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Graduation



Great news! I (Alex) have just graduated from college!! We arrived in the States four years ago, as you may know. I started taking classes at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Two years later I graduated with an Associates of Arts. It was then that we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. I transferred my credits to Indiana University-Purdue University towards a major in English with a concentration in Language. Last week I took my last final in the Psychology of Language. I can now breathe and relax for a little while and awe at God's mercy and all the blessings that He is pouring over us. Graduating from college would have been absolutely impossible for me without His constant support and guidance. I am immensely grateful and honored. To God be the Glory!

The Commencement Ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in the Arena of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Please, feel free and most welcome to join me and my family in this very special day!



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Mission Trip to Chicago


A few weeks ago, in early December, we all went to Chicago on a mission trip for the weekend. We visited Saint John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, IL. We had a most wonderful time with Pastor Bruzek and his wife Kirby and all the saints there. We had the honor to attend one of the services and enjoy amazing choral music, the smell of the incense in the altar, the procession of the Cross and a wonderful sermon.

Later, during Bible Study time, we were invited, altogether with Dr. Just, to speak to the congregation about the mission in Spain. What a joy it is for us to share our experiences and the needs of those who seek the Lord and His mercy in our country!

We could not spend much time with our sisters and brothers at Saint John, for right after Bible Study, Santi was giving the sermon at Trinity Lutheran Church in West Chicago. What a joy! What a privilege! This wonderful neighborhood Church offers services in Spanish for those neighbors who have Spanish as their "heart language"! Pastor Gaede, in perfect Spanish, is able to bring the Gospel to his dear sheep in their own language. I cannot start to tell you how much this impressed Santi and me.



This service was especially touching because it was the second sermon that Santi was offering and the first one that I had the opportunity to attend to. The first one was a funeral ceremony for a Hispanic family who had lost their grandfather. It was a real privilege for Santi to assist this family in their grief in their heart language. You can imagine how important it is to listen to the Word of God in your own language... Martin Luther knew how important this was when he translated the Bible into a language that common people could understand.

After the service the saints at Trinity had a wonderful meal ready for us to enjoy. This included, but was not limited to, Spanish rice, hash browns, delicious fresh fruit, and homemade dinner rolls with butter! We want to thank again all the saints at Trinity Lutheran Church, especially Pastor Gaede and his lovely wife Val, for their hospitality and kindness.











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Deaconess Program at the Seminary




Years ago, when Santi expressed his deep desire to become a pastor, I had the strangest thought.... what if I would become a deaconess? What if Santi could count on me in reaching out to the people in need of the Gospel? What if I would serve the Lord with any talent or gift that I may possess?
It was only a thought, a wild one if you want. For me to become a deaconess was another human impossibility! I would have to have a college degree (the deaconess program is graduate level), and to be admitted at the Seminary. What were the odds?

A few weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail... I had just been conditionally admitted in the Deaconess Program at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN. If I was able to pass my last four classes at IPFW, I would be definitively accepted for good! I cannot start to tell you how much this means to me and my family. This is a dream come true. I cannot wait to sit in a classroom surrounded by women and men of God who have the same passion about the Scriptures and who have made theirs this verse: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

Lord willing, January 25th will be my first day of classes. I will start with two intensive classes that run Monday to Sunday, 8am to 4pm, for two weeks. I know that it will not be easy, but I also know that I am not alone. We are never alone, none of us. We have a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace! And He has promised to be with us until the end of days! What a joy it is to find comfort in His promises!

I would like to thank you all for your constant prayers and support. I have found in you and in my family all the inspiration and help to overcome every single challenge. To God be the Glory!

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Merry Christmas!



From our family to yours, in this special time of the year, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. We want to thank those  who have been praying for us, those who have been supporting us in our needs, those who have reminded us that we are never alone in His service. To all of you, dear sisters and brothers, Merry Christmas. Let us rejoice in Jesus birth, death, and resurrection! Rejoice for our King has born!








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LWML NE South Support



With much joy and thankfulness I have recently received a scholarship from Lutheran Women's Missionary League --NE District South!!

LWML is a tool that God uses to deliver his gracious help! Those mighty mites that we often find in the congregations are not just a place to drop a coin, but also to drop your love and care for your neighbor so that the Good News of Jesus can be furthered!!

Thank you to LWML NE South District and to all of you who drop your support in the mites!






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Holy, holy, holy

Following the last post, I (Alex) wanted to share with you another project for my HEL class. This one is an etymology project in which we had to trace one word back to its origins. I chose the word 'Holy'. Here is the beginning:




Holy
 






The word Holy should immediately evoke in our minds the image of the only One who is worthy of this title, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

The word holy is rendered in all the dictionaries referenced for this assignment and the entries and meanings are very consistent to each other. Even the so-called slang dictionaries acknowledge the original senses of the word before adding to our understanding of current usages of the word. 

To keep reading, please click here: Holy

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Your Mission is Right Where You Are





Sometimes we may think that Missionary work is far from our possibilities. After all, we may not be able to travel to faraway countries or able to speak exotic languages. However, the mission field is right here, right where you are.

Sometimes it just takes a new perspective on missionary work. I (Alex) am currently enrolled at IPFW trying to get a BA in English.  I thought that I could use my final projects to reach out.  I have been longing to share some of my projects with you. I hope you like them.

The first one is a project for my History of English Language aka HEL....






Time travelling with the Bible, a brief history of the English language


L
anguage changes, it always has, it always will. And, even though we are not always willing to accept this fact, we cannot avoid this chameleonic animal to keep evolving.
English is an ancient language with many centuries of history. The aim of this project is twofold: on one hand, to observe the evolution of the English language through Bible translation and, also to give an account of the changes observed in the frame of the History of the English Language.   

If you want to keep reading, please click here: Time Traveling with the Bible

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July 6th, part III, wild road trip!




Our field trip to Lyons was really exciting. But we were not really ready for what was to come. In Nancy's words, "Lyle turned sixteen again" and took us on a wild road trip to the hills of Lyons in which he used to sled as a kid.

Images are good, but nothing better than a video... enjoy!



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July 6th, part II, St. John's Lutheran Church

Well, July 6th was a long day. And after a very moving service in Pilger we headed to Lyons, Nebraska, Lyle's birthplace.


 


St. John's Lutheran  is a beautiful rural Church. The Church building was built at the turn of the century. And some graves in the graveyard date back to 1874!

Here are some pictures that Carlos took in Lyons.









Hey Lyle and Nancy! cut it off guys!

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July 6th, part I, Pilger, Nebraska




It has been a very intense summer quarter for all of us but, as everything else, it came to an end and with it, the beginning of our vacation. Summer is not summer without sunshine, and vacation is not vacation without Nancy Middendorf. We could not wait for it, but finally she arrived in Fort Wayne and took us all to Lincoln, Nebraska.

At this point I surely should mention that my dear little brother Carlos joined us in our trip to Nebraska. Yes! Carlos arrived in June from Barcelona with the goal of learning English. However, it is not easy to pick up English in a Spanish-speaking home. Carlos drove to Lincoln in Nancy's car so that he could be exposed to English during the long trip. Well, all I know is that two days after meeting Nancy, Carlos was speaking English for the first time.

We enjoyed very much our stay in Lincoln. We got to see a lot of good friends and we also visited beautiful places.I wanted to pause and tell you about one very special day: July 6th.On that day we visited the town of Pilger, Nebraska. June 16th 3/4 of the town of Pilger were completely wiped out by twin tornadoes. July 6th we were blessed to worship with our sisters and brothers under a tent at the parking lot of St. John's Pilger. After the service, we had the opportunity to talk to Rev. Terry Makelin and his lovely wife. I want to share with you their concerns and prayer request so that you too, can join us in prayer.

Rev. Makelin was concerned because he had not have the chance yet to communicate with all the member of his Church. He is in need of a pick-up van and asks for prayers so that he would have time to talk with his wife about all that has happened to them. After more than two weeks they had only had three hours to themselves!

Here are some pictures that Carlos took during our visit to Pilger.
















The bell at St. John's was all that survived the twin tornadoes.

Ryan Soderlin / The World Herald
The twin tornadoes took the life of two people and destroyed the town almost completely. God is in Pilger now by the side of those who need Him; He was in Pilger the day we worshiped Him in July; He was there during the tornadoes. Horrible things happen in this world, but we have the certainty that God does never leave us alone.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20


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Back in Town


Today we had the privilege to worship with our brothers and sisters at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Logansport, Indiana.  It has been our second visit to our adoption church and Santi was able to do the readings of the Old Testament and the Epistle. We enjoy so much being at St James. Did you know that this is a centenary church? It was first organized Dec. 31st, 1848!! Today, one of the ladies told us that she had been attending St. James all her life: "This is home," she said. And we have to say that we too, feel at home when we visit.

We had the chance to talk for a few minutes to Pastor Dehning and he reminded us to keep our blog updated. It is so very true that we have neglected our blog for too long. I (Alex) am determined to tell you all about our summer and plans for the early future.


Thank Pastor Dehning and all the saints at  St.James for a warm welcome at  your beautiful church!

BTW: Did you know that Pastor Dehning is Principal Dehning's brother? Yes! Principal Dehning was our children's principal at Trinity Lutheran School when we lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is a small world full of friends and partners in Christ!





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Classes, classes, classes

At the Seminary, at IPFW, and at Concordia Lutheran School

This is a family of students, you already know that. I wanted to give you an update on our progress with our classes. First and foremost I wanted to let you know that by the Grace of God and the patience of Rev. Pulse, Santi has passed his two semesters of Hebrew!!! To God be the Glory! He admits that Hebrew was a hard bone. He had loved and enjoyed Greek so much that there seemed not to be space in his heart for any other language. The rest of his classes went really well, he enjoyed Homiletics I and Gospels II, and Greek readings. In June Santi also took a summer class, Dogmatics II. All in all, he is making great progress at the Seminary, enjoying his classes and his professors. We have had the chance to get to know some of them better and we give thanks to God for their friendship.

Can you guess what is this? Santi has assured me that these are the first five verses of the Bible! But beware, they have to be read from right to left!


As for our dear little ones, we are so very proud of them and extremely happy. Maria is about to start 6th grade, Santi will start 5th grade, and Salva is ready to get into pre-K this year.... I mean he is ready to get into 3rd grade :)  (Salva is our eternal baby, you know). We can healthily brag about Maria and Santi being in the Honors list this year. Concordia Lutheran School organizes a beautiful breakfast for the honor students and their families in which the teachers cook for them all. What a beautiful example of service! We were also very shocked and proud of our children when we came home with an Award for Educational Achievement signed by the President of the United States! Way to go kiddos!




As for me (Alex), I finished my spring semester at IPFW. This was an intense semester but I enjoyed it so very much. I took History of English Language, two Linguistics classes, and a Spanish Literature class (I was good in this one :)). One week after the spring semester ended, I started my summer classes. I took English Literature, a course in Christianity, and Ancient and Medieval History. These were the most intense 6 weeks ever! But everything went well. Lord willing I will be able to graduate in December with a BA in English with a concentration in language. To God be the Glory.







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Broken Car... God is Good!



I (Alex) am writing these lines with tears in my eyes. Tears of awe and joy. For the last two days my husband and I have seen God's Grace in action in such a way that we cannot but praise the Lord for He is good.

Sometimes we, sinners, in our weakness, doubt about God's Grace. We, sometimes, feel as if we were carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. We feel as if our gracious father were busy somewhere else. As if He were not paying attention to our daily lives. As if we were alone. However, we are not. We are not alone, not even for a minute. "and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be)" (Matthew 28:20, AMP).





God is not busy somewhere else. He is right here, right now. With me and also with you. Reading these very same words. Two days ago, our car decided that it had been enough... it could only take so much, and it stopped working altogether. We made it to the auto repair shop where we were told that the engine was broken. They anticipated a very expensive repair, somewhere in the three thousands... that was bad news, right?

 I have to admit that I worried and even panicked. My husband's schedule, my schedule of classes, our children's schedules... how were we going to organize our lives with one car? How were we going to pay for that repair? I turned to my husband, "what are we going to do?" I could not believe he was so relaxed while I was about to have a heart attack. He said: "to pray".

I have to stop my narrative again to wipe the tears in my eyes and noisily blow my nose. I felt embarrassed for my husband's answer should have been in my mind long before he had to remind me to do what we are supposed to do continuously, to pray. I was also embarrassed because I was, undoubtedly making the wrong questions. It was not "what are we going to do", the right question was "how is our gracious father going to work this situation out?" I do not mean to say that we have to expect straight action from God every time that our car breaks. He could have found important for us to accept a tight situation with just one car... but he had other plans.

That very same night my husband sent an email to our field work church, Emanuel, in New Haven. Pastor Shoemaker immediately sent out an email to all members of the congregation... God was hands-at-work. Minutes later my husband started to receive emails from several members of Emanuel Lutheran, in New Haven, IN. They offered us inexpensive cars to buy, cars to borrow until another car could be purchased, and even advice on how to find an inexpensive engine online. We were amazed. But God was not yet quite done.

My husband had also sent an email to principal Rosin at Concordia Lutheran School, our children's school. Principal Rosin, like pastor Shoemaker, immediately sent out an email to every family in the Concordia community. And we awed again. Soon later, new emails started to arrive. One of those emails put us on our knees. I want to quote principal Rosin here, for his words are certainly more well versed than mine:

"Good morning everyone.

I have to share with you the result from my note yesterday regarding the family in need of a vehicle.

Within minutes I received several replies offering help or knowing someone who has a vehicle. However, one reply in particular was amazing and showed God's hand. A family had a vehicle that had been garaged for years, driven little, and was no longer needed as the owner no longer could use it. It had been sitting idle for a couple of months. Yesterday morning this family had a conversation in which they concluded that they should donate the car to church for someone in need of a vehicle. That was BEFORE I received the request.

Today, the family that lost their car has the replacement they desperately needed! I am convinced that God had this planned all along. That car sat in a driveway for 2 months just waiting for this moment. When it was needed, the Holy Spirit worked as only He can! It is moving to see God's hand at work.

I pray that knowing this can touch you as well as you see how God cares for us in so many ways.

God IS Good!

Have a Blessed Weekend!

Mr. Rosin"

Dear friends, sisters and brothers, today we met a family that we will never forget. Today we met Loretta Sassmannshausen and her lovely father. A family that has given in faith, not only a lovely car, they have given us the conviction that God had been hands-at-work days ago, months ago, years ago... preparing us all for this very moment. The Sassmannshausens have given us love and the reminder that we are all working for the same purpose, to praise our Lord and give Him thanks, and to let everyone know about his abundant Grace.

Right now Santi is changing the title of our beautiful "Jewel", that is the name we have decided for our car. Jewel because it certainly is a precious gift from God. Jewel because it belonged to a lady that is precious to God and to her family and also to us. Principal Rosin, we have seen the kind of community that you are hosting at Concordia Lutheran School and we are proud and honored of being counted among you.

May God bless you all. Jesus has poured His Grace upon us and He reminds us that we are not alone, ever.

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever— . The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you. Just a little while now, and the world will not see Me any more, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. At that time [when that day comes] you will know [for yourselves] that I am in My Father, and you [are] in Me, and I [am] in you. The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.] (John 14:16-21, AMP)

Praise the Lord for He is good! Amen.


 As you can see in this image (taken from google because I still did not have time to take pictures of Jewel) we have upgraded from a 2001 Toyota Corolla to a 1994 Ford Escort in excellent condition! I need another tissue...

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