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Story of the Week 2017


from war to peace by PAUL KR AUS LAST UPDATED: MARCH 2017

Story of the Week



from war to peace by PAUL K R AUS

For my parents, the 10 years before my birth in October 1944 were uncertain ones. Both were Hungarian Jews.

I left school early but later attended university and met my future wife as an undergraduate. We married and God blessed us with two sons.

From 1935 it was clear the net of Nazism was closing in. In 1943, Belgrade, where they were living, was bombed and they escaped to Central Slovakia.

I taught in a Catholic high school and wrote textbooks and history books. We attended an Anglican church for many decades.

Within 12 months men were taken for forced labour and later transported to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. In mid-1944 my pregnant mother was forced, with my two-year-old brother, into a ghetto for Jews destined for Auschwitz.

In 1997 I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given six to nine months to live. God guided me to healing.

Divine intervention resulted in them being called from one line of prisoners to another. The first line was headed for Auschwitz, the second to an Austrian labour camp. Shortly after my birth in the camp, my mother had a vision of Jesus and accepted him as her Messiah. We escaped just days before the war ended. The SS came later that day and took prisoners to Mauthausen. Many died. We headed for Budapest and Russian and Italian soldiers gave us food and shelter. My father eventually reached Budapest. He had been liberated from Mauthausen the last day of the war. In 1949 we came to Australia as refugees. We rented a house in suburban Sydney and attended Chatswood Anglican church. My parents worked hard and grew to love their new home. We became Australian citizens in 1955.

However, 16 years later I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, for which I still receive treatment. I was also diagnosed with a brain tumour but had successful surgery. I visited Germany for prostate cancer treatment, which helped save my life. There we attended a Lutheran church and, on our return home, I prayed for direction on where to worship. God’s Spirit directed us to LifeWay Lutheran Church in Newcastle, New South Wales. God’s light and love is shown beautifully in this church. It seems history has played out God’s wonderful message of deliverance, forgiveness and healing in my life. ‘Great is your faithfulness, oh Lord’ (Lamentations 3:23). This story appears in the April edition of The Lutheran.

The Lutheran. Full colour, 32 pages. 11 editions/year. Only $44 (Aust), $46 (NZ). Gift subscriptions available. To subscribe: online email phone 08 8360 7270

STORY OF THE WEEK is a service of LCA Communications Every week we bring you a story ab or agency that is a place where God’s love comes to life. Read our growing week-by-week collection of inspiration and en

Story of the Week


Fro m li t t l e pla n ts,


Browsing through handmade treasures at a country market, you can easily sense when you are buying love. Vendors spruik a cornucopia of local goods all created with care, from hand-knitted beanies to fresh-baked delicacies. As you amble among the stalls of South Australia’s south coast markets, you might unwittingly buy a little pot of love in the form of a plant, nurtured in the beautiful Port Elliot gardens of local green thumb Paul Sabel. In buying one of his plants, bouquets or cartons of eggs, you are passing this love to some of the world’s most needy people. Unbeknown to Paul, his market profits, faithfully sent off in a monthly cheque to Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS), have been adding up. More than 15 years of dedicated market sales have totalled more than $350,000 of love in donations. Since retiring in 1999, the former Lutheran school teacher and principal has spent most weekends at South Australian country markets. He and his wife of 53 years, Annette, have nurtured a wide range of prize-winning plants and flowers on their 1 ½ acre retirement haven in Port Elliot. Paul had heard of the fabulous work of ALWS through his brother-in-law, the late former ALWS Executive Secretary Sid Bartsch, so he began

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selling his plants at the local market to raise funds for the LCA’s overseas aid and resettlement agency. ‘ALWS supports people who often have very little hope’, Paul says. ‘In our country, if people have a disaster, there are places and people that can help. But in these countries, there are often no places people can get help. With ALWS, we know the money gets there.’ Why does he do it? ‘I love the garden … and it has a real purpose, it gives me something to get up to do every day. You have got to like what you do and it could be anything – whether craft, or even repairing things, it could raise money. We have received many blessings from it. Apart from the exercise and being active all the time, we have gotten a lot of pleasure from it. ‘We are all God’s creatures and we all need to be looking after our fellow man as best we can.’ This story appears in the March 2017 edition of the Lutheran.

The Lutheran. Full colour, 32 pages. 11 editions/year. Only $44 (Aust), $46 (NZ). Gift subscriptions available. To subscribe: online email phone 08 8360 7270

Story of the Week


Cross has POWER for all cultures Tania Nelson, LCA Executive Officer – Local Mission, writes: In March 2016, the ABS released a statement including that 28 per cent of Australia’s population was born overseas. This is an amazing challenge for local mission. Are our congregations, schools, and aged-care facilities multi-cultural and inter-cultural communities? Are we welcoming, inclusive, loving? ‘Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’” (Matthew 9:37–38 NRSV).

I love … seeing young people from Asian congregations commit their life to church ministry. A challenge of this ministry is … that ministry workers are difficult to find. Where are the missionaries to the ‘gentiles’ just living in our neighbourhoods? I’ve learned along the way … to be a careful listener. The same word in a different cultural context can mean very different things.

Robyn Kuchel

Hanna Schulz



My ministry area is … Aboriginal ministry, serving Anangu people in the Yalata community.

My ministry area is … Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.

I love … the way the children share nature with me. They have brought baby birds in the nest, baby mice, baby wombats, head lice, and a dead death adder to my house.

I love … working alongside people who are passionate to have God’s word in their language. Some of the challenges of this ministry are … learning a language from scratch and building relationships while struggling to communicate. I’ve learned along the way … to listen to the people around me, as they are the experts on their language and culture.

Some of the challenges of this ministry are … that social organisation of the people I work with is very different from my own expectations. I’ve learned along the way … to wait on God’s leading and not to expect clear answers to my rational questions.


My ministry area is … coordinating Asian ministry in the LCA.

Read the full story in the March edition of The Lutheranmagazine.

STORY OF THE WEEK is a service of LCA Communications Every week we bring you a story ab or agency that is a place where God’s love comes to life. Read our growing week-by-week collection of inspiration and en

Story of the Week





T IN by J U S



I was nearly 18 when I caught the dance bug, wowed by the movement, music and artistry of the medium. I also began to grow in my relationship with God, especially after reading the New Testament and discovering a deep thirst to really know God. These two passions met in the creation of Freestyle Dance Ministry, an exciting initiative which partners with schools and churches to engage with youth and children through dance, discussion and discipleship. Driven by faith, it involves dance instruction, a Christian message and activities. My motivation for establishing Freestyle also came from the way God worked in my life at a Christian Life Week camp, where I ran my first breakdancing ‘workshop’. More recently I’ve been involved with dance missions in Portugal through an interdenom- inational mission organisation. These endeavours showed me God could use my passion to bring people to Christ. But on a deeper level, I embarked on this ministry because when you realise how good God is, the weight of what he achieved, the importance of people hearing the gospel and the value of God-given gifts, you have to act. You have to take the biggest steps of faith you can. Then you know you’re relying on God’s power. I believe this is a ministry young people can engage with. The topics are centred on God’s word and it’s

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as interactive as possible. The dance-discussion combination is great for showing how faith works in life. It’s really important that when we desire to grow the kingdom, we meet young people where they are, hearing their thoughts and being interested in what’s going on for them. When we practise this, love comes naturally. You find yourself wanting to share God with them and longing for them to have that treasure. They then see the raw passion that comes from God and want to know more, resulting in relational discipleship. It’s an amazing process, and I can’t wait to see what God does next. Justin Seidel is a member at St John’s Lutheran Church Southgate in Melbourne.

How can the LCA engage more effectively with young people? I think we need to let the new people coming into the church create new traditions. The gospel message is immediate and urgent. We need to have a stronger evangelistic focus, rather than being in our own ‘bubble’. This story appears in the March edition of The Lutheran magazine.

Story of the Week


Boat to the BAROSSA


I am a refugee … a boat person. I was born in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) the year the Vietnam War ended. Now I live in South Australia’s Barossa Valley on a farm with my family. I’m not a typical local. Strangers on the street are surprised I speak English so well. But while the Barossa is not very multicultural, I’ve felt embraced into the community. We worship at Neukirch Lutheran Church and I am learning traditions which have further strengthened my faith journey. I’ve been working on aid projects for more than 15 years and am committed to improving education for children worldwide. Closer to home, I enjoy sharing my experiences with children to promote a culture of understanding. So why am I living and working in the Barossa? When communist tanks stormed the Saigon Presidential Palace in 1975, it ended the war – and freedom and democracy in the South. This was particularly so for people like my dad, a South Vietnamese Navy officer. He was imprisoned and subjected to unspeakably inhumane treatment. My parents decided to escape Vietnam when my father was released. He navigated a small fishing boat crammed with 40 people. We sailed five days and four nights and were attacked by pirates. I was brought up a Catholic by my parents who instilled a strong faith and prayer tradition. We know we were saved on our journey numerous times by God.

After being processed at a refugee camp in Malaysia, we arrived in Hobart in winter 1983. It was cold but as we stepped off the plane, people wrapped us in woollen blankets. Ever since, I’ve felt wrapped in a blanket of kindness by the Australian community. Today we are proud and grateful to be Australians. Living in Melbourne, my parents worked hard to give us opportunities, including an education. After university, I returned to Vietnam and spent 2001 as a volunteer with UNESCO. There I met my husband Brett, who was volunteering in agricultural research. We were married in 2004 and moved to Canberra where I worked with AusAID, while Brett worked with the Department of Agriculture then AusAID. Seven years ago we came to the Barossa to manage Brett’s family’s farm. It is a world away from Vietnam but I am thankful for being welcomed into this community. Without the generosity of Australian people, I wouldn’t be here to share my story.

The Lutheran. Full colour, 32 pages. 11 editions/year. Only $44 (Aust), $46 (NZ). Gift subscriptions available. To subscribe: online email phone 08 8360 7270

STORY OF THE WEEK is a service of LCA Communications Every week we bring you a story ab or agency that is a place where God’s love comes to life. Read our growing week-by-week collection of inspiration and en

Story of the Week


Called to do more than a Seeking his purpose by Bob Thiele Once my superannuation scheme ‘matured’ I made a conscious decision to work when I didn’t need to. Why work when you could retire? For me the answer is purpose. I still feel called to the same vocation God called Farming takes faith by Katy Kucks me to at six years of age when I decided to When I met farmers for the first time more become a teacher. I trust he is using me to than 25 years ago, little did I know I would leave make a positive difference in the lives of the Brisbane behind for the farming life. It’s been a children and families with whom I work, great adventure and learning journey. Faith has serving his purpose. been critical throughout. Working the land has Seeing beyond the labels by Greg Spann changed as technology has advanced. Yet the My journey to becoming a pharmacist working timeless constant is the struggle of coaxing food in mental health started at school. My first from the land on the driest h abited continent. thought was what most people think of pharmacy This is where our faith is a vibrant, living thing – white coats behind a counter. But a lady at that sees us through. church commended their role as educators. Glorifying God at home by Sarah Joy Fandrich ‘Great’, I thought, ‘I can help people’. ‘God’, I am a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home, home- I pray as I drive to work, ‘let me serve my patients schooling mum to seven children. This is my career today’. Every day I am able to meet people at and calling, and in a way I view myself as a CEO. their worst and try to assist them to get back Teaching our children about how God works in on track. their world when things are not easy is the most important part of how I serve God. Faith is what keeps me sane. I seek a home glorifying God The Lutheran. Full colour, 32 pages. 11 editions/year. in all we do with fun and service. I love it when Only $44 (Aust), $46 (NZ). Gift subscriptions available. that happens. We don’t hear the word ‘vocation’ much these days, but for a Christian it is an everyday concern. We are all called to live – and work – for Christ. We asked four people to share their stories of faith underpinning their daily work.

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Story of the Week


Meet our young leaders in training by LISA MCINTOSH

Meet the young people who are training to be future leaders within the Lutheran Church of Australia.

‘I am really excited about 2017 and the journey we will take with these young adults’, she said. ‘Many of them are already involved in their communities They are the inaugural participants in the LCA’s new Grow Leadership program – a training initiative and we pray this experience will support them in those roles and enhance the leadership skills they designed to provide continuing and sustainable already possess. The support and encouragement Christian leadership development and training received for each of the participants from their for young adults. home congregations has been exciting. Those selected from Australian applicants for ‘My prayer is that this is just the beginning of a 2017 are Elsa Matthias (from Queensland but long and successful journey with the young adults has moved to South Australia), Dora Blieschke, of our church – a journey that inspires, encourages Joel Grieger, Renee Hein, Holly Pietsch, Tayla and enriches their growth as valued individuals Priebbenow and Katrina Rohrlach (all from SA), in the LCA family.’ and Manuela Scharlach and Oliver Swift (both The participants spent their first week-long from Western Australia). ‘intensive’ together in Adelaide last month. During They are being joined by overseas participants this time they delved into leadership, theology and Pastor Hay Sopheourn and Touch Kev Sreyleak spiritual reflection. from Cambodia, and Eprista Tampubolon and Delmi Rohdearni Saragih from Indonesia.

Grow Leadership is run by Grow Ministries, in Grow Leadership is a part-time commitment for 11 partnership with the districts of the LCA, LCA months and consists of two seven-day face-to-face International Mission, Board for Local Mission, intensive gatherings, along with regular one-on-one Australian Lutheran College and Grassroots mentoring, participation in an overseas ‘stretch and Training, Lutheran Education Australia and the LCA’s Church Worker Support Department, and grow’ experience and a minimum of 18 hours of is supported by the committee for the LCA’s local congregational leadership. 50.500 faith.freedom.future initiative. Grow Leadership Coordinator Vicki Rochow said Grow Ministries the participants’ ‘enthusiasm and passion to serve’ a: 197 Archer Street North Adelaide SA 5006 was ‘so encouraging’. e: p: 08 8267 7300

STORY OF THE WEEK is a service of LCA Communications Every week we bring you a story ab or agency that is a place where God’s love comes to life. Read our growing week-by-week collection of inspiration and en

Story of the Week


017 Taking up the call in 2

VALDIS ANDERSONS Family: Wife Sylvia; Ilze and Markus Assigned to: SA/NT District – locum at Lyndoch & Rowland Flat I’m most looking forward to … becoming part of people’s lives. DAN MUELLER Family: Wife Jenny; Eli, Hannah and Zara MICHAEL PRENZLER Family: Wife Gertraud; Gabriel and Rebecca Assigned to: Walla Walla Parish NSW Assigned to: Magill & Adelaide Deaf Community I’m most looking forward to … weekly meditating Church SA on God’s word in order to preach and teach it I’m most looking forward to … being able to bring to God’s people! I also look forward to building the good news to people at the most significant up and equipping the saints for their mission (Ephesians 4:12) – preparing them to be always ready times in their lives: God welcomes you into his to make a defence to anyone who asks for a reason family, forgives you when you mess up, wants to bless your marriage, family and work life, for their hope (1 Pet 3:15), and equipping them to and (finally) welcomes you home. teach the Christian faith to their family and friends. These six pastoral ministry graduates from ALC come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are stepping out in faith to begin their first assignments. We asked them which privilege of being a pastor they were most looking forward to.

PETER KLEMM Family: Wife Jody; Lily and Ciarna. Assigned to: Cummins Parish SA I’m most looking forward to … preaching the word and sharing the sacraments; coming alongside people and being part of their lives and being a shepherd to my congregations.

DAVID HAAK Family: Wife Rebecca; Isaac, Isabella Assigned to: Beenleigh Qld I’m most looking forward to … getting to do life with God’s people, being there through the best of times and the difficulties, pointing them to Jesus, and having them point me to Jesus!

RYAN NORRIS Family: Wife Priscilla; Riikka, Caius, Kelsie and Sakari Assigned to: Tarrington Parish Vic I’m most looking forward to … being a part of some of the most significant moments in people’s lives – baptism, confirmation, marriage and even funerals are all defining moments in our journey with Christ.

Please pray for these people and their families as they serve in the vocation God has given them.

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The Lutheran. Full colour, 32 pages. 11 editions/year. Only $44 (Aust), $46 (NZ). Gift subscriptions available. To subscribe: online email phone 08 8360 7270