GOODNEWSletter Newsletter Date Volume 1, Issue 1
Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, 239-995-0988
From the Pastor's Desk Special Interest Articles: • Let Me Tell You A Story • LWMS letter from Thailand and Dominican Republic • New Bible Study!!!
Individual Highlights: Bible Studies
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Thru the Bible
Let Me Tell You A Story 7
If you watched much of the Olympics this year, you probably heard a great deal of talk about Chinese culture. You heard about circles, colors, and clothing and how all these signs and symbols are important to the thinking of the Chinese people. One of those culturally important items was water. I suppose water is important to every country in the world since we have to have water to survive, but apparently in China, water carries special symbolism. In the Christian church, water is important too. But in our church it’s not a matter of culture or philosophy. In our church, water is a crucial part of our spiritual lives. Water is part of baptism. So in a sense, water is more important to Christians than it is to anyone else in the world! We’ve been blessed with several baptisms in our church over the last several months. I’ve grown to appreciate watching baptisms more and more. I like to think about the “before and after” contrasts. Baptism brings people from darkness to light. From death to life. Watching a baptism is always an excellent reminder of what we receive in baptism. Titus chapter three says, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying." It might just seem like water to our naked eyes, but baptism actually saves us! Just like water washes away dirt from our hands, the waters of baptism wash away the sin from our souls. Of course, it’s not just the water that does all this. God’s word and his promise give baptism its great power. Baptism gives us new life on this earth. We no longer live lives ruled by sin and the devil. Now we live for Christ. Each new day we go to our jobs or take care of our kids or do whatever it is our calling requires of us. As baptized children of God we can carry out our vocations knowing that a job well done always glorifies God. Our work wouldn’t glorify God if we weren’t baptized. Each new day the Devil launches new attacks on us. We can fight the Devil knowing that we don’t belong to him. Baptism made us children of God. We are no longer the slaves of the Devil. If water is important to Chinese culture, it’s all the more important to the Christian walk of faith. Baptism is the foundation of our faith. Baptism is the shield that protects us from Satan. Baptism is the assurance of our sure reward in heaven. And that’s something worth thinking about every day! Many Blessings, Pastor Daniel Burgess
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Bible Studies Available Beginning September 15 we will be offering a new Bible Study! On the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month (except September when it will be the 3rd and 5th Mondays) Bethany will be offering a Bible Class that will take us through the whole Bibleâ€”chapter by chapter. We will begin in Genesis and continue to mine the depths of God's Word! Join us on September 15th and 29th The class will be offered at two times: 1:30 pm and 7 pm
Birthdays and Anniversaries Happy Birthday:
Are you too busy NOT to pray?
Scott Kolenda, Sept. 1 Karl Fletcher, Sept. 10 Harriet Held, Sept. 18 Bette Roth, Sept. 22 Pastor Burgess, Sept. 24 Madison Burgess, Sept. 24 Donna Jensen, Sept. 27 Mathew Visaggio, Sept. 27
Happy Anniversary: Tom and Janis Visaggio, Sept. 1 Don and Joan Miller, Sept. 10
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Read through the Bible in 3 Years September 1.2 Sam. 15:1-16:14 2. 2 Sam. 16:15-17:29 3. 2 Sam. 18:1-19:8 4. 2 Sam. 19:9-39 5. 2 Sam. 19:40-20:26 6. 2 Sam. 21 7. 2 Sam. 22 8. 2 Sam. 23 9. 2 Sam. 24 10. Psalms 52-54 11. Ps. 55 12. Ps. 56, 57 13. Ps. 58, 59 14. Ps. 60 15. Ps. 61, 62 16. Ps. 63 17. Ps. 64, 65 18. Ps. 66, 67 19. Ps. 68:1-18 20. Ps. 68:19-35 21. Ps. 69 22. Ps. 70, 71 23. Ps. 72 24. 1 Kings 1 25. 1 Kgs. 2 26. 1 Kgs. 3, 4 27. 1 Kgs. 5 28. 1 Kgs. 6:1-7:12 29. 1 Kgs. 7:13-8:11 30. 1 Kgs. 8:12-66
October 1.1 Kings 9:1-10:13 2. 1 Kgs. 10:14-11:43 3. 1 Kgs. 12:1-32 4. 1 Kgs. 12:33-13:34 5. 1 Kgs. 14 6. 1 Kgs. 15:1-16:7 7. 1 Kgs. 16:8-34
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GOODNEWSletter Title From the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society
I thought you might be interested in reading this letter to the LWMS from our mission in Thailandâ€”Pastor B. Greetings from Thailand! I'm a WELS Kingdom Worker helping with the Thailand Mission and Thai Village handicraft program. Thai Village started over 5 years ago as a small way to connect with local women in the villages where WELS Thailand Missionaries are working. While providing supplementary income for these women, the program also helps support the students studying at the WELS "It Is Finished" Bible Institute and Seminary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. These students receive training to be Christian leaders and evangelists, taking the Gospel message back to their home villages. Today Thai Village, Inc. has grown into a larger organization that creates and offers unique traditional handicrafts and information about the work that God is doing in Thailand. From table runners to silk purses, scarves to jewelry, greeting cards to pastor's stoles, all products are handmade and support the work of our Thailand Mission. Thai Village handicraft and Thailand Mission displays are available to share with small groups or congregations. Would you consider a display for a LWMS fall or spring rally? Perhaps others within your district would be interested in a display for their individual churches. Some ideas include preChristmas or pre-Mother's Day displays, during a church's mission Sunday, together with a NPH bookfair or Christian day school open house, or any regular Sunday. Smaller churches in the same circuit are also welcome to share a display that can be passed from one church to another, and displays can be custom-made to your group's size and interests. Catalogs are also available upon request. If you or any of your members are interested in hosting a Thai Village display, here's what is needed: 1) Check with your Pastor on possibility and dates 2) Contact Nancy Huwe, Thai Village U.S. Coordinator at email@example.com, (608) 7648198 3) Let the congregation or group know several weeks prior to the display 4) Designate someone to set up/staff/take down the display The Thailand Mission's brief DVD is included in display materials for group viewing on a TV or laptop next to the display, as well as mission pamphlets for attendees. If you're interested in a display, please note that our coordinator will be available before September 15th and after October 31st for displays in November 2008 and following. Thank you for your consideration. God's blessings, Katie Lehman & The Thailand Mission Team
"Before I came to study in Chiang Mai, I didn't know God. If I hadn't come here, I would be in prison by now. My friends that I used to hang out with before are all in jail now. I thank God that He brought me here, that He brought me to know Him, and that He protects me every day." -
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More Interesting Stuff from the LWMS This is an email response from Pastor Wagenknecht who serves in Santiago, Dominican Republic. July has been a whirlwind month. I was in Cuba for two weeks on a teaching trip. My oldest brother and his family came to visit me for a week. Then I went back to the states for a quick visit with my parents in Arizona (my mom continues her fight against cancer and by God’s grace this latest chemotherapy seems to be helping) and a mission conference in Wisconsin. Now I’m finally back in the Dominican Republic and have my feet on the ground enough to respond :-) Thank you for asking for an update on the break-in. I haven’t put anything more on the website because, sadly, there hasn’t really been anything new to report. Even though we offered the police some “incentive” to recuperate our stolen property, they never did. Perhaps we didn’t offer enough, or they received a better offer on the other end. We will probably never know. We are currently receiving estimates to increase the security of the building. We were expecting the project to be rather expensive, but the estimates so far are even higher than we expected. The whole project includes replacing the roof over the back one-third of the building which right now is basically rotten wood and rusty zinc panels. We were hoping to replace it with a cement roof like the rest of the building, but the landlord cannot find the original building plans, so we don’t know if the walls can support the extra weight. It looks like we may have to “box in” the area with burglar bars—which will double or triple the cost because iron is so expensive right now. The other part of the project is reinforcing the current burglar bars on the windows. We are still waiting for that estimate to come. Then we also plan to install a monitored security alarm system which will have monthly costs for the monitoring system. After the building is more secure, then we will work at replacing some of the stolen equipment, but probably only the most necessary items for our ministry. Since you asked, I will say that the costs for increasing the security on our building are higher than we expected. If your congregation or LWMS groups from other congregations in the Sun Coast Circuit are looking for ways to support our mission efforts financially – and help us declare God’s praises here in the DR – an offering to help us cover those costs is one way to help. I would invite you to send any offering directly to synod with a note designating that offering for the Dominican Republic special fund. They will then let me know that those funds are available for our project to increase security. Your interest, support and encouragement help hold up the prophet’s hands. Your prayers on behalf of the Gospel ministry here in the DR are heard and being answered by our gracious God. We missionaries and members of the national church thank God for you! With you, declaring God’s praises, Nate W
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GOODNEWSletter Title Bad Girls of the Bible Ever have questions about Eve or Rahab? Ever want to learn more about the Bible? Here is your chance to ask, answer, discuss, and have fun! The Next Study will be on Saturday, Sept. 6th at 3 pm. Please read Chapter 5! If you would like to get involved in this study, please speak to Sarah Burgess. If you cannot make the Bible Studies but would like a copy of the book, again speak to Sarah.
Building Update Pictures of the very preliminary drawings are available on the posterboards by the Church doors. These drawings show what the new front of the church might look like when done. Some changes have already been suggested. If you would like to suggest some changes, please speak with Mike Gerbasio, building committee chairman, or Robert Wilmon, secretary.
The LWMS mite boxes are coming due at the end of September. You can pick one up at the table in the church entryway!
Please keep praying for the building committee and the building projects!
Page 7 of 8 LET ME TELL YOU A STORY
My name is June Hamblin, and I was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. My parents passed away when I was young, and I didn't attend church much. I got married, moved to Utah, and even tried the Mormon Religion, but something always stopped me from believing what they taught. After an abusive marriage and getting remarried, I started searching. I knew there was a God and how to pray but I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what the Bible said and to learn about God's words, I knew I needed help. My husband Glen and I started visiting the local churches during the holidays. In 1995, we found Light of the Valley Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah. After hearing God's word, I yearned to know more, but my husband didn't want to attend that much. Sometimes I would take my grandson Philip (12) with me, or I would just go by myself. I remember crying in the parking lot after church one day because my family wasn't there. I thought, I was all alone but later realized, "I was never alone, God was always with me." As I continued to hear God's word, I felt an empty spot every time the members had communion. I longed to join them, so I started to attend Bible Information Class (BIC). During this time, Philip started confirmation classes also. My grandson and I were baptized May 22, 1997 and I became a member of LOTV in June. I was very humbled but also honored and happy as I joined the rest of the congregation for Holy Communion. I was at peace. Even though they said this was "my thing" and kidded me about my halo, I continued to share my faith with my husband, my daughter Sue and her family. We all attended church together during the holidays. Then one day my husband and daughter announced that they were going to attend BIC, "BUT that did not mean they were going to join." I happily joined them in class while our youngest grandson Jake started confirmation. My daughter Sue and grandson Jake were both baptized on June 8, 1999. My husband Glen was baptized Dec. 26, 1999 and became a member Jan. 1, 2000. My daughter Sue and oldest grandson Phil were confirmed June 4, 2000. My youngest grandson Jake was confirmed May 13, 2001. His note to us read, "Thank you, you are the ones who brought me to church in the beginning and I thank you the most, on this happy day." And this was the grandson who said, "not till hell freezes over would he join a church." As we continued to share our faith and God's word, others followed. Our bowling friends Max & Frances were baptized and confirmed in 2001 just before Max passed away. I also shared my faith for several years with my friend and beautician, Shauna. When she became more interested, I offered to attend a bible study (BIC) at our church with her. She not only came but brought her friend, her daughter and her sister along with her. Three were baptized in 2003 and two of them joined LOTV in 2004. Later that year, Shauna's grandson was baptized. Meanwhile our son-in-law John still needed many questions answered. He took the Bible study (BIC) 3 or 4 times before he became a member Oct. 10, 2003. His comments to my husband were, "It's too bad our parents taught us wrong and we believed it all those years." As God continues to guide us, Sue and John reached out to their Mormon friends, a family of five. They were baptized Aug. 31 2004 and, after finishing the BIC class, Steve, Jan, Nate & JC joined LOTV, Dec. 26th. Their comments were "they had finally found salvation and don't have to work for it anymore." Marissa continues to take confirmation class. My husband, who wanted no part of this at first, is now reaching out to his Mormon family and our Mormon friends at work. As for me, I love sharing God's word and do it every chance I get. During this year, our whole family and Mormon friends attended an "Outreach" seminar which enlightened our thoughts as we head toward some new goals for our church and we're ready! Our family and friends now attend church together, enjoying God's word as we grow in our faith and "I am oh, so very happy!!" And the story goes on: Our grandsons, Phil and Jake got married and their Mormon wives, Nicole and Holly after attending Bible Information Classes were baptized Nov. 6, 2005 and confirmed Feb. 2006 at LOTV. As health problems come into my life at the age of 60, I always remind myself, "The Lord is on your side." That's when I also remember his promises, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20) and "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). That's when I stop and give thanks to God for his love and for all that he has done for me, my family and friends. God continues to guide us as we reach out to others. We must always remember that nothing really starts with us. It is God who found that person and is directing that person's search. It is also God who guides us to reach out to that person. We live by faith, a faith worked by God. Stay ready as God may be guiding someone in your life and it is so wonderful to share his word. Just one other thing, I love saying "Let me tell you a story."
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