News & Notes

January 2020 Update

January 01, 2020

Happy New Year! As we turn our calendars to a new year, we reflect on the happenings of the previous year. Though there may have been sorrows and trials, we can still see God’s blessings. God has guided us through the past year and has blessed the work of His kingdom.

The greatest blessing is when one has been preserved in faith and can enter the new year as a child of God. Knowing this, we face another year and securely trust in God’s guidance and direction for our own personal endeavor of faith and also for the work in His kingdom.

It is heartwarming to see the support and generosity of believers in supporting the work. Without such support, the work would be in vain. We look forward and wonder what plans God has in store for us. As 2020 begins, we prayerfully ask for God’s continued guidance and blessings. Above all, the child of God has a living hope that one day faith will be changed to eternal life in the glory of heaven.

Updates on LLC Activities

  • Dates for the 2020 LLC Tour are being worked out. We have found the tour, which happens once every three years, to be a very important and needed means of communication throughout North American Zion. In addition to an update of LLC operations, time for congregation discussion and input is planned.
  • In January, Keith Waaraniemi will set aside his every-day work at the office and devote his time to research for the 50-year LLC history book project. We wish Keith God’s blessings as he embarks on this project.
  • The Silver Springs Development Committee (SSDC) met in-person at the LLC office on December 27, to brainstorm ideas and continue its discussion about future development at Silver Springs. An update from that meeting will be communicated as part of the LLC Tour.
  • A group trip to Ecuador is being planned in 2020. Paul Honkala has been asked to be the group leader and to gauge interest for such a trip. If you are interested in joining, please contact Paul for details.
  • Plans are coming along nicely for the 2020 Summer Services scheduled in Marquette, Michigan, July 2–5. Please see the writing on page 16 in this Voice of Zion issue, which includes lodging information.
  • Plans are in place for two new publications to be released at Phoenix Winter Services: Jesus Loves Me, the third board book for children; and the fourth book in the What Do Believers Say? editorial book series. The theme for this book, the last in the series, is the personal endeavor of faith.
  • For the first time in four years, we are making a slight increase in the prices of our periodical subscriptions effective January 2020. As of January 2019, the Voice of Zion increased from a 16-page newspaper to 20 pages. The Shepherd's Voice will also expand to 20 pages beginning with the February/March 2020 issue. To offset paper and postage costs, the new subscription rates will be $54 (North America)/$80 (foreign) for Voice of Zion and $31 (North America)/$50 (foreign) for Shepherd's Voice. For 2020, these subscriptions continue to include access to digital and audio versions of the periodicals. Contact us at the office for more information on how to access digital and audio content. We are thankful for your continued support for this area of work!
  • The LLC, SRK and SFC Humanitarian Aid Committees continue to work together closely to consider needs and requests. The number of believers in foreign countries continues to increase. As an example, believers in Rwanda received a HAC Christmas gift package for the first time. The majority of requests are for medical or educational needs, and it’s heartwarming to see the support offered to meet these requests.
  • Planning for 2020 confirmation schools began with a web conference for directors and teachers on Monday, Dec. 9. Planning started with review of feedback from the 2019 schools. Planning will continue at another session on Saturday, February 8, when we will discuss teaching ideas and implementing LLC curriculum at each confirmation school.
  • Seasonal positions are available at each of our camp facilities, including core counselor, lifeguard, kitchen help and caretaker’s assistant. Look for the information sent to your congregation and consider the possibility of spending time this summer at one of our beautiful camp facilities. Contact the camp facility directors for additional information. Submit your application by completing the Campwork Application online.
  • Bryce Ojalehto and Scott Landa were blessed into the office of the ministry by the Alaska Laestadian Lutheran Church, on December 8. We wish Bryce and his wife Trina, Scott and his wife Janelle and their families God’s abundant blessings in this new calling.
  • Preparation for the 2021 LLC Operating Plan has begun. The Operating Plan gives clear direction to the work of the LLC. As in previous years, a theme has been chosen for this plan. This year’s theme comes from the prophet Isaiah: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd” (Isa. 40:11).
  • We extend a heartfelt welcome to all to the 2020 LLC Phoenix Winter Services to be held at the Desert Mountain Middle School, March 19–22. The theme for the services is “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13). The topic for the congregational discussion evening will be “The Kingdom of God – Our Home,” which Rick Nevala will present. Services will also be held Wednesday, March 18, in Prescott Valley.

God has granted us a blessed time of work. May He continue to guide the work and bless our new year as only He can.

Eric Jurmu

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