Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prayer Requests for November 11

Thank you Lord for each and every veteran who put their lives out there to protect our freedom, may you continue to bless and guide them and their families. Our thoughts and prayers are always with them. Amen.

Thanks for coming to check the prayer requests for today.

Today I decided to include some of Ted's recent message to our board members to let you know what he's been up to lately. Ted writes:

A brief update on this ministry and its work . . .

I am pleased to report that activity for case work and training is quite busy right now.

I have completed two major training events in Canada, originally scheduled by Bruce. One was a coaching practicum in Ontario for the East District circuit counselors, our first-ever training in the East District of Lutheran Church-Canada! The next was a full-day
Responding to Sexual Temptation in a High Tech Society seminar at the pastors/deacons conference for the Central District in Winnipeg. Both went very well.

Ed also completed a training originally contracted by Bruce for the Kansas District. It went well, and more work will likely come from it.

I made a trip to Calgary to meet with the new resource manager for AoR-Canada. Our new Canadian sister organization has a long ways to go organizing, but we have made some significant progress in the area of resource sales. I will update you in more detail at our board meeting.

Here is my schedule for the next several weeks:
  • Sonja and I will drive to Denver tomorrow for a two-night, one-day vacation. On Sunday, November 7, Sonja and I will drive to Aurora, Nebraska.
  • Sunday, November 7 - Saturday, November 13: Ed Keinath and I will teach our week-long Church Reconciler Training course in Aurora, Nebraska. We have 15 registered.
  • Saturday, November 13: Sonja and I will drive 800 miles home to Billings.
  • Sunday, November 14: Both Ed and I will fly to Phoenix.
  • Monday, November 15-16: Ed and I will provide pre-mediation coaching for a dozen people in a Christian ministry, preparing for a mediation in either December or January.
  • Wednesday, November 17: Ed and I both fly home.
  • Thursday, November 18: I fly to Michigan to teach a seminar at a church.
  • Friday, November 19-20: I teach and attend this conflicted church. I fly home late that night.

Bruce and Kathy are nearing the end of some rest time in northern Idaho. From there they plan to visit family in Spokane and Portland. The latest from Bruce is that Kathy's FBI background check has been completed and arrived in Billings. Bruce expects his to arrive in Billings on Saturday. From there it will be mailed to the Australian embassy in Washington DC, hopefully for the final approval on their visas to Australia. Once their visas are approved, they will fly to Australia.

Ed has been busy in counseling appointments as well as working with a few congregations from the Indiana District. He will have much to report on in our board meeting.

So you see, Ted and Ed have been quite busy. We pray that God will supply all they need to serve Him well in their work. We also thank God for providing us with the opportunities to serve Him. We pray for the many individuals, congregations, districts, and church professionals with whom we work, that they will be able to live out lifestyles of reconciliation.

Bruce emailed this morning with the very good news that they have received the final approval from Australia and they can be on their way. They have made arrangements to leave the USA next week Thursday. They will stay for a few days with the district president and his wife, then travel to Hamilton to get settled. Bruce's installation is scheduled for November 28. We pray for them as they travel and that their adjustment to a new congregation, job, country and home will be smooth and enjoyable. Bruce will be celebrating his birthday on Saturday while they spend time with their son and family. We pray for blessing for Bruce in this next year of his life.

While Ted is gone, the office is very quiet. I've gotten a number of tasks completed and am thankful for continuing to have work to support this ministry. Today I've been preparing a mass mailing postcard for Christmas. Keep a look out, you will likely see them soon. Thank you, dear friends in Christ, for partnering with us in support of this ministry. Your efforts on our behalf are much appreciated.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prayer Requests for October 28

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-7

We have such a remarkable God. Even in times of distress, He shows us His care and protection. And in times of joy and celebration, He again cares, protects, and brings us blessing. In every situation, He remains steadfast in His love and care for us. On the other hand, we tend to go with the flow of whatever is occurring and respond to crisis with panic, or to joy with relief. Our great God teaches us and blesses us through trials and strengthens us so that we can be a blessing to others. And in conflict, He teaches us how to bring Him glory as we strive for reconciliation. Unfortunately, due to our fallen nature, we will always have conflict to deal with. But in His faithfulness, our Lord is always with us.

Well the time has arrived and we said our farewells today to Bruce and Kathy Zagel. They have received approval of their position from Australia and are waiting on the clearance of their background check. The last leg of the wait is to spend a week of vacation in Idaho, including a few days with Bruce's parents. From there they will travel to Portland to spend some time with their grandson Zander (and yes, his parents Adam and Leah will be there too, but of course Zander is the big draw.) They will wait for the final approval in Portland and then depart the country. We pray for God to bless their travels, speed the final approval, and bless their new adventure in Australian ministry. Go in peace, dear friends.

Since my last posting, Ted has taught Church Reconciler Training in Minnesota. We thank God for the receptive participants and the growth that God has given. We pray these men will be greatly strengthened in their ministry. Ted has also taught two events in Canada, one was a practicum on conflict coaching, the other on responding to sexual temptation in a hightech society. Both went very well and we pray will continue to be a blessing for those present. Ted also met with the board of the new Ambassadors of Reconciliation-Canada. There are many decisions to make as they get established. We pray for God's direction and wisdom as they make this exciting beginning. Ted will travel to Nebraska next week to teach another Church Reconciler training. We pray for God's blessings on the those traveling to the event. Also we pray God will bless the teaching and learning that will take place. Ted has been extra busy this month since Bruce has been gone. We are grateful for the slight increase for case work that we've had. Our financial situation is still serious, but slightly improved.

Ed continues to tackle the physical therapy prescribed for him. He is regaining some range of motion and strength in his shoulder. We praise God for the improvement and continue to pray for Ed as he heals. Ed recently taught a leadership seminar in Kansas. We thank God for his skills and for the conference going well. We especially thank God for Ed being able to continue teaching since his injury. Ed is quite busy and we are very thankful to have him on staff.

I had a delightful vacation in Canada. We traveled there to take care of two grandchildren during our daughter-in-law's sister's wedding in Hawaii. With Mum gone, Grandma and Papa were the primary caregivers. They are 4 and 5 and yes, we slept very well while there. We find that the grandkids are the prize for all those years of sleepless nights and endless athletic games, etc. of parenting. Since being back, the office has been pretty busy and I am thankful for such a fulfilling job and meaningful work. It is always good to come to work. The variety and challenge of each day is a blessing.

Thank you, dear friends, for your partnering with us in this ministry. Your faithful prayers help to sustain us in ministry for our brothers and sisters in conflict. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Cor. 1:20-22 We need never fear for God has given a guarantee to us in Christ. May you be sustained and emboldened to further service and ministry for Christ. We pray for you as well.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Prayer Requests for September 30

After a little hiccup, I'm back to posting. How quickly the time passes! It never fails to surprise me how quickly things can pick up.

Ted has been back in the office for a bit over a week. David, Sonja and Ted's son, was married here in Billings on September 24th. We pray for David and Hope as they make a new life together. Ted's trip to Australia was very good. When he returned on the 11th, he spent one night at home and then traveled to Virginia for the Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference. He was one of the presenters for the conference. He always enjoys this conference and the opportunity to renew many friendships. We pray that God will continue to bless Peacemaker Ministries. They do wonderful work and we are so very thankful for the supportive relationship we have with them. They are wonderful encouragers in our ministry and we are so thankful for all the help they have been over the years. Ted has been very busy this week preparing for a number of events. He will leave on Saturday to travel to Minnesota. On Sunday he will preach and teach Bible study in Detroit Lakes. On Sunday evening he will begin our Church Reconciler Training at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning, MN. We pray that everyone will travel safely to the training and that each participant will grow greatly in their understanding of biblical peacemaking and how it will fit in their congregation. We pray that Ted will be enabled to teach well and that the all will be able to stay healthy and learn well. It is a very full week and quite intense. Ted will return to Montana for a few days before flying to Waterloo, Ontario to teach a Conflict Coaching practicum, then directly on to Winnipeg, Manitoba to teach a seminar on Responding to Sexual Temptation at a District Conference there. Again, we pray for safe travel for all and that the training events will serve well for those attending.

Bruce and Kathy are still waiting for their visas to be approved for their move to Australia. They have moved out of their house, and the renters have moved in. Zagel's are now living with their grown son here in Billings. It has been a lesson in patience for them and we pray that the approval will come very soon, trusting in God's timing. Bruce and Kathy are eager to get to their new location and begin this new chapter of their lives. It seems very strange to not have Bruce actively involved , but we know God will use him effectively in every situation. We pray for continued care for the Zagels.

Ed continues to see clients and work with the district with clergy couples. He also will be speaking in Kansas in mid-October for a district event, so he is preparing for that. We pray that God will bless his preparations and in his work with clients. Ed is also working at physical therapy on his shoulder. He is making good progress and regaining some mobility in it. He was joking that he will soon go into lifting weights, but that lifting iron for him was beginning at one pound. We pray for God's blessings for Ed as he continues his rehabilitation.

I am looking forward to some time off. My husband and I will be traveling to Drayton Valley, Alberta to spend some time with our son and his children. Their mother is traveling to Hawaii for her sister's wedding and we get to take care of the kids. It will be a whirlwind since they are 4 and 5 years old. I'm sure I will return tired, but contented. I'm really looking forward to it and pray for the energy I will need to keep up with them. I'll be back in the office on the 18th, so it will be a while before the next update.

We also pray for some congregations where we are doing work. We are in the midst of a group reconciliation at a congregation. We pray for God's direction and wisdom for the team who is serving them. We also pray for the congregation to have open hearts to God's Word and His working to bring reconciliation to their relationships. Another conflicted congregation is planning to have a seminar later this year or early next year, but has some long-term issues coming to a head. We pray for those serving them and for the congregation to be willing to look at and deal with them. We continue to get phone calls and messages from struggling people and organizations. We pray for God's direction and wisdom in serving them.

I pray for you, as well. Your faithful pray support for the ministry of Ambassadors of Reconciliation is very much appreciated. I pray God will richly bless you.

God of love, through Your Son You have commanded us to love one another. By the guidance of Your Word and Spirit, deliver us from impenitence and teach us the truth that we might confess our sins, receive your forgiveness, and be reconciled to one another, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Lutheran Service Book, CPH: 2006, p 312)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Prayer Requests for September 9

Hello Friends,

It's a rainy cool day here. I love the change of seasons and the glories that God showers on us through all seasons. Even through rainy and gray days, we are reminded that God is with us through all the yuck we experience. I spoke with a person today who has significant conflict in his marriage who is hurting deeply and very much needed the assurance that he was not alone, that God will never leave him but is even now working to bring joy. How unfathomable are His ways! I pray that this man will allow God to work in his life and in his marriage, and that God will shower them with His grace.

I have been back at my desk since Tuesday. We had a lovely trip to New York City to visit our son. The heat and humidity made me so thankful for Montana weather (and our son said it was much less than they have had this summer). We marvel at the different lifestyle and get to enjoy it for the short time we are there. I have to admit it would be a challenge to live it full time. It's a great place to visit, but I'm thankful to live here. While I have been gone, we've had several large orders from churches gearing up for their fall classes. We also heard from a church that is planning on using Ted's essays from the convention for a study this fall. We pray for all of the congregations that will study about peacemaking, that they will understand God's plan for us in conflict. We thank Him for His Word and the riches of His grace. We are still experiencing a slowdown of work. We suspect the economic situation has much to do with it, but we pray for God to show us His plan to continue in this environment. We have some training events planned for this fall and pray that they will be well attended.

Bruce is still coming in most days for a time. He and Kathy await the approval of their visa for Australia. They may have up to a three month wait. We pray for God's strength as they wait. It is hard for them to be between places.

Ted is about to begin his trip home from Australia. It is early on Friday there and he will leave after his day of teaching to fly to Sydney. Tomorrow afternoon he will leave Sydney on his way to Billings. He will spend one night here in Billings, then will trade suitcases and head to Washington, DC for the Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference where he will teach several sections. He will return home on the 19th and may be able to be in the office by midweek. The last I heard, he was battling a cold and was pretty tired. We pray for Ted to able to get well and to be sustained through this next trip. I had to smile when I got a message to him from a fellow conciliator in Australia. It is clear that he has had some opportunities to relax, too. This photo was included.
We thank God for the friendships Ted has been able to make and for the opportunity to teach in Australia. It has been a blessing for AoR, as well as for Ted. We also pray for Ted's safe return.

Ed has been unusually quiet as of late. I suspect he is pretty busy with his full schedule and now adding in time for his therapy for his shoulder. We pray for him as he juggles the time demands and the physical therapy. We pray for an excellent result of the therapy.

Thank you for your interest in the work of Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Your prayer support is much appreciated. I pray that God will bless you with joy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Prayer Requests for August 26

Hello again, dear friends. I pray that your week has been blessed and that you have been able to bask in God's grace.

This week has been flying by. Ted is in Australia and has spoken at the South Australia/Northern Territory District Synod Convention. The topic was Free: Forgiven and Forgiving. On August 24th, he began a training event at Australian Lutheran College. They expected 40-50 students and others from around the church to participate. Ted has been teaching personal peacemaking and coaching for the three-day training practicum. We pray for all those who took part in the event, that they will be able to implement the things they learned, and that God's name will be glorified.

This weekend, Ted will have an opportunity to meet with a person whose story he has told for years. He became aware of her during his time in India. Graham Staines, Gladys and family were missionaries in India. Graham and their two young sons were burned to death in their car one night in 1999 by a group of about 50 Hindu zealots. After the conviction of the leader of the mob, Gladys was interviewed by an Indian newspaper. She said,

"I have forgiven the killers and have no bitterness because forgiveness brings healing and our land needs healing from hatred and violence. Forgiveness and the consequences of the crime should not be mixed up," and "God in Christ has forgiven me and expects His followers to do the same. The Bible says: 'To whomsoever you forgive their sins will be forgiven'. Therefore, in the light of eternity we all need forgiveness of our sins to enter heaven,''. She also said, "I have no comments regarding the law taking its own course in crime and punishment. We are called to be under subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. We need to honour both God and man respectively."

Gladys returned to her native Australia in 2004 and has agreed to meet Ted on the 30th. Ted is looking forward to meeting this woman whom he has spoken about many times. We pray that the connections all go well, and that their meeting will be the beginning of a friendship and that God will be glorified through it.

On September 3rd, Ted will begin a series of training opportunities in Queensland with PeaceWise. He has worked with them on each of his Australian visits. He will begin his journey home of September 11. We pray for his continued good health, and for his teaching to be well received.

Bruce and Kathy continue to work on all the details of moving to Australia and back into congregational life. They do not know when that move will happen. We pray for God to work out the timing and for patience as the Zagels embark on this new chapter. Bruce remarked the other day that during the packing up, he has realized how much they are leaving behind. They are not able to move much beyond clothing. Since freight would take so long to get there, even his books will be packed away and left in Billings. We pray that God will help them deal with all these attendant circumstances and the emotions that they go through.

As Ed has returned to a more full schedule, he has many situations to address. We pray for those with whom he counsels, that they will have open hearts and minds to the Gospel and the counsel that Ed brings. We continue to pray for Ed as he heals. In September he will begin the therapy on his shoulder. The doctor tells him it will likely be ten months of therapy, so we pray for a good result and continued patience for Ed.

Things are picking up a bit here in the office. Churches are preparing for fall Bible classes and scheduling for the coming year. We pray for the Lord to bless our ministry and provide for our needs as we serve His people.
Next week, I will not be able to post the current prayer requests. My husband and I leave on Friday for a week to New York City to visit our son. We look forward to the time away and some days to enjoy the Big Apple. I'm not sure how the city got that nickname, but maybe I'll know by the time I return. In the meantime, I pray for God's blessing for you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prayer Requests for August 19

Hello everyone.

Today is a quiet day around here. Ted is on his way to Australia, Bruce is home packing, and Ed has returned home to Indiana. Ed was here in Montana for almost a week. For a few days, he spent some time for R & R in Yellowstone National Park with his sister and brother-in-law. Then he came to the office for some planning work and a Board of Directors meeting. It was great to actually see Ed. He is beginning to heal. He showed us some of the progress he is making and why it will take so long to regain mobility and strength in his shoulder and arm. His irrepressible personality is still quite intact, and it was a joy to have him here. We pray for continued healing for Ed, and patience and fortitude as he begins therapy in September. Ed is back to work and still notices some fatigue, so we pray that he also be blessed with endurance.

It's official, Bruce has accepted a call to Hamilton, Victoria in Australia. He will be there for a year and this will be a Reconciliation Ministry Pastorate. The congregation has had some conflict which resulted in the vacancy. Bruce's role there will be to help them reconcile relationships in the congregation and put together a reconciliation ministry in the congregation to address lingering and future conflicts. He will teach biblical peacemaking studies, train reconcilers in the congregation, coach and mediate existing conflicts, and help them to prepare for calling a pastor. In some ways, this will be a more thorough process, similar to a Group Reconciliation Assistance that AoR does with congregations. Bruce and Kathy have rented out their home and will need to sell their cars, get visas in place, and make their transition over the next couple of months. We pray that all will go smoothly and that God will bless them with the knowledge of His guidance as they try to tend to all the details. Bruce completed his last training event as an AoR representative yesterday in Wyoming. It is a bittersweet occasion. We will miss them terribly, but know that God will be with them. It is an uncertain time with many unanswered questions. We pray for God's will to be plain to Bruce and Kathy, and that they will understand His leading and directing. He has still been coming into the office to continue his work here, but his hours will be lessening. We also pray for Ted, Susan, and me to be able to pick up all the things Bruce is so good at here at AoR.

Ted is in transit to Australia. He will arrive just after lunch tomorrow, Adelaide time. Taking into effect the time change (at present it is 1:45 pm here but 5:15 am Friday in Adelaide) that means he still has about 7 1/2 hours of travel yet. He left early afternoon yesterday. His first presentation is the evening of August 21, so he has a little recovery time. He has begun this trip already tired, so we pray for his strength and good health, as well as God's direction of his teaching. Ted will begin with a presentation at a district convention of Lutheran Church of Australia. His next event is at Australia Lutheran College, then on September 3rd, he begins teaching with PeaceWise in a number of different locations. He will begin his journey home on September 11 and arrive (with time change, he loses a day) home that evening. He will change suitcases and leave for Washington, DC on the 12th for the Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference. Ted won't be back in the office until September 22nd, a very tired man. We pray that God will help all the details to fall into place, and that Ted's teaching will bring God glory. We pray for those who will receive the training, that their hearts will be open to the Gospel and see God's plan for them in regards to peacemaking.

Last Tuesday, our Board of Directors met by conference call. We were very pleased with our phone system. We were able to have the conference call at no extra expenses other than our normal phone bill. We have a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Phone) that has been very economically beneficial. This is the first time we had used it for this purpose, and it came off quite well. Thank you, God for all Your blessings, even technology. The Board looked very thoroughly at our financial situation and discussed some options for the future. We pray for God's direction and for improvement very soon. We pray for God to provide the answers so that AoR will be able to continue in the work that is so necessary in the kingdom.

In October and November, AoR will be having Church Reconciler Training events. The first is October 3-9 and will be at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning, MN. The other is November 7-13 in Aurora, Nebraska. If you, or someone you know, is interested in attending or in seeing more about this training, see We would love to fill up these events to train more people for service in peacemaking. We pray that God will provide the participants, and bless the preparations and training.

I pray for you, dear brothers and sister, that God will bless you. With the summer winding down, most people are returning to more regular schedules. Kids are back in schools and churches renew classes and see people return to regular worship. Thanks be to God for the ease of summer, but also for the resumption of "regularity". May we all be strengthen for service to our Savior.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hi everyone. We are experiencing one of those glorious summer days. The sun is shining, but the temperature is just right, not too hot and not too cold. Forgive me for sounding like one of the three bears here. J

Ted had a very moving trip up to Cross Lake, Manitoba. He joined a group of youth and adults from our congregation to lead Vacation Bible School for a week. Each day they gathered with kids at two different schools in Cross Lake and on Thursday had an evening presentation for the parents. They return very tired, but exhilarated by the week. One day, they had over 200 kids, and had many opportunities to speak to people in meaningful ways. We praise God for the trip. Ted is putting in some long hours preparing for a multitude of upcoming events. Next Tuesday, Ambassador's Board of Directors will have a quarterly meeting. We pray for God's direction for the board as they make decisions about our organization. On Wednesday, Ted leaves for Australia. He will be gone until September 11th. We pray that he will be able to get all the many things completed before he leaves. We also pray for his strength and stamina as he goes. These long days and the trip to Manitoba have begun to take a toll and he is weary. The day after he returns to the USA, he will travel to Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference in the Washington, DC area. He will lead some sections there and then return home a very tired man. So we pray for his preparation for all these events, for his travel to be problem-free, and for his health over the next months.

Bruce has made a decision on the call to New Mexico. He has declined the call and is awaiting information for a congregation in Australia. We pray for God to direct him. He and Kathy are making plans to leave Billings. Wherever God places them, they will be going for a limited time, and hope to be able to come back to Billings. With that in mind, they have decided to rent out their home. God has provided a family who will move in the end of September. Zagels have begun to pack some things and move them into a storage unit. In a recent report Bruce said,

"These past 5 ½ years have been a life changing and extremely rewarding time for both Kathy and me. We have had the opportunity to see God’s grace personally at work in many individuals and congregations and have witnessed God work powerfully through Ted’s leadership. While I regret I will not be able to see first hand how God will continue to work through AoR and CLM, I will continue to promote AoR’s mission wherever the Lord takes me and however he allows me to interact with AoR in the future."

We are so thankful for Bruce's years with us. He has brought much richness and wisdom to our interaction with clients. I personally will miss him so much here in the office. He ministers to me often and both he and Kathy have become good friends. We pray God will be with them through this transition. Before he goes, Bruce will lead a seminar in Wyoming for us. We pray for him as he prepares, travels and presents next week.

Ed is on his way to Billings right now. He will have a few days off visiting his sister and family here. Then next week he will be in our office for meetings. He is working at approximately a 2/3 workload. We pray for his continued healing. He continues to work with clergy couples, congregations, schools, and individuals. He plans on presenting at Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference in September, as well as, a seminar for Blessed Are the Peacemakers also in September in Indiana. May God bless Ed as he prepares and presents at these events. CrossLife Ministries will host a major annual fundraiser at the end of September. It is a golf outing and hence Ed will be hiding out on one of the holes, seeing how he can make the day of those passing through. Golf is not one of Ed's favorite pass times, preferring to be on the tractor instead. We pray for the success of the fundraiser, and for Ed to enjoy/endure the day.

Our finances continue to be quite strained. Recent sales have increased a bit, but only nominally. We have learned that a training event scheduled for early next year has been significantly reduced because of the client's finances. Our two Church Reconciler Training events for this fall are still planned, but the registrations so far are very low. We trust in God's providence, and pray that the sales, registrations, and events will increase and that our finances will improve. We pray for God's direction and also for strength to follow Him in this and all things.

I once again thank you for your interest and faithful service to Ambassadors of Reconciliation. The community of believers gathered around God's Word are a wonder and comfort. May He bless you as you walk with Him.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prayer Request for August 6, 2010

Hello again to all of you.

Today the weather is in the mid 80's and just feels gentle. It's lovely and a respite from the high 90's that we have been having. I got up to a chuckle this morning. When I opened the shades, I saw that my front yard was filled with pink plastic flamingos. One of the fund raising ideas of the mission team (of which Ted is one of the members) used the idea of inviting people to "flock" others in the congregation with this surprise. Each night they set up the flamingos on someone's front yard, for a fee, of course. They return the next day to retrieve them. When you get "flocked" you can pay a small fee to find out who the culprit was. You also can buy insurance to protect yourself and not get "flocked". It has been much fun and quite profitable for the team. They have had a HUGE response and are getting a bit fatigued with all the requests, but so thankful for the contributions that continue to come in. Great fun!

Ted is presently in Cross Lake, Manitoba with the Mission Team from Trinity Lutheran in Billings. It is the second time our congregation has sent a team to this community for Vacation Bible School. They are putting the VBS on at two different schools. On the first day they had thirty children at one and sixty at the other. This evening they will have a program for the whole community, focused on the adults. We pray for their continued efforts at bringing God's word of love and forgiveness to those in Cross Lake, and for a safe journey home this weekend. It's a very long drive for the team of 27. It takes 26 hours over two days to get home.

On August 17 our board of directors will be meeting by phone. Ed has decided to come to Montana for a few days around the time of the board meeting. He will spend some much needed time off with his sister and her husband who live here in Billings. Ed and his brother-in-law plan on going to Yellowstone National Park for a few days, and then he will be here in the office for some planning. We ask for your prayers as the board meets, reviews our situation and makes decisions for the future.

We are pleased that our orders have picked up a bit. As churches make plans for their fall Bible studies, we usually have an upswing in orders. I suspect we are also having some interest from the Synodical convention essays. We pray that God will move His people to gather around His Word in study and growth. We also thank and praise Him for living in a place where we have the freedom to study His Word openly.

Bruce is still deliberating the two calls he has received. He hopes to make a decision soon. We pray for God to make clear to Bruce what His will is and to close doors on things that are not His will. Bruce continues to administrate the casework for AoR and to tend to the financial affairs of our organization. He also continues to coach over the phone. When he leaves, there will be much for us to take on. We pray for a smooth transition when that all takes place.

Ed has returned to light duties at CrossLife. He has resumed driving for short periods which allows him to resume some counseling for the district. He still gets tired quickly and notices the jiggling of travel. He also cannot lift (briefcase or suitcase) so has had to learn how to ask for help from others. This is not an easy thing for a very independent man, but he knows that he must be very careful as he resumes activities. He appears to be improving and we pray for continued healing for Ed.

Ted will return on Sunday evening. He will have a little over a week for the Board meeting and prep for Australia. Some prep has been done, but I know there will be some late nights involved. We pray for Ted and his prep, and that he will not be overtired even before beginning a long trip of intense work. Ted will return from Australia September 11 and do a quick turnaround to the Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference in Washington, DC on the 13th. The conference begins on the 16th, but instructors have work to do before the training begins. We pray for those who will instruct and those who will participate that the training will be a blessing to many as they make peacemaking a lifestyle. The theme this year is Forgiveness, and we pray for God's Word to flow richly, and for Peacemaker Ministries as they manage this training event.

We continue to struggle with finances. Donations, sales, and training events are all down. We have some casework scheduled, but it also is down. We ask for prayers for as we face this crisis. We know God is with us, but once again, Bruce and Ted were not paid this month. We pray for God to sustain and direct them. Ed has also seen a real decrease since his injury. We pray for God to see him through this difficult time. "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

We ask for your prayers for the congregation in North Dakota that will have the first visit of a Group Reconciliation at the end of September. We pray for God's Word to have full effect in their hearts and for the team to be well prepared to serve them. We also pray for the congregation and team to be protected through this process.

We pray for you, our supporters in prayer. "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven." Thank you for your faithful service.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prayer Requests for July 28

A very tardy hello to you all. It has been so long since I have taken the time to distribute the prayer requests for Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Yesterday, after talking to Ted about it, I committed myself to once again regularly putting the requests together for all of you to participate in this ministry. Please forgive me for my lax attention to it for the past year. I will try to do much better.

How to catch you up to things here at AoR? It has been a rather hard six months, but an exciting time. It seems the recession has hit us. In the past 9 months, we have had to cancel 5 major training events. If it had not been for our work in Australia we would likely be in worse shape. We thank God for His blessings and trust that He will continue to direct and bless this ministry. However, we have had a real downturn of income through training and our sales and donations are also down. We have been unable to pay Ted and Bruce for several months and we do not project much improvement until at least fall.

After much prayer and discussion, Bruce has decided that he will leave the active work with AoR and start to develop a new direction. Our board, Ted, and all of us here at AoR are convinced that this is an opportunity to fine tune the ministry, not decrease it. To that end, Bruce will be testing a new direction for AoR to expand into. He will be designing and testing a Reconciliation Pastorate Ministry. He will be accepting a defined term call to a congregation who has become vacant because of conflict, and then lead the congregation through a process of dealing directly with that conflict. This will be done by bringing the Gospel to bear with individuals and the conflict culture within the congregation. He will teach Bible studies, lead seminars, counsel and coach people, mediate where necessary and identify people to begin and continue their
Reconciliation Ministry at the congregation so that they are equipped to go forward in a God-pleasing and biblical way. At this time, Bruce has two calls coming, one from the US and one from Australia. We ask for prayers from you to God for direction for Bruce, that he may make a God-pleasing decision between these options. While Bruce will be testing a program for AoR, his first responsibility will be to the people who have called him, and he wishes to serve them to God's glory and their good. We pray for God to help Bruce and Kathy in their decision.

Within two years, we hope to have 10-12 pastors trained to serve as Reconciliation Pastors. We have been in contact with synodical leaders from the US, Canada, and Australia and they have affirmed the need for this ministry. We have been encouraged time and again that there is great need and that there is much frustration on how to best address that specific need. As Bruce's work draws to a close in this first call as Reconciliation Pastor, AoR will prepare a special course to formally equip other pastors for this specialized ministry. So once again, God is leading us in a direction we had no idea we would be going in. Please pray that AoR would be sustained through this change and that God will direct and lead us. We have prayed often for God to open wide the doors that we are to walk through, and close tight the doors that are not His will for us. Although we mourn the change in not having Bruce actively with us in ministry, we know he and Kathy will be a blessing to whichever congregation they go. We also know that when God builds the house, it will prosper, so we desire to do His will and walk in His direction. Please pray for us all in this time of uncertainty, that God will be glorified and His people blessed.

Another big concern I would covet your prayers for is our dear brother Ed Keinath and his family. At the same time these other challenges were developing, Ed was injured and not able to work. He was with family and moving his daughter into a new apartment. They decided to go for a meal, and he needed to wash up before eating. When he entered the bathroom, he slipped on water due to a leak in the plumbing and fell causing severe damage to his shoulder. He had surgery and has been in major pain, but that is easing some as he heals. He is still in an apparatus which holds his shoulder in position and has begun some exercises to prepare for therapy. The doctor has made it clear that his surgery went much better than expected, but that if he is not very careful, it can be undone and he will lose much use of his shoulder and arm. Please pray for Ed to be protected and sustained in his long-term recovery. Pray for his family as they care for him and that they will be able to financially sustain this trial, as he is not able to work much. Also pray for LuAnn, his assistant to be able to deal with the changes and extra responsibilities.

We also pray for an upcoming Group Reconciliation. In September, a congregation in North Dakota will be be beginning the process of reconciliation. Our Board chairman, Rev. Dick Thompson will lead the team of three as they assist this congregation. We pray for direction and discernment for the team, direction and strength for the congregation and open hearts for them all as they confront this conflict and the sin that accompanies it.

Ted was honored to be able to be the essayist at the Synodical Convention just completed earlier this month in Houston. It is the largest group that Ted has ever addressed, and he did feel the weight of addressing such a group. The essays were also live-streamed to anyone wanting to watch them on the Synodical website. If you are interested in hearing or reading them, they are still available at
We hope to also have them available on our website in the near future.

At the end of the week, Ted will be leaving with a group of 27 from our congregation for a mission trip to a native reserve in northern Manitoba. He and the group will be leading a VBS based on reconciliation for the children of two different schools. They will also reach out to adults in a special program. He is very much looking forward to it and we would ask for God to bless them as they bring God's word to these communities, that He would bless them with safe travel, and that God would protect them in all ways and give them courage to speak His word.

In mid August, Ted will once again be traveling to Australia to work with the Lutheran Church in Australia and PeaceWise. He will be leading training events in two states. He always looks forward to his time in Australia and will be spending over a month there. We pray for God to bless the preparations and time spent there.

In light of our financial situation, I also ask for your prayers for two Church Reconciler Training events we have scheduled in the fall. The first is in October in Henning, MN and the other in Aurora, Nebraska in November. Pray that God will bring the people to attend the events, and also for us as we prepare and lead them.

As I come to the close of this communication, I am again struck with how quickly God is working in our ministry at AoR. We have had numerous new products developed and now being used by people across the world. We are nurturing the new organization of Ambassadors of Reconciliation-Canada as they formally become established in our sister church of Lutheran Church-Canada. We continue to serve in congregations in need of reconciliation and in training leaders in reconciliation techniques. The opportunities to address groups and individuals to cultivate lifestyles of reconciliation continues to the glory of our great God. So we praise God for all His great blessings to us and we trust in His message of care for us in all circumstances. We thank Him for faithful donors and know He will always be with us. We also pray to our Father in praise to Him for you and your partnership in ministry. Thank you.