As a kid, my favorite adventures took place in my grandma's yard in eastern NC. She lives on the Neuse River, where it opens up and looks almost as big as the ocean. The distinctive feature of her yard, in addition to the gorgeous azaleas, is "the cut," a big area of land that was dredged out years ago so that a couple of docks could be built there. Most of the boats in the cut belonged to the extended family, so no one ever cared if we ran around on them and used them as diving boards. We put a tire swing in a little boat house for a while. There were always dinghies and rafts lying around that we could play on.

The cut was an amazing place to play, and yet, it was not without its quirks. There were years when, during the warmer months, jellyfish were everywhere. Sometimes we'd even swim in long johns so we could play without getting stung. We had to watch for snakes, too, although we didn't see them as often, thank goodness.

The trickiest thing about the cut was that the bottom was complete mush. It wasn't that deep, but you couldn't walk in it without sinking to your knees in mud. Playing out there, we always needed something to hold onto - a place to rest when you got tired, or a hand hold on the side of a boat to get you up and out of there. 

There was no solid ground.

So often, life is like that. It can be amazing and fun and full of adventure, but it's not without its quirks. When we get tired or overwhelmed, it can be hard to find solid ground. We need a hand hold, a place to rest, something we can float on for a while as we get our bearings again.

This year, during the season of Lent, our theme is "Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land." Our Wednesday evening worship services will explore this theme, which comes from an old spiritual. We'll hear from a different community member each week about how Jesus has been their rock during challenging times.
 
This season, we are invited to "return to the Lord." We are invited to remember that Jesus provides us with solid ground in the midst of life that is often stressful and chaotic. When we are weary or overwhelmed, we have a hand hold. We have a raft. We have our rock.

This season, join us on solid ground. Return to the Lord. Come and see Jesus, our rock in a weary land.

Peace be with you, 
PM

This Sunday's Readings
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend. Remember to set your clocks forward 1 hour on Saturday night.

Across the Generations and into Lent: Cross-Generational SME  - This Sunday, 9:30-10:30 am  4th - 12th grade students and adults are invited to come together, share insights from the Generational Panels, participate in caring conversation, and more. Snacks will be provided.

Comfort for a Child: Blanket Prep - This Sunday, 12:00-3:00 pm  Join us to prep blankets for children at Families Together! The blankets may be large, but the skill level required is small. Grab some friends, and stay as long or short as you want. A light lunch will be served. Register on Realm or to barb.newcomer@gslchurch.org.  

Food Drive sponsored by Older Wiser Lutherans (OWLs)Grab a bag outside the Sanctuary on Sunday to support North Raleigh Ministries' Backpack Buddies. Bring bags filled with groceries back to church by next Sunday. Your generosity is a blessing to those less fortunate in our community.

Mail for Mnene Collection begins this Sunday -  We will be collecting letters for our orphans in Mnene at the Mail for Mnene table in the Narthex. Everyone is invited to send letters of love and support.    

Memory Café -  Monday, March 11, 4:30-6:00 pm - Individuals experiencing dementia and their caregivers who wish to socialize with others in similar circumstances while enjoying an evening out are invited to join us for Memory Café. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more, contact memorycafe@gslchurch.org.

How to Support Friends & Family Who May Be at Risk for Death by Suicide: Seminar sponsored by Stephen Ministry - Tuesday, March 12, 7:00 - 8:00 pm  Led by Dr. Robert Cooke, Pastoral Counselor at Triangle Pastoral Counseling, participants will discuss the major reason for suicidal thoughts, learn signals to which to pay attention, and find ways to walk with those who may be at high risk.   

Lenten Soup Suppers & Vespers Worship - Wednesdays, March 13 - April 10 No need to cook dinner before you head to church on Wednesdays during Lent. Let's share a simple meal together starting at 5:30 pm (drop in any time), and then worship at 7:00 pm. Check out the complete Lent 2019 schedule.

Hurricane Relief Mission Trip Informational Meeting - Sunday, March 17, 12:00 pm  It's been over 5 months since Hurricane Florence devastated parts of Eastern NC, and there are many who are still waiting to get the mud shoveled out of their homes. On May 15-19 and June 23-26, Good Shepherd will be sending teams out to help! Come learn more about how you can help.

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

The Spring 2019 edition of The Shepherd's Voice is now available online.

Health and Healing for Karen Weber, daughter-in-law of Carol Weber; Krista White; Lindsay Stearns, friend of Cathy Strawbridge; Philip Valente, Jr., Phil Valente's father; Mrs. Bodmer, friend of Casey Parrett; Lisa Schell, friend of Levine family; Doyle Harper, father of Ellen Dickson; Carol Weber; and Steven Ashton.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Talent Sigono and Aleta Moyo.

Talent  is 28, married and has a 5 1/2 year old daughter. She was our first orphan to graduate from post secondary school, receiving a 2 year diploma from Masvingo Polytechnic in Horticulture. She asked to return to Masvingo for 2 more years of study so that she could poses a 4 year degree, giving her a better chance at supporting herself. She is successfully completing her final semester this Spring! Annie recently visited with Talent and remarked "I think she chose a very good field (Horticulture). If she is able to get any land, this girl will do wonders! With what she has learned, she will be able to produce very good crops which she can sell. She could have a good business and be fine!" Her Mail For Mnene partner is Cortney Tyson.

Aleta is 28 and has 2 small children. She had been enrolled at Zvishavane Vocational School, studying Hairdressing. She left school before she completed the program. We continue to hold her in our thoughts and prayers. She is the oldest of 7 siblings enrolled in the GSLC support program. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Cathie Strawbridge.

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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