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#TomorrowMatters - A Christianity Jesus would recognize

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by Diana and Eric Schonberg

When Eric and I opened our envelopes, we each found $50.00 inside. We prayed about who we could give it to, whether an individual or organization. I went to my Bible Study group and asked if anyone was pooling the money to make a greater impact. Most people in the group had a plan for their money, but we still did not.

The following Sunday at church the sermon was titled “Divine Direction.” Pastor Rusty’s sermon included these words, “God will show you what to do when the moment is right.” I felt God speak to me and knew exactly what we should do with the money.

Since August 2017, I have been writing to a childhood friend who has been on death row for the past 27 years. He told me about friends on death row who have helped him over the years when he was broke and had nothing. I wrote to him and told him about what our church was doing.

When I offered the money, Steven said: “That really surprised me about your church. I hate to say this, but I just talked about being real and saying what we think. I have the view that churches have to get money more than give it. People helping the needy seems like a Christianity Jesus would recognize-and I’m not just saying that because you decided to give me the money.”

After receiving the money in his account at the prison, Steven said, “It makes such a difference when I can buy canteen, and there is really no way to exaggerate this. I’ll buy soap, shampoo, deodorant, T-shirts, boxers, writing paper, envelopes, pens, and food. My friends and I take turns at the cook pot where we share the food we make. Breaking bread or feasting is a good way to have fellowship. I’m also going to buy shoes.

"It means a lot that you were thinking about me when this happened at church. I have big respect for the church doing this as my impression of Jesus is that he was someone who cared about the poor and downtrodden. Do you know what I like best about Jesus? He wasn’t wishy washy. Dude would not hold his tongue, even when dealing with powerful individuals, whether religious or political. He knew hypocrites right off the bat.”

Our hope is that Steven will tell his friends on death row about the way our church, Faith Lutheran, reaches others with the light of God’s hope and love.

Posted by Faith Lutheran

#TomorrowMatters ~ Blessed to be a Blessing!

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"When Leah and I first brought home our Tomorrow Matters envelopes we came upon a very interesting predicament.  We know a ton of blessed people… If that’s not a first world problem I don’t know what is.  It clearly says a couple things about our lives and that of our family.  First, we are incredibly fortunate to be blessed with comfort and security and as Pastor Rusty would say, “To not get what we truly deserve”, thank you Jesus.  Second, it’s always a good time to look outside our cozy neighborhoods, to see who we can help. 

 After speaking with Mandy Russ and her family we decided that pooling our resources was the way to go so that we could maximize the blessing and immediately effect someone’s situation. 

 I work in the Medicare arena so I work closely with my Local Senior Center and decided to reach out to the Senior Center manager to get her guidance on who might need a blessing or maybe someone who was in a tough situation and needed a lift.  As you might guess, it didn’t take long for her to come up with a good candidate.  She quickly introduced me to a young couple who attend the center's weekly luncheon.  I asked her if she had a couple minutes to talk and she generously obliged.  I said, “I understand you might be in a situation where you could use some help”.  She said yes and began to tell me her story.  By her own description, she is intellectually challenged as is her fiancé.  They are both under the age of twenty-five, not working, living with a family member, didn’t have reliable transportation, live on a limited fixed income, and oh by the way… were 4 months pregnant. Now I understood why the Senior Center manager knew exactly who needed some help. Not my help.  Not my friends and family’s help.  They needed an introduction to God’s mercy.  She was awestruck by what I discussed with her.  A relative stranger was sitting across the table from her and her family and offering her something with no expectation of anything in return.  No strings attached.  She couldn’t believe what she was hearing but said that it would be a big help to her and her family. I invited them to our church, but if they couldn’t attend our church they could always attend a church closer to home or join us online.  To that, she said, “I want to go to that kind of church!”.  I thought to myself, I already do…

After meeting with them and helping them understand where the blessing was coming from (not from me), I walked away the one blessed. I walked away with perspective, with compassion, with a humble heart, and a greater sense of purpose.  The folks who received the generous gift were very grateful and appreciative, and so was I."

Our group of donors:

  • The Hinojosa Family
  • Lisa Cassidy
  • Ellen Eisen
  • Mandy Russ and family
  • Amanda Eisen and family
Posted by Faith Lutheran

#TomorrowMatters ~ Sharing Prom Blessings

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"I was blessed to go the Junior/Senior Prom this year and my parents blessed me with a new dress, shoes, jewelry and even the opportunity to have my hair and makeup done for the event. My friend Trinity was going with me and her mom was struggling to even buy her dress so I really struggled because I was being blessed with so many wonderful things. And then I remember my Tomorrow Matters money so I asked my family members if they would also contribute their money and my parents once again blessed me by allowing me to bless Trinity with getting her makeup done for the prom. Because of the Tomorrow Matters money I was able to help my friend feel as special as I did at prom." ~ Emily Bell

Posted by Faith Lutheran