As we approach the weekend, I invite you to think back over the last week and all that you have experienced: your unique combination of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, laughter, frustration...whatever it all was, all in just one little week.

Now, think back over the last month. So much life, in such a short amount of time. Perhaps too much to review in a quick moment.

And the last year? Even more chock-full of this intense human experience we call life.

We go through so much - even when life is pretty good! And hopefully, in the midst of it all, we reach out to God, who is always there for us and who promises to listen...and love, and forgive, and heal, and transform.

But, there are times when God's presence is hard to feel. There are times when we wish God would speak to us in ways we could hear, out loud. Sometimes we wish God could sit across from us and talk to us like another person would. It'd be nice to see God's face and hear God's voice and know that God is with us.

This week, I am in St. Louis for Stephen Leader training, diving deep into the world of Stephen Ministry. And what stays with me more than anything else about this rich ministry with a long and powerful history is that it is such a fine example of that Lutheran catch-phrase, "God's work. Our hands."

Stephen Ministers provide one-on-one care, marked by deep listening, non-judgmental presence, and strict confidentiality. They are highly trained and care deeply about their service.

Stephen Ministers are one way God gives us the gift of a human being to embody God's promises to listen...and love, and forgive, and heal, and transform. These are people to be with us, here and now, in tangible ways that we can see and hear. God knows we humans need that, and God reaches out to provide exactly what we need.

I hope you'll consider if God might be reaching out to you and encouraging you to have a Stephen Minister.

You may think:
-Others need this more than me.
-I'm handling my stress ok on my own.
-I would be too embarrassed to ask for a Stephen Minister.
-I don't know how all of this works.
 
If you have even an inkling that a Stephen Minister might be a gift in your life, I encourage you to set these hesitations aside and reach out to learn more. Chat with me, PT, or one of our amazing, committed Stephen Leaders. Pray about it. See where the Spirit leads.

Don't let this gift from God pass you by.

And know too, that even when we don't feel it, God IS there, just as God promised.

God is good! All the time...

PM

Sunday's Readings
Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7
 Luke 24:36b-48


This Sunday, we welcome Lisa Rowe, Families Together's Executive Director, to Good Shepherd. Founded in 1980 as Pan Lutheran Ministries by a small group of Lutherans who came together to address a concern for families in crisis, today Families Together is the largest non-profit in Wake County dedicated to permanently housing homeless families. Katie Kingsbery is Good Shepherd's representative serving on the Families Together Board of Directors.

Penny Wars have begun! Bring in your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, bills and checks to support the orphans of Mnene parish. Remember to put only the pennies in the jar of the team that you are pulling for; all other donations go in the jar of the team you are pulling against.

No Need to Cook on Monday, April 16! Join us at Milton's instead.
Go to Milton's Pizza & Pasta (8853 Six Forks Road) and support our preschool. Lunch or dinner; dine in or take out. Be sure to tell them you are with Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool!

Rams Men's Ministry Dinner & Discussion: God and Politics - Tuesday, April 17, 6:30-8:00 pm, Fellowship Hall - If you are wrestling with how to live out your Christian faith in this highly polarized political climate, this discussion with Pastor Tim is for you. It's not too late to RSVP; RSVP by Monday, April 16 online or to rams@gslchurch.org.

Via de Cristo Community Gathering (Ultreya) - Saturday, April 21, 12:00-3:00 pm in Fellowship Hall  - If you have not been to a Via de Cristo (VdC) weekend but want to learn more, this is a great opportunity. If you have been on a weekend, you are invited to bring a dish to share. All are welcome! Contact Jeff Dozer
 with questions.

More information about upcoming events is available in this week's bulletin announcements.

Health and Healing  for Mark Fink; Bill Reed; and Jack and DeeAnn Burns and family, friends of Montgomery family.

Safekeeping for the 3rd-5th graders and adults at BYG (Building Youth Groups) at Camp Agape this weekend.

Thanksgiving for this Sunday's baptism of Avett Cathleen Richardson, daughter of Robert and Amanda Richardson and granddaughter of Gary and Cathie Strawbridge.

Christian Sympathy to Ken Kutner and family on the death of his mother, Dorothea Kutner, and to Walt Chmelewski and family at the death of his sister, Anne Griffith.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Sithokozile Mpofu and Zvidozvashe Zhou.

Sitho is 19 1/2 years old and has a 4 1/2 year old son. She was in our support program for over 10 years. She left hairdressing school and is not currently in the Good Shepherd support program. She would like to continue her education but has not yet returned to speak with the Mnene staff. We continue to hold her and her son in our thoughts and prayers. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Jane Lovelace.

Zvido is 27 years old. Last winter, he took his final exams at Bulawayo Polytech to earn his auto mechanic diploma. We have not yet heard the results of his exams. He also hopes to earn his commercial certificate which will give him more options for employment. He told our 2017 mission team that "he knows it will be hard to find work, and he is willing to do whatever he must do and go wherever he must." His Mail For Mnene partner is Cathie Strawbridge & family.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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