I remember when I was growing up, we would visit my mother’s relatives in South Dakota who lived on a farm. My mother’s two brothers had farms next to my grandfather. When we would visit, there would be a dozen or more cousins and plenty of animals – cats, dogs, chickens, cows, sheep, pigs.
The Larson family made up a goodly portion of the church when we would visit. In the front of the church was a painting of Jesus rescuing Peter from the waves.
It was an interesting choice for an image for the farmers of the Langford area. There were not a lot of large bodies of water nearby. But, there were dangers posed by nature. Winter storms could bury your doorways and threaten your livestock. Droughts could destroy crops and darken skies with dust. I remember stories of my grandfather barely finding his way back to the house. He had to tie a rope to the door and follow it. During the depression, he almost lost the farm because his crops were worthless. Farming is not an occupation for the faint of heart. Families wanted to know that there was a hand to reach for when nature threatened.
The church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. My relatives were instrumental in erecting a new one, which was much more handicap accessible; Hands working together rebuild out of the ashes.
As I am writing this, fires are active in the forests above our church threatening homes, closing roads. So far, the homes of our members and the ELCA camp at Oak Glen have been spared. Please pray this continues to be the case.
What is reassuring is that we do have a hand to reach for. The same hand my relatives had and have. The same hand Peter had.
Peter was a brave man for stepping out of the boat, attempting to reach Jesus on the waves. But as he focused on the wind rather than Jesus, he began to sink and cried out: “Lord save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand. Together, they returned to the boat and the wind ceased.
As fires rage and a pandemic continues unabated, we have this reassurance that there is a hand reaching out for us when we cry out. People in the congregation reaching out together to be there for those in need.
Nelson Hall is working with Pastor Bunge to call on our members to see if you have prayer concerns. They will be held in confidence unless you would like us to share them with the congregation for their prayers.
During these calls, Jan Wheeler and Burrel Woodring, who were with us on Sunday, asked for prayers for a friend, Allen, in critical care condition in the hospital. Additionally, the mother of Vicki Rollins’ brother-in-law has passed. She did live to age 97 years old.
Also continue to pray for Becky Malinowski who is having treatments for a reassurance of cancer. Bill Martin is doing well recovering from his fall and COVID, but another month in rehab is likely. Judy who is doing well is able to visit him via Plexiglas now. Carol Jensen was with us on Sunday and took communion to Geri Witwer.
In other NEWS from FAITH
This week we again met outside for our 9 am worship. It was a pleasant morning for the 15 at worship, the spot was shaded, there was a pleasant breeze and the bushes in the background are in full bloom. This week we added yet another monitor and amplified the sermon and music. We would love to see you, but you can catch the service on our Facebook or the link I send out late Sunday mornings.
Tom Ziech, who was with us at worship is working on the watering system for the flower boxes and flower garden by the offices. An Action Team from Debi Hitter, allowed us to purchase the gravel and plant a crape myrtle tree at the end of the south parking lot.
We had wood-like laminate left over from our office area so were working our way into the pantry area. That work should be done this week. We needed to supplement what was left with tile which was kindly donated by the worker we hired – this was a plus as the tile will be under the refrigerators in that area.
Lastly, we had a homeless encampment on the flat roof around the sanctuary of the church. They used the concrete lattice work as a ladder to climb up. While on the roof, they set up a BBQ, toilet area and broke one of our second story stained glass windows. Additionally, there had been homeless sleeping behind the lattice work, which allowed them to be hidden. The council directed the property committee to make needed changes for security purposes. They decided to have the lattice work torn down from the two areas close to the church building – not the cross. We will use other features and plantings there when we begin working on the landscaping at the front of the church. Sadly, in spite of our treasured outreach to the community, some still dishonor our place of worship.
Love to you all – stay safe!