As I write this, we are in the middle of a serious deep freeze in the Midwest. Conversations quickly turn to how to stay warm and even how to survive the onslaught of temperatures plunging way below previously reported averages. Spiritually it strikes us that the world in general becomes concerned about the vacillating temperatures on earth but, to no surprise, does not address the extreme heat for eternity unfortunately facing so many unsuspecting souls who do not know or trust in our dear Savior. We have a gracious Lord Jesus who truly has experienced the extreme heat eternally for you, me, and all people (2 Corinthians 5:21). The sins, guilt, and punishment of all people have been put upon him, including the hellfire we have deserved because of our transgressions. In exchange God, in his mercy, has given us a righteousness—the holiness of Jesus—that is declared to us and all people by God himself to be received personally by faith through the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. Yet multitudes are unaware of the off-the-charts heat that is coming as they go about day-by-day life in unbelief. We can help! God has us here to do for others what he graciously has accomplished for us. We can speak of sin and grace; repentance and faith. We can tell of the love of Jesus. We can say that he died for all. By faith in him there is no reason ever to fear the extreme unending fires upon body and soul. Only the blissful joys of heaven, with its eternal security, awaits everyone who claims the merits of Christ. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). May we individually and collectively spread the good news of the truly divine temperatures God wants us all to enjoy.
John A. Moldstad
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, your ELS president had a chance to preach, present, and meet a number of the members at Our Redeemer Lutheran (WELS background) in San Angelo, Texas. Our synod’s Board for Home Outreach currently is calling for a home missionary to partner with ORL in making a new start in the San Angelo, Texas, area (population about 120,000). The two girls in the picture (Madeline and Emma) graced the worship with a beautifully sung duet to open the Communion service. At present, the Rev. Peter Heyn of Deshler, Ohio, is holding the call.
On January 28-29, 2019, ELS home missionaries, Board for Home Outreach members, and neighboring pastors from ELS and WELS, came together at Hope Lutheran in Leander, Texas, for edifying discussions and encouragement. In the photo, an expert in digital communication from the Austin area gave a presentation.
God has richly blessed the mission work in Peru during the past fifty years. Besides the work in Lima, we rejoice that evangelism still continues among the Shawi people in the Amazon jungle region. Over ten Shawi men are involved in a seminary program. There are schools in the villages where education (as well as nutrition) is being provided. Pray for our members of the Peruvian church as they continue to find new areas for further Gospel outreach.
After it was determined that the original bell tower could not be restored at Manchester Lutheran Church (Manchester, Minnesota) because of the condition of the wood, the congregation decided to remove the existing one and have a new one designed and built. The contractor and his workers are members of the ELS congregation in Hartland. A Manchester member and a volunteer laborer insulated the building as well. God has greatly blessed the congregation by allowing them to carry out this project.
The Installation service for the Rev. John E. Merseth Sr. was held at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Ulen, Minnesota, on Sunday January 13 at 4:00 p.m. Pastor Merseth also services Immanuel Lutheran in Audubon, Minnesota, making this a two-point parish. The Rev Jeff Merseth was the officiant, the Rev. Gene Lilienthal preached the sermon and did the installation, and the Rev. Noah Thompson was the liturgist. A wonderful lunch was served by the Calvary Ladies Aid.
The deadline for items for publication in the 2019 Book of Reports and Memorials is April 1. Completed reports are to be mailed to the synod’s secretary. Requests for presentation time during the synod convention program must be directed to the president of the synod prior to April 15. Statistical Reporting for 2018 is due February 15. If you have not already reported, you can complete the statistical reporting form online: els.org/statistics. Board and committee secretaries are reminded that any corrections or additions to the “Addresses of Board and Committee Members” which is printed in the Synod Report also should be submitted at this time. Remember also that the Synod Convention is scheduled for June 23-27. This is one week later than our most recent convention.
On February 19-20, the largest board of our ELS will be meeting to do strategic planning for the next five years and to recommend to this year’s convention the budget for 2020. The Rev. Larry Wentzlaff, our Evangelism-Missions Counselor, will be leading us in the planning portion of our two-day sessions. We are asking the chairmen of our boards to come with specific ideas from each of the elected bodies they represent to assist us in ways to better implement our main task as a synod to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus.