Updates on several LLC activities:
• My wife Noella and I recently returned home from our October mission trip to Finland. In addition to serving at the services of God’s children in seven RYs, or congregations, from Helsinki to Raahe, we met with SRK staff in Oulu and attended an SRK Board and Staff Camp at Siikatörmä. The trip was interesting and filled with heartwarming visits with both longtime and brothers and sisters in faith who were new to us. It was comforting to feel the reassurance that the Spirit is one and the work is the same. A related article about this trip appears on page 16 in this issue of the Voice of Zion.
• The LLC Board of Directors held its fall meeting on October 25 and took several actions:
Approved Winter and Summer Services congregation evening topics and presenters.
– Approved wage and benefit packages for LLC staff for 2015.
– Approved a new model for scheduling SRK and SFC minister trips in North America.
– Approved the 2015 LLC Operating Plan and Budget, including the addition of a part-time support position early in 2015 but deferring the addition of a full-time salaried position.
– Received a report form the Stony Lake Camp Development Committee and arranged for a joint meeting with the committee in the near future to further discuss the report findings and proposals.
• Many fall events have been taking place in LLC circles. The Bible Class Teachers Workshop in September heard a presentation by Jim Frantti, “Ideas and Approaches to Teaching Bible Class,” along with receiving information about resource materials. Thirty-five teachers attended the workshop in person at the LLC office, and another 68 joined by conference call from around the continent. A similar workshop is planned for 2015.
• The 2014 LLC Ministers and Wives Camp, held in the Pacific Northwest, had attendees from many locations. Topics included The Servant of the Word is Christ’s Ambassador, by Pete Lever; Serving God and His Kingdom until Death Do You Part, by Keith Waaraniemi; and Life’s Decisions and Relationships with Others, by John Stewart. The discussions were united and uplifting.
• Planning for the 2015 LLC Summer Services in Outlook, Sask., moved into a new phase of activity in October when Adrian Pirness, from the LLC office, joined planning committee heads from the host congregations for a joint meeting in Outlook.
• Most congregations observed LLC Publications Week in October. For those of you who have not seen the video presentation by Dan Wuollet on the 30-year history of the annual Christmas in Zion publication, or if you wish to see it again, the video may be viewed on the LLC’s website, www.llchurch.org. Go to “Publications Week Video” under Quick Links. New publications featured as we approach the holidays include the 2015 LLC Wall Calendar, He made all the world, made all mankind; the new organ-only Christmas recording, See amid the Winter Snow; and the 2014 Christmas in Zion.
• Staff at the LLC office enjoyed a visit on October 24 with guest Finnish minister, Reijo Peura, and his wife Saara, who were serving on the October SRK speaking tour of LLC congregations.
• On September 21, 2014, the Wolf Lake Laestadian Lutheran Church called Philip Alajoki into the office of preaching. We wish God’s blessings to Philip and his wife Kari and family. We also thank the Heavenly Father for His gifts. “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37,38). God hears our prayers.
• As we approach another year-end, our Humanitarian Aid Committee is preparing to send annual Christmas care and gift packages to our brothers and sisters in Ecuador, Ghana, and Togo. Your year-end donations are greatly appreciated. Go to the Humanitarian Aid page via Quick Links on the LLC website.
During the LLC Update/Congregation Tour visits to congregations last spring, as well as at the July 5 LLC Annual Meeting, we spoke about LLC personnel needs due to growth and upcoming retirements. As the planning work has continued, the LLC Board of Directors, at its October meeting, considered my request to retire at the end of August 2015. Accordingly, the Board appointed a committee to identify and consider individuals, one of whom may be asked to next serve in the position of LLC Executive Director. This begins a time of transition for me personally and for the LLC staff. I have found it to be a great blessing to work with our staff and to serve our member congregations and their members in the work of God’s kingdom. I pray that God will guide us in this transition. As always, we appreciate and need your support. Thank you!
November 2014 Voice of Zion