PASTOR AND BARB CHRISTMAS 2014
Greetings to all our dear loved ones, to our personal family, our friends far and near as well as the church family we serve here in Oklahoma City. We wish you all a very blessed Christmas!
Forty years ago, Pastor and Barb were married in Spooner, Wisconsin. Pastor’s dad conducted the ceremony. We had very little money so there were no tuxes. Barb wore her mother’s wedding dress, her church prepared the meal in the fellowship hall, and the reception was in the front lawn of Barb’s parents. After the reception we took off for Bemidji, Minnesota for a honeymoon in a trailer by a lake. On the way God put on an impressive display of Area Borealis with streams of color reaching half way into the sky from the horizon.
Five years later or thirty five years ago, Pastor graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. We were called to Saint Mark and Faith Lutheran in Salina and Russell, KS. We served there 71/2 years. We came with three children and left to be missionaries in Puerto Rico with five children. Nineteen years later we came back and have served Holy Cross Lutheran Church for almost nine years.
We celebrated these two major events in our lives by going to see everyone in our family!!! In addition we made three special trips. One was made to San Francisco to see Isaac. It was our first trip out there. The things we saw included the Japanese Gardens, the beach, San Quentin jail, Fourth of July fireworks over the bay, Isaacs’s coworkers, and roommates, an opera, “La Traviata” watched on the scoreboard in the Giant’s baseball stadium. At the end of act two there was a stretch time where everyone sang, “Take me out to the opera.” In the fall, it was icing on the cake to be invited to preach for the 40th anniversary of St. Mark in Salina and to the Bible Study for the 50th anniversary of Gospel work done by WELS and the Confessional Lutheran Church in Puerto Rico.
We have lots of earthly blessings to thank our Lord for this year. Barb’s dad and mom, Larry 88, and Delores Staats 85, are doing fairly well. They live in Eau Claire, WI along with two of Barb’s other sisters and brother in laws. Pastor’s mother 87, in Winthrop MN, loves to read and do puzzles in her nursing home. She is 86 years old. Benjamin, Sarah live in New Ulm, MN. Their four girls, Elizabeth, Estrella, Evelyn and Erica are wonderful girls. The older ones get to attend a very good Lutheran School. Isaac was responsible for the architecture work on a huge apartment complex and a hotel. This will fulfill California requirements necessary to take his final architectural exam and become a full-fledged architect. Peter was hired by the US Post Office part time as a mail carrier. He and his wife Rachel are expecting a second child to join their son Samuel. Daniel does his country proud serving as an assistant engineer and looks real good in his air Force blues. His softball team in Las Vegas won second place in city competition which earned them a right to play in a tournament in Dallas, TX which Pastor was able to see. Thomas became a UPS hub manager full time. He and Amy bought a very nice house in South Milwaukee. They are also expecting a second child to join their son Eli.
Pastor and Barb continue with relatively good health. Barb had a couple of setbacks and had two blood transfusions to get rid of extreme exhaustion caused by her bone marrow, Waldenstrom’s Macroglobilinimia, cancer. She also had to have four blood plasma exchanges. Barb continues to work as a cook for a metro grade school. At church she sings in the choir, teaches Sunday school, attends the mid-week Bible study and is part of the Lutheran Woman’s Missionary Society or LWMS. She enjoys puzzles, reading her Bible, listening to talk radio, and talking to her mother. Pastor enjoys the work he does in the church. It was a special joy and blessing to see the worship services begun in Norman, Oklahoma in 2010, blossom into a full-fledged Synod mission. A full time Pastor was called and installed last summer. Now more attention is being paid to outreach around Holy Cross. Spanish classes and services continue in Weatherford, OK about 75 miles to the West of Oklahoma City.
Of course the best blessings are the ones that come from the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. We therefore, especially thank the Triune God that: 1. Jesus is our Savior from the consequences of damnation which we deserve for our many sins against God. 2. Jesus saved us by taking all our sin upon himself, suffering the hell we should have suffered and then giving us the holiness we need for heaven by simply crediting it to our account. 3. God has given us His Word and through it led us to believe that He is our loving Savior. 4. Soon, through faith in Jesus, we will be forever with the Lord! These are the blessings which make it a joy to serve God’s people at Holy Cross and reach out to the lost around us. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had HEARD and SEEN, which was just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20