“Why Me?” — Genesis 22: 1-18 (2-22-2015, 1030am Service)

February 22, 2015 Text: Genesis 22:1-18

Dear Friends in Christ,

Recently Toni and I found out about a tragedy in different ways. She learned about it while talking with her mother. Members of the Jirovec family informed me when I was helping pack the truck for Dawn’s move. It involved a 17-year-old young man who was killed by a drunk driver around the community in Minnesota where Toni grew up. She was familiar with the family.
The other night as I was doing the dishes Toni read me the obituary from her phone. As she did all I could think about was that obituary could have been for either of our sons. Star athlete, popular at school, homecoming king, helped out at his church, good student, got along well with everybody. I will admit it got me a little emotional.
That is what having children can do to us. I once received a letter from a friend who said they never understood love until they had a child. Many of you are blessed this morning to have your child or children next to you in the pew. Many more of you can think about your child or children as I relate these stories. For our children they don’t fully understand the love a parent has for their child. But they will – oh they will!
Abraham is that parent. Isaac is that son. It tugs at our heartstrings. It is emotional. The parents of the young man killed in the accident could have thought this. Abraham would have been justified if he asked God . . .
“WHY ME?”
Abraham might surely have asked, “Why me?” when God asked him to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. This request from God was an amazing test of faith. Isaac was the son given to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. He was the heir who would continue God’s covenant promise to Abraham. For this and the fact he was the boy’s father Abraham loved Isaac. Oh the heartache of this parent as God makes his request.
But this test was met with faith and obedience. Abraham trusted God. He trusted in spite of the past challenges in receiving a son. He trusted in spite of future plans God predicted through that son. Abraham did as God commanded. He obeyed in spite of the three-day journey to change his mind. He obeyed in spite of the emotions he must have felt as he heard Isaac’s questions. We’ve been there, haven’t we? You hurt when your child hurts. Our empathy is strongest with our children. We completely understand the “Why me?”
While Abraham may have been asking the “Why me?” God was answering “I will” provide the lamb. God provided the lamb for Abraham. God provided the lamb for all people. God does what he would not allow Abraham to do: Not “Why me?” from Abraham, but “I will” from God.
Rembrandt painted Abraham just as he is about to thrust the knife into Isaac. In the painting, as Abraham looks up in response to God’s call, the knife is actually flying out of his hand into the air as if he had been waiting for the voice. Rembrandt portrays a mixture of awe, amazement, and relief on Abraham’s face. The painting is even more poignant when we learn that the same model used for Abraham’s face was used for the father in the return of the prodigal son. Both paintings capture the Father-heart of God.
He is our blessed Father and God’s “I will” is the result of and a demonstration of his love for sinners. And “to this day” God does work in the midst of our “Why me’s?” to provide his “I will.” God will provide for the one enduring the trials. The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who was faithful for us in all trials and temptations, now offers forgiveness freely, including those times when we prove unfaithful in the midst of life’s trials. With joy and thanksgiving, God’s words to Abraham can be spoken to him concerning his own Son, Jesus Christ: “You have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” In this way, “Why me?” can become an expression of wonder and astonishment in the face of God’s grace toward sinners.
Sometimes we pooh-pooh the fact that God sacrificed His son Jesus. We don’t get to the same place emotionally for one reason or another. His though was the ultimate sacrifice because it paid the price for all of us. He lived perfectly, yet was tortured, beaten, and killed. His resurrection gives us hope in the midst of the “Why me’s?” when we are undergoing life’ trials.
Abraham remained faithful to the words of God in the midst of what seemed illogical and contrary to reason. This faithfulness is ours through the Holy Spirit. We trust the promises of God in the midst of what seems to us illogical and contrary.
God’s people have received and continue to receive encouragement through the example of Abraham remaining faithful and obedient to God. That is why this incident is cited in Hebrews 11:17 and James 2:21. In the same way, faithfulness on the part of God’s children today can be a source of great encouragement for others, even encouraging unbelievers to inquire as to the source of their steadfast hope in the midst of life’s trials. Martin Luther wrote this, “One Christian who has been tried is worth a hundred who have not been tried, for the blessing of God grows in trials. He who has experienced them can teach, comfort, and advise many in body and spiritual matters.”
The story of the young man killed by the drunk driver made it from small town Minnesota to the big city newspaper in Minneapolis. In the article, the mother of the young man was quoted as saying, “We were blessed to have Colton for 17 years. We want you to pray for the man who was drunk and caused the accident. He has a wife and family as well. They need your prayers.” Wow! That can only come from a Christian who knows the hope we have through Christ. What a witness.
May God give us the faith by which He will work in us and through us, especially during those times we are tempted to ask, “Why me?”
Amen

Bulletin Announcements – February 22,2015

† Bulletin Announcements †

February 22, 2015

 

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Mark 1:13:  “And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him.”  God the Father cares for Jesus even in the midst of His temptation in the wilds.  God cares for us in every situation as well.  Jesus realized this and always acted from the basis of trust in God the Father’s provision.  This is likewise the basis for our life lived in Christ: God cares for us, so we need not act out of fear or greed.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, will be studying during Lent: “Singing With The Exiles”, based on the Book of Isaiah.  This Bible Study corresponds with the Wednesday evening Lenten messages.  The class is at 9:15 a.m. in the church basement.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  The story, “Jesus Heals Jairus’s Daughter”, serves as the focus of Sunday School today.  Just as Jesus by Word and touch raised the dead girl to life, so by His Word and Sacraments, He kills and buries death and raises us to eternal life.  Questions for discussion include, “How did Jesus heal this little girl?  How does Jesus heal us from the sickness of sin?”

TODAY:  There is a Special Voter’s Meeting following the 10:30 a.m. Worship Service today.  The purpose of the meeting is to select a candidate for the District Presidency and any candidates for Synodical Office?  The meeting should not last very long, and if anyone has any names for either the District President or a Synodical Office, they should send them to Steve Parry prior to the meeting at: separry51@mac.com or you can give the names to Pastor.

MIDWEEK LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICE:  Lenten Worship continues this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  This week’s message: “He Only Has Eyes For You”.  The Board of Elders and the Church Council will serve a soup/sandwich meal at 5:30 p.m.  The free-will Offering will be split between Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

ADULT INSTRUCTION CLASS TO BEGIN:  Pastor will be conducting another Adult Instruction Class.  It will begin on Thursday, March 5th, at 7:00 p.m.  It will last for ten weeks.  This class is for those wanting to learn more about the teachings of the Lutheran Church, both member and non-member.  Those wanting to join Good Shepherd at the conclusion of the class are welcomed and encouraged.  Please invite those you might know.  If you have someone you would like Pastor to invite, please let him know.

THANK YOU to those members who have contributed to the Energy Needs of the congregation these last few months.  We have been very blessed and it helped with last year’s Budget and the beginning of this year as well.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

YOU ARE INVITED to the Concordia University Chicago Kapelle Spring Tour Concert this coming Friday, February 27th, at 7:30 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 2645 Old Jacksonville Road, Springfield, IL.  Dr. Charles P. Brown directs the 32-voice choir in a concert including works by Persichetti, Thompson, Hogan, and Manz.  Free will Offering; cookie reception following the concert.  Any questions please call the church at (217) 465-4531.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “The True Author of Your Life Story” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from 2 Corinthians 7:10.  When Christ’s story becomes yours by faith, life changes. The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

THE CHURCH OFFICE HOURS:  The Office Hours for Janet and Sandy are as follows:  Janet:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and others times by request/appointment.  Sandy’s hours are Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Also, if you stop by the church please let the office know that you are in the building.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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“God Has A Word For That” — Isaiah 41:14-16 (Weds, 2-18-15, 7pm)


February 18, 2015 – Ash Wednesday Text: Isaiah 41:14-16

Dear Friends in Christ,

If you could be any animal in the world, which one would you choose? Maybe, like Isaiah, you would soar on wings like an eagle. Or, like Amos, perhaps the lion is your animal of choice because he is king of the jungle. Or maybe, like Elisha, you boast in the bear, because you could maim and maul.
How many of you would like to become a worm? Show of hands? That’s what I thought – we don’t have any worm wannabes in the sanctuary tonight. Worms have no arms, no legs, and no eyes! They are small and insignificant and if you ask me they don’t have the best of personalities.
No one ever stops their car to rescue a worm. We don’t read editorials that say we must stop the genocidal atrocity taking place in our lakes and rivers. Think of a worm being a team’s mascot. Will we ever hear of the Los Angeles Leaches or the Michigan Maggots or the Washington Worms? I don’t think so.
Our text Isaiah 41:14 calls God’s people a worm: “Fear not, you worm Jacob.” Why does God call the community in Babylon a worm? Didn’t He get the memo that calling someone a worm isn’t the best way to boost self-esteem or encourage people to get up and get going?
Buried under the boot of Babylon, in Isaiah 40-55 the exiles are also called weak and weary, bruised reeds and smoldering wicks, deaf and blind, childless, widowed, divorced, and a stubborn rebel from birth. God has a word for that: worm.
It is Ash Wednesday, another season of the Passion and . . .
“GOD HAS A WORD FOR THAT”
“You worm Jacob” is equated with “those who are dead.” Isaiah’s invites us to compare dead people with worms. Dead people are buried – so are worms. Dead people are stepped on – so are worms. Dead people are surrounded by dirt – so are worms. Dead people are ignored and soon forgotten – and so are worms.
The exiles had seen terror on every side. They are caught in a culture where their most treasured narratives and liturgies are being mocked, trivialized, or dismissed as being simply irrelevant. The beast called Babylon had swallowed everything up. Their hopelessness is epitomized in Psalm 22:1: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And then in verse 6 David says, “I am a worm and not a man.”
Now, what should I think of myself when I am captive to sin and far away from the Father? When I don’t walk humbly with God? When I feel no compassion for the lost? When I take no delight in the Word, recoil from prayer, harbor lustful thoughts and pant for the praises of people? When I am deceptive, mean-spirited, and petty? God has a word for that: worm. “Pastor, didn’t you get the memo that calling people a worm isn’t the best way to boost self-esteem or encourage us to get up and get going?”
No, I didn’t. Because thinking highly of ourselves has nothing to do with God’s Word. Rather He longs for us to cry out with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips”; and with Job, “Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes”; and with Paul, “O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death!” This is what Lent is all about. Acknowledging who we are in God’s sight – sinful and unclean in thought, word, and deed. Lent is when we confess these sins, grieve over them, and repent before Almighty God. You see, only people who are dead and buried and surrounded by dirt cry out for life and resurrection.
Hear again Isaiah 41:14: “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the One who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” The Lord is not a football coach rallying the team. He is “your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” A redeemer is your next-of-kin-relative who buys back your inheritance, frees you from slavery, and pays off your debt. Whatever has gone bad, your redeemer will make good.
Couple with Redeemer is “Holy One of Israel.” It means the Lord is completely set apart and different from everyone and everything else.
Isaiah couples your Redeemer – the completely immanent One – with the Holy One of Israel – the completely transcendent One. In this way, he announces that the Lord alone is able to marshal every power in the universe for a single, loving, furious, relentless goal – to bring us love and life, forgiveness and salvation!
How does He do it? In the fullness of time, God became our next-of-kin-relative, literally. And then He took another step. He became dirty, despised, and dismissed. But then He took another, almost incomprehensible step. It was one for the ages. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And then verse 6, “I am a worm and not a man.” Here is Jesus, nailed to the tree, His body bent and twisted. Here is Jesus, a bloody, horrific mess. Here is Jesus, mocked, ridiculed, and abandoned. God has a word for that: worm.
He did it all for you. And so God’s transforming word to us is exactly this. Isaiah 41:15 and 16: “Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest will scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.”
Worms become mountain movers! The lowly and despised are loved and lifted up. Our Lenten sackcloth and ashes are not the last word. On Easter they will be exchanged for baptismal robes washed white in the blood of Jesus. “The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor.” (Matt. 11:5) God has a word for that. Grace!
Amen.

“Here I Am” — Mark 9:2-9 (2-15-15, 1030am service)


February 15, 2015 – Transfiguration Text: Mark 9:2-9

Dear Friends in Christ,

Toni and I were vacationing with my parents and 3 year-old Karson in Monterrey, California. We were at appropriately…and my mom always thought this was funny…Dennis the Menace Park. This is a great park for children. Slides and swings and sand and you’re on the coast of California. Anyway, Karson had a wonderful time sliding and swinging and just enjoying being a kid. At some point it had to end. We had other places we wanted to go to and we didn’t want to wear out the grandparents. Karson, of course, didn’t want to go. It wasn’t quite Dennis the Menace like but you can understand his reasons for wanting to stay. He was in his glory – take a look at this park on the Internet and you will know what I mean.
We were all kids once. We can relate. There are places we just did not want to leave. As adults our understanding is a little different. We know we have to come down the mountain. Life is like that. And when it is, aren’t we glad we have a Savior? It’s Transfiguration Sunday and the Lord says . . .
“HERE I AM”
On the mountain of glory, a sustained heavenly visit has appeal. It did for Peter, James, and John. Who could blame them. Jesus had talked about being killed, denying self, taking up a cross, losing one’s life. Now they are in heaven’s company with Moses and Elijah and it seemed better.
It would be for us too especially if the last word we heard from the surgeon was cancer, or from the boss, “We’re going to let you go.” Just as we are prone to rely on worldly diversions – in the workshop, playing video games, snapchatting, facebooking, on Netflix, shopping, investing in our sports teams, knitting – to avoid the painful realities of life, surely we’d welcome a heavenly interruption by the likes of Moses and Elijah for the same reason.
How powerless life’s problems seem when we allow our imaginations to converse with the one who crossed the Red Sea and stood before I AM on holy ground. Or sit beside the prophet and ask him about the chariot of fire. A sustained heavenly visit has great appeal.
For Jesus, securing our eternal glory for us had greater appeal. He must go back down the mountain. There is but one plan of salvation and He is it. The blood of thousands and thousands of lambs sacrificed for hundreds of years means nothing, and the Spirit of death cannot “pass over” our sins if the blood of the Lamb of God is not poured out for us. Jesus would descend from the mount of glory not to provide people with problems, one more temporary diversion, but to reach the crest of Calvary, curing people of life’s problems, even sin, death, and hell, for all eternity.
Jesus leads his disciples back down the mountain. They were to be strengthened by this heavenly meeting for what was now to come – Jesus’ suffering and theirs. Following Jesus is not a passive life. It’s highly interactive. Now works righteousness here. No merits for salvation earned or given. It’s just that Jesus’ followers follow.
The pains suffered by first-century Christians is well-documented. Scripture itself tells us of Paul, Peter, James, and Stephen. We know about the millions of Christians today who are persecuted around the world. If we are not directly persecuted for our faith, then life’s situations – illness, divorce, trouble with children, loss of job, old age, finances – cause suffering or hardship. It becomes suffering for Christ’s sake when we endure and respond in faith.
Followers of Jesus will not allow the quality of life, money matters, or worldly comforts to dictate our outlook or decisions. Rather, we picture ourselves coming down the mountain, not alone, but with Jesus saying, “Here I AM with you,” and we know His glory will prevail.
Jesus’s followers know that he says, “I AM here to strengthen you through suffering.” And, “I AM here with you in suffering to use you to witness to others.”
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand knows about Christ’s strength for him in suffering and about witnessing. Before his release in 1964, he was tortured for 14 years in communist Romanian prisons for his involvement with the Christian underground.
At one time, Rev. Wurmbrand survived on an hour of sleep a night with a guard opening and shutting the spyhole in the door each minute or so. His interrogator constantly threated him, “Don’t you know I can order your execution tonight?” Wurmbrand spoke of Christ and told his torturer to put his hand over Wurmbrand’s heart. If it beat rapidly from fright, the man would know there is no God and no eternal life. If it beat calmly, indicating Wurmbrand was at peace, then the interrogator would know there is a God and eternal life. Instead of putting his hand on Wurmbrand’s chest, he struck his face saying, “Can’t you see that…your savior, or whatever you call him, isn’t going to open any prison doors?” Wurmbrand replied, “His name is Jesus Christ, and if He wishes, He can release me.”
Paul writes, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18) That is the way it is for Jesus’ followers. We work and witness and even suffer for Christ. We are not earning a trip to heaven. We just know that He has work for us to do. By His own work and witness, death and resurrection, He earned our trip to heaven. We follow Him because He says, “I AM here with you on earth, and I AM taking you to be with me in heaven.”
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements – February 15, 2015

† Bulletin Announcements †

February 15, 2015

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS each week is led by Pastor Lueck and is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  On this Transfiguration Sunday, the Sunday School students will study the story of “The Transfiguration.”  In the Transfiguration, we see Jesus as the pure and holy Son of God, whose perfect righteousness is given to us through God’s Word and Sacraments.  Parents could ask, “What did Jesus reveal to His disciples about Himself in the Transfiguration?  What does God’s Word reveal to us about Jesus?”

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Mark 9:6:  “For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.”  Soon enough, the disciples’ terror turned into joy for when Jesus is with us, there is no need to fear.  He loves us and cares for us and will never abandon us.  That assurance is the basis of all generosity – for only those who are set free from worry can learn the joy of giving.

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the MARCH NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

LENT BEGINS:  The beginning of Lent is upon us.  Ash Wednesday Worship with Holy Communion is February 18th at 7:00 p.m.  There is no meal this week.  The meals begin on February 25th and continue each Wednesday through March.  Boards of the congregation will serve the first three meals.  The last two (March 18th and March 25th) are for congregation members not on these Boards to sign-up and serve.  Check the display in the narthex for further information.

NEXT SUNDAY: There will be a Special Voter’s Meeting next Sunday, February 22nd, following the 10:30 a.m. Worship Service.  The purpose of the meeting is to select a candidate for the District Presidency and any candidates for Synodical Office?  The meeting should not last very long, and if anyone has any names for either the District President or a Synodical Office, they should send them to Steve Parry prior to the meeting at: separry51@mac.com or you can give the names to Pastor.

THANK YOU to those members who have contributed to the Energy Needs of the congregation these last few months.  We have been very blessed and it helped with last year’s Budget and the beginning of this year as well.

20th CHURCH ANNIVERSARY CONTAINERS:  If you have not yet picked up your 20th Church Anniversary Container, please do so following the worship services today.  They are located in the narthex.  As you know, the money is going for updates and repairs of the church organ.  The new estimate is $13,325.00.  We are collecting these funds until July, 2015.  Any questions please feel free to see or call Marvin Huth (309) 829-6897.

COLLECTION SCHEDULE FOR ORGAN REPAIR AND UPDATE:  The committee for the 20th Church Anniversary has set up a schedule for the collection of contributions.  We will be placing the container in the narthex in both services starting Sunday, March 15th and March 22nd.  But if you would like to contribute earlier, please feel free to give it to Herb Renken or Steve Davis.  If you have any questions, please contact Herb Renken at (309) 454-2986.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

YOU ARE INVITED to the Concordia University Chicago Kapelle Spring Tour Concert on Friday, February 27th, at 7:30 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 2645 Old Jacksonville Road, Springfield, IL.  Dr. Charles P. Brown directs the 32-voice choir in a concert including works by Persichetti, Thompson, Hogan, and Manz.  Free will Offering; cookie reception following the concert.  Any questions please call the church at (217) 465-4531.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Reality, and Grace-filled Restoration” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Luke 15.  Through Christ’s forgiveness, regrets give way to restoration. The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

The Office Hours for Janet and Sandy are as follows:  Janet:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and others times by request/appointment.  Sandy’s hours are Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Also, if you stop by the church please let the office know that you are in the building.

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Report to Congregation & Pics from Ft. Wayne Seminary Co-Op — 1-30-15 (Courtesy of John & Paula Hardy)

Concordia Seminary Fort Wayne, Indiana

Our Trip to bring your gifts to the clothing co-op at the Seminary at Fort Wayne allows us the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful campuses that I have ever seen. You enter the campus from Clinton Street without actually seeing the campus. The first thing you see is the statue of Martin Luther. Then you see some of the buildings and the chapel.

This year we were there while school was in session and there was quite a bit of activity on campus. Since the co-op is closed on the weekends we had to go to the gymnasium in order to find someone who could contact security. There was a soccer activity of some sort going on in the gym with dozens of children and parents in attendance.

We met the security guard (a seminarian) who unlocked the co-op for us. As we began to unload our cargo he received a call to open the food co-op for someone else. He later returned after we finished unloading. He was very concerned about the upcoming snow as he was an “Alabama boy.” He (as were every other person we have come into contact with at the seminary) was very grateful for the donations. He said that without the support of congregations that he and the other seminarians would not be able to complete their journey. After a short discussion of each of us being a different member of the body of Christ with different talents he was again called away and we left the seminary.

As you can see by the pictures there is a storeroom which the donations are collected (or in our case left). In an adjoining room volunteers separate the donations and stock the various rooms like this one pictured. This room happens to be women’c clothing. There are rooms for men’s clothing and children’s clothing as well as toys and household goods. To “shop” at the co-op the student or his/her spouse must show a Concordia student ID. Concordia Fort Wayne has a Deacon/Deaconess program as well as a program for pastors.

We would like to thank you all for your donations which allow us to visit the seminary each year. We have had the pleasure of visiting some of the students that we have sponsored during some of our trips.

We plan on returning there again some time next year and appeal to you again for donations to fill up our truck for the next trip.

Sincerely and Respectfully in Christ’s service,

John & Paula Hardy
***Pictures Follow***

1-6-15 Ft Wayne Pic 6

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1-6-15 Ft Wayne Pic 3

1-6-15 Ft Wayne Pic 2

1-6-15 Ft Wayne Pic 1