Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Most rewarding was the privilege of listening and praying" by Peggy Hothem

As I reflect on the week that we had with the beautiful people of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, there are many memories that tug at my heart: the smiles on the children’s faces as they entered into our VBS activities; the family nights when we made s’mores over the campfire and visited with the families; family craft night; the fun, family health day when we encouraged young and old to consider that God wants us to take care of ourselves holistically; sharing and praying with the Nortons; serving lunch/dinner and being amazed at how God blessed our “5 loaves and 2 fish”; the baby shower for Shannon; and the OSLC teamwork and how our gifts were used in harmony with each other. 

But, most rewarding was the privilege of listening and praying with several of the men and women as they told me their stories of heartbreak, pain, and loss.  In one situation, a woman shared with me that she had lost two of her brothers to violent death last July, and still has had no answer as to how, why, or who perpetrated this horrific event.  As I embraced her, prayed with her, and then consoled her as she wept silently, I prayed that she would experience the unconditional, everlasting love of Jesus through my presence. 

God is so amazing in His timing and His presence!  On the last closing service of VBS, when the children were singing their songs and Matthew was wrapping up the time, a little boy Leniden was sitting beside me.  He started to whisper to me curious questions such as “Where is God?” “How do I know that He is here?” Why did He send his son to die?” “Does Jesus love me?”  In the midst of songs being sung, I silently was asking God to give me answers that he would understand as a 5 year old boy (actually, it was only later that I found out his age because I thought that perhaps he was 7-9 years old with questions that were similar to a teenager!!).  Then I asked him if he would like to ask Jesus to “come into his heart” – a Christian cliché that is not always understood unless the Holy Spirit has been moving.  He quickly nodded his head, and then surrounded with children and adults coming and going, I lead him in a simple child-like prayer of confession and acceptance of Jesus in his life.  After he said the prayer, he looked up at me with a beautiful grin and off he went!!!  I then left the room with a sense of wonder and awe that God had placed me in the chair beside him; that Leniden had indeed been listening to the Bible lessons; and that through our presence this week at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, at least one little boy has “opened his heart to Jesus.” 

The Scripture that kept coming to me throughout the week was Ephesians 3:20-21 “now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen!”

Thank you to all of the “senders” for the privilege of serving our Lord and Savior at Navajo Nation.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A blessing to go and serve

The trip overall was great! All the kids I saw from last year grew a bit more but did not change. I was blessed to know that we had a bigger outcome the first day than the last day the year before. The Norton's were great hosts once again and they are progressing to have a bigger crowd at The Shepherd of the Valley. It was a gift and a blessing to go on this trip. 

Reunited with old friends and made new ones

Hi everyone, Jennie here: We arrived in Boston Massachusetts about a week ago.  While we were in New Mexico that past week everyday I was so blessed and thankful to God because I was reunited with old friends and made new ones along the way. I cannot believe this mission trip has come to an end this year and I hope we can go again sometime in the future so we can learn more about God's Words and ways in each and everyone one of us. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who prayed for us. 

Puppets, puppets and more puppets. Did someone say puppets?

Puppets, puppets and more puppets. The children ( big and small) loved David's puppets! They were well "loved" during our stay as well as used to spread God's messages. The younger children even made their own puppets as a VBS craft. The puppets were tired after their long plane rides and busy week so they are now resting up for their next adventure!

Sunday morning worship of our awesome God! Singing God's praise and sharing words of thanks and encouragement

Navajo Tea

Mmmmmm. Navajo tea. Who would have guessed that the what appeared to be weeds with little yellow flowers on them in the yard, could be turned into yummy tea? The  Navajo people pick these flowers, bundle them, tie them in bunches and infuse water with them.  The tea is great. Our new friends gave us some bunches and we shared this tea with our church family on Sunday.
With love,
Lynn Batchelder

All generations sharing the awesome love of Jesus Christ