Isaac laughs

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Well, Hurricane Isaac literally just hit St. Louis and the torrential downpour has begun. This is good because it has been a bit since our first post and I needed something of significance to put on here.

I started Seminary orientation two days ago (Wednesday) and it felt much like starting first grade. Natalie took me to the bus stop where I promptly got on the wrong bus and then was 35 minutes late for the first session. If you are ever in St Louis, there are two different #17 buses at 6:22 and 6:26am. You want the 6:26 if you want to be on time for your first day at Seminary. All is well though because as I walked through the door into the crowded room Dr. Dale Meyer was pronouncing that Concordia Seminary was about Grace for all people. I felt relief. After that everything went smoothly, Natalie caught up with me for a couple of free meals and learned about the life of a Sem wife, heard from a group called SWA (Seminary Womens Association, pronounced ‘swah’).

Natalie has also been working at Faith Lutheran in Oakville, MO and Columbia, MO. She is getting ready for Sunday School or Kids Church as it is known at Faith. Natalie had a big win last week when her teacher training had 20 people show up and then give her positive feedback about all the things she shared with them. The congregation seems to be very receptive to her knowledge and demeanor.

Together we seem to be forming a deeper relationship spiritually and also with our community. We finished doing the KINDLE devotional and have moved onto Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It seems that the thoughts in this devotional have been very appropriate for each day that we read them. We are still meeting people and have realized that there is a moment when we stop ‘dating’ another couple and decide to be friends. I wont say who is who yet.

Finally, today was Opening Worship for the 174th year at Concordia Seminary St Louis. I registered officially, paid tuition (gulp), and scheduled an appointment with the campus nurse to explain why I no longer have a thyroid. Worship was something crazy. I don’t think Natalie or I have ever experienced something quite so loud in traditional worship. The voices were powerful and Dr Meyer did his best to encourage us in the academic theme for this year “Gladly Learn, Gladly Teach” from Chaucer.

Above is a picture from worship today with Prof. Mark Kempff, son of Redeemer Spokane member Betty Kempff. We are grateful to have a friend on the faculty and even more grateful for his hospitality in making us feel welcome.

We are currently praying for our congregation in Spokane, for the large number of families that have lost someone recently, for the transition and employment of our friends here, and for the our future here. Thank for your prayers and financial support! If you feel so inclined to help financially support us Redeemer Lutheran Church in Spokane is the best place to send the money, please mark it ‘Seminary Fund’.

Thank you.

We are reading:

Matt: Life together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Nat: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

Yes, si, oui, surely

Natalie and I in front of “Yellow Bird” our moving truck on moving day. 6/19/12

After two months, ~1800 miles, 1 scary hotel room, and a 2/3 empty 26ft Penske truck, I think it is safe to say that Natalie and I are settled in. We arrived in St Louis on June 22- we hit a high of 88 which was a far cry from the 50′s we left in Spokane. By the next week we were in the hundreds for the next 15 days and too hot to do anything at all.

Fortunately we have acclimated to the weather and started meeting people. We have been blessed with a great apartment in South County and it turns out that 680 square feet is more than enough for two people. About a week into our stay here Ben and Stephanie Marsh moved into our apartment complex. Ben is the Middle School ministry coordinator at Faith Lutheran and works with Natalie. It is nice to have friends that are our age and also new to the area.

It seems a little crazy that being so far from home and virtually without any knowledge of where things are located geographically or what is going on that Natalie and I are so busy.
When we moved here it was an experiment in saying, ‘Yes’. In the last two months I can probably count on one hand the number of times we have said ‘no’ to anything.

With that in mind we have experienced some unique things: A 4am Free range Chicken harvest outdoors, The Budweiser factory tour (5 times), $1 beer night at Tiny’s in Columbia, IL (2 times with church people), Euchre (a card game?), Worship in a church, Worship in a coffee shop, and worship in a used car dealership, We have had several dinners in peoples homes, A performance of the King and I outdoors, pork steaks, A gross power outage, all while Natalie is learning to sew, and I am learning Koine Greek (slowly). Did I mention that I volunteer at Orphan Grain Train on Tuesdays with a group that calls themselves “The Silver Foxes”?

All of this seems to be a way for us to be on the mettle and grow into a new way of life. We miss family, home, lakes, cool evenings with a micro-brew, campfires, and old friends. It will be interesting to see what we get to say ‘yes’ to next.

What we’re reading:
Matt: The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz

Nat: Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen