• Excerpt from August, 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

    What a busy July it has been and now it is almost over. One of the biggest events of the month was of course the LCMS National Youth Gathering which took place in Minneapolis this year...
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August 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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What a busy July it has been and now it is almost over. One of the biggest events of the month was of course the LCMS National Youth Gathering which took place in Minneapolis this year. As you may know this event takes place every three years and is for youth from the age of 14-18. This year there were over 21,000 participants. We had four young people from Zion attend this year, Justin and Logan Esala, and Elenore and Matthew Darling and the chaperones were Shannon Esala, June Williams, and myself. It is a very energetic schedule with personal development sessions and service projects taking place during the day and a mass gathering event in the evening. For this gathering the daytime activities were held at the Minneapolis convention center and the mass events were held at US Bank Stadium (where the Vikings play). We were housed at the Hyatt Place in St. Paul and rode the Light Rail train to downtown Minneapolis in the morning and back in the evening. The train ride lasted about 40 minutes and was always an interesting experience. With all that being said the schedule started with breakfast at the hotel at 7:30 in the morning and usually wound down with our return to the hotel at about 11:00 pm. It makes for a long day and the youth handled it well. I dare say that by the end of the five days we were all pretty worn. One of the service events that we attended as a group was the project "Feed My Starving Children" (FMSC). We packaged meals that were shipped directly around the world. The package we prepared is called a Manna Pack and contains, Vitamins, minerals, spices, dried vegetables, rice, and soy. This is all placed in a heat-sealed bag and then boxed for shipment. In the hour and a half that our group worked on the project we packaged over 87,000 meals, and during the course of the Gathering a total of over 1,000,000 meals were packed. All of those meals were boxed and placed on pallets and will be sent directly to the individuals in need. We also learned that FMSC has a better than 98% delivery rate, meaning that their meals get to where they are needed and intended to go. There is also a project that FMSC will bring locally for churches to work on packaging meals for shipment on a smaller scale. All in all, I think it was an amazing experience for our youth and for the adults as well, and will be long remembered by all. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful support that you, the people of Zion, have given to our youth to allow them to attend this life changing and faith growing experience. We couldn’t do it without you.

On another note I would like to let you know that on a personal level June and I are requesting your prayers and support. As of now June is schedule to go to University Hospital in Minneapolis on August 12 for preop testing and preparation, with surgery to follow on August 16, it is scheduled to be a rather long and involved surgery to correct some gastric issues that she has had for some time. Following the surgery, she will remain in the hospital 5-7 days. I will be accompanying June down there and staying through the week, I will return for worship on the 18th both at Zion and at Little Girls Point and then return to Minneapolis for her anticipated release the week of the 19th. She is then expected to have a minimum 6-8 week recovery. Again I ask for your prayers and thank you in advance for your support. We have placed this firmly in the Lord's hands and ask you to do the same. I will keep you all updated through the Zion email as things progress and you are always welcome to email, text, or call me. I will answer when I am able. That's all for now, enjoy the remainder of your summer, see you in worship.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)
Pastor Rick