Periodic Pondering

In connection with this summer’s Sunday theme (What Were They Thinking), I’m interviewing members of our congregation, highlighting the different events and groups so we can get to know Family of Christ people even better. -Solveig Nelson, Summer Media Specialist 

What Were They Thinking?   

Melanie Wegner–Prayer Shawl Ministry  

Question: What is the Prayer Shawl Ministry?

Melanie: “We are a group of women who knit or crochet prayer shawls and we pray for the recipient of the prayer shawl with each stitch created. We bless each shawl, and then we distribute them and hope that they provide a sense of God’s loving arms around each recipient giving them hope, health and comfort. We give the prayer shawls away for free. Some people choose to give us donations to help with the cost of yarn and supplies.”       

Question: Why do you think this ministry is important? 

Melanie: “This ministry has touched over 700 lives since it began in March of 2007. We’ve created and given away over 700 shawls! Lots of people appreciate them, knowing that prayers are stitched right into them.”  

Question: How do you think you are impacted by this ministry?

Melanie: “It’s been amazing to see the responses that we receive when we get a thank you card from some of our recipients. It definitely lets me know that it is better to give than to receive.”      

Question: What do you think has been your most meaningful experience either making, delivering, or both? 

Melanie: “I delivered a prayer shawl to one of my co-workers while she was dying of colon cancer, and she was so thrilled that she walked out into the hallway of the hospital and told everyone that she met that she had been given a prayer shawl! She appreciated it so much. She said she took it with her to every one of her chemo appointments. It meant a lot to her.”

Keri Buisman– El Salvador Mission Trip 

Question: What do you think was the best part of your experience in El Salvador?

Keri: “This is such a difficult question to answer because the entire experience was amazing and ‘the best’ in many different ways. But in an attempt to answer this question, here is a description of one of the ‘best’ but hardest days in El Salvador…. One of the days that I cannot stop thinking about is the day that we went to visit the schools, homes, churches and communities of our students. We had already seen our students at the parties the days before and they all looked so amazing; shiny clean, happy, and in their school uniforms or nice clothes. They were so happy and grateful and it felt so good to finally meet these beautiful children and put a real face to their names. However, when I saw where they lived and played and went to school and church, I was desperately unprepared for the poverty and conditions that I saw my new ‘friends’ living in. You see, these were no longer people on paper or people that I prayed for but did not know. These were actual people now to me, people who had been so generous and kind to me and had offered me so much already. People that had already loved me, greeted me, hugged me and thanked me for coming. So, to see that they had so little was very difficult. While we were at one of the schools, a mom came with two of her sons. She carried precious water on her head for us to wash our hands off with after we ate watermelon that she had also brought and cut for us. Again, she has so little and her concern was for us. Walking with water to share with others, cutting up watermelon and giving it to us as a snack. After this experience, tell me how do you go back to living your life where you don’t have this unconditional love for others? Or that you don’t act on it? This ability to give so much to others who already have more than you have? This woman is simply living out her faith with no politics, no agenda other than the command to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ She was the one on the ‘mission’ trip that day, I learned more from her than she ever did from me. I am so grateful to the Seeds of Hope program, not only for the way that it helps transforms the lives of our students, but also how it can transform us, if we let it.”

Question: What were you thinking when you first met the child/children/person you help sponsor?

Keri: “This was an incredibly emotional day. First of all I was so excited to finally meet this child that we had communicated with for 15 years. Secondly, I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to recognize each other or be able to communicate. But I did not need to worry, we recognized each other immediately, and hugs and tears need no translating. He suddenly was a very real young man with hopes and dreams of his own. To be able to now know him as a friend is a gift like no other and one I will always treasure.”  

Question: What do you think others should know if they are thinking about going on this trip in the future?

Keri: “Go. Trust in God and go. It will transform you and your faith in ways you cannot imagine now. Go.”  

You can read more about the El Salvador trip on their blog, https://sites.google.com/view/foc-in-el-salvador-2019/home.

A Few Announcements:

WOOF! MEOW! CHIRP! RIBBIT! TWEET TWEET! SLITHER HISS! Bring your very special members of your family for our Pet Blessing. Service for the final Simply Summer event of the season. This will be on Wednesday August 7 at 7:00 PM, and we’ll serve a picnic supper beforehand starting at 6:00 PM.  

OUR SAVIOUR’S HOUSING We are looking for volunteers to prepare a meal, or to help serve dinner to the residents of Our Saviour’s Housing on Friday, August 16th. Prepared meals or food items can be dropped off at FoC, and the servers will bring them along to serve that evening. If you would like to be part of this ministry, there is a sign-up sheet on the CIA bulletin board near the kitchen for you to sign up to bring food, serve or both. Contact Melissa Gunderson with any questions   at melgunderson2324@gmail.com or at 952-807-1122.    

COMMON THREAD The August event is going to be Saturday, August 17 – RIB FEST at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hamburg, MN. For ride-share meet at FOC at 4:30 PM. For tickets in advance (lower price) contact Kay and Jim Leonard at  kandjleonard@embarqmail.com or 612-817-7891. Prices: Seniors (62+)  $16, Adults  $25. Join us for fabulous ribs and lots of fun!  

WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS to help paint the down stairs hallway and preschool classrooms. All we need is a few hours of your time. Everything will be provided! Snacks included! The dates are Friday, August 9th from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, Saturday, August 10th from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM.  Sign up online at https://forms.gle/X3SE2gwEBxhZSqPK6 or on the kiosk at church.    

PARKING LOT APPEAL The Church Council invites any extra gifts from folks who can help us fund the repair, resurfacing, and repainting of our parking lot. We will be using Building Fund dollars to help manage this big bill, but any extra gifts in August from the congregation will be a huge help in managing the project, which is set for Aug. 8. See the display and the specially marked offering envelopes if you are able to share an extra gift.  

Categories: Ponderings