Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries, March 2023
We have had an intense 4 weeks since our last letter to you and not only because our schedule has been particularly full but also because we have had to deal with ongoing cough and sinus congestion for us both, some dizziness and a vertigo episode for me, and a root canal for Claire. But we have an excellent dentist (Dr. Roger Curry) and a superb nurse practitioner (Keri Dillon) to watch over us. Most important, we have enjoyed the grace of God working through (and beyond) their care to allow us to keep going without missing much of a beat. And keeping a heaven-oriented perspective is always crucial for living above one’s present challenges, right?
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying,
yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
(2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”
Okay, so what exactly has gone into that schedule? Let’s suffice with a few highlights.
* The happy return of “When Swing Was King” to Immanuel Courtyard after more than two years! The covid protocols, as you know, had kept us from presenting any of our shows for almost a year but by February 2022, most of them had let us in again. All except the Courtyard. This was one of the first two places where we started “When Swing Was King” 13 years ago and it was always one of our favorites. So, to finally get back there was really terrific. Our “When Swing Was King” agenda is now back to 10 shows every month, including two in Lincoln.
* The L’Abri Conference in Rochester, Minnesota. You can read a bit more about our time there, including the positive responses to the two seminars I presented, at the Vital Signs Blog post entitled “The Christian Education Mandate: Reviewing the Latest L’Abri Conference.” (The blog, by the way, can be found at vitalsignsblog.blogspot.com. And for that particular post, just scroll down to February 24.)
However, let me mention an offer of important items we made available at our literature table that weekend and which we now encourage you to take advantage of. First of all, there are two brief Bible expositions which make excellent pro-life apologetics. They are 1) “The Real Emmanuel Moment” and 2) “An Old Testament Defense of Preborn Children: A Brief Exposition of Exodus 21:22-25.” You can find both of these (and, of course, more) under “Articles” at the Vital Signs Ministries website — vitalsignsministries.org
And while you’re there at the website, check out “Abortion and Church History” as well. This is a remarkable collection of quotations from Church Fathers and others down through the Reformation and beyond. You’ll find it enlightening to the max and a wonderful resource to pass along to your pastor. We have a brochure version of that article which you can order from us at no cost, but you can also print off the website version as well.
In another piece of news from the conference in Rochester, we “wowed” attendees at our pro-life activism session by showing them two provocative and profoundly inspirational music videos which, though produced by mainstream artists, are remarkably persuasive pro-life pieces. These two links should also be given to your pastor and especially to your youth pastor so he can show them to your church’s teenagers. Believe me, they have the potential to be life-changing, life-saving videos. You can find links to these exceptional videos (Nick Cannon’s “Can I Live” and Matt Kennon’s “The Call”) at the Vital Signs Blog dated March 6. (And to help you better understand Nick Cannon’s rap video, you’ll find the song lyrics there too!)
* On February 26th we celebrated two years of our Sunday afternoon church services at Aksarben Village Senior Living. What a sweet blessing this has been to all involved.
* Claire and I drove to Wichita, Kansas to spend a few days with my little sister, Sherry, who is in a care facility for her severe and dramatically accelerating dementia. We had some wonderful times, including some breakthrough moments of clarity and comfort and even joy but still, they were moments amid a sea of heartbreak. Dear Father, please embrace Sherry in Your protective love and peace.
* We have had very encouraging fellowship in these last weeks. There is the regular Tuesday morning coffee Claire and I share with Dick, Sharon, and Pat and there is my regular Thursday morning coffee with Pat and John. Claire has had nice visits with our neighbor a couple of times and together we have had breakfasts with missionary heroes LaVern and Marlene; my remarkable young friend, Ryan (briefly home from college); and missionaries to Ukraine, Jacob, Olena, and Olga. We also had a splendid night out with Harry (one of our Aksarben Village Senior Living church members) who invited us to a special fish fry there. Finally, there is the important gathering at John & Barb’s home every 1st and 3rd Saturday following our prayers and pro-life witness outside Planned Parenthood. That encouraging hour, following the always difficult ministry in front of that loathsome abortion business, is an invaluable “sanity check” and we are so blessed by that tradition.
* In addition to my brief sermons (usually 10 minutes) every Sunday afternoon at our Aksarben church, I’ve been honored to prepare and present sermons for the Sunday morning services at Grace Bible Church on March 5th (“Jesus Hosts a Fish Fry” – John 21:1-14) and Herman Community Church on March 12th (“Ministry Amid a Divided Culture” – Acts 14:1-7). By the way, the GBC sermon can be viewed at the Vital Signs Blog dated March 11.
* Okay, the last ministry activities I’ll describe in this month’s letter are the letter-writing parties on March 6. One was a brunch party with Dan & Ann, Keith & Carol, Jim & Jean, and us and then there was a second party in the evening. That one involved Becky, John, Don, Ruth, and us. All together (including those Pat wrote at home), we turned out over 100 letters and cards. You can read more about this and even see some sample letters by (that’s right!) visiting Vital Signs Blog. You’ll find those reports entitled “Lighthouse Letters: Examples from Vital Signs’ Latest Letter-Writing Party (Parts 1 & 2).”
Are you getting the idea that in this month’s letter that we are perhaps trying to stimulate your use of Vital Signs Blog? Excellent. We didn’t want to be subtle about it. And the reason is that there is some really good stuff there and on the Vital Signs Ministries website. Now we have always invested time in this education/encouragement platform, but we are going to be doing even more of it in the future as we back away from leftist censorship of Facebook.
In fact, we are also seeking to better protect our internet integrity, privacy, and efficiency by avoiding Google as well. This is another “ripple effect” of the L’Abri conference as we had an eye-opening conversation with two remarkable young “whiz kids” one night and they confirmed our fears about the sneaky, intrusive, and unfair intrusions of Google and other Big Tech companies. We are therefore encouraging you who engage in internet social connections to connect with us on Twitter instead of Facebook. (You can find us at twitter.com/DHVSM).
Yes, we will still post items on Facebook too – at least for a while – but we will not be trusting it much to fairly transmit Vital Signs information. We are also changing our personal email addresses as we drop Google’s gmail service. It will take a while to make this transition generally known, but please be aware that emails sent to the organization address (namely, email@example.com) already avoid gmail and thus will still be our active address.
Well, that’s it for this March newsletter. It will take a day to get it typed up and edited and sent to the printer and then they normally take a week to send it out. That means that by the time you’re reading it, we hope to be well into the ministry happenings that you’ll read about next month! Please keep us in your prayers to that end. And, if the Lord brings her to mind, lift up a prayer for my little sister Sherry too. Thanks.
Thank you so much, dear friends, for every prayer, every encouraging note or call, and every kind gift of support. We are forever grateful for your partnership in Vital Signs Ministries.