Day of the Child Celebration

Our ministry of Building Generations across the border in Mexico organized a women’s retreat for women leaders in Tijuana.  It was a blessing!  I will post photos soon. Again this year we have a mission partner in my friend Kathy who is a missionary and psychologist along with her congregation All Saints Lutheran Church in Washington.   Kathy led a workshop for the women during the retreat on the theme of the family.  More and photo will follow.

Right now we are getting ready for the Day of the Child celebration today.  This is a big celebration in Mexico.  In a country where sometimes children don’t get special celebrations for their birthdays, an opportunity to celebrate all children, is a cost effective method to bring joy to the lives of children.  Today we get to bring joy to children and help them learn about Jesus at the same time!

This year a special family at All Saints Church took on the project of the craft for children in Mexico. Thanks to the Sinclair family and kids for giving up their school break to put together 300 craft kits for today!

What a sacrificial gift!  Pray for us today. I will post photos later.

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Pastor Manuel promoted to Heaven

Concordia’s support of ministry in Tijuana has been longstanding and now under a new name of Edificando Generaciones (Building Generations).  One of the great privileges has been knowing faithful servants of the Gospel.

Pastor Manuel of Iglesia Evangelica Luterana de la Sola Fe y Sola Gracia was one of these faithful servants and he was promoted to Heaven on Saturday night.  Last night was the first memorial service at the Mortuary.  It was important to support the family but also hear the beautiful testimonies about Pastor Manuel’s life.  He grew up an orphan in Tijuana and God led him to serve in ministry and gave him a beautiful family (an “exceptional wife and honorable children” as one person put it) and a beautiful congregation. What a blessed and full life he had.  His dear wife Marta is an exceptional servant of the Lord and spoke about how they met and their life together and how delighted her husband must be to be in the presence of God. She truly is an exceptional and remarkable woman, wife and mother.  Many things touched my heart. Among them how Marta relayed that her son last evening told her that his father taught him how to serve others with love and humility.  This summed him up perfectly.  I was touched to see how many young people were willing to publicly, even in their sadness at their loss, give God thanks for Pastor Manuel’s life and how he always had time to encourage them.

It was a privilege to know Pastor Manuel.  What I learned from him was that to honor Christ we must live beyond the “words” and show love in action and with great humility.  He taught me this lesson with the life he lived and let me observe.  The final message to those assembled last night was to follow Christ and love His Church, that would be the best and most fitting tribute to any servant and that would be Pastor Manuel’s request and encouragement to us.  Today we will have a memorial service in his church at noon followed by his burial.

Until we meet again,  Pastor Manuel. We will miss you but your work through your church, those you taught, the new Bible Institute that was a project of your heart for many decades…. your legacy ….. will live on for generations.

Added:  From Gary Norton, Mission Facilitation for the PSWD of the LCMS.

Melissa,

 Thank you for sharing the news of the promotion of Pastor Manuel.  We just saw him last month and the Institute launch, and now he celebrates in person with Jesus.  His is the victory!

Blessings in the Resurrection afterglow!

Gary

Launching HOME groups with a new message series: “CHANGE … for the better!”

We launched HOME groups for our Easter season with a new message series entitled: “CHANGE…for the better!”

I am so inspired by the message of last SUnday, the kick off, and this one phrase:  “God always has a bigger story!”  This truth has given me new perspective.  Whatever you are going through…..and I mean WHATEVER…..this is not the end of your story.  It seems obvious but this is truly a profound truth.  GOD has something MORE…..He has something BIGGER…. He has something GOOD in mind for me and you.  What a great thing to remember.  I think I will use this phrase until Kingdom comes!   We need to remember because we suffer from human “myopia” which causes us to think that what we are going through is going to paralyze us forever.  It feels that way … somethimes … but GOD always has a bigger story!  YES!  This is the open door…..not only that, but it is the wafting fragrance of hope that rushes by you assaulting your senses and forcing you to breath it in deeply.  Yes, the Holy Spirit is doing His work.  So glad He has taken up residence at Concordia and is helping us see the movement of God in our midst. Amen!

P.S.  Do whatever you have to do ….. don’t miss Sundays at Concordia!  You will learn a simple truth of God…. but so profound and powerful,  it will take you a lifetime to live it out, but it will bring you LIFE !  The EASTER truth was another game changer for me:  “Be where Jesus is”   Simple….profound….action!

Easter….

Easter was a blur….but that means that now, the day after, I am able to look back at the last two weeks and enjoy what God has done….. that’s a great perspective after working toward the celebration of God’s Big Day!  Yes the extra push is tiring….but the joy is so much more.  Now is the time to savor the victory…..God’s victory.  It’s a good thing.

Loved that we almost

hit 400  in all 5 Easter services combined. Some of the services were completely full.

I think we baptized something like 11 or 12 people between last weekend and this one.  Loved the unexpected one….a woman who had never been baptized asked to be baptized on Sunday. We were able to celebrate that in the following service.  How fun!  My photo is fuzzy…no matter. It is witness to what happened. It literally gave me chills when I was going through the communication cards and saw her name and how she checked off “first time guest” and wrote: “I want to be baptized today.”

Loved to see the launch of the new EDGE. Especially happy to see all the work the boys did in preparation for this new service came to fruition….and everything looked great.

Over Saturday and Sunday I think Andres played 5 worship services and one outdoor event at the Ethiopian church in preparation for the Easter service there too….and I don’t think I can even count how many practice hours and set up and sound check hours went into that outcome….. so glad he is young.  And he got up early this morning for classes!  I stayed in bed. I am not so young!

So glad God used Pastor’s message and all the worship experiences to speak into the lives of people…..that was palpable!  So grateful I got to be part of it and to witness the active and bold working of God among us.

So grateful so many talented and gifted people gave of their time to set up beautiful food, to set up beautiful tables, to clean and stock, to greet beautiful people, to dig beautiful holes for flags,  to fold beautiful programs, to work camera/tech for beautiful streaming or recording, literally the hundred and one beautiful things that are to be done, some of them not so fun.  Some of these beautiful tasks are downright sweaty and dirty (not so “beautiful” in the normal sense), but each one important in helping set up environments so that people can take a next step with God at His urging.  It was beautiful and I am so grateful to be working alongside of these beautiful people.  Reminds me of the song from the EDGE service….BEAUTIFUL THINGS. God indeed makes beautiful things from our small offerings.  To God be the glory….and it most definitely was.  To take lyrics from another song from the EDGE…. “I saw the King of Glory!”  Yes, I did and it was GLORIOUS!

EASTER!

I have experienced alot of challenge this week.  I have prayed for alot of people experiencing deep pain and death.  That is the broken world in which we live….. it is surrounded with pain and death.  But the story doesn’t end there … Sunday is coming!  I don’t think it can come quick enough.

I am so looking forward to the message of resurrection…of renewal.  The question then is how do we hold on to that Easter message every day after Easter?

1.  Join us on Sundays as we begin the message series:  CHANGE….for the better.  I am looking forward to God changing me.

2.  Join a HOME group. It is how we help each other live that Easter message and go deep, if you define deep as applying God’s truth to everyday life, as we define it.  They begin next Sunday. You can sign up beginning tomorrow.

3.  Serve….where you have giftedness and opportunity.  It is a great way to connect with God and participate in the healing He wants to accomplish.  If you are not sure where to start, let’s talk soon (mgsalomon@gmail.com)

So looking forward to Easter tomorrow.  I am excited I get to begin hearing the Easter message tonight at 6pm at Concordia for our “Conversations” service.  Excited too because I get to witness baptisms….which are always visible events of God’s resurrection power.

So excited.