Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries, October 2018
I write this month’s letter on a pleasant, rainy morning in Branson, Missouri where I’m snugly ensconced with my coffee and yellow notepad in my favorite Panera restaurant, the one hidden away from the otherwise bustling businesses of this down-home tourist town.Claire and I are here in the Ozarks for what has become an annual working vacation and, after the pace of our summer and early autumn, this getaway was an especially welcome one. We have enjoyed rest, refreshment, several interesting adventures (both new and traditional) and, yes, some productive work too.
A few specifics?On our first full day in Branson we were richly blessed by joining about 40 saints from Friendly Baptist Church for the Life Chain and later that evening we were their guests at a special Sunday evening service featuring a Christian illusionist.Afterwards, we had very stimulating and encouraging conversations with the illusionist, the church’s pastor, and several of the parishioners.It was a really neat day.Early the next morning, I went carefully and prayerfully through my quarterly evaluations of the Christmas Resolutions I made in the beginning of the year.As usual, that resulted in some assurance and joy, some disappointment and regret, and a lot of gratitude for God’s forgiveness and the power He provides for fresh starts.
We have read books, written cards and letters, had Claire’s birthday dinner (exactly a month late) at a local steakhouse, fed the ducks down at the Branson Landing, did some clothes shopping for Claire at her favorite store (Belk), attended church on the campus of The College of the Ozarks, and enjoyed several walks along Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.Also, Claire has worked on Vital Signs business and the daunting Sentence Sermon project while I have been working on a new Christmas story, a couple of articles for Vital Signs Blog, and two sermons I will be preaching at Calvary Community Church in Nebraska City on the two Sundays after we get home.And along the way, we have had excellent times of conversation and prayers together.And, oh yes, later this morning we will see some of my cousins as we attend a memorial service out towards Forsyth, Missouri for Alice Ellsworth’s mother.
But hey – here’s the main reason we’re not waiting until we get back to Omaha to send out this letter; namely, we want to give you more time to plan your attendance at the Vital Signs Pie Social on Friday, November 9th at 7:00 PM at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church where we will present a very special speaker, a much-beloved pro-life colleague from Manchester, England, Christine Fidler.
Christine is the Director and a co-founder of IMAGE, an influential Christian pro-life ministry based in the U.K. and she has some remarkable insights to share with us about the development of that work, its connections with Vital Signs Ministries, the state of the church and the culture in western Europe, and more.Christine’s personal story of serving God despite the aggressive secularism of modern Britain, the loss of her husband from cancer, and then an ongoing struggle with cancer herself is compelling and inspirational.It’s been awhile since Vital Signs Ministries has hosted a pie social but Christine’s visit makes it an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Of course, we are eagerly hoping you will help us make this a successful event so please come join us. RSVP’s are not necessary, but always very helpful – (402) 341-8886 or firstname.lastname@example.org(By the way, feel free to bring a pie!)
We also ask for your prayers for God’s blessings on Christine’s other activities in the week she’s visiting us – radio interviews, networking meetings with fellow crisis pregnancy workers at Assure Women’s Center and EPS, hosting a traditional English tea for women, and a few other things.Claire and I were on the scene there in Manchester way back when IMAGE was first getting started and so we are really excited about having Christine with us. We’re sure you’ll find her a delightful, inspirational woman of God as well.
Again, the Vital Signs Pie Social – always an upbeat and engaging event – is Friday evening, November 9th at 7 at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church, 144th and Harvey Oaks Avenue. (Please park on the west side of the church and use the back entrance.)
Okay, that’s it for this rainy morning in Branson.See you at the Pie Social!