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.