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A Tale of Two Sisters

two sisters

This story involves two sisters. Way back in 1995, I was matched with Victoria through a well-known national mentoring organization. At that time she was ten years old and we became fast friends. It wasn’t long before Victoria was attending church with me, bonding with the youth-group peers, and eventually being confirmed. In 2001 my husband and I were led to become her legal guardians and to have her come to live with us. So, the two people who had always agreed to be childless became parents of a teenage girl! Victoria especially loved the LWML ladies and always wanted to be involved in our projects. Victoria even served as the vice president’s page at the 2003 LWML convention in Oklahoma City and was a YWR to the 2011 LWML convention in Peoria. Today, she is happily married and living about one-hundred miles away. She is and always will be “our daughter.” Great story, right? But wait! There’s more!!!

During the early years of my mentoring relationship with Victoria, I would occasionally bring her siblings (two brothers and Veronica) to church with me. Usually this was for special things such as Easter and Christmas. One thing we all love at our church is Easter breakfast followed by an egg hunt and worship celebration. The kids always enjoyed it, too. Fast-forward now to about three weeks before Easter when I received a social media message from Veronica with questions about our church’s worship times and nursery availability. Veronica said she and her husband were planning to visit the following Sunday with their little girl! Visit they did and the next Sunday as well. Many people at our church remembered Veronica so it was just like one big family reunion! This young family eventually became members of our congregation. Veronica has mentioned more than once that she remembers coming to our church at Easter as a child and is very much looking forward to celebrating this coming Easter with us. Wow. But wait! There’s more!!!

On Easter Sunday, Veronica’s little girl was baptized! Yes! Baptized on Easter Sunday! Alleluia!

So, the moral of this story is that you just never know if, when, or how God might bring to fruition the seeds that you’ve sown. You might not even know that you’ve sown any seeds! Here we are, at least twenty years later and Veronica has been moved by the Holy Spirit to start attending the church she visited as a little girl. And, her little girl is now baptized. Now, THAT’S a story!

Candy Habich
Mid-South District

Devotion:

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

There isn’t a whole lot more to add to this verse, is there? Just try to remember it! The most insignificant, trivial act might plant a seed in someone’s heart that doesn’t sprout and grow until many years later. It’s the “at the proper time” part that is the focus. All things happen on God’s timetable, not ours. And, sometimes, as in this story, we are blessed to see the outcome. So, don’t give up!!!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the times, like this one, where You allow us to see a glimpse of an outcome that only You could make happen. Thank You also for the gift of your Holy Spirit who, despite our human efforts, leads people to You. Please, Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts as well, so that we might be encouraged to share your word wherever and whenever we can. We also ask that You help us to trust You to take it from there! Amen.

We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them our way at depgo@lwml.org.

Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!

God’s Guiding Hand at Work

women talking on bench

On my return home from the LWML Utah-Idaho District Convention I had only to say ‘absolutely’ as God’s blessing was so evident throughout this special time with my fellow traveler.

During my flight from Pocatello to Salt Lake I sat next to a woman and commented on her beautiful beaded earrings. We talked about what brought us to Pocatello. She was Native American and had come to take classes on tanning hides. We had great discussions about cultural foods, our families, life in rural Missouri, life in Southern California, etc. We also talked about why I had come to Idaho -- to attend the District Lutheran Women’s Missionary Convention -- and that led to her questions.

 “Tell me about this missionary, ladies group?” she said. So, I told her about how we try to help people around the world meet their physical needs, and to help them learn the truth about Jesus. I shared how women contribute through Mite Box offerings and that our mite goal for 2019 is over two million dollars.

She said, “Tell me what Lutheran’s believe.”

I said “Well. . .” while considering how to begin, but she continued, “Do you believe in grace?” To which I said, “Absolutely! We are saved by God’s gift to us. I certainly couldn’t be saved by what I might do.”

She said, “Do you believe in one God, the Father; Jesus, the son; and the Holy Ghost?” “Yes, yes!” I responded.

Then she said, “Do you believe that once saved, is always saved?”

 “Absolutely!” I replied. “God is love, He will not leave us. We are sinners and will sin again, but God is always there for us. His love and forgiveness are ours because Jesus died to save us and His forgiveness is a free gift.”

Then she said, “I haven’t been to church for a while. But I want to find a church that sings hymns and tells the true words from the Bible. Is that what you Lutheran’s do?”

Stunned by how the Holy Spirit was at work and all I had to do was respond, I replied, “Absolutely!” She told the message of the Gospel to me, and I only had to agree with her by saying, “Absolutely!” Isn’t it amazing how God is so active in our world? Absolutely!

Devotion:

Thoughts to consider:

  1. What opportunities have you seen?

  2. Is it easier to share Jesus with a stranger?

  3. How can we be prepared to speak?

I doubt that we intentionally plan to witness each day, but God does plan. He places people and situations in our path. Be ready. Be optimistic. Be open. Be in prayer. The Holy Spirit is working daily to lead others to Jesus.

Now, for the rest of the story: My flight companion, from Pocatello, also asked me to pray for her husband who is incarcerated. Of course, I said I would and have been.

On my next flight I sat by a gentleman who asked me where I was headed. After I replied to a Lutheran women’s meeting, he said, “tell me what you Lutheran’s believe?” To which I simply replied, “Let me tell you a story about a woman who shared with me exactly what we believe.” This gentleman then told me he was headed to jail. After discussing this with him, he shared that his youth had been troubled and led him to do many things of which he wasn’t proud. After Jesus found him, he now goes to prisons and tells others about true salvation in Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father, each of us, through Your guidance, is given opportunities through situations You have planned. Give us Your Holy Spirit that we may witness Your great love to others and share our faith in You, so that others may see Jesus and His gift of eternal salvation. In His name we pray. Amen.

Jennifer Huecker
VP Christian Life


We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them our way at depgo@lwml.org

Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!

When Least Expected

women talking on bench

I was visiting my daughter one week and since it was pretty warm, we decided to go shopping at an inside mall. We left early the next morning to beat the heat and the traffic. While waiting for the stores to open many people gathered around the indoor children’s playground. As I sat on a bench watching my grandson play, an elderly woman sat next to me. We exchanged pleasantries, and made observations about the children at play; their youth, energy, and how easily they made friends. Soon the conversation turned toward the woman’s own children. She expressed her dismay of how her grown sons were concerned about how she was living by herself. Her husband had recently passed on and she missed him very much. She felt her sons did not understand what she was going through. She wasn’t able to communicate to them her desire to stay independent. She did not want to live with her sons’ families. She did not want to leave her house. I listened to this woman tell her story, and I felt deep compassion for her. As the conversation came to its conclusion, I asked her if she would like me to pray with her and I held her hands. In the prayer, I asked God to be with her as she faced the changes in her life, and to help her sons understand the difficulties their mom was going through.  When we finished praying, she thanked me very much for listening and for the special prayer. She then excused herself, because the stores were opening and she had an item to return. That is when I noticed the small plastic bag on her lap. We both stood up and embraced each other. It was one of the most amazing encounters in my life.

Devotion:

“….do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11–12 NIV).

I have to say that I don’t remember everything I said to this woman, or exactly the words I spoke in that prayer, for it was the Holy Spirit talking through me. That is what we should all remember as we go through our daily lives. When we least expect it, an opportunity, a gift from God, will come our way.  What we do with that opportunity, is our gift to God. We don’t have to have eloquent words, all we need is the Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Prayer:

Thank you Heavenly Father, for your son, Jesus Christ our Savior, and for the Holy Spirit that sustains us and guides us through all things. Use us to be bold proclaimers of the Gospel through our words and our actions. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Nancy Heredia
Pacific Southwest District


We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them our way at depgo@lwml.org

Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!

Donuts and Disorders

donuts and coffee

This past summer, my husband and I were visiting my family in the Chicago suburbs. We all took the train into downtown Chicago to visit one of the museums. On our walk from the train to the museum, we stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and, of course, donuts! As we left the coffee shop, there was a shabbily dressed, older man standing outside. He asked if I had any spare change. I hesitated only a moment, debating about holding up the family outing, before responding with “how about some breakfast instead?” The man smiled like I’d just told him he won the lottery. I asked him for his donut preference and whether he wanted coffee and then proceeded back into the shop to order for him. When I came back with his donuts the man was simply thrilled. I wished him God’s blessings and headed off with my family. As we walked along, my sister shared with me that my husband had told her, I suffered from OCCD. I was a little puzzled, I knew about OCD but wasn’t so sure about the extra “C”. She explained that I apparently had Obsessive Compulsive Compassion Disorder. Well, you’d have to know my husband, but I knew that he didn’t mean that as a compliment — however I certainly took it as one!

I’ll never see that man again, at least on this side of Heaven. But, I know God put him in front of me for a reason. Maybe that man didn’t need me or my good deed. What if perhaps it was my husband who needed to see my faith in action? I’ll never know — but I can be certain God’s plan is perfect and it all turned out the way He wanted it to. My only regret is that I didn’t have the time to ask the man to come in and sit down with me so I could hear his story. So, I’ll have to just wait until the next time God allows me to put my OCCD to good use!

Devotion:

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes” (1 Peter 3:1–3 NIV).

We’re all familiar with this verse from 1 Peter about how wives may win over their husbands for Christ through their own behavior. But, this lesson isn’t limited to marriages! Doesn’t this apply to all of our relationships? If we rewrite the exhortation, it might say “Christian, submit yourself to your family, friends and neighbors so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by your behavior.” So, none of us are off the hook here – we must all remember that our actions speak louder than words!

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven, please send your Holy Spirit to guide and direct all my actions so that they may be not only pleasing in your sight but that they may bring others closer to you. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Candy Habich
Mid-South District


We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them our way at depgo@lwml.org

Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!

A Time to Mourn

children at funeralThe loss of a grandmother leaves much pain in the tender heart of a child.  Death is painful for adults and for a child as well. My grandsons Dominick and Ryan lost their beloved grandmother Anita who was a very loving, caring, person. She would have a hall cabinet in her house full of toys when they came to visit every Sunday. She would make tamales every year around Christmas and she would always save some especially for her loving grandsons.

At the repass, my four-year-old grandson Ryan took my hand and told me, “Let’s go for a walk.”  I took his hand and followed him up the street. Then he stopped and said, “Where is grandma?”  I said, “She is in heaven.”  He asked, “Why?  “Well,” I said, “Grandma was very sick and Jesus loved her very much and Jesus didn’t want her to suffer anymore, so Jesus took her home to heaven.”  Ryan said “I am going to miss her” I said, “Me too!”  He was quietly sobbing and I held him rubbing his back. He then turned to me and said, “Jesus in nice.”  “Yes, he is Ryan!” He then took my hand and led me back to grandma’s house.

Devotion:

As Christians, we know that death is part of life, and we have a hope that our Savior Jesus Christ will return to earth and bring His children to live with Him and God the Father in Heaven eternally. It is written in John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Ryan was comforted because he believes in Jesus as his Savior, he prays to Jesus and always asks Jesus to take good care of his Grandma Anita. God listens to Ryan and He answers his prayers. Psalms 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the Earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Prayer:

Thank You for Your Word, Lord, Your Living Word — our help, our comfort, and our peace.  Amen.

 Angelina Jauregui
VP Gospel Outreach


We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them our way at depgo@lwml.org

Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!

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