Sharing With Steve
Phyllis and I have been gone for two weeks. We spent some time in North Carolina celebrating the life of my aunt who passed away earlier this year. We then went to Oklahoma where we spent some time with our daughter and her family. Her husband is the new youth minister at Tuttle Christian Church in Tuttle, OK. We had an enjoyable time. It is always good to be with grand kids. I drove back to Michigan the last two days. Because of Greg’s camp schedule, Phyllis, Abigail, and the kids are coming to Michigan next week. Our oldest daughter, Tabitha, will also be here.
Now that I have driven several thousand miles in the last two weeks I have had some time to reflect. One thing that has come to mind is that life is fragile and unpredictable. Let me give you some examples. My aunt was 88 when she passed and she had been sick for a while. We mourned her passing, but recounted with joy many happy memories. Her son (14 years younger than me) could not attend. He has an aggressive form of cancer. We pray for God’s intervention. Life is fragile and unpredictable.
Everywhere we drove there was water. The rivers were very high and the fields across the south and midwest are saturated. We visited Phyllis’ mother in Tulsa and the Arkansas River was as high as I have ever seen it. Even the riverside casinos were closing due to rising water. On the news we saw a house in Oklahoma being washed away. Who would have thought? Farmers cannot get into their fields to plant the crops. Life is certainly fragile.
Weather occupied a lot of our time in Oklahoma. We became very familiar with CBS channel 9 out of Oklahoma City. Every night it seemed that storms were being tracked and tornados were forming. Golf ball size hail was seen and softball size hail was predicted. I was told that purple on the radar indicated hail. I had never seen purple on radar before and I saw a lot of purple last week. One night we were told that a storm with a likely tornado was heading straight for Tuttle. We went into a storm shelter (an 8 foot by 5 foot [approximate] cement block room under the garage floor). We were there for about fifteen minutes. We were fortunate; no tornado came through. Twenty miles north two people were killed and a motel was destroyed. Life is fragile.
On the way home I had plans to make it to a city at a certain time and then make it home early evening. I was doing good until the interstate in Illinois was reduced to one lane in each direction and my direction stopped still. One hour later I turned the car back on and started moving again. Nothing I could do about that. I had a cement wall on my left side and a three foot shoulder on the other. I was stuck. I made it home, but it was several hours later than I had hoped. Life is indeed unpredictable.
What can I deduce from all of this? Life is fragile and unpredictable and so I need an anchor that will get me through those times. That anchor is Jesus Christ. No matter how fragile life is Jesus is there to pick up the pieces or strengthen me. He is there to give me hope. No matter how unpredictable life is, Jesus is there to be a constant. He can calm me and guide me. He is there is help me face the changing situations and to reveal to others His calming presence. I just need to let Jesus take control of my life. 1 John 4:4 (CSBBible) “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”.
We are enjoying our study of Chip Ingram’s book, The Real God. In June we will be examining the Holiness of God. This is chapter 6 in the book. Sunday, June 2, will be concluding chapter 5, The Sovereignty of God. Sunday, June 9, will be our Family Sunday. Steve will be telling a children’s story and we will be watching the teaching video by Chip on that chapter. June 16 Steve will preach a sermon from the Old Testament on the holiness of God and then the next week, June 23, Steve will preach from the New Testament. The session on the Holiness of God will close with a sermon on Sunday, June 30. Please be reading chapter 6 in the book to prepare for the next session.
With all of the rain and finally some sun, the grass is green and growing. Our mowing teams are doing a great job. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed. Please see Dan Bright if you can help. We have a dedicated group of mowers who we appreciate very much. The schedule for June is as follows:
The week of June 2 – The Orange Team
The week of June 9 – The Blue Team
The week of June 16 – The Green Team
The week of June 23 – The Red Team
The week of June 30 – The Orange Team
The Annual Church Picnic will be on Sunday, August 4, from Noon to 4:00pm at Auburn Hills Civic Center Park. More details will follow soon. Please plan to join us for a great afternoon of fun and fellowship!
Mission Focus: KENYA MEDICAL RELIEF
Jambo! (a Swahili greeting similar in meaning to the English word Hello!). Meadowbrook is stepping up to support Kenya Medical Relief this summer. Parishioner and nurse practitioner Cindy Gerstenlauer is going on her first medical mission trip to Kenya.
KenyaRelief.org began as a small orphanage for the children of Migori, Kenya, most of whom had lost their families to AIDS. Steve James started this orphanage in 2002, after the death of his daughter Brittney, who was in college at the time. He visited her sponsored child in Kenya, whom he realized had nothing. As a nurse anesthetist, Steve felt the need for medical treatment in the area was urgent, and an outpatient clinic was built soon after, followed by a private school.
KenyaRelief.org now serves almost 200 orphaned/vulnerable children, educates over 500 students, and treats thousands of patients each year. Over 20 mission teams of medical professionals, as well as non-medical teams such as VBS and Children’s Education, serve in Migori yearly. KenyaRelief.org has several projects currently in the works including a new cafeteria to serve almost 500 students each day, a new soccer field, expansion of the clinic to include inpatient wards for overnight stays, with a full-service hospital as their goal.
Cindy will be going with the ophthalmology team August 15-25, 2019, whom will mostly be performing cataract surgeries and the like. Cindy will be assisting Dr. Joseph Skoney, an Internal Medicine physician from her work at Troy Internal Medicine, to provide medical care. Patients generally have serious medical conditions like infectious diseases, cancers, and other illnesses. At least a third have AIDS. The people are poor with few options for medical care. There is no such thing as health insurance. The nearest hospital is 100 miles away, and patients must find their own way there, and pay for their care, which is not feasible for most of them.
KenyaRelief.org is a faith-based organization and shares our Christian beliefs. While formal evangelism by the medical teams is not done, as individuals we are encouraged to use our faith and are free to evangelize and pray with patients. They believe the work we do is a direct extension of showing Jesus’s love and the command to take care of those in need. The team goes to church on Sunday as a group. Most Kenyans are Christian, and all the people go to church on Sundays.
The medical team could use your help! The eye team is collecting used eyeglasses, acetaminophen/Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol tablets, NSAIDS (e.g., Motrin/ibuprofen, Advil, etc.), unused eye drops, antibiotics, gauze, syringes, and needles. Bulk containers are appreciated, as space is a premium when traveling, and meds are dispensed in small envelopes. In addition, each team is assigned a special project of items to bring for the orphans. The eye team (Team 15) has been asked to bring tennis shoes in girls and boys sized 8 youth, up to size 7 in women and men.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, $700 a year provides food, room, education, and clothing. Each team member pays their own way, and the cost of the trip is approximately $5000. If you would like to support Cindy financially, you can go to http://kenyarelief.org and on the top right hand side of the page you will see “donate/trip payment”. On the “Designation of Funds, put team member donation/payment. Under notes, put Cynthia Gerstenlauer, Team 15. Then click “donate.” Alternatively, you can put a check in the offering plate at church and designate it for Kenya Medical Relief. Prayers are also welcomed and appreciated.
The Sisters in Service annual garage sale is scheduled for August 22,23,24. We need everyone to be putting aside their donations. More details to follow in next month’s newsletter.
Dan Bright – June 5
Jerry & Wanda Douma (Ann.) – June 12
Ron & Ruth Lindhagen (Ann.) – June 14
Matthew Zaremba – June 18
Jaysun & Traci Thomas (Ann.) – June 18
Ron & Marian Murphy (Ann.) – June 20
Sue Rose – June 20
Dick Tenniswood – June 22
Randy & Jerri Gilbert (Ann.) – June 25