enthusiastic.  Children are responsive to enthusiasm.
Give positive comments concerning each child’s efforts—the more specific the better.
In the case of toddlers and younger children, crouch down to their level to talk with them.
Affirm those who teach our children.
Become a mentor to a child in need.
Volunteer during Sunday School, or VBS to share your time and/or talents with our children.

 

Hazel’s Mexican Orphanage Journal continued….
There are several schedules at the orphanage for school, some leave in the morning and many leave in the afternoon.  All the kids wear uniforms which is a good thing.  We have families who donate uniforms their kids have out grown, plus we buy new ones when needed, it is a practice of the orphanage to try and have the parents of our kids provide school uniforms for their children.  This sometimes works and sometimes it does not. We have lots of kids who have a mom and dad in Morelia but just cannot afford to keep the child at home but do come to see them when they can.  It is great that they can be at the orphanage as there they get 2 very good meals per day plus they must shower and go to school. They must do their home work and be in bed at a good time at night.  Some of these things they may not get at home. This year we have 2 boys, brothers, who do not have uniforms and haven’t had them since the beginning of the year. Their single mom could not get them so that was one of the first things to do, get them the uniforms they needed.  “Uniforms for 2 husky boys ages 11 and 12 about $120.00.   Pride they got from wearing them, Priceless!”


The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong
Four LCMS missionaries, forced to leave China by the communists in November 1949, stopped in Hong Kong on their way home.  They had intended to return to the US, but when they saw so many refugees in Hong Kong, they decided to stay.  They founded the LCMS Hong Kong Mission Conference, which laid the foundation on which The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS) stands today.
“In the beginning, the missionaries set up shelters for worship in Tiu Keng Leng,” says a brief history on the LCHKS Web site (www.lutheran.orghk).  “They also started a Bible School in order to train people for God’s service.  Then they rented a place in Kowloon and established the first syndical congregation...Through evangelizing on the street, visiting patients in hospitals, and organizing Bible classes, the church grew rapidly and more congregations were set up.”
Much has happened since then.  A seminary was established and conducted its first class in 1963.  In 1976, the LCMS Hong Kong Mission Conference was reorganized as The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod and recognized as a partner church by the Missouri Synod.  LCHKS President Allan Yung reports that today, the Hong Kong Synod has 33 congregations and 10 mission stations with 8,500 members throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon, the New Territories, and Macau.  The Synod also operates 6 secondary schools, 4evening secondary schools, 6 primary schools, 2 special schools, and 16 kindergartens.  More than 1,000 teachers and administrators instruct and manage the schools with an overall enrollment of more than 18,000 students.
Social ministry carried out by the Hong Kong Synod also is impressive.  Its Lutheran Social Services operates 10 day nurseries; 6 children and youth centers; 4 community development teams; 2 drug-abuse centers; a center for deaf and physically disabled persons; 3 day activity centers and a hostel for mentally handicapped people; a center for blind people; 7 social centers; a day-care center; and 4 homes for the elderly; 2 school social-work programs serving 25 schools; 2 family-life education units; and a foster-care unit.  The synod’s Martha Boss Community Center, which opened in 1986, serves more than 100,000 people in the Kowloon City District.


MID-WEEK LENTEN SERIES:  Amos - Restore the Roar!
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!”
March 24 Part 6: (7:10-17) – “Lion Alert!”

HOLY WEEK:
April  1 Part 7:  Maundy Thursday, (8:11-14) – “The Taste Test”
April  2 Part 8: Good Friday, (9:1-6) – “Buried!” 
CANTATA:  Also on Good Friday, our choir will present the Cantata: “Song of the Shadows.”  This is a beautiful and moving cantata that captures the meaning and power of Good Friday.  Our choir did this a few years ago.  This is a great opportunity to invite your friends to come, especially your unchurched friends.  Be thinking about those in your life that you can invite and bring.
April  4 Easter


ATTENTION Husbands & Wives
What is the most important thing you can give your children?   Your own loving relationship!    
Lutheran Marriage Encounter has weekend opportunities for ALL MARRIED COUPLES, whether you have been married 5 years or 45 years, to take time off from daily pressures and responsibilities to search out and discover a warmer, closer, more joyful relationship with each other.
Remaining 2010 weekend dates are:  April 23-25 & October 22-24 in Tukwila, WA at the Courtyard by Marriott and November 5-7 in Vancouver, WA at the Phoenix Inn.  
The weekends run from Friday night at 8 p.m. to Sunday at 5 p.m. and include two nights lodging and meals for the weekend.  There is a registration fee of $45 to sign up for a weekend.                                         
For over thirty years, Lutheran Marriage Encounter has been a donation-based ministry; each couple is given the opportunity at the end of the weekend to make  confidential donation to help grow the ministry.  
No couple has ever been denied attendance on a Marriage Encounter weekend for financial reasons.
If you sign up for a weekend and then find that you are unable to attend that weekend,  your  registration is transferable to any weekend anytime, so don’t delay, sign up TODAY!  Simply go to the website:

www.GodLovesMarriage.org and register using your credit card, or for questions or if you would like a brochure with registration form mailed to you, contact Carl & Dallas Anne Presley,
carl.presley@comcast.net, 206-522-6849.  Registrations are limited, so sign up today to ensure that you can attend the weekend of your choice. 

 

ADULT BIBLE STUDY                         
Sunday morning class at 9:00 a.m. 

We will begin a new five-session study, “How We Got the Bible.”  This is a video based study featuring Dr. Paul Maier. 

The story of the Bible has been called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”  But did you ever wonder where the Bible came from? Who wrote it?  Why did they write it?  Who decided which books to include?  Come on Sunday mornings at 9:00 to learn “How We Got the Bible.”


New Members
On February 7, we had the privilege of receiving three new members:  Nora Atwood by Adult Baptism, and Jean Cartwright and Marilyn Mitchel by Adult Confirmation.  WELCOME!


New Treasurer
Norma Thomasson has been our congregational treasurer going on five years.  She has done a wonderful job as treasurer, but health concerns have led her to step down in March.  Thank you Norma for all of your good work that has been a blessing to all of us.  Our thanks also to Steve Nelson for stepping up and assuming the duties of treasurer.


Interfaith Dinner Auction 
“Garden of Hope”
This annual fundraising event is: 
Saturday, March 20,   5:30 p.m., at the Lakeway Inn and Conference Center in Bellingham.
Tickets are $40.  If we could get at least 8 people we could have a Grace Lutheran table.  If you would like to be part of that, please speak to Pastor Dennis.

AUCTION ITEMS:  The Sarah Circle put together an auction package of two nights at a Bed and Breakfast and a dinner for two at Semiahmoo.  The Bed and Breakfast donated the two nights. 
A second item for the auction is a gardening package with a wheel barrow and gardening implements.  You can sign up to provide some of the implements or donate some cash to offset the Sarah Circle’s out of pocket expenses.

 

Death
Our Christian sympathies are with Jan Hrutfiord and her family at the death of her husband, Bjorn, on February 16.  A committal service was held on February 18 at Blaine Cemetery.  A memorial service will be held on March 6, 11:30 a.m. at Grace. 
“May the Lord of Life give comfort and hope in the resurrection.”