May Blessings

 

 

Sunday, May 13th is Mother’s Day.  I wanted to share some thoughts by second graders on the question:  ‘Why did God make moms?’

 

 

Why did God make mothers?

  1. She’s the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
  2. Mostly to clean the house.
  3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

  1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
  2. Magic, plus super powers … and a lot of stirring.
  3. God made my mom just the same like He made me .. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

  1. God made mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world … and one dab of mean.
  2. They had to get their start from men’s bones. Then, they used string, I think.
  3. Sugar and spice and some Elmer’s glue … and rubber bands.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

  1. We’re related.
  2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s mom like me.
  3. No one else wanted her.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?

  1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
  2. I don’t know because I wasn’t there … but my guess would be pretty bossy.
  3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

  1. His last name.
  2. She had to know his background. Like, is he a crook?  Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?  Does he make at least $800 a year?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

  1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world … and my mom eats a lot!
  2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
  3. My grandma says that mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.

Who’s the boss at your house?

  1. Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such a goofball.
  2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection.  She sees the stuff under the bed.
  3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What’s the difference between moms and dads?

  1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
  2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
  3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power because that’s who you go to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

  1. Moms don’t do spare time.
  2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.
  3. Pick up my dad’s underwear.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

  1. On the inside, she’s already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
  2. Diet … you know, her hair. I’d diet … maybe blue.
  3. If she let me eat candy and drink pop anytime I wanted … and if she got rid of vegetables all together.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

  1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I’d get rid of that.
  2. I’d make my mom smarter. Then, she would know it was my sister who did it … not me.
  3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Awww … from the mouths of babes!!  But, we all know that God made mothers for us to love, respect and, for us women, to path our lives just like them.  What would we do, what would we be without our moms?   Not just on May 13th, but every day of our lives, let’s hug them, take them out to lunch or bring them flowers, and tell them how much we love and admire them.  Let’s thank God for choosing them for us and be ever grateful to Him for their presence in our lives.

 

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. – G. Mermillod

 


 

Some words of thanks from a couple of our CTW family members:

‘We shared the crosses as a gift for the elderly homebound parishioners at First Lutheran as a part of a special communion service on Maundy Thursday. They each held them as a precious treasure. Many thanks for these wonderful, but simple gifts.’ – Helene, IA

‘It was great talking with you to place our order for 600 crosses for our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing party.  God will be sending these beautiful works of art to several countries around the world.  Thanks for sharing the talents God has given you with us so we can share God’s love through our shoeboxes.’ – Edna, AZ

Thanks so much for sharing, Helene and Edna!!

 


 

During April, our crosses were shared by these folks.  We thank them for their service for Him.

Carla – MN

Ginny – MN

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church – Cohasset, MN

Edna – AZ for Operation Christmas Child

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church – Desboro, Ontario Canada

First Lutheran Church – Milford, IA

Hopewell Methodist Church – Rayland, OH

Cooks Congregational Church – Manistique, MI

Redemption Church – Tucson, AZ

Cindy – MN

Kay – MN

Bob – MN

 


 

The last weekend of May is a very important remembrance time period for us.

 

On Friday, May 25th, we will observe NATIONAL POPPY DAY, which, thanks to the efforts of the American Legion and its Auxiliary, is celebrated in countries around the world.

In 1920, the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war and in 1924, the distribution of poppies became one of their national programs.  Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, each year red poppies are distributed and we join them in asking that you wear one to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation’s uniform.

 

We will observe MEMORIAL DAY and the NATIONAL MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE on Monday, the 28th.

The story of MEMORIAL DAY begins in the summer of 1865 in Waterloo, NY when a prominent  druggist, Henry C. Welles, mentioned to some of his friends at a social gathering that in addition to praising the living veterans of the Civil War, it would be well to remember the patriotic dead by placing flowers on their graves. Apparently, his suggestion didn’t go very far that year but, in 1866, he reiterated his idea to General John B. Murray who was an intensely patriotic civil war hero.  The idea was supported wholeheartedly and plans were developed for a more complete celebration by a local citizens’ committee headed by Welles and Murray.

On May 5, 1866, Waterloo was decorated with flags at half mast, draped with evergreens and mourning black. Veterans, civic societies and residents marched to the strains of martial music to the three village cemeteries. There, impressive ceremonies were held and soldiers’ graves decorated.  These ceremonies were repeated the next year and, in 1868, other surrounding communities began to hold their own observance on May 30th.  In 1971, Memorial Day was declared by the federal government to be observed on the last day of Monday in May.

While several towns claim to be the originators of Memorial Day, in 1966 Congress declared Waterloo, NY to be the birthplace of the holiday.

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.”  This act is intended to ‘encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity’.

THE NATIONAL MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

 


 

We ask that you honor our heroes and what they have provided us,
through their sacrifices,
not only this coming Memorial Weekend but always.

Our freedom came at a cost.

Come Near to God

‘Have you ever considered what a privilege it is to live in the era after the cross?  Today every believer has instant access to God through His Son Jesus Christ.  We don’t need to adhere to any religious rites before coming to Him in prayer.  Wherever we are, we can call on Him for forgiveness and help. 

In the Old Testament, the law prescribed exactly who could approach the Lord and how it was to be done.  The temple area was divided into a courtyard, an inner chamber called the Holy Place, and the innermost chamber called the Holy of Holies.  Any Israelite could come to the temple to pray to God or to bring an offering, but only the priests could sacrifice animals on the altar or burn incense in the Holy Place.  The Holy of Holies was entered once a year and only by the high priest to offer blood for his sins and the sins of the nation. 

When Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross, the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom as God opened a new and living way to approach Him:  through the blood of His Son.  When we trust in Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf, He cleanses us from all sins and invites us to draw near to Him. 

The way to the heavenly Father is open, but are you drawing near to Him?  Even those of us who have trusted the Lord for salvation may not be taking advantage of this invitation to come even closer.  In James 4:8, the author makes a promise every believer should claim:  “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”    –   Courtesy of Dr. Charles Stanley

 

 


 

We’ve received some feedback from our family members and we wanted to share.

In January, Rev. Robert Rahn of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation headed to South Sudan.  He has made this trip many times and in addition to carrying theological literature and Bibles to students and pastors in the region, he has carried the cross for the children (see photos of his last 2 trips HERE and HERE).  This is his accounting of this year’s trip:

‘Reporting on crosses I took with me in January. It’s kind of a tale of woe. We were heading for Yambio, South Sudan where we participated in the opening a new year and new class of the Concordia Lutheran Institute of the Holy Ministry. 25 students are preparing for ministry. From there we went to Nairobi, Kenya to visit the new campus of the Lutheran School of Theology where the Lutheran Heritage Foundation is helping to build a library/translation center and where earlier I had sent my entire theological library. From there I went to Ethiopia, three different locations. I preached for a service attended by some 300 Sudanese refugees who are living in three refugee camps with some 250,000 other Sudanese refugees. We also participated in the distribution of three books translated and published by the LHF in the Amharic language. We also visited the Maor  Theological Seminary in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, where we send instructors to teach theology.

 The intent was to distribute crosses in each location. The tale of woe is that the person traveling with me and I had taken 23 suitcases that were mostly filled with books for the seminary students as well as all the other items we had hoped to distribute. The day I left Yambio the suitcases were being unloaded from the plane I was boarding. The only choice I had was to assign the Bishop of the Ev. Lutheran Church in South Sudan/Sudan the task of distributing the crosses to children in South Sudan. I asked him to take some pictures when he distributed them.

As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. It was disappointing not to be able to fulfill my plan.’

We look forward to seeing the photos if and when they come.  In the meantime, we are thankful your travels remained rather uneventful and your group were held safe in His arms.  Thank you for your continued service in His name.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, this last month, a group of dedicated medical staff made their 20th something trip to Guatemala through the HELPS Ministry to provide necessary medical surgeries and attention to mostly children.  Kay, from Monticello, is one of the volunteers who makes the trek each year and has started carrying our cross, made into necklaces, to the patients.  We have featured her necklace making group before (click HERE); this accounting is from this year’s ‘necklace party’:

‘Tim G. got the 400+ crosses sprayed and they are now ready to make into necklaces on the 9th of February.  Thanks so much for the Cross the World ministry.  God bless you for doing this.  We are blessed to be a blessing because of what you started.’

And, this:

‘A great day was enjoyed making cross necklaces at my house today; we spent hours of creative beading.  We made over 300 necklaces out of your awesome crosses.  They are beautiful and will be greatly appreciated by the people of Guatemala.’

 Thank you, Kay.  We pray your travels were also safe; we’ll be looking forward to receiving pictures of the smiling recipients!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, Kaylene from Montana wanted us to know that she received a cross from her grandparents:

‘The cross says AZ on it so I thought I’d post and let you know how amazing it is that it has traveled up to me!’

Thanks, Kaylene.   We hope to hear from you again soon!

 


 

I wish you love and strength and faith and wisdom.  Goods, gold enough to help some needy one.  I wish you songs, but also blessed silence.  And, God’s sweet peace when every day is done.

– Dorothy Nell McDonald

 


 

Crosses to be shared were sent out to the following during March:

Luverne – MN

Helen – IA

Bonita – MN

Bea – NJ for Operation Christmas Child

Joplin Family Worship Center – Joplin, MO

Brian – TX

Avera Health – Sioux Falls, SD

David – WI

Center of Hope – Sioux Falls, SD

Robert – MN

SonRise Christian School – Wadena, MN

St. Francis Xavier – Sartell, MN

 


 

And, I couldn’t close without sharing my favorite Easter song with you.

 

 

Wishing you a most blessed Easter.

March

 

Well, here it is.   March.   The month we’ve been waiting for … dreading its arrival … excited to see it come.

Ernie and I are in the throes of cabin fever.  This winter has been cold and that makes it long.  We keep watching the sun, as if the increasing day length will cause our ‘Spring’ anxiety to diminish.  It’s higher in the sky now and we’re starting to feel its warmth more.  We’re giving long, loving glances at our deck chairs … neatly stacked against the side of the garage, barely visible over the snow drift.  Ernie’s starting to fondly think of that first mosquito; I’m watching for the first deer tick … oh how we’ve missed them.  This winter has been long.

And, as we begin looking for any sign of spring, we start to notice there are, indeed, signs all around us.   When did they come?  Have they been there a long time, we wonder?  The stately spruce trees in our area have provided us a lovely green presence in the barren wilderness for months but, now, they appear to be spreading the ends of their graceful branches like hands, holding generous dollops of whiter-than-white icy frosting.   Not to be left out by their neighbors, we’re seeing smudges of rosy auburn on the ends of the birch branches and spritzes of chartreuse here and there, dancing off the tips of the poplar trees.  The maple trees are starting to swell their crimson buds and, truly, no one can miss the long delicate fingers of our neighbor’s weeping willow that literally effervesce a luminous canary yellow as they drive by.

The deer and wild turkeys have been visiting our bird feeders all winter but, as the snow and cold drag on, their appetites are getting more voracious as their food supply gets buried deeper from their reach and their presence in our yards is visible almost any time of the day now.  The squirrel activity is starting to reach a fevered pitch, which is driving our dog nuts.  It seems they know just how close to the oversized snowbank’s edge to scamper that is safe from Lily’s reach; good exercise for the dog but frustrating to her nonetheless.  And, today, a pair of trumpeter swans returned to a springfed opening on our lake.

Like sprinters at the starting line, it looks like all God’s creations in Mother Earth’s winter world are getting lined up for the ‘Spring Marathon’, bracing for the sound of the starter’s pistol.  It is beginning to look like spring up here in the woods!!

Yup, spring is starting to come to Minnesota.  But, hold up … not so fast.  It’s only the first of March and we have a plethora of climates to adventure through before this month ends …  just like last year and the year before, and the year before that and, probably, the year Minnesota was just a tiny dot on the globe.  We can either have 60 degrees and we’re donning shorts, feverishly searching for our flip-flops (please, please, puh-leeze) OR we’re dejectedly peering out the window at 3 feet of freshly fallen snow, screaming ‘Will it ever end???’  And, too many times, we’ve seen that scenario happen in the same week!  In fact, just to prove the point, the weatherman has predicted precipitation somewhere between 0-11” for this weekend alone!  Minnesota can be cah-raazzzz-eee in March!!!

So, tucked in at the end of the road, Ernie and I will just settle in to wait it out … play Cribbage, build crosses, and enjoy the ride, whatever it might be.  Maybe it’ll be as smooth as silk; maybe as rough as riding a corncob.  (My dad used to say that.  In fact, he used to say a lot of weird things that I don’t understand to this day.)  All we know is that this month will come in as a lion and leave as a lamb, or, vice versa.  And, on March 31st, we’ll be able to tell you all about it with extreme accuracy.  Until then, friends, be well.  Life is good!!!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. – Hal Borland

 

 


 

Remember to set your clocks ahead on Sunday, March 11th!  Here’s some of the other noteworthy days this month:

National Peace Corps Day – Tuesday, March 6th

St. Urho’s Day – Friday, March 16th

St. Patrick’s Day – Saturday, March 17th

First day of Spring – Tuesday, March 20th

Palm Sunday – Sunday, March 25th

National Vietnam War Veteran’s Day – Thursday, March 29th

Good Friday – Friday, March 30th

Passover Begins – Saturday, March 31st

 


 

These great CTW family members received and shared crosses this past month:

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Carmen – MN

Don – MN

SonRise Christian School – Bluffton, MN

Bonita – MN

Jason – MN

Sheila – NV

Dodie – MN for Central MN Teen Challenge

Jackie – PA

Our Saviors Lutheran Church – Topeka, KA

Grace Baptist Church – Anaconda, MT

Central MN Faith Community Nurses – St. Cloud, MN

 


 

 HELP US HELP YOU!!

Good Friday and Easter are quickly approaching.  If you need crosses to hand out during these services or for any other purpose this month, please let us know as soon as you can.

 

 


 

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created spring.

– Bern Williams

 

 

God Said ‘Please Be Mine’!

 

The more tightly we are attached to Jesus, the more purely His love can pass through us.  And oh, what a love it is!   – Max Lucado

 

Some important upcoming dates:    Ash Wednesday – February 14

    Easter – April 1

 


 

During the third century and under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues.  This was based on the theory that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.

Even though polygamy was the name of the game during that time, the Christian church considered marriage between one man and one woman sacred and encouraged their marriage in Christian faith. This angered Claudius and he persecuted the church for this, banning all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, a holy priest, realized the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret, encouraging the young couples to marry within the church.  He was eventually caught, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, imprisoned, tortured and condemned for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of the emperor.

There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind.  It appears that Valentine took favor with the daughter and was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.

In the year 269 AD, on February 14th, Valentine’s life came to an end when he was sentenced to a three-part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation … all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “From your Valentine.”

 


 

Jesus is God’s true love valentine to us!

 

While it is true there is no mention of Ash Wednesday in the Bible, it has become a tradition of donning ashes as a sign of penitence that predates Jesus.  It marks the beginning of the season of Lent (also not mentioned in the Bible, though many Christians see it as an imitation of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and battling with Satan in the desert), a time when many Christians prepare for Easter.  Ash Wednesday, observed on February 14th this year, emphasizes two themes … our sinfulness before God and our human mortality.  These two themes help us realize that both have triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 


 

God’s love was passed to others through these CTW family members in January:

Frank – MI
Christian House Baptist Chapel – Aliquippa, PA
Kay – MN
Janis – MN
Amber – TX
Gale – MN
Darlene – MN
Karl – MN
Jason – MN
Shirley – KS

 


 

As we approach the Lenten season, we ask your help.  If you are thinking about how and where our crosses will fit for you during this season and want to order some, we’d like to hear from you as soon as we can.  Even if you aren’t ready to receive the crosses until closer to Easter, it helps us to know your needs ahead of time.  We’ll hold your orders and ship to meet your deadlines.  Thanks a bunch!

 


 

When you love someone, you give to them, as God gives to us. 

The greatest gift He ever gave was the person of His Son, sent to us in human form so that we might know what God the Father is really like!

– Dale Evans Rogers

God’s Accuracy

How great is our God and his accuracy!!  Our Creator and Redeemer … and do we THINK about it??

God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs.  For example, the eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days; those of the canary in 14 days.  The barnyard hen hatches her eggs in 21 days while ducks and geese hatch in 28 days.  Mallards hatch in 35 days and the eggs of the parrot and ostrich hatch in 42 days.  Notice a common denominator?  They are all divisible by seven … the number of days in a week!

God’s wisdom is seen in other animals.  The four legs of the elephant all bend forward in the same direction … no other quadruped is so made.  God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs and for this reason, He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.  The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first; a cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first.  How wise the Lord in in all His works of creation!!

God’s wisdom is additionally revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.  Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.  Each orange has a n even number of segments.  Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.  Every bunch of bananas has, on the lowest row, an even number of bananas and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.

The waves of the sea roll into shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.  Every stalk of any kind of grain has an even number of kernels.  The Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, a hundred fold … all even numbers.

God has created the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day.  Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

The lives of each of you may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if you will only entrust Him with your life.  If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and, most likely, a failure.  Only the One who made the brain and the heart can successfully guide them to a profitable end.

 

 


 

And, this from our CTW family members:

‘Thank you for making these crosses available!  So far, I’ve packed 552 shoeboxes for
Operation Christmas Child this year.  As you open each box, there is the wooden
cross laying right on top.  I lay an open solid color wash cloth over the
clothing and toys in the box and then lay the cross on it.  It looks so pretty.
The ones I ordered are literally traveling around the world.’ – Audrey, MN

‘Thank you for the prompt delivery of our crosses! We received them yesterday and painted 30 of them today to deliver to the New Beginnings Pregnancy Center. We love Jesus and are blessed to use these crosses to show LOVE to others!’ – Krystine, MN

 


 

Our crosses walked with God through these CTW family members in December:

Krystine – MN

Nancy – MO

Jay – MI

Gideons Prison Ministry – Willmar, MN

Carla – MN

Don – MN

Sandi – NC

Denise – MD

Calvary Lutheran Church  – Willmar, MN

Christ Community Church – Nisswa, MN

Wayne – AZ

Frank – MI

Marcia – MN

Marybeth – MN

Don – MN

Sherri – PA

God’s Country Coop Parish – Newberry, MI

Good Samaritan Society – Inver Grove Heights, MN

Carol – AZ

Grace United Methodist Church – Paynesville, MN

 


 

 

When you carry the Bible, Satan has a headache

When you open it, he collapses

When he sees you reading it, he loses his strength

And, when you stand on the Word of God, Satan can’t hurt you

 

Joy, Peace and Love

 

It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.

  Jean-Baptiste Moliere

 


 

It’s that time of year when we scurry through the shopping malls, scouring the shelves, attempting to find that ‘perfect’ gift.  We curse as the parking lot is full of misparked vehicles and we’re forced to drive up row after row to find a spot we can barely shimmy into.  We shove past the window shoppers as they lazily gaze at items, wondering if they would fit anyone’s fancy.  In our heads, we shout at the stressed store clerks to ‘hurry up, hurry up’.  Finally, out of desperation (and regardless of our age), we wearily climb up on Santa’s knee, looking to him for some last minute, very much needed guidance.

Sound familiar?  We are all shopping for that perfect gift.  But, in our haste, we overlook the most valuable gift ever … the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We should be spending our time preparing … expecting … listening … all the rest of this commercial craziness called holiday cheer is truly meaningless.

I want to share this poem, written a long time ago, by an unnamed author.  Perhaps you will find it as meaningful as I do:

There’s no Christmas without Jesus; it’s to Him our eyes should see.
Not to jolly Old Saint Nicholas, not a glitt-ring Christmas tree!
Shops in town are decorated, decked in colors bright and gay.
Tinsel lights and shapes created merge into one grand display.

“There’s no Christmas without buying gifts and toys to give”, they say.
Oh, that they should be realizing all these things will fade away!
Santa Claus is just a story; reindeer never pulled his sleigh.
Why then, does he get the glory on this sacred, holy day?
 

But a baby in a manger really lived in Israel.
He was born to be our Savior; it’s His story we must tell!
He gave up all His heav’nly riches for to manifest His love!
Take the tinsel and the glitter and the santas all away,
For God’s love is far, far greater than this manmade grand display!
 

And when we stop to think about it, all the time that perfect gift is right before our very eyes; that perfect gift is within our very hearts!  We are reminded to pause and find joy in Jesus’ birth, to feel the promise of peace and love only He can provide that will renew our hope is this crazy world of today.

Christmas is a time when we should all keep Christ at the top of our shopping list by honoring His presence in our lives.  With every gift we receive, we need to take a moment to look up to the heavens … recall a shining star, a manger and the greatest gift of all … Jesus Savior, our Heavenly King … for there is no joy as deep, no hope as eternal, and no love as secure as that found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

 

 


 

And, it is with joy that we share these comments from our CTW family:

‘Just thought that I’d let you know that I recently passed out a half-dozen crosses (which I received while visiting Kansas this summer) when visiting Christians in Kyrgyzstan. A little Kyrgyz boy, the son of a pastor in Bishkek, said that he would be happy to keep one for himself and give others to his friends.’ – Bradn

‘We sent off 22 Operation Christmas Boxes last week.  Each box received a Cross the World necklace.   I am a Parish Nurse here at Faith Lutheran.  I am in the group of Centracare Nurses at St. Cloud hospital.  I was privileged to help give away 400 crosses at the Health Fair in St. Cloud.  Thank you for your faithful ministry in crossing the world with the cross of Christ.’ – Kay, MN

 


 

A little humor probably only us Norwegians will relate to!

 

 


 

We are so blessed to have you all in the CTW family …  and, each month, our family continues to grow.  Here’s where our crosses walked in November:

            Lutheran Heritage Foundation – Macomb, MI

            Nordland Lutheran Church – Paynesville, MN

            Susan – MN

            Joplin Family Worship Center – Joplin, MO

            Mary Jo – MN

            Pastor Pete – AZ

            Mona – KS

            Aliquippa Christian Assembly – Aliquippa, PA

            Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

            Stella – OR

            Crossing Home – Minneapolis, MN

            Carla – MN

            Karl – MN

            United Church of Christ – Hackensack, MN

            Christian House Baptist Chapel – Aliquippa, PA

            Joan – MN

 


 

For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through,

the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.

 John Greenleaf Whittier

 

 

All of us at Cross The World wish you the joy of Jesus’

grace, love and peace for the coming year.

A THANKFUL HEART

November is a ‘thankful’ month for me … Thanksgiving comes near the end of the month and always presents the wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with the family.  We hug each other; we laugh at each other; we eat too much together.  It’s a great family get-together!  But, of course, there’s more!!

On  Thanksgiving Day, and from the comfort of my La-Z-Boy in front of my big screen TV, I can enjoy watching a pompous parade of overstuffed cartoon characters meandering down the streets of New York City, followed by one over-commercialized football game after another.  Then, the next day, I can immerse myself into the insane Christmas shopping stream … racing from one department store to another, trying to time my entrance to get the best deal on some material item, spending way more money than I have or could possibly make in a year.

Or … I could humbly spend my time being thankful.

Today is Veterans Day.  Yes, it’s a holiday … no mail, no banking.  But, it’s more than that … it’s a kick-off of my ‘thankful’ season.  There are men and women out there in the military, retired or active, who are bestowing me a monumental blessing of freedom … not just today … but every day.

They are risking their lives … for me.  Many of them have already suffered wounds that will never heal … for me.  Some have already lost limbs, vision, mobility; some have returned from duty to find their jobs replaced, their homes closed to them, or their family life, as they remember it, in tatters … for me.  Others are serving in distant lands, far from anything that is familiar or comfortable to them.  Their sleep may be shattered by noises they haven’t heard before; their days may be spent dealing with sandstorms or drenching rains or suspicious roadside travelers.  They won’t be spending their holidays with loved ones this year; their Thanksgiving dinner may be served cold from a can and their TV may be non-existent.  And, they may be crying out in pain or fear, only to ears that don’t hear.  They may be doing all of this … all for me.

And, so, I think … what can I possibly do for these brave men and women to let them know just how thankful I am to them?  I can remember what they have fought for and are continuing to stand for; I can pray for their safety because, without them, I wouldn’t be.  I can honor them for their service and pay them the tribute they deserve.  I can let them know I am proud of our United States soldiers and that I am proud of the United States of America.  I can stand by them.

I am truly overwhelmingly humbly thankful for them … not just today, but every day.  I pray that you will join me in saying ‘Thank you’ to all our military.

 

 


 

Here is a wonderful and fun fact on how M&Ms began their long and tasty journey:

In the 1930’s, during the Spanish Civil War, Forrest Mars St., son of the founder of the Mars Company, developed the idea for the M&M candies when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting.

Ten years later, he struck a deal to produce his new candy with Hershey’s Bruce Murrie and this arrangement allowed the candies to be made with Hershey chocolate (the Hershey Company, at the time, had control of the rationed chocolate).  The duo named the candy after their initials, gained a patent for the invention, and started distributing their candies, which were packed in cardboard tubes, to the soldiers during World War II.

In 1945, after the war ended, the M&M packaging changed to the wrappers we still see today, and the candies were introduced to the public.  In 1949, the tagline ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand’ was released by the company; in 1950, a black ‘M’ was imprinted on each candy and in 1954, the color was changed to white.

After all these years, it still remains one of the most popular chocolate candies in the US.

 


 

We’ve heard such wonderful testimonials this past month … we have to share!!

 

I just love these crosses!  I feel God’s blessings every time I give one away. – Don, MN

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Thank you so very much for sending the crosses.  We are placing them in zip lock bags along with candy for the children that may stop by on Halloween. It is our way of showing them that we do not celebrate evil, but we celebrate Christ. Thank you and God bless. – Moore Ministries, FL

(The tag on the zip lock bag reads: ‘Let’s not teach our children to celebrate evil and witchcraft.’)

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Yesterday, I delivered 200 of the Spanish crosses and 150 of the English crosses to the catholic church up the road; they have Spanish services at noon on Sunday. Hopefully, the congregation will be able to use the crosses in their ministry and/or share them with other locations. I will be assisting with the soup kitchen through Churches United for the Homeless and will have the crosses available there. Through the crosses, there was a lot of hope shared there the last time Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church assisted … big burley guys with Harley jackets and torn clothing had tears in their eyes. You never know what others have gone through, but we know Who brought them in that night.  – Carla, MN

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My other profession is as a public school teacher and today, I received an email from a fellow teacher at a different school.  This email began this way, “I am sorry I was so rude to year last year.  I know I hurt you.”  Now I had to think really hard about that as I just couldn’t remember her ever being rude to me.  She went on to tell the story.  Here is the short version:

About a hundred teachers were attending a teacher leadership conference at a nearby hotel and, while on a break, I was sitting, alone, at my table.  Suddenly, a hand came stabbing in from over my shoulder and a finger was pointed at a cross I had laying on the tabletop, a Cross The World cross.  She fairly loudly groaned and said, “Oh, you are one of those!”  I was a bit startled by her remark because I didn’t know she was standing behind me.  When I turned and smiled, I saw she was a bit upset …  well, maybe not a bit …  she was very upset.  Then she said, “I guess you believe in that Jesus.”  I said, “Oh yes, I do.  Do you?”  She spurted out a string of obscenities as she spun and stomped away.

I was too stunned to respond at first and then I believe the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart saying that young woman is hurting.  I started to follow her across the large conference room we were in, and when I was about halfway, she saw me and pointed at me with a look on her face that told me not to come any closer.  I held up my hands in surrender and turned back to my table.  I was feeling sort of whipped;  I wanted to go to her but I knew I wasn’t welcome.  I prayed for that lady right then and I asked God to heal her broken heart.  I forgot about the incident.  I really didn’t think it was a big deal.  I was, oh, so wrong!

In her email, she told of all the tribulation she had been going through.  Her father and mother had both died earlier that year, she had her third miscarriage and the doctor told her she could never have children, her husband had left her because she was so mean to him, and she had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Okay, that would be enough the break the heart of even the strongest person … I read on.  She said she had slipped back into the conference room when we were on our next break and, finding no one at my table, she took the cross and snuck away.  Because we were so busy the rest of the day, I didn’t notice that the cross was missing.

Late that night, all alone in the dark, she wept, holding that cross.  These are the words she said she cried, “Oh God, if you are there, I need you.”  She immediately felt the sorrow, and guilt, and grief, and pain lift from her.  She went back to church that coming Sunday and gave her life to Christ.  She said, “Thank you for the cross, but that I couldn’t have it back.”  She has since learned that she is now a new creation, having been born again.  By the way, she is now cancer free.

What is the power of the cross?  Well…. – Pastor Stan – MN

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As the song goes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s a time of sharing … and we want to help you help others share God’s love through the cross this season.

Please, if you are considering giving our crosses away through shoeboxes, Christmas bags, personal visits, mission work, etc., and you haven’t gotten your request for them to us yet, we’re asking that you do so as soon as you can.  Please help us by giving us as much time as you can to make sure you receive your crosses when you need them.  Thank you!!

 


 

We count our blessings for our Cross The World family; our crosses traveled here in October:

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Helen – ND

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

SonRise Christian School – Bluffton, MN

Catherine – MN

Dodie – MN

Rodnes Lutheran Church – Erskine, MN

Carla – MN

Don – MN

Paradise and Hulbert United Methodist Church – Newberry, MI

Answer in Jesus Ministries – Ramsey, MN

Community Care ‘n Share  Café – Emily, MN

Moore Ministries – Ruskin, FL

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Ladies – Cohasset, MN

St. John the Evangelist Catholic School – Rochester, MN

New Life Church – Foley, MN

Restoration Book Store – Crosby, MN

Churches United for the Homeless – Moorhead, MN

Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church – Fargo, MN

Karen – MN