Ministry Messenger
December 1, 2020
A Note from Pastor Kevin

Advent in a time of pandemic seems weird. We are used to all of our Advent traditions whether they be special concerts or services, parties or preparations, caroling or cookie making, trees and wreaths. And yet somehow this year feels weird. This year feels separated. Separated from traditions. Separated from the people we love. Separated from normalcy. Separated from family. And the thing about it is that separation is hard.

As I think about it, Advent has always been about people who were longing for better days as they lived in the midst of separation. Think about the people in the Old Testament longing for the coming of the Messiah. They experienced separation from God due to their sin. They experienced separation from the land they loved as they were carried off into exile. They experienced separation between the awesome promises of God and the fulfillment of those promises for which they longed. And so what did the people do? They waited with longing, expectation, and hope.

What do we do today? We wait. We wait with longing and expectation, knowing that we have a certain hope. Why is our hope certain? Because on a Christmas night so long ago, God came down to make His dwelling among. In Mary’s child, all of God’s promises were answered. The hope and fears of all the years were met in Jesus that night. And so in the midst of a pandemic as we are feeling separated, we put our hope and trust in Jesus. We anticipate once again, the celebration of Jesus’s coming in Bethlehem. Together we long for the second coming of Jesus, when our hopes will be fully realized in His presence.

This year as we celebrate Advent, we invite you to join us weekly for online worship, follow along with us in The Jesse Tree devotional, and check out the Wednesday devotions that are based upon some of the beloved Advent hymns. You will be able to find those weekly devotions here.
New Year, New Women's Bible Study
On January 8, 2021, the Friday morning women's group will further our examination of Jewish culture in the time of Jesus through the book: Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus, by Lois Tverberg. This study will take about 13 weeks and finish near Easter. We meet every Friday from 9:30-11am via Zoom. All are welcome! Contact Beth Young at bethanyLyoung@gmail.com for details. Sign-up deadline is January 4.
Lessons and Carols

The spirit of Christmas in Word and song will be available on the OSLM website from December 15 - December 30. Members of the various choirs and ensembles have helped to put together a Service of Lessons and Carols as a small Christmas gift to help you and your families worship during the holiday season. May the songs and readings fill your hearts with joy and peace as we worship together the birth of the Savior: Jesus Christ.
What is Amazon Smile?

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, and at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones. When you shop at AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. You can choose from over one million organizations to support. Learn more here about how you can support OSLM through Amazon Smile.
Supporting Shepherd's Gate
On Wednesday, November 11, Jill Gandara, Volunteer coordinator at Shepherd’s Gate reached out to see if Our Savior could provide turkeys for their residents over Thanksgiving. Thanks to the generosity of our members we were able to provide those turkeys and help make this dinner a reality for the women and children being cared for by the ministry of Shepherd’s Gate. In the photo you will see some of the turkeys being dropped off by Dave Rueter, Director of Launch and Online Ministry.
For information on how you can provide additional support for Christmas to the women and children at Shepherd’s Gate, check out their Christmas programs here. You can become a Christmas Angel or take part in their Gift or Program Adoption supporter. If you have questions feel free to contact Jill at jgandara@shepherdsgate.org
Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML)

Scholarships
The Steinbeck Memorial Scholarship through LWML CNH recently awarded generous scholarships to three children of missionaries for their education. Noah Hoech is now in seminary in Illinois, after studying linguistics at Stanford, and leading Bible studies at the campus. Emma Hanson’s parents are still missionaries in South Korea. She is a junior at St. Olaf College, aiming at a career in Occupational Therapy. Eleanor Clausing’s parents are missionaries in Tanzania. She is now at Concordia University in Nebraska, studying secondary education, English as a second language, and Mandarin Chinese. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
Mission Grants
Please consider supporting the mission projects of LWML.
Nationally the LWML is needing funding for Medical Mercy Mission bus for Guatemala, Restoring Hope for Detroit children and families, and for Lights for Christ Scholarships in Guatemala.
California-Nevada-Hawaii LWML set a goal of $248,000 to fund grants from 2020-2022. Mite donations are needed to fund Hmong New Year Celebration Outreach, in Fresno, for $6,710.
How can we all help these grants get funds?
Send in a check to LWML when you have a special celebration, like a birthday, anniversary, or answered prayer or to honor a loved one. Small donations add up quickly, so don’t think it needs to be a lot.
Send a check to the LWML Zone 7 Treasurer labeled Zone 7 LWML, and a percent will go to LWMLCNH and a percent will go to the national LWML. Address:
LWML Zone 7 Treasurer, Diana Cuva, 2108 Dena Drive, Concord, CA 94519.
Lutheran World Relief

Mission projects:
Our church members have supported the Quilters with space to quilt, fabric for tops and backings, and encouragement. Thank you for all of your support. Please continue to ask friends and neighbors for fabric so the Quilters can continue this mission of love. Five baby blanket quilts were donated in November to Shepherd’s Gate.

News from Beirut and the port explosion: When the port was blasted, Lutheran World Relief thought that all of the huge shipment of quilts and kits was lost. When LSS was finally able to evaluate the damage, they found that the seals on the shipment containers did not break with the explosion and everything survived. It was all saved, and is now being delivered to people throughout Beirut, Lebanon, and Tripoli. Our God is an awesome God. He did not allow the blast to destroy what was meant as comfort for thousands of people. Praise God for his mercy!
Joann Weberg who coordinated the 2020 Ingathering for Lutheran World Relief said that 19 churches donated 886 quilts, 749 school kits, 323 Personal care kits, 176 baby kits, and 98 fabric kits. Additionally, the churches donated $7,162.05 to the Quilt and Kit Shipping fund so that the gifts could be shipped all over the world.
From the Business Office
2021 Offering envelopes are available for pick-up in the church office; please feel free to stop by any weekday from 8am-4pm to grab yours.

You are also invited to pick-up a copy of the January-March edition of Portals of Prayer.

Relevent documents from the October Board of Director's Meeting can be fouind here: Meeting Minutes Pastor's Report Balance Sheet P&L

Lastly, we'd like to share that as of November 30, 2020, Angela Westphal has re-joined the ministry in the position of Communications & Marketing Director. The focus of her role will be to create, organize, plan and implement effective communication messages and strategies for church, school, preschool, and community audiences. She will support church and ministry leaders in conveying their vision and communications priorities to appropriate audiences to further OSLM vision and mission. Additionally, Angela will provide administrative support for the ministry and serve as the first point of contact for facility usage/rental.
Most of you know Angela, and may recall that she worked as Director of Admissions and Marketing here at OSLS a few years back. In addition, Angela has always been an active volunteer within our congregation and most recently has served as Chair of our Board of Directors, a position from which she was required to resign after accepting this role. You may reach Angela directly at 925.447.1246, ext. 224 or by email at awestphal@oslm.net.