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The church mailbox has been filled with many thank you notes this year, as grateful missionaries recognize the gifts sent by Saint John’s to support projects around the world. Most recently, the congregation made a gift to the Vanderhyde family, who are preparing for mission work in Sri Lanka. The offering taken at Ben Vanderhyde’s presentation when the family visited Saint John’s in July, along with a Thrivent supplement, added up to $850. The Foundation sent the Vanderhydes an additional $1,500, and the Heseder mission group voted to send $500 of their fundraising dollars to the family.

Seminarian Ben Vanderhyde served as a summer intern last year, playing organ and assisting Pastor Nettleton. Ben received his third-year vicarage call to Sri Lanka, so the family will be serving there before he returns to complete his final year of seminary. Right now the Vanderhydes are fundraising, as they have have to raise, through gifts and pledges, all of the money that will be required to support them while they are serving before they begin their mission. Once their funding has been secured, they will leave for Sri Lanka. Ben will spend his vicarage preaching, teaching and developing music programs tere.

Ben writes,

Dear Friends in Christ,

We just recently got word of your gifts of support through Mission Central! Thank you for partnering with us for God’s work in Sri Lanka. We’re so glad to have your support and prayers going with us as we embark on this journey.

God bless your work and ministry as His church in Fort Collins!

Your friends,
Ben, Grace and Larson Vanderhyde

In a letter of thanks on behalf of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s “Mission Central,” LCMS President Matthew Harrison expressed his thanks to Saint John’s:

My dear fellow redeemed:

I have been blessed to know people who experience profound, life-changing joy when they tell others about Jesus through their sacrificial giving. I pray you are one of them. There is something intensely personal and full of meaning in a gift like the one you have joyfully given. Thank you.

St. Paul said it best in Philippians 1:3–6: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

In service to our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Nikolai Gibbons (son of the congregation, former summer intern and current pastor in Michigan) was visiting Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in February, to attend the “We Love the Seminary” event. He had not met and did not know Ben at the time, but noticed the t-shirt that Ben was wearing from Ben’s summer here in Fort Collins: “Saint John’s Lutheran VBS.” Nikolai, of course, struck up a conversation with Ben, and sent this picture!

Most of the recent missionary correspondence has been related to the recent gift to the Vanderhydes. However, Saint John’s will also be sending all of the offerings given during Sunday fellowship times in August (with a Thrivent supplement) to support the Wolf family. In addition, the church received another thank you, this one from the East Africa Field Office of the LCMS, for the donation to the Lutheran Seminary in Uganda made earlier this year.

Dear Saint John’s Lutheran Church,

Greetings in the name of our Risen Savior. Thank you for your generous gift to support the LCU Seminary in Uganda. The people of the LCU are grateful for your partnership to help them equip their pastors to spread the Gospel.

We appreciate your mission hearts. May God continue to bless you and keep you.

In Christ,
Britt Odemba
LCMS Missionary Serving in Kenya

Many thanks to all of you who have donated and otherwise supported the work of the Vanderhyde family and the other missionaries who count Saint John’s among their benefactors.

Tom Miles is the Parish Administrator at Saint John’s. You can reach him at the church office Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at 482-5316 or at