On behalf of the LLC office staff, I would like to wish each one of you a joyous and peaceful Christmas season. Scriptures relate how many years ago the heavens opened as angels announced the birth of our Savior. The message brought relief and joy to the tired traveler. The same joyful message resounds today, gives comfort to the weary traveler, and gives hope of an eternal Christmas in heaven. May this message of God’s perfect gift to all people be centermost as we gather with loved ones this Christmas season.
Updates on Several LLC Activities:
• Over 90 LLC pastors joined the annual ministers teleconference originating from the LLC office on November 5. Pastoral Director Keith Waaraniemi opened the discussion summarizing the current spiritual landscape in North America, both joys and concerns. The main discussion point of the evening spoke of how accepting children is above all a matter of faith that God, our Creator, continues to give life according to the First Article of the Creed. Luther explains, “I believe that God has made me and all other creatures.” Especially today, our families need support and encouragement in the midst of the enemy’s attacks.
• It’s not too early to begin making plans to attend the July 1–4, 2016 LLC Summer Services in Toronto. Along with Planning Committee members, I was able to tour the service site at the Essa Agriplex on November 7, during our Eastern Region board meeting. By all appearances, it will be a wonderful opportunity for families to attend. The service site is in a rural area away from distractions. There will be camping available at the site, as well as ample room for RV parking. Some of the local families plan to camp at the services as well. Additionally, 200 rooms have been reserved at the Georgian College campus, 20 minutes away. It will be a great opportunity for families to plan a summer vacation, attending services, along with wonderful sightseeing possibilities. Additional information will be forthcoming in the January Voice of Zion, and on LLC’s website.
• Representatives from Eastern Region congregation boards met in Toronto, November 6. There, Petri Hotari kept an introduction based on Hebrews 2:13, “And again, I will put my trust in him. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.” A fruitful discussion followed, reminding of God’s care and protection. The meeting also addressed terms for LLC Board members, HLC camp board members, and Eastern Region mission committee members.
• New publications featured as we approach Christmas include the 2016 LLC Calendar, Come and see the works of God; and the 2015 Christmas in Zion. Other newly released books and CDs are available at the LLC bookstore as well, all that would make a wonderful gift for a loved one. Also, note that subscription renewal notices have been sent out for the 2016 Voice of Zion and Shepherd’s Voice. Once again, we thank you for your subscription; it helps to support the work.
• Long-time Music Committee members Cara Amewotowu, Randy Herrala, Brian Strand, and Lea Waaraniemi have asked to be relieved from their duties due to changing circumstances. Replacing them will be Ian Hendrickson, Sarina Siljander, Saana Johnson, and Sam Roiko. New LLC staff member, Jessica Nikula, will also attend Music Committee meetings and support music work and projects. We wish them all God’s blessings and thank them for their willingness to serve with the gifts that God has given.
• In December, the Humanitarian Aid Committee sends an annual Christmas gift package to congregations in Ecuador, Togo, and Ghana. I have witnessed personally the joy and happiness that this brings to those in faraway lands. Year-end contributions can be made through the Humanitarian Aid link on the LLC website.
LLC staff and spouses will gather December 5 for their annual Christmas gathering. It gives opportunity to pause and reflect on their calling to serve in the work of God’s kingdom. Christmas also reminds us of the generosity of believers who support the work of our central organization. May God richly repay you as only He can. I wish you all abundant blessings in the coming New Year.
December 2015 Voice of Zion