Jesus answered the disciples’ question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” by setting a little child in the midst of them and saying, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1–3). A child of God wishes to accept little children as God’s gifts and as examples of faith and righteousness that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
Updates on several LLC activities:
• With the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, we have received many inquiries about the safety of our ministers traveling on mission trips to Ghana and Togo. LLC staff shares these concerns, and we wish to assure you that our mission work staff, along with ministers scheduled for trips in the near future, are closely monitoring information available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, watching for any travel advisories by the State Department, and consulting with our brethren in faith in those countries. We are prepared to modify travel plans based on the latest information available. Thank you for your concerns. Here, too, we pray for God’s guidance and protection.
• Last month I mentioned the September trip of our publications director, Paul Waaraniemi, to Finland. One function of that trip was to attend the 60-year observance of our sister organization’s newspaper, the Päivämies. In Paul’s greeting on behalf of the North American believers, he recalled the Päivämies being received and read in his childhood home faithfully. Over the years, he began to understand its benefits and purposes, its significance. The paper provides news information about events in God’s kingdom and in the lives of God’s children. The paper’s writings provide preaching and teaching about God’s Word and the Scriptures. Through the paper there is teaching of language and an inspiration to learning. And through the paper, there is a calling voice, a mission work tool in today’s world. In recent years we have seen how timely, clear communications build trust and unity. Päivämies plays an important role in the work of Zion in Finland, and we believe the same to be true for the Voice of Zion in North America.
• Current activity in the LLC office includes working with host areas to plan for the 2015 LLC Phoenix Winter Services and the 2015 LLC Summer Services in Outlook, Saskatchewan. The schedule for the Winter Services, February 19–22, is now being developed. For Summer Services, Adrian Pirness will represent the LLC staff at an October meeting with planning committee heads in Outlook to review the planning process and the mutual, interactive work of LLC staff and host area committees.
• The 2015 LLC Ministers and Wives Camp will be held in October in the Pacific Northwest. This event is now held every year, but it is rotated among different geographic regions to enable more to attend from all congregations.
• The minutes from the 2014 LLC Annual Meeting have now been sent to delegates and congregation officers. In our communication, we have also noted that comments from delegates and from the LLC Update visits in congregations last spring have been compiled by topic and are now being considered by the various Board Committees. Since the comments can be addressed within the context of the current draft Operating Plan, we do not propose changes to the 2015 LLC Operating Plan as presented to the Annual Meeting. Final approval of the Plan will be an action for the LLC Board of Directors at their October 25 meeting.
• LLC Publications Week will be observed October 19–26 in most congregations. This year’s presentation marks 30 years of the annual Christmas in Zion publication through an overview presented in a videotaped narration by Dan Wuollet. New products to be featured are the 2014 Christmas in Zion and the 2015 LLC Wall Calendar. This holiday season you will also be able to listen to and enjoy a new Advent and Christmas-themed organ music CD, which has recently been recorded in the Minneapolis church.
• Just as a reminder, the deadline for submitting your personal Christmas greeting for the December Voice of Zion and/or Päivämies is October 24. For more details, see the announcement on page 4.
In October my wife, Noella, and I will be traveling to Finland. The trip will provide an opportunity to visit about mutual work with our sister organization, the SRK, and to attend an SRK Board camp at Siikatörmä. Of course, there will also be opportunities to gather with many brothers and sisters in faith who journey in a different part of the world but yet in the same kingdom. We pray that God will bless our visit there.
October 2014 Voice of Zion