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
http://www.lcms.org/pages/convention_internal.asp?NavID=17241
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.