Dear friends and colleagues in ministry, November 2018
In last month’s letter, sent out from Branson, I gave a brief review of our working vacation down there in the Ozarks and an equally brief promo for the Vital Signs pie social on November 9th which featured Christine Fidler, our long time friend and pro-life colleague from Manchester, England who was serving as our guest speaker. Since then, the preparations for Christine’s visit and, of course, the actual events in her 7-day schedule have occupied a great deal of our time. But now that we’ve put her on a plane heading back to the U.K., we can say with great joy and thanksgiving to God that her time here in Omaha was a great success. So let me use this month’s letter to catch you up on Christine’s visit, a few other ministry happenings, and a couple of cool things coming up in December.
*Our times of prayer and pro-life witness outside the wicked business of Planned Parenthood have, in this late summer and fall, have been unusually wet. No kidding — even if our area only gets rain two hours of the week, it’s been falling in the two hours we’re out at the abortion mill. We are really getting our money’s worth from our College of the Ozarks umbrellas! And let me pass on here our many, many thanks to the faithful friends who join us in this more-important-than-ever witness: Keith & Carol, Quint, Don, Patrick, Isaac, John, Ruth, Zach & Sydney, Bev, Matt, Dick L., Karla, and Dick W. You guys are genuine heroes – bright lights who just keep shining for the Lord Jesus despite this increasingly dark and decadent culture. Thanks too to all of you who are unable to joins us in person yet send heavenward your fervent prayers for our health and safety, for authentic spirituality, and for our effectiveness in telling the critical truths about life…and the life everlasting available through simple faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.
*While Claire worked on Vital Signs business, correspondence, and the details of Christine’s itinerary, I created the November “When Swing Was King” show, edited a couple of writing projects, and studied for the two Sunday morning sermons I delivered on October 21st and 28th down to the very friendly and attentive congregation of Calvary Community Church in Nebraska City. Thank you, Pastor Don, for the invitation.
*And then there’s the extraordinary Week of Christine! What superb and timely conversations we had — conversations that stimulated us to fresh “love and good deeds” for the Kingdom. And, beyond the quiet talks at home, we kept Christine very busy in talks with others as she shared about her work with Image, the very influential pregnancy aid and discipleship ministry she has directed for more than 25 years. She also shared her brave struggles with cancer, with losing her husband Jim 11 years ago, coping with prodigal children, and defending the Faith from the aggressive and intolerant secularism which is now the prevailing force in the U.K. But that’s only the beginning. What else did we have in store for her? Check out the list of items which begins on the next page.
* Christine spoke briefly at the Sunday morning service of Grace Bible Church.
* She joined us in sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood.
* She spent a whole day of networking with Chris Schlesiger and other staff at Assure Women’s Center.
* And then there was another terrific networking session of 3 hours or so with Brad Burks (Executive Director) and Theresa Alarcon (Nursing Director) of Essential Pregnancy Services.
*Christine joined us at John & Barb Malek’s for their traditional “election watch” party.
*She gave several radio interviews for Karen Bowling at Nebraska Family Council and Jackie Mahr over at KCRO.
*She was the co-host of a Wednesday night dinner for 9, an after-church luncheon for 7, and two very special English teas involving a total of 10 ladies. Plus she graciously let us take her around for numerous individual visits with other friends, neighbors, and my Panera pals.
*Christine was superb in ministering with seniors as she came along to two of our “When Swing Was King” presentations.
*She helped Claire shop for and pack our 6 boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
* And finally, there was Christine’s touching, encouraging, and challenging talk given to about 60 friends at the pie social. It was really an inspiring evening and we are already seeing some of the “ripple effects” it is producing, including Claire and I considering Christine’s invitation for Claire and I to make a reciprocal visit to England sometime next year. Our profound thanks to everyone who brought along a pie (we actually had too many this year!). Thanks too to everyone who helped set up and clean up. And thanks to our very conscientious, generous, and hardworking hosts for the event at Converge Church, Larry and Deb Harrold.
Because of Christine’s visit, Claire and I had postponed our 47th anniversary celebration for a week. But it was worth it the wait. Our first item was taking Christine to the airport. I’m afraid we missed church because we wanted to stay with her until boarding time. In so doing, we enjoyed one more momentous conversation. From there we drove downtown to the Holland Center where we took in a phenomenal performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah featuring the Omaha Symphony, four operatic soloists, and a 500-voice chorus made up from several high school choirs. We then had a quiet, romantic dinner at our favorite steakhouse. It was a very nice day with a truly terrific lady.
So what’s coming up? Plenty! There’s the regular witness at the abortion clinic, the 12 (yes, 12) “When Swing Was King” presentations every month, the prayers, the writing for the blogs and other projects, the Panera meetings, the correspondence, and the discipleship outreaches.
In addition, there is the annual Christmas Card edition of our letter-writing parties coming up at our house on Monday, December 3rd at 7:00 PM. This is always a wonderful time as we write cards and letters to persecuted believers, to pro-life heroes (and villains), to veterans, residents of nursing homes, to political leaders, and to anybody else who strikes our festive fancy. Why don’t you plan to join us?
You might also want to catch one of the “When Swing Was King” Christmas shows (the schedule is on the VSM website) and/or join us outside the abortion mill where, on the December mornings we’re there, we add to our prayers and pro-life witness the singing of Christmas carols. And finally, here’s a shameless plug. We encourage you to get your heart ready for the Advent season by reading (or re-reading) my novel, The Christmas Room. A signed copy can be yours for $10. And, of course, they make delightful gifts!
Until next month,