Archive for July, 2009

Church: Faith Lutheran

July 27, 2009

We all attended Faith Lutheran in STL today with Edens with the following families in tow: Held, Hulsman, and Riker.  Awesome service as we witness baptism. I really like the way the pastor went about the performing it. He took the time to explain why it was important and the elements. I really appreciated this portion as he put it everyday terms without sacrificing the importance of baptism. In other words, he didn’t dummy it down to the point where a person in attendance would be turned off.

Moved In

July 26, 2009

Well, Linda is go-go mode.  They moved up the moving date from Sunday to Saturday. We had some new classmates, friends from STL and DET, and fellow campus dwellers.  Kudos to everyone who came out to help. It took less than 6 hours to unload the truck. Met a ton of new families and of course I hobbled around the entire day.  Linda was a workhorse, her legs look like Mike Tyson (before Don King) used them as a speed bag. 

On a side note my foot is the size of a grapefruit and my leg is still noticeably swollen. We’ll spend the upcoming week becoming acquainted with our surroundings and unpacking. My plan is to be out and about by Wednesday. Office is setup and I need to work tomorrow. Weeks worth of emails…Woohoo

The Journey Begins…

July 25, 2009

Dad left with the truck around 12pm on Friday. After running some errands in Canton I was on the road. Stopped by the Lighthouse to get my oil changed on the truck. Dropped off the table at CTGS and then it was off to Mary M.’s house to drop off the cleaner. Had a tearful hug and then I was on the road. Just me 7 cruellers from Dunkin Donuts, 2 Gatorades, and the road.  Almost to M14 and I remember I had the task of picking up Hannah’s “pureNRG” cd that was prepaid for about a month ago. Doh, so I had to turn around and pick that up. 45 minutes later I’m back on the road again.

I won’t bore you with the details of the trip. I’ll just say this I suffered hand cramps which hadn’t happen since 05. Made great time. Passed Dad at some point when he stopped to re-fuel, he didn’t call to check to see where I was until I was already 10 miles ahead.  No stopping me at that point.  Never did stop to eat.  I got into St. Louis around 9pm CST. I was about an hour ahead of Dad so I stop by the apartment and drove on campus to take it all in.  Then I headed to the Edens house where we all met up. Linda and Mom were about 45mins to an hour behind dad. We had them pick up McDonald’s for dinner.

The Rikers showed up around 4/5am in the morning on Saturday.  So, we all made it safely down to St. Louis.

CTGS Packed the Moving Truck in 6hrs !!!

July 24, 2009

The title says it all. Friends and family from CTGS came out in force to help us pack up the truck. John C (formerly a professional truck packer) was amazing. Good times hanging with friends again before heading out to Saint Louis, MO. Let’s see what happen that day…

Transportation of a King size bed frame, entertainment center, microwave,  exercise equipment, ladder, and a desk.

Destruction of the best dog house ever. Mike was amazed by its workmanship and that is was so big. Kudos Mr. Catallo you made it happen.

Cleaning of the gutters.

Moving just about everything in our house into the largest U-Haul truck available without needing a CDL license. Double blessings when you take into account my injury. One of the things I’ve learned is that sometimes it is best to sit back and let God do his work through his people.  Never one in the past to leave it to others to do the work, CTGS has been my example from start to finish of letting go and putting it in God’s hands.

Our family is so grateful for all of God’s work we’ve experienced from knowing out CTGS family over the years.

 

Oh No

July 22, 2009

Went to go play basketball on July 16, 2009 up in Utica. Well, first game 5th time up and down the floor got hurt.  Before I going any farther. Yes, Linda told me not to go because I would get hurt.  Then my brother told me to be careful. Doh. I think they both jinxed me.

Fifth time up the floor I caught the ball at the top of the key. Sized up the man guarding me. Faked left and went right, got past him and two steps later I felt and heard a “pop pop” in the vicinity of my left calf.  It immediately began to swell up.  I stopped hobbled off the court hoping it was just a pulled muscle.  After getting some ice on it for a hour I decided it was time to pack up and head home to the “I told you so” brigade.

I woke up the next morning with my lower left leg twice the size of my right leg. Called got an urgent appointment. Confused the doctor, but he and a attending decided something bad had happen so they scheduled a emergency ultrasound as they suspected muscle damage and/or tendon damage. Either way he told me I wouldn’t be participating in the moving of anything heavy and I should stay off of it.  Well, by now we all know that didn’t happen until we got the news today.  Moved an couch, bottom of an entertainment center, and king size bed out of the basement.  During one of the trips I figured out the damage was more than we thought.

Long story short, the ultrasound revealed two partial tears in my calf muscle (2 different spots) and I tore a tendon in my lower leg. Plantar tendon. Connects behind the calf and runs down to the inside of my ankle and connects.Complete tore that tendon.

No surgery needed, but I’m in a boot and on crutches. Needless, to say I’m just the comic relief for moving week. Docs think my Lupus meds are the cause of the tears. Specifically, the predisone which destroys the connective tissue over long time use. He also said I was lucky this could have been worse if the tear had happen while lifting something heavy up the stairs or down the stairs for that matter.

Erica E said it was just Satan trying deter us off path. We will not be deterred.

CTGS Send-off Sunday

July 19, 2009

The time is here.  Our last Sunday at CTGS before departing for seminary. I wanted to make sure I saw everyone possible before we left which required me going to both services. I’ve done it from time to time before. Always fun to wake up early for a 8:30a service.  I enjoyed the service and getting up early took me back to my roots from Cleveland.

Driving to church was hard as every trip has been dating back to the fateful day I informed the church I was accepted to seminary.  Every drive to a meeting, bible study, church event, or service became a reflection period. From the day we came to CTGS it has been like a home away from home.  Our nuclear families are in lower Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana so they admirably stepped when ever needed to support us through bumpy and winding roads of our journey in life.

At the end of the first service our Head Elder (Jim Cooley) and Pastor Pollatz had me come up to the front and sit down so the congregation could pray over me.  I remember seeing so many folks in tears and myself become overwhelmed with tears.  The prayers that followed were another testament that God puts people in your path to prepare you for the mission ahead.  After the prayers finished we finished with a song.  I sent a message to the organist asking if we could finish out service with a Onward Christians Soldiers.  One of my favorite hymns and one that was most appropriate for the day.

Since our Chairman was out of town it was left to me to lead our Cafe Bible Study with the assistance of Jim. I had a number of things prepared, but felt I would just open it up for what was going through everyone’s mind.  Try to answer anything about the journey ahead to the best of my knowledge.  We talked about the calling.  I explained when I heard the calling and the similarities to when my father felt the calling.

I talked about how much the setup of the class has helped me to prepare for the road ahead. Just preparation for class week end and out required me to think about every conceivable question or tangent the discussion may lead us down. I walked away from the Cafe Bible Study with renewed vigor for “Knowing What I believe” and “Why I believe it”.  It is my hope that my seminary education will strengthen my knowledge in teaching others these things while spreading the Word of the Lord.

Just before the second service, Linda and the kids showed up. Also in attendance were some friends from St. Matthew Church/School in Julie M, Renee L, and Joanne S. Concordia University (Ann Arbor) was also represented by my dear friend and former professor Glenda Waterman.

I must say looking around I was very distracted during the service. Looking around to see who was there and who wasn’t. Fortunately, I had heard the sermon earlier.  So, finally I was able to get back to meditating and preparing for the sacrament of Holy Communion. Suddenly, Linda gets my attention as I’m being tapped to assist with the distribution of the sacraments.  I figured I was going to sit back and try and hold it together.  Luckily, I was able to hold it together during communion until Lyndsey came up to me and smiled. Insert tear.

One of the communion songs for some reason brought Linda and I to tears. The ending was much the same of the first service, but this time we had Linda and the kids present up there with us. Children’s church finished early so everyone could be in the church together. Everyone is crying now or weeping (that one is for you Julie W.). Very emotional service and honestly I don’t think we would have had it any other way. Neither Linda or I would be able to address the congregation properly.  So many friends, experiences, and events.  It was there I stopped fighting God’s calling.  It was there I realized my gifts. It was there that my relationship with God grew to something I never would have thought. 

The service ended with everyone standing around us singing Onward Christian Soldiers. The words echoing through my mind and explaining what was ahead for us and for CTGS.

“Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus Going on before. Christ, the royal master, Leads against the foe; Forward into battle See His banners go!”

“Like a mighty army Moves the Church of God; Brothers, we are treading Where the saints have trod. We are not divided, All one body we, One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.” LSB 662

Be Strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

 

Linda’s Farewell Luncheon @ the Michigan District

July 16, 2009

It isn’t everyday I get to attend one of the Michigan District’s farewell Luncheon. Even more so does a husband get the chance to see how loved his wife is in her place of employment. I can’t say enough about the MI District staff and their leader in President Hoesman.  Many tears were shed this day not only for Linda, but for our family. That may be what distinguishes the MI District from other Districts.  It is a very large family in which they all suffer through the trials and tribulations and join together to celebrate the triumphs and blessings.

It all started with announcement in Divine Shepherd, LCMS (Ann Arbor, MI) service bulletin. Linda may have ignored me the first two weeks. By the third week she had setup a interview. The rest is history.  We listened to heart felt words from President Hoesman, Chad Woltemath, and Debby Fall.  Linda has always shared her stories the work of the district, but it was somehow different to hear everyone sharing stories about my wife.

I know we aren’t supposed to be prideful, but I sat their absolutely proud of my wife to the point I too was in tears.  If you haven’t figured it out, I can shed a tear or two if I’m moved. Linda isn’t the only one who made lifelong friends. The strength and desire of the MI District staff serves as a example to all in the District and outside of it. We love you all and we will miss you while away following God’s Direction.

Final Elder Meeting @ CTGS

July 15, 2009

The title is misleading.  It was probably my last Elder Meeting @ CTGS given the upcoming Sunday would be our last. Pretty standard Elder Meeting with a new attendee in Pastor Pollatz.  Pastor Pollatz is currently serving as CTGS’s Intentional Interim Minister (IIM) during our vacancy. 

We discussed the future of the church and re-assigning the folks under my care to a new Elder. So, if any my folks are reading this know that you are now assigned to some spiritual and strong men.  God is definitely working through them and their families.  We also discussed potential new elders.  One of those potential gentlemen is near and dear to my heart with so much potential. 

The ending of the Elder ended like most Elder Meetings do with prayer as it should. I was asked to close, but told not to say amen.  All the men in attendance offered up prayers/petition for the Lord to keep me on the path he has set forth for me.  I have to admit their prayers had me tearing up. I considered it an honor to have served with these men as Elders as CTGS. I remember us all reading the “Caring Elder” and 1 Timothy 3 wondering if we would all be able to lift up to our own interpretations of an Elder. Could we quote scripture off the top of our head if the need arose? Would we be seen as leaders?  Would we be able handle situations as caring Christian like Jesus would?  Would we fall under the scrutiny?  We all asked those questions in addition to the why me thoughts.

However, as time went on I think we all grew into our roles. While growing into those roles we got into the Word deeper with a new dedication.  Maybe first it was due to the role, but then it became a part of us. We took on duties in the liturgy, bible studies, and teaching young confirmands.

I just want to take this time to extend a special thanks to my Elder brothers; Jim Cooley, John Marasco, Viggo Tordrup, Kevin Kreis, Jason Whitman, and Scott Catallo.

Family Reunion Weekend in Cleveland, OH

July 13, 2009

 

My side of the family got together for the Wright Family Reunion and this year it was in Cleveland, Ohio. I won’t cover much about the family reunion here, I’ll cover that in my reflections blog.  I will say being around family with two weeks to go before leaving for seminary was a very uplifting and energizing experience.  I had missed the previous two family reunions. The last one I was able to attend was back in 2003 (Atlanta). In 2005, I had just gotten out of the hospital after being diagnosed with Lupus (Chicago Reunion).  In 2007, we were in Indiana participating in my sister-in-law’s wedding while the reunion was in (Kentucky).  Nevertheless, I feel blessed to have been surrounded by family in fellowship to take my mind off the impending move quickly approaching.

On Sunday, my parents accompanied Linda, the kids, and I to church at St. Philip in Cleveland.  This was bittersweet as the weekend had been dubbed by myself as the first stop on the farewell tour. How fitting that the church where the foundation and growth began for both my father and I.  It also was more than likely the last time we would all be able to sit down to worship as a family.  However, my sister was absent due to the need to get a family member from the family reunion to the airport.  It felt like a thank you from our family to the church. For the church the feeling was another sign of God’s work in full view.  Very emotional as we shook hands at the end of service and exchange information on the upcoming weeks, months, and years.

St. Philip may not be filled like it once was during my youth, but the Spirit is alive and working through its members.  Seemed like the service went by so fast, but the feelings shared was much needed.

Just over two weeks to go

July 7, 2009

Well, the time is growing close for the big move to Saint Louis.  We are exactly 17 days, 14 hours, 47 minutes, and 10 seconds to departure time.  We are packing still and trying to divert our attention away from shedding tears from the wonderful friends we are leaving to continue on in God’s ministry.  I’m continue to review material for my next class and gearing up meeting all my new classmates. We are pretty lucky.  Not many folks can say they up and move from one life situation to another and already have a support base in place. For that and many other blessings come directly from the Father.  I will continue to post my thoughts and experiences as time goes on.

This blog is supposed to be a way of documenting my path through the ministry as a way to share with those who aren’t aware of the process.  A way of keeping friends and family connected to what’s going on in our lives.


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