A letter from Josué
…for which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, may our Lord Jesus Christ comfort your soul and spirit in these difficult times.
I want to appeal to your memories of a time where you used to bring your children and grandchildren to a place that was safe and holy, where friends and family united as one vessel, where the word of God was being preached. It’s there, where the gift of the Holy Spirit and the communion of the saints and sinners gathered to praise and worship. This place was purchased with a price that came only through your faith and belief in one God, in one baptism, and in one Holy Spirit. You shared your food, your houses, and your finances. You took care of each other’s children, looking out for each other as you met with great joy and love. You prayed for one another, broke bread and visited the sick and dying and shared words of encouragement when one was missing or when a family was in need. You were there and present with a sincere heart and concern. You shared cries and laughter and games with your family and friends. This was a time when you felt so wholesome and connected, loving and being loved. This was a time when you believed that the God you serve is all and all.
God surely gave us a gift in his son Jesus and He also gave us a gift with each other and friends. It was at the altar that we gave our gifts. And it was in this place that you remembered. You remembered the prayers for one another and the disagreements. You remembered the pain and the loss of loved ones as well as the baptism and joy that come from a family united in Christ. You saw each other face to face, forgiving one another. There were many sleepiness nights and hard work to build a community strong and prosperous. In those days there was also fear of many kinds, yet your faith and love for your community and others diminished that fear.
It’s this gift that I want to bring to remembrance which makes this so sacred. It is your faith that helps you defeat a lot of adversities and challenges of life. It is your faith that helps you in all that I describe in the latter words. That is what makes this so powerful and special. It’s not so much the church building but the oath that was done in it by the one who created us, making all what we have done for each other so sacred. This place is what we need to bring into the light of each other as we continue in these difficult times, fanning the gifts without fear. Remember that these gifts are sacred and that we are good for each other. This builds the body of Christ. Let’s not forget these sacred gifts that are still part of us. Flame it, use it, and prepare the community that was entrusted to you.
May God bless us all.
Originally posted on November 1, 2020 at https://diariesofamissiondeveloper.wordpress.com/2020/11/01/sacred-place/
By/Por Pastora Melissa
Bueno. A ver si puedo escribir una entrada corta sobre el agradecimiento. Si Tapestry tuviera una palabra para 2020, tendría que ser >>la generosidad.<<
Este año hemos compartido probablemente 2000 cajas con comida con alrededor de 30 familias. Kris de Tapestry ha estado manejando (juego de palabras intencional) este esfuerzo. Ella empezó a entregar comida en mayo. Martha la acompañaba en la entregas y yo también a veces las acompañaba. Después Tapestry pudo apoyar a Kris con dinero para la gasolina porque otros/as fueron generosos/as con nosotros.
Luego Julie M. de la Iglesia St. Stephen organizó más donaciones de comida y dólares y hemos seguido entregando cajas con comida. Pero más importante aún, Julie T de Oak Grove y Julie M dieron donaciones de Biblias bilingües juveniles que todos/as los/las niños/as y jóvenes de Tapestry ya tienen. !Tammy W hizo un Calendario del Adviento bilingüe que pudimos compartir y también incluimos actividades para los/las niños/as! Yo lei parte hoy y lo puedes ver aquí. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSfETgZt5-Y&t=642s
Los nietos de Martha, Maddox y Leah, también han ayudado con las entregas. Gente de St. Stephen recibe donaciones y las empacan. Amigos y amigas de Tapestry y otros nos han apoyado con donaciones financieras y otra gente de Transfiguration y Oak Grove “adoptaron” a familia para Navidad. También hemos podido ayudar con la renta unas veces por la generosidad de tantos/as de ustedes. Y especial para Navidad, Janet y Mark S. de St. Stephen regalaron edredones hechos a mano a nuestras familias y la mamá de Stephanie B regalo gorros que ella tejió. Y claro, nuestro agente fiscal. Shepherd of the Hills que por 4 años han asegurado que podemos hacer nuestro ministerio.
Cuando digo 30 familias, quiere decir más de 50 adultos, 10 adolescentes y 45 niños/as!
Los/las niños/as realmente están leyendo las Biblias! Josué y yo visitamos recién a una niña y su familia y me estaba preguntando sobre la historia de la Creación. Hubiera grabado la conversación. Estaba preguntando y Adan y Eva se metieron en líos con Dios porque hicieron la manzana color anaranjado! Pero esta conversación fue importante porque esta niña preguntó si Dios amaria a Adan y Eva si hicieron cosas que no hubieran. (Nuestra amiguita amada es un poco traviesita). Tanto su mamá como yo le aseguramos que Dios amaba a Adan y Eva aun cuando desobedecieron a Dios, y aún más importante, le aseguramos que Dios la ama a ella cuando obedece y aun cuando desobedece. Dios siempre la ama. Pero, le dijo su mamá, Dios se pone triste cuando desobedecemos porque Dios quiere lo mejor para todos/as nosotros/as. Le dijimos que nosotras también estamos tristes cuando ella no obedece, porque queremos lo mejor para ella, y le aseguramos que las dos la queremos siempre, tal como Dios. Después busco un video que grabamos en Tapestry de >>Esta lucecita<< en marzo que se acordaba y lo tocamos y cantamos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H0g8rALI4E
Por medio de una conversación con algunos/as amigos/as sobre granjeros y lo difícil que es para ellos en estos momentos, Emilie, mi amiga vegetariana, donó fondos a Tapestry para comprar un chincho directamente de un granjero. Me tomó tiempo, pero por fin encontré a un granjero de quien comprar. Compre la carne de Tollefson Family Farms y fui con Kris a recoger la carne en el Mercado de Minneapolis y cuando supieron que íbamos a entregar la carne a familias, nos dieron un buen descuento y algunos pedazos extras de carne Pueden ver mas sobre su granja aquí:https://www.tollefsonfamilypork.com/. Mostraron tanto orgullo en su granja y el trabajo que hacen. Luego escuchó el señor que vende los quesos de Wisconsin que entregabamos a familias y también nos dieron un buen descuento, y con fondos donados por otras personas pudimos comprar ese día queso, huevos frescos y tortillas. Los dos granjeros nos dijeron con orgullo que sus papás habían sido granjero y participando en el mercado por más de 40 años!
Pues, mi entrada no es tan corta, pero agradecida con la gente de Tapestry y nuestros amigos/as, por congregaciones hermanas, y nuestro agradecimiento a Dios por el cuidado y la provisión que es para cada uno/a de nosotros/as. Que Dios les bendiga hoy y todos los días.
Okay. Let’s see if I can write a short post of thanksgiving. If Tapestry had a word for 2020 it would have to be “generosity.”
This year we have shared probably 2000 boxes of food with around 30 families. Kris from Tapestry has been the driving (pun intended) force behind this. She began delivering food in May. Martha joined her making deliveries and I joined them sometimes, too. Tapestry then started supporting Kris with some gas money because others were generous with us.
Then Julie M. at St. Stephen organized for donations of food and dollars and we have continued delivering boxes of food. But even more importantly, Julie T from Oak Grove and Julie M. both arranged for donations of bilingual children’s Bibles that every child and youth from Tapestry now have! Tammy W. made a bilingual Advent Calendar for us to share and we include Bible activities for the kids, too! I read some of it today and you can find that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSfETgZt5-Y. And of course, our fiscal agent Shepherd of the Hills , who has made ensured we can do ministry for four years now.
Martha’s grandchildren Maddox and Leah have also been helping with the deliveries. People from St. Stephen have been receiving donations and packing everything up for us. Friends of Tapestry and others have been supporting us with financial donations through GiveMN and Daily Bread, and others from Transfiguration and Oak Grove are “adopting” a few families. We have been able to help with rent a few times, too, because of the generosity of so many of you. And especially for Christmas, Janet and Mark S. from St. Stephen gave hand-made quilts to our families and Stephanie B’s mom gave hand-knitted hats and headbands. We are thankful for support from the ELCA, the Minneapolis Area Synod and partner congregations. We have been able to help with food and housing, yes, and we have been able to share hope in Christ with so many people.
When I say 30 families, this means more than 50 adults, 10 teens and 45 younger kids! What a blessing.
Two short stories:
Kids are actually reading the Bibles! Josue and I visited a young girl and her family last week and she was talking to me about the Creation story. It should have been videotaped. She was asking if Adam and Eve got in trouble with God because they turned the apple orange! But the conversation was important because this young one questioned whether God would love Adam and Eve even when they did things they weren’t supposed to do. (Our beloved sister is a little mischievous). Both her mom and I assured her that God loved Adam and Eve even when they disobeyed God, and even more importantly, we assured her that God loves her when she obeys and even when she disobeys. God always loves her. But, her mom told her, God is sad when we disobey because God wants the best for us. We told her we are sad when she disobeys, too, because we also want the best for her, and we assured her that her mom and I both love her always, just like God. Then she found a video Tapestry recorded of “This Little Light of Mine” in March and that she remembered and we played it and sang with it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H0g8rALI4E
Through a conversation with some friends about farmers and how challenging these times have been for them, my vegetarian friend Emilie donated funds to purchase a pig directly from a farmer. It took me a little time, but I finally found a farmer from whom to buy direct. I went through Tollefson Family Farms. Kris and I went to pick up the meat at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, and when they heard we were delivering to families they gave us a nice discount and a few extras. Check them out here https://www.tollefsonfamilypork.com/about. They showed so much pride in their farm and the work they do! Then the Wisconsin Cheese guy heard we were delivering to families, they gave us a great discount, too, and with funds donated from others we purchased cheese and fresh eggs and tortillas. Both farmers told us with pride that their parents had been farming and at the marker for more than 40 years!
Well, my not so short blog post, but thankful for the people of Tapestry and our friends, for partner congregations and farmers, and our thanks to God for the care and provision that is for each and every one of us. May God bless you today and every day.
(Please forgive me for not mentioning every name of everyone who has been so generous with Tapestry and with people through the ministry. I thank each and every one of you de todo corazon (with all of my heart).
Originally posted December 20, 2020 at https://diariesofamissiondeveloper.wordpress.com/2020/12/20/word-for-2020-generosity/
Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”
30 He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.”
31 But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.”
33 So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.
By Deacon Josue Gonzalez
As I read numbers 10:29-33, I was inspired to write about this passage. You need to have your Bible with you.
Jethro lived among the Israelites in the desert, all the while experiencing how Moses and God dealt with God’s people when they left Egypt. Time and time again the Israelites continue with disbelief of God’s provision for them. At every turn, God showed His promise and His power. Jethro, not being an Israelite, was probably scratching his head.
How can these people not know this God is trustworthy?
Jethro was a Midianite priest in the land of Midian. He knew what false gods were and the worship of false gods. He had his family, culture, livestock and his own property. Why in the world would he leave all this and still go with a people that had nothing and were still wandering in the desert fighting God? I believe that through experiencing the Word of God and the power of what God was doing, true faith was created within Jethro’s heart. God made things happen. There was no explanation through human power or wisdom or by any other gods. Jethro saw pagan gods being destroyed and subdued by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He witnessed for himself the truth about this God.
In some common ways with Jethro, I too believe about this God. I have lived a life as a nomadic person in the desert, wandering from state to state, not knowing where I would sleep or what food I would be able to eat each day. I was not able to find rest for my soul.
I have identified with a lot of pagan gods in my life and experienced false hope repeatedly. Faith develops by the Word of God and His power. Since starting this journey, just like Jethro, I came to have hope in my life and I fully understood there is one true God of all gods. Being around people of different cultures and languages, walking with them and seeing their struggles and my own, praying, listening and helping in any way I can…day or night, snow or rain, with plenty or in scarcity, feeling well or sick, I try to be a present with others and a witness to God’s power in this life. I am convinced because of the struggles and testimony of my life, that change can happen to anyone who allows themselves to experience God’s power through His Son Jesus who is the savior of this world.
The Bible is not a story of fairy tales and mystical events. (God is being revealed) It is the true Word of God in this earth with all creation. God’s nature is visible and tangible. Through faith, Jesus Christ is and will be the only visible and tangible substance in this life and beyond. Let us come together in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to the world the unity that is in Christ Jesus. Amen
Originally posted January 11, 2011 at https://diariesofamissiondeveloper.wordpress.com/2021/01/11/venture-of-faith-the-life-of-faith-and-the-reward-of-faith/
By Deacon Josué Gonzalez
What is Science?
The definition in Britannica online is the following:
Science, any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.
Science can only explain the natural world or anything that exists in it. Science can explain some diseases. Science can explain the galaxy and the rotation of the planets. Science can gather information of the past and the present, and some evidence of the future. Science has been a practice since the world was created and inhabited. A few examples of benefits are: medicine, carbon dating, astrology, nuclear physics, electronics, and so forth. Science has covered a wide range of human understanding and intuition.
Since the beginning of time humans have always been curious about what has been created. In the Bible, it is written that God created all things out of nothing, so we that believe the Bible believe this. You can find science in the Bible, but it is not a science book. For example, the creation story account has carbon dating, medicine that comes from plants, blood that accounts for biology, stars and moon that account for astrology, our psychological make up and so on. The Bible is full of evidence of scientific proof. Yet with all this evidence science cannot improve on your soul or satisfy it.
Throughout the ages, humans have always sought to improve their wellbeing and existence. We use products and gadgets to make our lives better or easier. We create norms for us to live by. Yet our soul is not science. Our soul is a living part of our DNA which cannot be explained or satisfied by human reasoning or understanding. In another word science cannot do anything for your soul.
Dictionary.com describes it like this:
–the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
–the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death
and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
Where is the exact location of the soul? How can you separate the soul from the spirit of existence?
There it is in a nutshell! We have many people today living in fear and unrest all over the world wondering what is going to happen to them and their families. What does the future hold? People are up to their wits end. With all of the technology and knowledge at our disposal, we cannot cradle the soul, no matter how much medicine we take or don’t take, no matter how much money we have or don’t have, no matter how much wiser we are or are not. We have a human condition that only can be satisfied by God.
Just look at history and technology. Has anything changed as far as your soul? Can you determine how to regulate and live forever? Can you take your soul with you and know that this is you in whatever your belief is or not? Does science console the longing of being with your loved ones? Does it quench the desire and compassion that long deep within? Can you change your soul for another?
These are questions that cannot be answered from a human standpoint, not unless you have died and come back to life. My brothers and sisters, I want you to be aware that science can explain some things in life, but not all things of life. We need to come to the Creator of life. In Him we have the answer to life and our souls. Just look at the works of His hands. Look intently to your sons and daughters. No medicine or humanly created thing can cure a broken soul. Our God has given us Himself to have the answers we desperately seek in the form of Jesus Christ. Know Him, worship Him, thank Him from the heart for all He has given us.
Originally posted January 28, 2021 here: https://diariesofamissiondeveloper.wordpress.com/2021/01/28/science-and-soul/