January 2024 Newsletter

Downloadable Links

January 2024 Calendar


The Fulfillment of God's Promise

Promises hold a special place in our lives. They represent a commitment, a pledge to follow through with our words. But have you ever found yourself regretting a promise you made? Maybe you wished you could take it back or realized that circumstances prevented you from keeping it.

In the story of a young boy named Jeff, we delve into the complexities of promises. Jeff had promised his dad to help clean the garage, a task he later questioned when his grandmother called, inviting him to watch a movie. A promise is a promise, or so they say. Would Jeff honor his commitment to his dad or choose the allure of spending time with his beloved grandmother?

Similarly, a girl named Avery faced a dilemma. She had promised to attend her friend's birthday party but woke up with a sore throat. Recognizing the risk of spreading illness, Avery had to prioritize her health and visit the doctor instead. A promise is a promise, but sometimes circumstances force us to deviate from our commitments.

Humans, it seems, are fallible when it comes to promises. We may encounter more enticing opportunities or unforeseen barriers that challenge our ability to keep our word. But there is one entity that never wavers in His promises: God.

God's love for us knows no bounds, and He makes and keeps promises to us without fail. When God makes a promise, it is an unbreakable bond. He is not susceptible to sickness, fatigue, or distractions. With God, a promise is always a promise!

Many centuries ago, God promised to send a Savior who would cleanse us of our sins. And true to His word, He fulfilled that promise by sending His Son, Jesus, to Earth. Jesus was born on the first Christmas, a testament to God's unwavering commitment. With God, a promise is always a promise!

The heavenly angels rejoiced at the fulfillment of this promise, singing praises to God and proclaiming peace on Earth. Through Jesus, we find peace in our lives, a peace that surpasses all understanding. With God, a promise is always a promise!

God promised that Jesus would perform miracles, healing the blind and the sick. And indeed, Jesus fulfilled that promise, bringing restoration and hope to many. With God, a promise is always a promise!

Moreover, God promised that Jesus would sacrifice Himself on the cross, paying the price for our sins. And once again, God remained true to His word. Jesus rose from the dead on Resurrection Sunday, displaying the power of God's promises. With God, a promise is always a promise!

Lastly, God promises that we will dwell with Him and all believers in heaven one day. And we can know that God will keep this promise. Those who believe in Jesus have the assurance of eternal life. With God, a promise is always a promise!

In our prayers, we express gratitude to our Father, who faithfully keeps His promises. We thank Him for sending Jesus as our Savior and friend, especially during Christmas. May we live as forgiven and faithful children, embracing God's promises now and forever. Amen.

2024 God's Creation Calendars

$9.00 each. Only four are left; get yours today from the church office. The dollars raised will support Trinity Youth Ministries.

Call News

On December 10th, the congregation voted to call Rev. LeRoy LaPlant of St. Peter, Minnesota. He has agreed to prayerfully consider the call. Please keep him, his family, and his current congregation of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Mankato, MN, in your prayers.

Remembrance Service

Sunday, January 7th, 2024: Remembering those who were baptized into God's family in 2023 and those who went to be with the Lord in 2023.

Installation Service

Sunday, January 14th, 2024

9:00 a.m. service

The installation of all elected

Church Officers and Board Members

(Committee members are appointed, not elected.)

Ladies Guild

Lutheran Women's Missionary League

Trinity Lutheran Guild met on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, in the fellowship hall with seven members present. Hostesses: Guild Board. We shared a delicious potluck dinner before the meeting. Theresa read a devotion and a Bible study from Luke.

The president, Theresa Scheid, opened the meeting. The minutes from the last meeting were approved as read. The roll call response was, What is your Christmas tradition?

The Treasurer's report: None.

Old Business: There is still no information on rest-home bingo, so this will be on hold until they contact Theresa again.

New Business: m/s/p to clean out the quilt storage room and give the material to someone who would use it. With the addition of another classroom for the school in the basement, Erin needs a room for her youth group, and the storage room will possibly be used for this. We'll hopefully be able to store the Orphan Grain Train items in the room. Maureen and Joyce will sort the materials sometime in the new year. Claudia still does quilting, so she will have the first option on any of the materials.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. All ladies of the congregation are welcome to attend.

The meeting was closed with the Lord's Prayer.

Duties for January:

Communion: Theresa and Emma

Hostesses: Ginger and Debbie

Devotions: Jo Ann

Bible study: Guild members

In his service,

Debbie Helland, Guild co-secretary

After the meeting, we enjoyed a gift exchange.

This year's TLCS Pre-8th Snack and Dessert Sales

The dates will be February 6–27, 2024.

Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 14th. In 2024, Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. All boards, committees, youth groups, and church auxiliary groups are encouraged to sign up early for the Lenten suppers. Please confirm your date with Peggy in the church office.

Feb. 14: Ash Wednesday, Guild

Feb. 21

Feb. 28:

March 6: Board of Christian Education

March 13:

March 20:

March 28: Maundy Thursday, Bd. of Elders

March 31: Easter Resurrection Sunday

Elders & Youth Groups

Publication Subscriptions 

The church orders bulk subscriptions of "The Lutheran Witness" ($19.20), and "Portals of Prayer" ($8.60), and offers envelopes ($4.80) for its members and prints the MT. District Newsletter—The Montana Reflections ($4.40) for our congregation. To help offset these costs (total of $37), please use the All Subscriptions envelope found in the front of your 2024 offering envelope box.

Offering Envelopes 

The 2024 offering envelopes are in Narthex mailboxes. (Your name is under your box.) If you did not receive envelopes and would like them, please note so on your attendance card or contact the church office. If you received envelopes and will not use them, please put them in the office window with an X next to your name.

2023 Pictorial Directories Are In 

The directory designed by the Board of Witnesses and Outreach has been received. If you had your photo taken for the directory, you will receive a free copy in your Naxex mailbox. We only received a few extra copies. If you did not get one and would like one, please note it on your attendance card or put your request in the office. We will try to get a few more.

Preschool News

In December, the children painted ornaments for their parent's Christmas gifts. Thank you to Mrs. Haley for making the dough ornaments for the children. They loved coloring paper Christmas ornaments for the trees.

Our 3 and 5-day students studied the letters K and L and reviewed letters I, J, K, and L. They made the K into a kite and the L into a lemur. The children painted snowman scenes with Q-tips. They also colored snowman pieces, cut them out, and glued them to blue paper with snowflakes. The 5-day student's tissue papered a kite and colored bow ties and added them to the yarn tail. Both 3 and 5-day students colored an 8-page booklet about the birth of Jesus. The five-day-old students colored, cut out, and glued their nativity scenes.

The two-day students are working on shapes—triangles, squares, and circles. They are learning how to use scissors properly to cut out shapes and feed them to the dinosaur on their page. They got to paint snowmen and snowflake ornaments. The two-day students finger-painted snowmen scenes. They colored an 8-page booklet about Jesus titled, "Jesus, Jesus, Who Do You See?"

In chapel, we studied the Christmas story.

I am very proud of how hard the children worked to perform their Christmas program songs.

$218 was received for the scholarship fund.

We had classroom Christmas parties on December 20th and 21st. All of the children got to decorate a cookie baked by Mrs. Haley and a gingerbread scene. The 3 and 5-day students made a beaded candy cane. Thank you to all the parents who sent goodies to share.

We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas vacation. Classes will resume on January 3rd and 4th.

God's blessing to all, Mrs. Virginia and Mrs. Haley

"This Christmastime And Every Day Jesus Is The Light."

2 days AM Preschool Christmas Musical

"Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength." Psalm 8:2 Jesus pointed to a little child as the image of faith. Infants and children show us a living picture of the sort of trust and dependence we should have on our Heavenly Father. The good works of our Christian life flow forth from that trust.

Sunday School News

In December, the Sunday school covered the birth of Jesus foretold, practiced their Christmas songs, and did some Christmas crafts. The youth Bible study (6th–12th graders) put on a puppet show they wrote for the pre-k through 5th graders about the birth of Jesus on December 17th! The kids also had a small celebration together that day. It was wonderful! The Sunday school wants to give a special thank you to Teri Cox for helping us practice our Christmas songs in December and accompanying us on December 17th.

Erica Norland, Youth Ministry Committee

Kindergarten through 8th Grade News

On Wednesday, December 13th, we participated in the church's midweek Advent service, singing a few hymns and playing the chimes.

On Thursday, December 21st, we performed our annual Christmas concert before we were dismissed early for the Christmas and New Year's holiday break. Thank you to all who attended!

A blessed New Year to you all! I pray that you had a relaxing and merry Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

K-8th classes will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 3rd, 2024. As we come back from our break, we will hit the ground running, as the end of the second quarter is quickly approaching! Report cards will be handed out soon, and we will charge right into the third quarter!

This month, we will be taking an online mission trip to Australia! We will learn all about Australia and how the gospel is being shared there. Our offerings for the third quarter will go to help support this ministry.

In Biblical Studies, we will be starting to work on memorizing the Apostle's Creed and its meanings. We will continue to go through the Bible, learning about God's promise to save us and how He did it through His Son, Jesus.

Your sister in Christ, Michelle Rice

Life Quotes

"There is hope in Jesus, the Light of Life!"

"What is it that is essential for your life this New Year? What gifts do you cherish? Certainly, Jesus is the most precious gift we have! Let him shine through your whole life this year. Take him with you everywhere. Remember whose family you belong to! Cling to Jesus, our Father's Son, this New Year! Our Father goes with you and promises His blessings, now and forever."

Rev. Darren Green, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minnesota

"Abortion has only ever represented a symptom. The sickness has always consisted of the deeper reality of sin. So, the law never embodied the finish line or the prize. Our Savior's victory invites us to settle for nothing less than sharing life, abundant and everlasting, with each human being and receiving them all as a gift and privilege. Let's press ahead with renewed enthusiasm!"

Pastor Michael Salemink, Lutherans for Life

"As Christians, each one of us should be deeply steeped in God's Word. That is where the truth lies. We don't want to be 'right' for our own sake so we can boast of our 'right-ness.' We should want to be 'right' because God is revealing His truth to us, and we have been aligned with His truth. As we labor together in the life arena, let each one of us be so grounded in God's Word that we recognize God's truth and speak it in love."

Barbara Lane Geistfeld, DVM, Lutherans For Life

"The Holy Spirit teaches us and enables us to be more effective with our body language, to hold the hands of those who are afraid of walking alone, to hug the ones who are falling apart for whatever reason, and to lift those who have sinned against God and their brothers. We do all this by sharing the forgiveness that is found in Christ."

Rev. Dr. Hector Hoppe, guest speaker on "The Lutheran Hour"

The mission of Lutherans for Life is to witness the sanctity of human life through education based on God's Word. www.lutheransforlife.org

Hurting from abortion? A word of hope can help. www.word-of-hope.org; 888-217-8679.

The Chief Stewards of Humanity:

Mom and Dad

Stewardship Ministry

The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

St. Paul tells the Ephesians that the first commandment with a specific promise attached to it is, "Honor your father and mother so that it may go well with you, and you may live long in the land" (Eph. 6:2). This promise is one indication of the importance of this commandment. The other thing that highlights the special nature of this commandment is its placement within the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments are organized into two big categories. The first three commandments deal with our relationship with God. This category is called the First Table of the Law. The last seven commandments, the Second Table of the Law, tell us how we should relate to other people. These two tables correspond to what Jesus calls the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37–39).

The order of the Second Table of the Law is also important. Murder is a greater sin than adultery, which is a greater sin than stealing, lying, or coveting. But why is the Fourth Commandment first in the Second Table, ahead of "you shall not murder"? Is disobeying your parents worse than murder? Or maybe we should give up on thinking these commandments are ordered?

The overall effect of this order is to get us to see our parents as a connection point between our neighbors and our God. Throughout our upbringing, our father and mother stand between us and God and deliver His gifts to us: God clothes us, feeds us, protects us, and teaches His Word to us through our parents.

So, parents have a very high calling from God. They are called to be stewards of the greatest gift: the gift of life.

Parenting thus gives us a keen insight into all our stewardship. Parents know that they have been given a great treasure in their children—a treasure that does not belong to them yet for which they feel a great deal of responsibility. Truth be told, every gift we have been given is like this because everything we have—whether our skills and powers or our wealth and time—is all from God. He entrusts it all to us so that we can use it all and take care of it all for His great purposes.

LCMS Stewardship Ministry: lcms.org/stewardship

Witness And Outreach

Read Matthew 2:1–12.

The star of the Epiphany story is the star itself! God used the star to lead the Magi to the Savior of the world so that they might worship Him. As God's faithful witness, you may be the "star" that God uses to lead someone in your life to worship the Lord and Savior of the world, Jesus Christ! Shine bright!

Isaiah 60:6

"They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD."

Faith in God moves the heart toward thanksgiving, which moves us toward making offerings to the Lord in His house. It's simply what Christians do: Our thanksgiving to our Lord for all His benefits to us simply must overflow into sacrificial giving to the Lord. What Isaiah prophesied, the wise men did, and we still do today: we give with a thankful heart.

Come And See

John 1:43-51

Philip's evangelism to Nathaniel consisted of three words: "Come and see!" It doesn't take a lengthy sermon or speech to witness for Christ. A friendly invitation to "come and see" may be just what someone you know is looking to hear and see. May God use your invitation to bring someone into His house or form a relationship with a believer so that they can hear the good news of salvation through Christ!

December Missionary Letter

Dear members of Trinity Lutheran Church,

"Hosannah! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! (Mark 11:9)

The crowd welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with this shout. The Lord answered the prayer of His people to "save now" (Psalm 118:25–27). This Advent and Christmas season, we again rejoice in the faithfulness of the Lord. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born to win eternal salvation for us. The Lord is indeed our salvation! Christmas is again a wonderful time to share this good news with others.

Thank you for your wonderful generosity and your prayers! Thank you for helping to make it possible for us to be here and share the Christmas gospel with the people of these islands!

May the Lord bless and keep you and fill you with Christmas joy!

Your partners in mission, Gerald and Heidi Paul

Rev. Dr. Gerald A. Paul

LCMS Missionary: Cayman Islands

Pastor: Safe Harbour Lutheran Church, Grand Cayman

Profesor adjunto Seminario Concordia El Reformador, República Dominicana


WhatsApp: (345)926-5491



To help support the mission work of LCMS Missionary, Gerald Paul made checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and mailed them to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO, 63166-6861. On the memo line, include: Gerald Paul, Cayman Islands.

To give using your credit or debit card, please call 1-888-930-4438 or email us at mission.giving@lcms.org. Thank you for your support. Please keep Gerald and Heidi in your daily prayers.

Jesus, the Hope of Nations

Hope's Solid Foundation

As he neared death, the atheistic philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre tried—but failed—to resist despair. "I know I shall die in hope," he wrote. "But that hope needs a foundation."

For Christians, that foundation is Jesus, our sure hope amid life's uncertainties. While the season of Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting, it also represents the fulfillment of Jesus' promised birth and the certainty of His promised return. Jesus, the hope of nations, says He's preparing a place for us and coming back for us (see John 14:2–3).

Because our hope's foundation is guaranteed "according to the Lord's Word" (1 Thessalonians 4:15, NIV), we don't have to live like people "who have no hope" (verse 13). Praise God!

A Prayer For The Journey

The following prayer, almost 1,000 years old, was written for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), 500 miles across northern Spain. Use this adaptation as you journey into the New Year:

God, You called Your servant Abraham from Ur in Chaldea, watching over him in all his wanderings, and guided the Hebrew people as they crossed the desert. Guard your children, who seek to grow in you this year. Be their companion on the way, their guide at the crossroads, their strength in weariness, their defense in dangers, their shelter on the path, their shade in the heat, their light in the darkness, their comfort in discouragement, and the firmness of their intentions. Through Your guidance, may they be enriched with grace and virtue and filled with salutary and lasting joy.

--from the 12th Century Codex Calixtinus 

Can You Help? 

Rev. Mohamed Gurhan, LHF's Somali Translator, has faced incredible persecution over the past few decades for attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Somalia, one of the most militantly Muslim countries on Earth. After receiving death threats from the Somali government, Rev. Gurhan's wife left him and took their young children with her. Their older children were kidnapped by Muslim family members (and later escaped), and Rev. Gurhan and those children had to relocate out of the country. A few years later, Rev. Gurhan's Christian sister and her husband were executed on the street in front of their home, and Rev. Gurhan returned to live near the Somali border to retrieve his nieces and nephews.

For the past few years. Rev. Gurhan has been living near the Somali border, where he has continued to share the good news with Somali people in person and online. Though he has remarried and has been able to rebuild his life, he has continued to face tense situations, including physical attacks.

Rev. Gurhan, following an attack where he was stoned for his Christian witness. Now, the situation has once again escalated, and Rev. Gurhan and his new family need the assistance of their Lutheran brothers and sisters in Christ.

"It is no longer safe for Rev. Gurhan to remain near Somalia," explains Rev. Dinku Bato, LHF's coordinator for African Translation Projects. "Rev. Gurhan recently received a threat from his in-laws, who are mullahs (Muslims learned in Islamic theology and sacred law), saying they would abduct his wife and their four young children. They believe she is married to an 'infidel' who has abandoned Islam." To escape these threats and protect their family, Rev. Gurhan, his wife, and their four children must quickly relocate.

"These threats to Rev. Gurhan and his family—which we have no doubt would be carried out—are entirely due to Rev. Gurhan's faithful service to LHF in translating and distributing the books of our Lutheran faith in Muslim Somalia," says LHF Executive Director Rev. Dr. Matthew Heise. "Now, we have the opportunity to shield and protect one of God's servants."

It's been determined that the safest place for Rev. Gurhan's family is in Europe, where Rev. Gurhan will continue to carry on his online ministry and start Christian outreach to other Somali immigrants like him. The need for online outreach is well illustrated by a request received at LHF recently: "I live in the north of Somalia. I would be happy if you could share the Small Catechism and other translated books with me if you have them. Here in Somalia, Christianity and Christian books are banned. So if the government or the people see me, it is highly dangerous. So I prefer a PDF or soft book. It's a safety issue."

Relocating his family of six (including travel, immigration paperwork, and legal expenses) and providing at least minimal food and housing during this time of transition is expected to cost around $20,000—not a small sum. But in the hands of God, even smaller amounts come together to provide great things. 100% of the gifts received will go toward the family's expenses. Anything raised above what is needed for the relocation will support ongoing Somali translation, publishing, distribution, and introduction efforts.

To help, go to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation's website, call 1-800-554-0723, or mail your gift to Lutheran Heritage Foundation, 51474 Romeo Plank Road, Macomb, MI, 48042. Please be sure to state or note: This gift is in support of Rev. Mohamed Gurhan.

A Prayer For New Beginnings

In his book Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth (Fortress Press), Walter Brueggmann writes in an epiphany poem:

This is a time to be born.

So we turn to You, God of our lives.

God of all our years,

God of our beginning...

We dare pray that You will do for us.

and among us and through us.

what is needed for our newness?

Give us the power to be receptive.

to take the newness You give...

There is a time to be born, and it is now.

We sense the pangs and groans of your newness.

Come here now in the name of Jesus. Amen.

How fitting that the Epiphany season and the new year coincide! Epiphany reveals a new King, the beginning of His ministry, His new disciples, His first healings, and His "new teaching—with authority" (Mark 1:27). We, too, experience newness now and year-round. But newness can be tough. So we trust that God, who "makes all things new" while banishing "mourning and crying and pain" (Revelation 21:4-5), walks with us in this new year—and always.

Reading Resolutions

Every January, many Christians resolve to read the entire Bible in one year. That's a worthy goal, but God doesn't require us to read a certain number of verses or chapters per day. Instead, He tells us to simply be in His Word—and thus be with Him—so He can grow our faith, light our path, and assure us of His love and forgiveness. God's Word is a precious gift, but we need to "unwrap" it!

F.B. Meyer offers this helpful advice for a new year of discovering (and rediscovering!) Scripture: "Read the Bible, not as a newspaper but as a home letter. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within reach, gather it. If a promise lies on the page as a blank check, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, appropriate it and launch it as a feathered arrow from the bow of your desire. If an example of holiness gleams before you, ask God to do as much for you. If the truth is revealed, entreat that its brilliance may ever irradiate your life."

The Newsletter, Vol. 41, No. 1.


Newsletters from Trinity Lutheran Church