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Archive for June, 2011

“Fear Not I am with You”

I am always amazed at the times in the Bible when some great hero of faith is approached by God and told to do something and they always have a million reasons why they can’t do it. God never tries to ego boost”. He simply says “fear not I am with you”. Moses and Gideon are great examples.

After 58 years on this earth I am starting to “get it”. Living without fear and anxiety is not easy and I can tell myself or you that we are stonger, smarter, better, healthier, etc. In the end all those are pretty hollow. When the going gets tough the best thing and the only thing that will help is remembering that God say’s – “I am with you”. My Savior said he will be with us to the end of the age. Where two or three of us are gathered, he is with us. The “Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear”?

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Mercy connections – disasters

The Sevareid Stamp

"Dude, we gotta go".

The flooding in Minot has reached epic proportions.  It has gotten bad enough that the national news actually is paying attention.  That is something.  Eric Sevareid, a North Dakota native and a long time television newsman called North Dakota “a vast rectangular blank spot on the nations consciousness”.  Minnesota shares some of the same benign neglect except for Mao Clinic and the Vikings.  Disasters not only bring out the best in us, they garner us some attention as well.  It is sad but true.  Most people never heard of Grand Forks until the whole town was flooded in 1997. 

The mercy connection in disaster has a face and a name.  It’s Carlos Hernandez.  He is with LCMS World Relief and Human Care.  I was with him in New Orleans.  I was supoosed to be with him in Haiti.  I was with him in Wadena Minnesota after the tornado.  He was here in Grafton and Drayton during our trials.  He is a one of a kind and reacts to every disaster with the same statement – “Dude, we gotta go!”  He lives in Sacramento California, but if you need him he will be at your door in about a day and a half. 

He is in Minot.  Pastor Paul Krueger, whose father was a Pastor in Hackensack or Walker or somewhere up North of Brainerd is hosting him and assessing the situation in Minot.  about the situation of one of our churches, St. Marks and  about Carlos he writes, “So far, water is at the foundation of St. Marks, they’ve probably got water in the basement, but the current crest stopped short of going into the building.It was a joy to spend time with Carlos. I appreciate his insight and his great wisdom. What a blessing to me personally, and to the people I serve.”

That’s Carlos – a joy and a blessing.  That is God’s gift to us as well.  Joy even in the midst of sorrow and difficulty.  I pray that joy for my relatives.  I have a Godchild in Minot that I have been told has lost her home and an Aunt that lost her’s as well. 

Please say a prayer for these folks and if you can contribute to LCMS World Relief and Human Care.  There is a give now botton at  Also check out the “Mercy Forever” blog site.

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Quilts and Yarn and Mercy. Awesome!

The last few blogs have talked about the little things of life and how after a life changing event, like an illness or an operation or the death of a loved one, those little things take on big proportions.  Sometimes the life changing events happen when we confront the realities of how most of the worlds population actually lives.  My life changing event happened in Kenya.  I have said about that event that ‘something awful happened to me” over there.  I mean that the things that I saw and the people that I met in our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya filled me with “awe”.
When the Grace Lutheran Church of Hibbing Quilting Ladies made their quits and we got them over to Kenya, the joy of the childrens faces when they saw them filled me with awe.  Later on that trip I watched as a Kenyan mother who was obviously homeless wrapped up what appeared to be all of her earthly possessions in what I am convinced was an LWML/World Relief quilt.  She tied it up and balanced it on her head and picked up a liitle boy and walked away.  That filled me with awe as well.  Everything she had in the world was in that quilt.
Maryann Anderson in Bismarck North Dakota at Holy Cross, one of our new Mission starts is trying to take care of the some of the “little things”.  She writes,
“If it ever works into a blog could you ask if any one has extra yarn, does not need to be full skeins, if they would like to donate them I would put them to good use. I think you know that I have tried for several years to get mittens,hats and scarves to those on the Standing Rock Reservation. These have been given out through the Veterans Industry, their Food Pantry and to the three Women and Children’s Shelters. I would love to partner with their Food Pantry and have extra, warm, winter coats etc. and these hats and mittens ready to give out early in the fall. I haven’t been able to do this but it is a goal for me. We would have copies of the New Testament available too. Maybe you can toss this thought around and come up with something.” 
I think I might have some extra yarn laying around somewhere.  If you do please contact me at and I will get you in contact with Maryann.  That would be awesome.
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Picture for June 19 – The Horseman

This is the picture that was supposed to be in the June 19th post – why it isn’t or wasn’t I am not sure.

picture on my wall


It’s a little ahrd to see but you get the idea.

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Waiting in the Living Room – part 2

Now that my wife is at home and I am doing the cooking etc, the simple stuff of life that I took for granted is coming to the fore.  The simple ability to get up and walk out the door and get into my car and drive somewhere has changed.  I can still do it, but arrangements must be made and contingency plans planned etc.  Running out and getting a pizza is probably not going to happen anymore.  Sitting in my back yard and enjoying a fine cigar needs to be planned ahead of time and the  weather doesn’t cooperate.

One of the crossing points that we share between North Dakota and Minnesota is the weather.  What we get eventually comes over to the folks in Minnesota.  The weather hasn’t helped with the simple routines, for me or for folks along the Ottertail or in some areas of the lake country. Western Dakota and the area around where I grew up is really getting hit.  Last night it poured.  This was the picture that awaited me when I checked the rain gauge.

2 inches and climbing

Some new friends that I have met over the internet in trying to get some mercy work done on the Native American reserves in North and South Dakota –  Johnathan and Maryann Anderson, wrote commenting on the “Living in the Waiting room, or Waiting in the Living Room” blog.  Kind of ties it all together.

Regarding my wife Faye they write, “She is building a new tomorrow and we will help pray the planks in place on that bridge. I have to be reminded so many times to stop and smell the roses, or be thankful for those mundane, routine things we take so for granted. Sometimes that is “the new normal” and I need to be thankful not frustrated with them. I lived with horrible neck pain after an accident in 1969 in Fargo. For five years even the easiest of life skills was almost impossible, like getting my head off the pillow without screaming. Sweeping the floor was a challenge, even doing it with my left hand. I begged God to take that pain since nothing would ease it and one morning five+ years later it was gone never to return. All the nerves and tendons in my right shoulder and neck area had been messed up pretty badly. I had physical therapy all those years and perhaps that finally helped. The pain subsided so quickly that I know it truly was a gift from God. It wasn’t an on again off again pain event. When it was gone it was gone. The physicians said I would develop arthritis there at an early age and so far God has prevented that too.

Please remember our youngest son Dave’s wife Kari’s parents in Minot. They removed everything from their home yesterday and today drove away in their RV as the water was up to the threshold. They were told the water level in the house would probably be to the ceiling since the house is built on a slab. My heart goes out to all the families in Minot displaced. They didn’t take a gamble with lake shore property and yet the waters found them. Where would we all be without faith in a God who loves us in spite of what we do or don’t do?
With thankful prayers,
Jonathan and Mary Ann
Three weeks ago I would have gotten in my truck and drove over to Bismarck and Minot and joined up with Carlos Hernandez from LCMS World Relief to see what could be done over there, just like we did in Wadena a year ago.  My wife would have called me sometime to see where I was and if I would be home that night or the next day.  That can’t happen now.
The new normal of “waiting in the living room” is to live each day to fullest and fulfill our vocation in Christ.  Trusting His promises and understanding that all of life is lived “under the Cross” the highs aren’t too high and the low’s aren’t too low.  It, as they say, is what it is. 
Let’s keep praying for the flood victims and rain depressed and the sick who have to travel to Dr’s appointments in pouring rain.  If you ahve any ideas about Native American ministry conrtact the Anderson.  Contact me and I’ll let you know how to get in touch.
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Four District Disability Workshop – October 1, 2011

Invite Them to Come In: Spiritual Care of Individuals Touched by Disabilities

The Four District Disability Task Force presents its second Disability Ministry Workshop on Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:30am- 4pm, at Lutheran Island Camp, Henning, MN.

Invite Them to Come In: Spiritual Care of Individuals Touched by Disabilities will equip participants for ministry with individuals who have disabilities and their families.
Michelle Melde, Lutheran Special Education Ministries, will speak on Teaching Spiritual Truths to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Impairments. Michelle has over twenty years of experience as a special education teacher, and currently teaches at Trinity First Lutheran School, Minneapolis. The workshop will also provide opportunities to study God’s Word; network with other participants and review resources on display.

Registration is $25.00 for individuals ($40.00 for married couples). Please make checks payable to the Minnesota North District, P.O. Box 604, Brainerd, MN 56401.
Registration deadline is: September 26th. CEU’s (6) will be awarded. For more
information contact the District office, 218-829-1781.

Click here to download the Registration Form and Information.

Arrangements for housing at Lutheran Island Camp should be made directly with the camp, 218-583-2905. Directions to the camp can be found at:

The Four District Disability Task Force is a collaboration of the Minnesota North Parish Nurse Council, clergy, professional church workers and lay leaders from the following districts: Minnesota North, Minnesota South, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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Living in the waiting room, or, waiting in the living room

This past month I have spent more time than I ever want to spend in a waiting room.  There was a picture there that I found intriguing.  A girl with a basket of flowers in a vegetable garden.  She stares into the distance, her face aglow with the setting sun.  She has forgotten to close the gate to the garden because goats are standing with her and a couple of cows are obviously getting ready to join her too.  It made me think of the picture below that I have on my wall at home.  A  lone horsemen riding in the snow going around the shelter belt of a farmstead.  My wife wanted this at her funeral if it should be necessary.  No pictures of her – just this image of the horseman. 
img class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-132″ src=”×225.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ />
Thinking about that reminded me of the time we had horses and rode quite a bit. That led to the concept of waiting rooms and life.  How many of us live in the waiting room?  We sit anxious and concerned, looking with dread for the next nurse or Dr. to come, or waiting with bated breath for the phone to ring to get the news that the worst has happened or that we need to “do something”.  How much better and more faithful to our confession to “wait in the living room”!  Live your life to the fullest, ride your horses, serve God and your neighbor in your vocation and “wait” on the Lord to give you your blessings and your trials to more faithfully serve him in Christ. 

So I got this from my friend Kay Kreklau a gracious servant of God and an LWML’er.  She is going to Peoria to the LWML convention and is on the ballot for President.

Today I sat in a quiet waiting room. I watched people come and go and life seemed normal. I wondered what “normal” will be in a couple of weeks. Will there be any quiet moments or times to sit and watch people come and go? Saturday, June 25 the LWML voting body will elect a new president. Shari Miller and I are on the ballot. We are friends. We know that God already knows whom the LWML President 2011-2015 will be. He knows the joys and sorrows this president will have. He is equipping both of us for whatever our future will be in serving Him. I am hesitant, excited, scared and occasionally have the the thought “what have I done.” I know God does not lead any of us where the grace of God cannot keep us. For now, I wait and pray “God’s will be done”.

 That’s what I call waiting in the living room.  Please remember the women of the LWML in your prayers this week.  They are a tremendous asset to our church and a great witness to the world.

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1 Corinthians 1:4 and Mercy

“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 

Misery loves company and so does mercy.  The grace we have been given in Christ needs to be shared and communicated in word and deed.  When we are in trouble the grace that God gives others can be a source of real help and inspiration.  As Christians, as members of the Body of Christ there is a “compulsion” to help and encourage.  “WE Love because He first loved us”!

That encouragement can take many forms.  My wife’s surgery and long recovery has proven that sometimes one of the graces we receive is that of sharing a common problem and explaining how to get though it or what to expect.  Examples –

Our friends from East Grand Forks, Naomi and Jim Dunovan.  Naomi wrote a book that sits on Faye’s shelf entitled, “In the Spirit”.  It is published by the Grand Forks Herald and is a compilation of articles Naomi wrote for the Herald.  Jim has had numerous experiences with heart issues and was very comforting and encouraging.

Bill Sharpe the Executive Director of the North Dakota District has had the surgery that Faye had and was very helpful in understanding some of the things that were going on and what to expect.  He took my out to lunch one day as well and that is always appreciated.

John Fale the acting director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care shared some of his experiences both as a chaplain and as a patient that were very helpful.

Ronald and Jeanette Mcatee from Northwest Angle Minnesota.  Mac has had this surgery twice and showed my wife sympathy and understanding when I was trying to be “drill Sargent” and get her up and running.

All the members of my parish that have had and are still having issues and all the nurses of my churches that have been so helpful and giving great advice.  Sandi Lessard and Gloria Gebur have been great.  Sandi will be her rehab nurse at home and Gloria is our Parish Nurse.

So, I can’t list everyone but the connections and the mercy “crossings” of our lives are a constant source of amazement to me.  One of the gifts that God gives to the church is the gift of “encouragement”.  So if that is your gift, encourage away.

Like those plants in my back yard encouragement takes many forms, but all of them come from the “grace given us in Jesus Christ”.

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Forms of Mercy

As short as the summers are up here in the North Country, they can be glorious.  If you like gardens and flowers you have to be quick and careful.  Quick to get things planted but careful not to plant too soon because we can have a frost right up until Memorial Day.  After one of the harder winters I can remember we have had a particularly wet spring (see some of the earlier posts).  My wife loves to plant flowers in pots and decorate our back yard, but she hasn’t been able to do that this year.

On June 2 my wife suffered a heart attack and underwent triple by-pass surgery on her birthday – June 6.  After some difficulties she has finally arrived at rehab and is progressing.  If my memory is right she was in bed for 9 days and because of that alone she will have a long recovery.  The outpouring of care and concern of prayer and compassion have been overwhelming.  People have taken care of our pets and mowed my grass; they have paid for a tank of gas and sent flowers and cards and offered to “do” anything to help.  If my International time zone understanding is correct the Kenyan Church Deaconesses were praying for her at the close of their meeting about the time she went into surgery and a prayer circle of women on the East coast were praying for her on a particularly bad day that turned out well.  Pastors Fenske and Buchop in Grand Forks have been wonderful and supporting.  District President Baneck and Fondow have been great.  Minnesota North staff ahve included her in there morning prayers.  LCMS President Harrison has been concerned and on and on the list goes.

Mercy can take many forms.  Money was collected and flowers purchased and most of Fayes pots were planted for her.  She has something to look foreward to and so do I.  When she gets home I will ahve to move and postion them in just the right spots to suit her tastes.  I won’t mind a bit.

Some of the flowers in the back yard

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Kansas Judges and Mercy

This blog site is about mercy and the connections that bind us together in the Body of Christ esecially as it applies to Minnesota and North Dakota.  But of course the connections go all over the world.  I am priveleged to serve on the Board of International Missions for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  Members of that Board include Carla Classen, Bob Van Gundy and John Edson from Minnesota and the National Board is chaired by Steve Briel from Minnesota.  One of the members of my Board  is Judge Bruns from Kansas.  I don’t know if I have ever served on a Board with a Judge before but after a few minutes visiting with David, his passion and care for mission and mercy shine through.  I was proud to hear about his appointment to the Kansas Court of Appeals and look forward to working with him.

This is a quote from the Wyandotte Daily News from Kansas.  “Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback today appointed Judge David E. Bruns of Topeka, a native of Wyandotte County, to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Judge Bruns serves as a judge for the 3rd Judicial District Court of Kansas in Shawnee County.

Judge Bruns graduated from Schlagle High School and Kansas City Kansas Community College. He did his student teaching at Eisenhower Middle School while attending the University of Kansas.

Bruns has been a Shawnee County District Court judge since 1999, and before that was in private practice with the Topeka firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds and Palmer since 1984, when he was graduated from the Washburn University School of Law. He is a 1981 graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, with distinction.

“Judge Bruns has been an author, a professor, a lecturer and an active member of his community,” Brownback said in an announcement. “His many accomplishments speak to the depth and breadth of his expertise and knowledge. He is an accomplished jurist and I’m confident that he will serve with honor and distinction,” said Governor Brownback.

Former Gov. Bill Graves appointed Bruns to the Kansas District Court by in 1999. Judge Bruns is married to Shawn Pierson Bruns, and they have two adult children.

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Your comments are welcome but will be held until approved to avoid misuse. Comments posted by visitors to this site reflect the personal opinions of individuals and may not necessarily reflect the beliefs and practices or official positions of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Individual articles from this blog may be reproduced by LCMS congregations (i.e., in church newsletters, bulletins, etc.) without writing for permission. Such reproductions, however, should credit the "Northern Crossings" blog as the source.
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