January 2008 Newsletter

 

Seven Resolutions

Whether or not you make resolutions for the New Year, I think you will find the following list prepared by Reverend Walter Schoedel interesting.

He calls them ‘7-UPS for the New Year.'   No, this has nothing to do with the soft drink.  These 7-UPS fall under the heading of attitudes and actions.

The first is WAKE-UP-Begin the day with the Lord.  It is His day.  Rejoice in it.

The second is DRESS-UP-Put on a smile.  It improves your looks.  It says something about your attitude.

The third is SHUT-UP-Watch your tongue.  Don't gossip.  Say nice things.   Learn to listen.

The fourth is STAND-UP-Take a stand for what you believe.    Resist evil.  Do good.

Five, LOOK-UP-Open your eyes to the Lord.  After all, He is your only Savior.

Six, REACH-UP-Spend time in prayer with your adorations, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications to the Lord.

And finally, LIFT-UP-Be available to help those in need-serving, supporting, and    sharing.

If you're going to make New Year's resolutions this year, let me suggest Reverend Schoedel's list.

Why do we bother to make New Year's resolutions in the first place?  Why do we feel this need each January 1 to set new goals?  Maybe it is  because resolutions help us to identify our priorities. 

They answer the Question:  how do I want to invest my time, energy, money, and talents in this New Year?  The New Year reminds us that time is passing.  It is up to each of us to maximize the potential of every moment.                Walter Schoedel

Our Stewardship for December

Even with a snowy Sunday,  attendance averaged 111 for December and 104 for the year.  We communed 424 in six services.  Christmas we had 145 and 104 in the two services.  New Year's Eve attendance was 18, up 60% from last year.

Offerings averaged $3,352 per Sunday (Budget $2,958) we made our budget for the year.  A full financial report is being prepared for the  Annual  meeting on January 27. 

Also given in December:  $110-Habitat House; $1,135- Helping Hand fund; $480-Missions; $275-Memorials; $70-Food Bank; $485-Mexican Orphanage; $50-Building Fund.

 Thank you for your stewardship.

† Don't forget to remember the Lord's work in your will †

Thanks

Our thanks to all who made the Advent and Christmas seasons special and meaningful.               

-to all who decorated, building the wreath and putting up the tree.

-to all who took everything down at the end and cleaned up.

-to all who worked in the kitchen preparing, serving, and cleaning up.

-to the Altar Committee for all their extra work.

-to the choir and musicians who blessed us with their music.

-to Martin Kuuskmann andTerhi Miikki-Broersma for the Christmas Caroling sing-a- long.  We hope it can be an annual community event.

-to Karen Halldorson for organizing the Women's  Christmas Program and to all who  participated and made it so meaningful.

Many others worked in a variety of ways, the result was that we were all blessed. 

Thank you.

Christmas Giving Tree

The Annual Christmas Giving Tree was a phenomenal success with 183 families participating.  An increase of 25 from last year.

Program organizer Marsha Hawkins of Stafholt Good Samaritan stated that 1719-2000 gifts were received and distributed to 573 children.   "Everyone is always so generous in this community.  We usually get more gifts than tags taken!"

80 sponsors, many volunteers, Marsha and 2 Stafholt staffers make it all happen.  Many Blaine churches and businesses get in the spirit handing out the tags and collecting the gifts.  This year KISM radio  station in Bellingham distributed 150 tags as well.

The event kicks off each year in October with the Harley owners bikers group and the arrival of Santa. 

Thank you to everyone from Grace that participated and a big thank you to Joan and Carole for their organization again this season.

Preschool News

December has gone, and what a month it was.  A lot of our class time was spent working on our Christmas program.  On December 18th and 19th we performed for our parents and friends.  When we were not  singing we read different versions of  The Gingerbread Man.                                                  We compared different endings.        Miss Naomi

Life Sunday

January 20 is "Life Sunday" when we affirm that all life comes from the hand of God and all life is to be respected and  protected at all stages.  There are some practical things we can all do in this regard.

-We can join and financially support the national organization, Lutheran For Life.

-We can study the issues so that we are prepared with good biblical, ethical, and scientific information when we have the chance to discuss it.

-We can support the Whatcom County Pregnancy Center and participate in the Walk for Life.  We can volunteer and offer the Center our services.

Adult Inquirer's Class

A new class will be starting the first part of February.  This 12 session class goes through all the basics of Christian doctrine and more.  It is a good review for those who haven't had something like this for a long time.  For those who might be interested in membership, it gives them a good ground and leads to membership if they so choose.  If you would like to come or know of someone else, please speak to Pastor Dennis.

Sometimes it works best if you bring a friend and take the class with them.

Women's Christmas Program/Party

Almost a month ago early in the Christmas season we began with a program to enhance our Christmas activities with a time set apart to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to worship Him whose birth we just celebrated. 

It was our annual women's  program and party following.    It is safe to say based on the many comments that it was very meaningful and enjoyed by many (even though it snowed again that day). 

Many thanks go to all who   participated in the program and to those who were responsible for all other aspects of the afternoon.  

Monday Bible Class

Women's Monday evening Bible Class will resume sometime in the new year.

Watch for more information and please plan to attend.

Morelia Mexican Orphanage:  An Update

An excerpt from Hazel's Journal  2007.  The people involved are Glenda Knudson-Hazel's cousin who goes with her every year.

Serita-Director of the orphanage and head mom.

Fernando-Head Dad and #1 cook at orphanage.

Jake and Charity Miller-Missionaries who live in home on orphanage grounds.

Laura-Helper and care giver for the littlest ones-mama.

November 1, 2007:  Glenda and I were the last two stand by tickets out of Seattle yesterday morning.  We were so lucky.  "Who says prayer does not work".  It was the straight through flight so that made us happy.  We did have to sit in the plane on the runway for an hour and forty five minutes till the fog lifted and it was safe to get out of Seattle but we were so glad to be on that flight we did not complain.  There were kids in costume at the airport and on the plane, so cute.

Arrived in Puerto Vallarta about 5 p.m. and stayed the night before getting on the beautiful ETN bus lines for Morelia, leaving at 8:45 am the next morning.  It is a great bus line, so comfortable with lots of room, a TV every 4 seats, bathrooms, and even shaded windows.  Lunch (sandwich and cold drink) is served when you come aboard.  It is a great system.  It is a 10 hour bus trip, but it is great to see all the little villages and all the countryside along the way.  You can't get the flavor of Mexico on a plane.  By the time we found our luggage and a taxi we arrived at the orphanage about 8 p.m.  The kids were all exited to see us and we were to see them.  One year is such a long time.  Lots of new kids but mostly the same as last year with only a few missing.  One little boy, David, was sitting on the floor crying.  He was trying to hide behind the leg of the piano.  His pants were wet from the waist own and I could tell by the smell he had not just fallen into a bucket of water.  He was embarrassed beyond words.  I do not know what happened but will find out.  Such a darling kid, I wonder what his story is.  They all have one and some are very sad.  He told me his name but nothing else.  I would say he was about 5.  Wetting your pants at that age probably means something is wrong.  I wonder what could have happened to this sweet little guy and how did he end up here?  Maybe I can find some answers.  To be continued...

Mission/Evangelism

January 2008

"She served tables at a local restaurant, and because of an invitation from two customers, her life was changed. The two customers were members of a local Lutheran church.  Instead of eating without conversing with the server, these Lutherans started a conversation with their waitress, and this eventually led them to invite her to their congregation's Christmas Eve  service. She agreed to attend. Many times the story ends without anything happening. This story, however, had a different ending.

 "The young waitress did attend the Christmas Eve service and sat with the two people who had extended the invitation. The service proclaimed the story of Christmas and its meaning. It was a wonderful evening! After the service, the young visitor stayed until most of the people had left.

She asked whether she could talk to the pastor. She told him something astonishing. She informed the pastor that this was the first time she had ever heard the Christmas story and wanted to know more about Jesus.

 "Incredible as it might sound, this is a true story. This young woman was not a new immigrant to the United States. She did not practice any other religion. She was born and raised in the United States. Hearing this story for the first time, I immediately thought, 'How can this be?' This story points out the fact that our society is no longer Christian-focused. Even with the opportunities of reading the Christmas story, viewing it on television, or driving past a nativity scene, there are people who are not familiar with the true Christmas story.

 "Many of our public schools identify this time of year as the 'holiday season.' It is not at all hard for a person to grow up without knowledge of Jesus' birth and life.  Others have heard the Christmas story and have discarded it as a cute story for children, but not as the story of God becoming a human being to live on earth to redeem us from sin and destruction. This is the type of world we live in and the type of world with which to share the beautiful    Gospel message of God's love for everyone. Let me encourage you to: realize that the people around you might not know the Christmas story or its meaning, invite the people that God places in your life to church, pray for the Holy Spirit to use this Christmas season to draw people to the Babe of Bethlehem, and celebrate the birth of Christ in a meaningful way."

Interfaith's Annual Meeting Inspires

After traveling across the country to escape ongoing abuse by her husband, a woman finds safe shelter for her and her two children.

At Interfaith Coalition's annual meeting on Jan. 24, she will share the story of how living in one of the coalition's emergency houses helped her on her path to independence.

For 25 years Interfaith Community Health Center has provided care to adults and   children regardless of their ability to pay. The health center's services, which began with telephone referrals, continue to evolve, as the center broadens its scope and range to benefit  people in need in  Whatcom County.  What plans are in the works at this time?  You'll find out at Interfaith Coalition's annual meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at  Faith Lutheran Church, 2750 McLeod Road at Northwest Ave. in Bellingham.

Please plan to attend the meeting, and bring a friend or family member, too. You'll be inspired by hearing the difference the work our coalition of 45 congregations, plus St. Joseph Hospital, makes in the lives of our neighbors in need.

Interfaith Spring Auction

Reserve March 29 for evening of fun at Interfaith spring auction

Mark your 2008 calendars now and look forward to a fun  evening at Interfaith Coalition's annual spring auction on March 29 at the Lakeway Inn in Bellingham. Interfaith's largest fundraising event of the year  begins at 5:30 p.m., and tickets, which will be available in mid-January, cost $40.

Whatcom Literacy Council

You're invited to Whatcom Literacy Council's volunteer tutor information evening on the Third Wednesday of every month.  Meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. at the Downtown Bellingham Library.  Learn about becoming a volunteer tutor in your community.  No previous teaching of foreign language experience is required.   60 people are patiently waiting for your help.  Helping adults learn to read or use English as a second language is giving a gift that lasts a lifetime.

For more information visit www.whatcomliteracy.org or call 647-3264.

Proceeds from the auction support programs that provide housing to homeless families, health care to all in need, and social connection to isolated seniors.

Interfaith Coalition is seeking donations of financial under-writing, as well as silent and live auction items.  Especially popular are unique experiences or opportunities and vacation or weekend getaways.

For more information about the auction or to make a donation, please call Interfaith Coalition at 734-3983

Annual Offering Envelopes

The new envelopes for 2008 are ready.  Please speak to Maxine Vogt if you have any questions.

A new Flower Chart for 2008 is posted in the Narthex.