Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trip to Viet Nam

For the sixth time in more than 10 years, a group of members from Bella Vista Lutheran Church of Bella Vista, Ark. visited Vietnam from February 8-19, led by retired pastor Ron Pfluger.

In addition to such yearly activities as visiting LCMS World Mission project sites in Phu Tho province and universities in Hanoi and Phu Tho where LCMS volunteers teach English, the Bella Vista group brought with them four eyeglass kits as gifts for the elderly in two communes of Phu Tho province. These elderly people are no longer able to read, sew, and do precise work solely because they cannot afford to buy reading glasses.

The eyeglass kits are a project of a Humanitarian Initiative of Rotary District 6110. Each eyeglass kit contains the tools, parts and instructions to make 314 pairs of reading glasses. However, a question arose: how were these eyeglasses going to be tested, constructed, and sent to those in need?

As always, the Lord provided an answer!

The health officials in health stations built or upgraded with the support of LCMS World Mission at the designated communes will do the eye testing, note what strengths of glasses are needed, and send the “orders” on to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Volunteers will then make the glasses to fill the orders. These volunteers are retired friends of the LCMS-NIN project manager. The manager visited several projects in Arkansas where work was being done by retired people and noticed that this volunteer work gave immeasurable purpose, meaning and fulfillment to these volunteers’ lives, but also those whom they serve.

As a result, not only will the recipients of the glasses be able to read again, but the retired volunteers will gain a sense of purpose as well as an opportunity to provide meaningful service for others.

“It was a thrill to see the smiles on the faces of those who received glasses at the two communes we visited in Phu Tho province. One elderly man with tears running down his cheek even gave me a hug. The people who didn’t receive glasses that day carried big smiles on their faces because they knew their glasses would be coming soon.” –Pastor Ron Pfluger

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Will you come?

-- ACTS 5:32

Susie and I are anxious to again see the working of the Holy Spirit touch peoples lives in the ELVD. We are tentatively leaving the USA on may 17 for Tanzania. Three of us from this area will meet up with 3 more folks in Detroit.
I have heard from some of you who cannot go this year. If you are thinking about it and have not committed, give it some thought and get back to me this week.

Close your eyes and picture 10, 20 or 100 Sukuma people lined up to be baptized.

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
-- Acts 5:32

Of all the many gifts God gives, the gift of his presence in us through his Holy Spirit is among the most precious. The Spirit's presence makes us God's temple (1 Cor. 6:19). The Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God when we pray (Rom. 8:26-27).
The Spirit helps us overcome the pull of our flesh (Rom. 8:13-14).
The Spirit gives us strength in our inner being (Eph. 3:16). In other words, the Spirit is at work to transform us to the character of Christ. Let's thank God for his holy presence in us through the Holy Spirit.

Father, thank you so much for your Holy Spirit who even now is interceding for me as I pray. Please strengthen me through your Spirit as I seek to live a holy life dedicated to you. Dear Father, it is my heart's desire for you to transform me by your Spirit to be more like your Son in character and compassion. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mungu awabariki

We visited the villages of Lyalu, Nyangokolwa, Ngulyati, Gambosi, and Sanungu. All of these are the sub-congregations of Pastor Mkaro and are ministered to mainly by resident evangelists that were trained by the Diocese. We baptized people in each village we visited.

With the combined team’s donations that we brought with us, we were able to purchase 113 Lutheran Hymnals, 180 Bibles, 167 mosquito nets, $200 each to 4 congregations to put towards roofs for the churches they are building, $200 to the women’s group of Nyangokolwa for various pots, dishes, and cooking rings for food preparation for large groups, $100 for a new tire for Pastor Mkaro’s motorbike, and $70 towards a new bike that was stolen from an evangelist while he was working with us.

I was able to share so many things (Bible stories, songs, crafts) with the many new friends I made and also learned many things (Sukuma & Masai culture, hospitality, and joy in the Lord). We are so much alike and at the same time so different.
Come and join us on this year’s trip. In May or June

Praise and thanksgiving to our God who has done marvelous things!!!!!!!!

Mungu awabariki(God bless you),