Dear friends, June 2018

June is quickly running its course but I’m not running fast enough to keep up with it. In fact, I’m not even walking through June – not according to my regular regimen, anyhow – because I tore a calf muscle and am now undergoing physical therapy for both that leg and a lower back issue that it revealed. But though I miss my daily 2 hour walk something terrible and my plans on climbing another Colorado 14er on my birthday are disappointed, God is taking care of me very well with a great physical therapist (Lance Shillcutt), the motivation to do my daily exercises, a sense of excitement about what He is teaching me through this challenge, and enough mobility and energy to go ahead and keep our Vital Signs activities moving forward. Indeed, the last several weeks have been among our busiest of the year.

I have, for instance, preached at Sunday services at Prairie Lane Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Community Church in Nebraska City. I spoke at a Saturday morning men’s breakfast at Emmanuel Church. And all of these things require study and preparation beforehand as do the articles I write for Vital Signs Blog.

Of course, our public pro-life witness continues on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood. We have even been blessed with opportunities to do more sidewalk counseling. God has also sent a couple of special encouragements our way. Here’s how I described one of those incidents on my Facebook page.

On the way to join friends for prayers and a pro-life witness outside the Planned Parenthood abortion business this morning, Claire and I prayed (among other appeals) that the Lord would “baptize our imaginations” so that we would conduct this ministry not merely out of a sense of duty (though that’s certainly a good thing) but to be inspired by the real-world effects our presence and prayers can have.

Well, midway through our time there, a gal driving a pickup truck stopped in the street to talk to us. She explained that she worked just up the street but that their business was moving this weekend. And so she decided to drive by and tell us how much she appreciated our testimony there. “It’s a very important thing you guys are doing and I just wanted to let you know how much I admire and appreciate what you’re doing. The people that I work with talk about you guys being out here and a lot of them are kinda’ angry about it but I know you’re doing God’s work and I thought I’d better come by and tell you that some people really appreciate it.”

Well, I guess that “baptized our imaginations’ pretty good! After all, we can feel discouraged sometimes and wonder if our presence has a significant impact. But here was evidence that people driving by do notice and are even stimulated to discussion. Yes, some of those are riled up by our opposition to abortion but still…we’ve got them thinking about it and realizing that not everyone in the culture has become indifferent to the destruction of preborn boys and girls. And that’s what a witness does — take a public stand for truth and allow God to plant, water, and nurture the seeds that are sown.

On other matters — We have undergone some changes in our “When Swing Was King” ministry since last month’s letter, particularly making the decision to drop 2 senior care facilities from our monthly schedule of 11. We had been postponing this change for a long time but, because of the increased difficulties of set up procedures and failures of facility staff to deal with important safety measures, we knew it was the wise thing to do. However, we have also added a show this month at a new facility which, if things go as hoped, will bring our monthly schedule back to 10. June also saw us create the latest “When Swing Was King” newsletter which we distribute to residents (and others) every quarter. The big-band trivia, quiz, and personal column from Claire and me (all in 4 pages of large print) have really become a hit. By the way, you can see these newsletters (even print them off for friends, if you like) on the Vital Signs Ministries website.

What else? 2018 has brought a substantial expansion of both our correspondence and hospitality ministries. That helps keep us busy. Also, Claire has added a Taking Action section to the website and has been working on that. I grilled burgers, dogs, and sausages for our Governing Board when we hosted our quarterly Board meeting last week. Those meetings always mean a lot of work for Claire in dealing with finances and other business. And we hosted another art party at our home – this time featuring the work of former Grace instructor, Leonard Johnson. 42 attended (including some of our neighbors) in what was a fun, sociable event.

Anything more that’s occupied us? Sure. I continue in my regular Panera meetings – three every week. And then there’s lawn work, visits with neighbors, our reading and book club discussions, work around the house, intercession, and the social media platforms. Oh yes, I had to use the water hose to quench a three-way fight among neighbor dogs that broke out in our front yard. That’s certainly something that doesn’t happen every day!

Until next month,

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only.