Monday, April 27, 2015

Property Committee Volunteers

The property committee is ready to start planning for the much needed renovations and upgrades to our facilities.  The building and property committees have been streamlined into one group and volunteers are needed to get projects planned, organized and scheduled.  Can’t swing a hammer?  Don’t worry, the committee’s responsibility is to plan the work, gather supplies and build a workforce.  First major project this summer is the demolition of the parsonage.  The first meeting is Wednesday evening at 6:30 in the church officePlease contact Mike Klebs at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Youth Group Skating Fun

The youth group is getting together this month at Dimond Skateland.  We will be meeting there from 2-4pm this Saturday, April 25th.  Admission is $5 and skate rental is $2.  If you plan on snacking while there bring extra money as well.

This event is being organized by Jessica McIntyre, please contact her with any questions. 

Youth group is open to 7th - 12th grades.

Adopt-a-Road Cleanup

This Saturday you are invited to help clean our section of the highway by Earthquake park. 

We will meet at Faith at 10 am and drive out together to our section of the "Adopt-a-Road" project. We should be finished no later than 12:00.  If you are willing and able to help, we'd love to see you join us in keeping our community clean and letting people see our Faith in action! 

Come dressed for the weather and for work - bring gloves.  If you'd like more information, please contact Claire Zarnstorff at (907) 792-9688.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Updates from Pastor O.

Brothers and Sisters,

First, some good news about Larry Yang's daughter Christine. After a time with two dead kidneys (2 years, since she was 14?), they are now replaced with one live kidney. Things are going well again, after a problem this past week that was quickly dealt with by the Seattle hospital. Dad and Christina are now living in a hotel, with daily trips to the hospital. She will, Lord willing, be able to return home with dad in early June, I believe. What goodness to them by our God and theirs! Larry & Christine give thanks to all of you who are keeping her in your prayers!

Secondly, an update on, well, me, because for some or many of you, you just don't know yet what's going on, perhaps. Just so everyone is clear (as some may not know), I am not retired and gone from Faith. I am disabled in the full work of a pastor, which I believe will lead to wonderful things for Faith Lutheran.

First, soon what is paid me as your working pastor will be done with. I will transfer to state or whatever, which may provide up to 2/3 of my  wages. This church will only continue to pay insurance(s) on my account. I expect nothing more, leaving perhaps 50 to 60,000 dollars returned to Faith, now usable for amazing things.

Secondly, again, I am not retired or gone, just taking on a very different, but I think wonderful future position of opportunities with things I can still do. Pastor Ewings and I have already been talking about later, as this summer for example, even though I am right now at the very bottom, as they warn us.

My 33rd brain zap took place on Tuesday, but I was told I'd keep going down for 5 days or so. Then one levels off and starts the long drive upwards, relearning things one knew and eventually finding out what is gone for good and what's coming back. All in due time. The point is, we're already talking about the future, with Pastor E. as the pastor, with me in the background but able to do a lot for him and the congregation. It's a win, win situation, as I see what God has planned for us and this church.

I do understand that he and I, as well as many of the leaders of this congregation, have already been talking about this for weeks or even months. Just so much, and some of you, again, need to hear from us. That's a major reason for the length of this, my latest follow up. I pray that you'll be patient and forgiving for me, as I'm still at the bottom, but wanting to share as much information as I can with you all.

I have believed since the day I woke up after the surgery that the Lord has opened a huge door for us to the future. It will be wonderful and exciting, and at the same time parts of it will be hard and painful. If we go through the door, I can't wait to see what has happened a year from now, and I am so eager, as I believe the Lord lets me, be a part of that. So much more to say but I won't fill this up any more. Time in the future for all that. 

I hope and pray that many will have read this and some perhaps will have shared it with others...? In any case, I can't wait to be at church tomorrow with my wife, and served by our Pastor in Bible class and worship.

Lord's blessings in Jesus!
Pastor O.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Preschool Director Call Update

On Sunday April 12th, Faith Lutheran placed a call to Miss Katie Koch to consider our Preschool Director position. 

Miss Koch (pronounced cook) resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She currently is a preschool teacher at Atonement Early Childhood Center.  Miss Koch has served in Early Childhood ministries for a total of 10 years, as a director for 6 and a teacher for 4 years.  She has additional training in counseling and cultural diversity.    Miss Koch also has gifts in the areas of outreach and youth ministries. 

Please use the information below to share the wonderful opportunities Faith Lutheran and Alaska have to offer.   If you would like her mailing address please contact the church office.

Miss Katie Koch

Thursday, April 9, 2015

My latest news update

Greetings to all! 

And here goes my next update for those who might be interested. My last message was done, it appears, on Saturday, March 21, after I had received 17 of the blasts to my brain cells (going all the way around my head).  Recently I learned that my total number would be 33, ending on Tuesday the 14th.

Today I was hit with the second of the last five. These five are narrowed down and aimed at smaller central part of my left side & brain. While the others, for the past couple weeks, started showing up with some flashes on one side when I closed my eyes, this one was pretty spectacular -- as it rounded my head I saw the flashes with eyes open or closed.  No extra danger, I have been assured!  (I have really enjoyed getting to know the three folks who've been doing the radiation, and learned a whole lot of things from them -- and about them!)

OK, three more to go. Then, after a rough five days or so after, things will start turning around and moving up again.  Right now I'm at the point of thinking and communicating with difficulties that were building up as the day went along.  Now they hit a lot sooner and harder.  As I starting writing this, I had to look up almost every specific word or name, as I have real difficulties remembering any.

However, good things expected are:  a) I'll be back seeing Anne for Speech-Language Pathology; she's helping me remember & connect words, etc. when possible, or lead them in other brain parts and such.  Then, b) I expect, over the course of weeks to get more sleep as I take less medications, and c) twice a week go for physical exercise to Oncology Rehab.  Did three so far, so 17 left, and feeling that I will be in better physical feeling and basic abilities when this is done.  Then more exercise on my own.  Oh, and a fourth good thing: I have been assured of more than a year or two of continued health and living and serving, perhaps many more years.  Colleen and I will need to plan for our retirement together for some time.  Praise God!

The folks here at Faith have, of course, been wonderful.  Several wanted to drive me to the zap each morning and that was so nice. I could just ride, and we'd talk about all kinds of things. Too bad just a few days are left to take me (not really!).

As far as church goes, frankly, I am done for professional service as a pastor, preacher and teacher, etc.  I won't be "retired" for a while, since I hoped to serve for a few more years.  But I won't be able to actively serve as a pastor any more...will be Social Security Disability instead.

Since I'm not able to do much of what is required, Pastor Ewings will be taking over the English as well as his Spanish work. He is very capable & willing, but will also expect many folks from both groups to step forward, as many are able to do so already. Lord willing, I'll be able to do behind the scenes things for individuals as an unpaid helper, teacher, server or just friend.

Support will come to me, but not from the church. I see this as so helpful for Faith as we look at the future. We have thanks to many folks who have helped fill all this paperwork out with Colleen. Sheila came and offered a lot of help, with her knowledge right at center of all that.

Short term, I hope to be resting more, recovering more and to start moving up again.  I look forward to some wonderful days spent with Joanna's family this summer, for sure. Our whole family might in fact be able to gather in Oregon City for the 4th!

I am so thankful to all who have prayed, helped, cared and more, both near and far.  As I said about two weeks ago to a couple of guys here at church -- and this is hard for some to understand though some do, in fact.  And it is hard for me to explain why -- I pray that glioblastoma never hit anyone I know.  That's easy to understand.  At the same time, I am thankful that it has hit me, for a whole bunch of reasons that are difficult to explain.

In reality, I find each day to be filled with joy and happiness, and can't wait till tomorrow to see what our Lord is doing. Of course, there is, now, the hope of having years to come and, I think, many ways Colleen and I can help people and serve the Lord wherever we are.

In the meantime, each day is a gift from our God!

Love and blessings to all,                    

* If you'd like to know more of what hit me, see a fairly short explanation of glioblastoma:

** If you'd like to know a bit more about how it affects people, see this one.  It's on site and is points from a book.  One writer summarizes parts of it for us:

Call Meeting this Sunday, April 12th

There will be a call meeting this Sunday, April 12th immediately following the 10:30 service.  We will be looking at calling a new Preschool Director to replace Miss Wendland who has accepted a call to Minnesota.

At this meeting we will be reviewing potential teachers from the field.  Our District President has compiled a list of candidates for us to consider.  Calling from the field gives us the opportunity to call an experienced Preschool Director.  This would allow her to evaluate her gifts and talents to choose whether or not she believes her abilities would best serve our congregation or the school she presently serves.   If the candidate we call does not accept, we will then be able to call a graduate this May to fill the vacancy.  This is the reason for the expedited call meeting.