Serving military families.

I am always moved when I think about the sacrifices military families make to support and defend the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.  We want to bless and serve military families during this next three month serving project.  Check out the Military Parents Night Out, the Military Family Fun Night and the Care Pack for Deployed Soldiers that we are inviting all the community to be a part of.  If you have addresses of any friends or loved ones who are deployed or who will be deployed sometime this year, please send those addresses on to us so we can send them one of these care packs!

Spread the word!

Any questions, let me know at melissa@concordiachurch.com

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Children of the Nations – Building the next generation on two continents!

Maybe its because we still have members who established the Concordia community back in 1961 that we have a strong sense of legacy and a powerful vision for building and investing in the next generation.  It’s one of the unique things about Concordia.

The partnership with Children of the Nations International has been a perfect project for us and has aligned with our hearts and mission.  Not only has our congregation been inspired by the opportunity to impact the village of Mgwayi in Malawi by meal packing, child sponsorship which provides for education and medical care as well as resource collection, but we are inspired that we can help grow a generation of godly boys and girls who will change their world.

The children have been engaged and deeply care about these children who are like them in important ways and while separated by thousands of miles, actually are part of the same family of faith.  Their lives, however, are also very different.  The children with COTN are part of 1,000,000 children who have been orphaned by AIDS or destitute and have no means of support for education, medical care or their very lives.  Compassion has been nurtured in the hearts of the Concordia preschool children and they have begun to diligently find ways to gather the quarters that provide for a meal for a friend.  It is a beautiful thing.  I am here to help guide and teach them but find they are usually teaching and guiding me!

 

Children of the Nations update. A mom reports: “My child is very serious about how many children he can feed. He wanted to count his saved up change. and he’s not satisfied that he can only feed 14 children so far. Such a great thing for these children to learn. 
Photo: Children of the Nations update. A mom reports: "My child is very serious about how many children he can feed. He wanted to count his saved up change. and he's not satisfied that he can only feed 14 children so far. Such a great thing for these children to learn. ❤️"

Concordia Serving South of the Border

This Easter season is an active one for the church around the world.  We have had the opportunity to work with a couple of mission teams  in Tijuana with a network of missions that we support.  It has been a great couple of weeks.  I am thankful for the team from All Saints Lutheran Church in the Seattle area and the Skov team which is comprised of a clergy couple from Colorado and a teaching ministry couple from Sacramento!  These teams come year after year and are delighted to continue relationships and meet new families and children and see families from the year before that continue to grow strong in the faith!

AbdielPastorClare Here Pastor Abdiel w Pastor Clare talking about the Easter story to these children.

What a beautiful thing when the family of faith ignores divisions and borders to support and encourage each other in the journey of faith.  In these beautiful selfless relationships it is hard to know who is better blessed — the giver or the receiver.  It is simply a work in common.  Yesterday the team gathered with a group in one of the churches to be part of a song called “Unidos, Unidos.”  The U.S. team didn’t capture all the lyrics but they were moved to see the robust singing and the holding of hands.  These are experiences that transcend language.

UNIDOS, UNIDOS Unidos, unidos, en Tu nombre unidos Unidos, unidos, en Tu nombre unidos Pues en este mundo paz y amor tendremos Pues en este mundo paz y amor tendremos Unidos siempre unidos, tomados de la mano Iremos por el mundo cantando al amor // La gloria de Jesús siempre resplandecerá Y todo el mundo sabrá que Tú eres Dios //

When we gather together in Your name, the love and peace we share as we hold hands, we will go in the world singing about this love and the glory of Jesus will shine in the world and all will know that You are God.

You can see photos and read more on our http://www.edificandogeneraciones.org blog or on our Edificando Generaciones facebook page.  Check them out! Thanks for your prayers for this ministry and the people that are coming to know the Lord through the work of dedicated people in Tijuana.

 

 

 

The Easter EGGStravaganza and the REAL Easter Story!

We had lots of family fun at the annual Easter EGGstravaganza gathering for this Windingwalk community. It is an unhurried time of connection and just plain fun.  In addition to the fun EGG HUNT which this year served between 700-800 children!  We also had the opportunity to tell children (and their parents) about the REAL Easter story about Jesus.  There were children who had never heard the story before!  We met thousands of people from our community and our team had lots of great conversations.  We got to tell the Concordia story over and over.  We answered questions about our work with the church, the preschool, our community and in our newest partnership with Children of the Nations International.  That was really fun and a great way to show Concordia’s heart.  We packed 2,000 meals for children in Malawi.  We will pack an additional 8,000 meals on July 27th.  Put that on your calendar.

OUR BUNNY RUN was a blast.  Young children and their parents got to run through an obstacle course!  B2be sports and wellness sponsored the fun run. Our young orange clad runners took this very seriously!

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We had about 40 booths. Business sponsors, restaurants, non profits.  Together we were able to put on this fun day!  Thank you B2be, Dr. Blanca of Pediatrics in Paradise, Chick-fil-A, Our Hometown, Kid Ventures and Jump and Rock who were our platinum sponsors!

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The beautiful blue canopies came from the Naval Base.  Can you believe thanks to our wonderful volunteers, that we broke down the canopies, tables and chairs in 18 minutes?  Our event ended at noon and we were unloading on the Naval Base at 12:45pm Wonderful effort by so many.

We had between 700-800 children for the Egg Hunt!  The under two group began their hunt fine and then the other three areas all charged their egg hunt areas!  It was all good.

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Pastor talking with Minit!

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We had some great sponsors that offered wonderful raffle prizes.  One night stay at the Lowe’s Coronado and El Cordova Coronado. There were VIP memberships to B2be, and  birthday party at Jump and Rock.

Jump and Rock congratulating the winner….one of our after school program parents!

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Another raffle winner!

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More scenes of a fun day!

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We had more than 120 volunteers that came to serve our community.  That is a win!  You know who you are.  Thank you!

 

 

 

Still mothering hard….

I have so enjoyed being in home groups.  Every round of groups brings such growing depth in my faith walk and beautiful deepening connections with people and beautiful surprises along the way.  In my Wednesday group I am privileged to journey with moms of young children.  I love it. I admire them as I see them mothering “hard”….intentionally and purposefully. I was thinking this morning especially in this time of transition that I am still mothering hard even though my kids are maturing adults!

The transition is that my baby has moved into her first apartment.  It’s a good thing.  Yes, she just turned 25 and I am so grateful that I got to have her bounce back a bit after college. In this season, our early morning talks and conversations about simple and deep things….even controversial things….have been delightful and I have enjoyed the new relationship of mother and daughter when daughter is an adult.  I am aware that I am still mothering intentionally and purposefully…..as much now as when Andres and Elizabeth were young.  It is different but deeper and as meaningful, maybe more!

Maybe mothering is not a linear journey, marked by the passing of time but a multifaceted jewel that you behold and experience from many different sides and dimensions. It has brought such meaning to my life and the gift of mothering is such a sweet calling.  I found this post from Dale Partridge very touching when it popped up on my Pinterest.  Enjoy it.

MARCH 20, 2014

5 Things You Must Tell Your Kids Before You Die

5 Things You Must Tell Your Parents Before You Die“. As a Father, I’m going to flip the tables a bit.

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This is one of my favorites photos of my daughter and I :)

As parents, adopted parents, or even mentors we have have an intrinsic responsibility to show our children they are loved, valued, and protected. While writing this post, I literally could not find an article on things you “should tell” you kids. Everything was on things “you must stop saying” or “should never say”. That’s just like our culture. It’s always about stop, no, and quit. How about we adopt a new philosophy of start, yes, and keep going?

Here is my list of 5 Things You Must Tell Your Kids Before You Die:

1. You gave my life so much meaning. Thank you. – When my daughter was born I remember being hit with this insane rush of purpose. Life was no longer about work, hobbies, or myself. It was about experiencing her. Working because of her, doing things with her, and planning a future as a family. What a gift. As parents, we believe this is implied. But it’s not. We must reach out to our children, at the right age, and thank them for the memories, the purpose, the laughter, and the love. After all, there is nothing quite like it.

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Photo by Tracy Parker


2. I’m so proud of you
. – Children need a surplus of affirmation. I can’t tell you the countless stories of boys still working for their Father’s approval or daughters seeking their blessing. Though we may not fully agree with our children’s ways, we must commend them on completing the hardest task of all, independence. And even though this statement is said by almost all parents, the difference is made in quantity, creativity, and sincerity.

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Photo by Adrienne Elliot

3. You we’re right, I was wrong. – Parents, leaders, and teachers can often times find themselves on the wrong side of an argument. While it’s easy to play off our child’s ignorance, a tiny moment of transparency and honesty will bring huge impact to your little one’s development. But let’s not stop there. Let this virtue carry on throughout your relationship, even through the harder years of adulthood. Just because you’re children are adults, does not mean you should stop acting like their parent.

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Photo by Sunny Kang

4. This was my favorite moment – In a lifetime made of millions of memories, experiences, and stories – narrowing them down to one can be extremely powerful. To remind your child of a time where everything was perfect and claim it as your favorite will reinforce this special moment forever. But don’t be brief, share it with passion, provide every little detail, and bring your child back (no matter how old they are) to that time where all things were just right. You won’t regret it, I promise.

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Photo by Natasha Wiseman

5. I’m Sorry – As I mentioned above, we all have moments of failure. Some were yesterday while others were year ago. It’s easy to ignore the past and move on as if our memories have somehow erased it. But let me tell you a secret. They don’t. If you have a parental failure don’t ignore it. Lead with integrity, right your wrongs, and restore that piece of your child’s history no matter how small. You only have so many tomorrows.

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Photo by Valics Lehel

Faith and Sacrifice

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We finished the series on FAITH and how we can trust God with our fears and doubts because of who He is and what we have seen Him do.  We are now looking at the cost of love in the topic of SACRIFICE.  We launched home groups last night with a reflective discussion about the sacrifice that we do for loved ones.  It is often not a burden because what we do is born out of love.  So we see the sacrifice of God in Jesus on the cross that bought our rescue.  It was a sweet sacrifice.

We talked about the fact that often in our culture we are willing to sacrifice only when it doesn’t cost us that much, only when it is convenient and until we feel like it or it serves our purposes.  That, it seems, is no sacrifice at all!  How hard it is to give up the things we want.  How hard it is to get out of our own experience.  But how necessary it is to learn to let go of the things … often material things … that try to bind us.

There are some big things to reflect on.

This is a good time to reflect.

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow.

Reflect on the cost.

Reflect on the love.

 

Christmas Day Reflection

What a beautiful celebration of the Light at Concordia yesterday and today. Today it has been a beautiful day of quiet celebration of love surrounded by family and tonight a silent night. Aside from the dramatic message last night of light piercing the darkness that is vivid in my memory I also remember the encouragement to make time, slow down and incorporate some “silent nights” into your life. Time that is so necessary to be able to hear the voice of God, the nudging of God and the encouragement of God.

I am taking that encouragement to heart. I think this is a lesson that has been stirring in my heart over the last year anyway. Last year one word that was a theme of focus for me was “surrender” and I think my word for 2014 will be “silence.” As is always the case, the word usually finds me. I am thinking I can benefit from:

–stillness and silence to listen and not always fill conversations with chatter or opinions. I think this will bring greater wisdom.

–silence to notice the quiet moments of beauty around that go unnoticed in busyness.

–silence to extend my time in quiet reflection and meditation with God.

–silence to reflect and flesh out ideas more. Good and creative ideas need breath and space to become what they are meant to be.

–stillness as a reminder to stop from rushing from one thing to the next.

–silence and stillness to just be the person God created me to be.

For a person that is task oriented and loves to measure in a tangible way the progress of things, this will not be an easy thing to remember to do. But I have seen this year, how it enriches my life and deepens my experience in my everyday life when I incorporate stillness, silence, solitude and quiet.

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