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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Day After Call Day

Yesterday was like Christmas. The whole campus was buzzing with excitement. After heavy thunderstorms in the morning the sun broke through at noon. And then the fog lifted also for the seminarians and their families as they received vicarage and call assignments.

This is the wonderful congregation the LORD wants to bless the Tiews with: Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa OK. And yes, it is the beautiful church from my previous post! We are so thankful and excited!

Pastor Beecroft came all the way from Tulsa to be with us on this great day.

As if this wasn't wonderful enough, our old friends the Hintz Family will continue to be our neighbors while serving at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow - a suburb of Tulsa!

Thank you, friends, for all your faithful prayers and support.

We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Waiting for ...

... Call Day.

April 22nd 2008 seemed so far away - especially when we arrived here at the sem. The time went by so quickly and now we are looking forward to leaving "The Island".

Chris will receive an assignment for vicarage (you can follow the service on the Web) and we are excited about finding out what the LORD has in store for us next.

There are beautiful Lutheran churches out there!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hymns On The Accordion - Only At Tomball German Heritage Fest

There were many Lederhosen and Dirndls, as well as an alphorn and accordion. Before the start of the third day of Tomball German Heritage Festival, people gathered at a German/English prayer service in Tomball, Texas. They sang praises to God (Grosser Gott, wir loben Dich etc.), listened to the scriptures, prayed and listened to a sermon in two languages.

"Christianity is not about our best life now, but it's the story of Christ’s life, His death on the Cross and resurrection on the third day, the miracle of the empty tomb, and the coming down of the Holy Spirit who resides in all of us who have been baptized and who believe in Him.

The big picture is that, thanks to Christ’s work on the cross, your sins and mine have been forgiven and you and I have eternal life in His name.


Und nun, möge der Friede Gottes, der alles Verstehen übersteigt, eure Herzen und eure Gedanken in der Gemeinschaft mit Christus Jesus bewahren..."

And some wonderful people encouraged Chris greatly:
  • "Keep on preaching the Word, it's not popular, but the right thing to do".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Issues Etc - No More

We've been in shock for over a week now. Our favorite Christ-centered radio show "Issues Etc." has been cancelled. Without warning, without explanation. Radio for the thinking Christian - no more. Why?

Please get involved

Read more

Sign the Petition

Become even more active

Monday, March 24, 2008

Coming Home from Easter Service

Christ is Risen!


(They all should look happier .... but it's freezing cold and snowing outside)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right

I am a so-called "SAHM" now - a stay-at-home-mom. I'm really happy that I have the privilege to be home with my children, but sometimes this job doesn't get the OOOHs and AAAhs of other professions. Rod Dreher's always interesting Crunchy Con blog pointed me to this book by Nicole Johnson about women building cathedrals. Here an excerpt:

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Those were the "old school days"

Maybe it's the fact that we are about to leave just another school, but recently I have been thinking of my old school days. And my dear school mates. I wished I had kept contact.

Chris went to school in the US and Germany. He had to learn German when he entered the humanistic Gymnasium in Munich. Even though he moved around quite a bit he still keeps contact with some of his old friends from school. The Internet is so amazing! Well, maybe it helps that his name is still the same, but mine has changed a bit.

I grew up as Gudula Buecker in Telgte, Germany and went to school in a Catholic girls school. When we were studying world religions, learned how to critique them and then read Nietzsche, who said "God is dead", I told myself that I would really like to become a Lutheran. It made a lot of sense to me. But since God was dead there wasn't any reason to switch from one dead denomination to another.
Well, little did I know the plans He had for me!

Hey, if you by any chance are one of my old friends from St. Mauriz, send me an email. Ich spreche auch deutsch!

Call Day Is Drawing Near —Am I Prepared For My New Job?

No, I don’t play any instrument. I can’t sing very well either. And while I am excited about mission and ministry, I am not sure I feel equipped and ready to leave this “Lutheran Island”. Is there still time to brush up on some useful skills, so that I can become a proper vicar’s wife and later—maybe– even a pastor’s wife?
There is so much fact and fiction, there are so many expectations, ideals, horror stories, hopes and dreams connected with that particular role.
Arrrgh—what am I going to do when a church elder visits our home unexpectedly and asks me to please be in charge of the upcoming Christmas pageant? “Hey, there are still two weeks left to get it all done!” Then he turns around, sees all the popcorn on the floor, uneaten apple cores in the corner, unfinished science projects on the table and half empty laundry baskets on the couch. He shakes his head with a look of pity and leaves the house to have a talk with my husband.
What if I just can’t fill the shoes of the previous pastor’s wife? What if I don’t have “my own ministry”? Will the congregation be disappointed? Will I suffer burn-out as you sometimes hear?
Pondering all of that I find the Lutheran doctrine of vocation to be extremely helpful. God calls us into different positions during our lives: that of student, daughter, wife, mother, neighbor, doctor, teacher, Sunday school teacher, grandmother, business owner, SWA member, civic leader… In these roles we are to work as if serving the Lord (Eph 6:7). It is a holy calling, inasmuch as Christ works through us in every important and also seemingly mundane job—cleaning the house, changing diapers, raking leaves...
But I can’t fulfill the duties of all these positions equally well. There are not enough hours in the day!
Jesus tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind and then to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:39). But who is my neighbor? At different times different people are our closest neighbors. In my mind, the closer the neighbors are, the more time and effort they deserve.
Your single years seem to be an ideal time to actively seek out opportunities for service, at home, in the church, the community, and even abroad.
But after the wedding, our husbands should be our second priority after God. (Eph 5:22). The love, respect, spiritual support, and encouragement we can give our husbands will form the foundation of his work and family life.
When there are children in the family they are clearly the next closest neighbor—for a while at least. These gifts from God need to be brought up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). I believe that’s one of our most rewarding opportunities for mission work! And it promotes church growth :)
If you support your husband financially by working for a company or running your own, or you are still in college, you have more close neighbors to serve: your manager, co-worker, customer, teacher, and clients. And don’t forget your extended family, physical neighbors, friends, community, and church congregation members!
With all these different demands competing for my limited time, effective housekeeping and time management alone can’t resolve the conflicts. I sometimes have to make tough choices when selecting the most important vocation of the week. Trying to identify my closest neighbor at a given time, helps to prioritize the jobs at hand. The job I would like to have is not always the one that God has in mind for me today.
And now the vocation “Vicar’s/Pastor’s Wife” is going to be added to the mix. Even though I—and likely the new congregation as well—have ideas for my involvement in the church, at this stage in life I have to look realistically at my available time slots. Well, the good thing is that a major part of this new vocation is actually an old one: “wife”.
My husband, not I, will be called to be an ordained minister in the church. So my future job shouldn’t be much different from the one I have now. Yes, the children and I will have new opportunities to serve the church as a family. But we won’t be able to do all we wished we could. My core responsibilities will stay the same.
Now this gives me comfort and peace and I don’t feel rushed to take some last minute crash courses for pastor’s wives.
I pray that the talk about vocation between the church elder, who will see the mess in my house, and my husband will lead to a better understanding of the challenges of being a “Pastor’s wife”. And to forgiveness for the lack of love and service to my neighbors.
What do you think?

First published in the Seminary Women's Newsletter

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Lone Moose Ranch Endorses Governor Huckabee

This evening we had the chance to cheer for him in person at the Drury Inn in St. Louis