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August 2023 Update

Arvin Pirness | The Voice of Zion August 2023 - News and Notes --

An estimated 8,300 guests gathered for Summer Services where the Monticello congregation hosted at the LLC property at Silver Springs. We thank the diligent work of the host congregation and the many volunteers who served so the service event could go so smoothly.

I still find myself replaying those special moments in my mind – the peaceful and productive annual meeting, unity of faith and understanding at the speakers and board members meeting, meeting new people from North America and abroad, the large continent-wide choir of all ages filing in to sing during the 50-year commemorative celebration, the nostalgia of 50 years of work of our church while visiting the exhibit booth, on and on.

Above all we thank the Heavenly Father whose blessings we experienced most abundantly. The motto, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18) was referred to in many sermons. Weary travelers were comforted and refreshed.

LLC Board Meeting July 6

Visiting ministers Valde Palola, Matti Niemelä and Mauno Soronen from Finland and Timo Löppönen from Sweden attended the meeting and brought greetings from LLC’s sister organizations, SRK and SFC. Many comments expressed appreciation of the numerous occasions we have been able to connect in-person and virtually to discuss the work of our organizations in serving the believers and those seeking God’s kingdom.

Board members reviewed planning updates for the current Summer Services and future Winter and Summer services. The 2024 Phoenix Winter Services will be held March 14–17. The motto for those services is “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). 2024 Summer Services will be in Kelso, Washington, July 4–7, 2024, hosted by the Longview congregation. The motto for those services is “I will be glad and rejoice in thee” (Psalms 9:2).

LLC Annual Meeting July 7

LLC delegates reviewed and gave support for the proposed 2024 LLC Operating Plan and supported a dues increase of $4 per member per month. Delegates re-elected Carey Simonson, Dean Simonson (Northwest Area), Sam Roiko, Rick Nevala (East-Central) and Lauri Nevala (Southwest Area) to another three-year term on the LLC Board. Delegates will be prepared to give a detailed report to congregations when the meeting minutes have been finalized.

This August, there are still many camps to attend and also opportunities to serve in the kitchens and as camp counselors. Whether your footsteps are taking you to a new school year or to spend another day of summer vacation, may they be blessed. We join with the prayer expressed in song 528, verse 7:

Oh, pour on me Your gospel show’r; revive me by Your Spirit’s pow’r

and by Your Word of pardon, that fruits of living faith would grow,

and I would thrive on earth below, within Your summer garden.

Updates on LLC Activities

Mission Department

  • The fall foreign mission trips resume in August, following the July hiatus for Summer Services. We continue to monitor travel and on-ground costs for the remainder of this year and as we plan for 2024.

  • The LLC Ministers and Wives Camp will be at Stony Lake Camp September 22–24. Please enroll for this event if you will attend so we can adequately accommodate participants.

Communications Department

  • In July, 69 youth from three countries gathered along with an international staff at Hasscib Lake Camp. Language skills were practiced as friendships were formed in a beautiful camp setting. Following the camp, the Finnish language camp group traveled through Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota before returning to the Midwest for the final leg of their journey in North America. We thank the group of 56 travelers for their visit, and we thank the group leaders Marko Niskanen and Hannu Kinnunen for serving with God’s Word in the locations the group visited.

  • At Summer Services, there was a fundraiser for the LLC’s Opisto Fund, which was established earlier this year to help offset opisto tuition costs for scholarship recipients. A small amount per recipient was already awarded for the 2023–24 opisto year, and we will disburse funds again next spring for the following opisto year. Please consider supporting this area of work! You can make a donation at, where you can select Opisto Fund as the target of your gift.

  • The LLC Opisto Scholarship Committee meets later this month to select opisto scholarship recipients for the 2024–25 opisto year. We are happy to note that there was wide interest in scholarships for that year; the committee will award 14 scholarships to some of the nearly 30 that applied.

  • It’s not too early to consider applying next spring for opisto scholarships for the 2025–26 opisto year! If you are a high school junior, now is the time to begin pondering applying if you wish to go to opisto directly after high school. We welcome applications from any applicants ages 17–22.

  • The Opisto Meet-and-Greet at Summer Services shows how important an opisto year is to many. It can have a lasting impact on the opisto student’s life and friendships.

  • We will hold our second annual Content Creators Workshop at Stony Lake Camp the weekend of September 15–17. Sessions will be devoted to writing, visual arts, music composition and LLC services broadcast content planning.

  • We had planned to record an album of congregational singing at Peace Garden Youth Days. Now that those Youth Days are canceled, we are making alternate plans to record an awaited new album of congregation singing this fall.

  • We are planning a second LLC International Choir Camp for August 2024. This time the camp will be held in Reisjärvi, Finland. We will issue more information and details on this camp opportunity soon.


  • At the time of this writing I am sitting in on a confirmation lesson on Creation at Stony Lake Confirmation 3, the last week of 2023 confirmation camps.

  • Camp season continues to go well. 2023 camps have been well attended.

  • Camp work is Gospel work and brings refreshment to the believers. Camp Boards for each area continue to look for additional ways to serve LLC membership.


  • The site setup, the use of temporary and permanent structures served very well. All RV camp sites were reserved and used.

  • We now see Summer Services in the rear-view mirror. An estimated 8300 people attended the services on Saturday. This festive time was met with an immense amount of joy in being reminded how good it is to dwell within the congregation of God.

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