Thursday Oct 09 2008
Faith Lutheran goes global with services
By: Joel Rothe, Faith Lutheran Church
A year of mission… Since I’ve been here at FLC, the annual Oktoberfest dinner and silent auction has always been one of my favorite events that we put on. This year it will be Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5 p.m. The night is always fun, but it is also the kick-off of our preparation for the “Youth To Mexico (Y2M)” Mexico mission trip. Even though the trip will still be over five months away while we are eating bratwurst and sauerkraut, it is a great chance to reminisce about trips in the past and build excitement about the mission possibilities we have in the future. This year, we aren’t only preparing for Y2M though. Throughout the year, there will be nine high-schoolers who are now preparing to go and serve in New Orleans at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA, National Youth Gathering. In addition, we have many service opportunities to give back in our local community, including a canned food collection night at the end of this month, on Oct. 29, for our high-schoolers to be involved with. You can easily say that this year will be a year of mission. Jesus calls us to be involved in ministering to the poor, the oppressed and the needy, both in physical need and spiritual need. But as Jesus’ ministry reflected and as our present day ministry reflects, there are many ways to do that. As I often tell our students and other people that I talk with, our mission, and the mission Jesus calls us to, is not so much a mission of doing, but rather a mission of relationship. Yes, the building of houses is important for people in Tijuana and New Orleans, and yes, the ability we have to give back financially can be very beneficial to many, however the time we spend with people and the relationships we build often cannot be associated with a monetary or quantifiable measurement. Our mission should be based in the desire to build relationships with people in Tijuana, in New Orleans and in our community, and out of those relationships we can learn to see how we are invited to serve and to give back. As a case in point, over the past two years we have made a special effort to further strengthen our ongoing relationship with Pastors Romelio and Marina Perez and their congregations in Tijuana. Through the building of our relationship, we had the chance to have them come to Meadow Vista this past summer. During their visit, we were able through conversation to learn of the need they have for feeding programs for kids that don’t regularly have enough to eat, and for school supplies and tuition money for kids of all ages trying to go to school. Our youth group, along with congregational support, was then able to make a donation of $1,700 in July to these specific ministries. We believe strongly at Faith Lutheran that everyone is welcome here, wherever you are in your faith journey. Through our mission efforts this year we will also seek to embody that statement as we focus on relationship through service. Joel Rothe is the youth and family minister at Faith Lutheran Church in Meadow Vista.