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Mission to Puerto Rico

The Christmas season has come and gone and 2020 has arrived. Have you made plans yet for this New Year? How about adding a Mission Trip to your Bucket List!

The Heseder Group is currently planning to return to the “Island of Enchantment,” also known as Puerto Rico, the week of April 25 to May 2. If you recall, nine of us traveled there in October of 2018, but much work is yet to be done repairing homes and living conditions for the citizens who were affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. The two powerful storms hit two weeks apart in September 2017 and devastated much of the small island, which is roughly the size of Connecticut.

Two years later, hurricane Dorian (September 2019) and a 6.4 richter-scale earthquake (January 2020) have now further torn at the people of Puerto Rico. Residents already had limited electric and water supplies; of the 30,000 still able to live in their homes, many with slowly disintegrating blue tarps still serving as their roofs, many more have now been displaced, leaving their homes and splitting up their families until their accommodations can be made livable again.

Many homeowners have been taken advantage of by “contractors” and left with partial repairs and empty bank accounts. What government funding is made available is of very little help. Proof of homeownership is difficult for those whose homes have been passed down over the generations. Paperwork is nonexistent or was destroyed in the hurricanes. It’s a desperate situation for many, but we can help!

This week long experience is a great “first-timers” trip for those new to mission work, but also great for our seasoned workers. There’s something for everybody, no matter your skill-set. You may clean up a yard, paint a house, do light repairs or construction of some sort or even help frame a whole house! We’ll know more of what the need is when we get there. Robin, our trip coordinator, told me there is a high probability we would be either in the city of Cayey, where we were before, or farther south in the coastal city of Salinas. There is another group from Middletown, New York signed up for that same week. They went last spring, and are bringing an even larger group back this spring!

If you have been an active supporter of the Heseder mission group here at Saint John’s, your $699 trip fee, which covers room and board for the trip, plus the rental car(s) and gas we will use through the week, will be covered by Heseder fundraising money. (If you are interested in going, but haven’t had an opportunity to help with funding, there will still be time during the Lenten season with Wednesday night dinners and the Easter breakfast!) The cost of airfare and any personal spending money will be your responsibility.

Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory there is no need for a passport, and your basic immunizations need to be up to date. Other than that all you need is a willingness to serve! This trip is a wonderful way to share God’s love and compassion. It will touch your heart in a way only you will comprehend.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me (contact the church office for my number or email address). We hope to fill as many spots as possible by March 1! Let your light shine bright in 2020 and beyond!

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Heseder Happenings

James reminds us to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only.” In the spirit of this passage, the Heseders, Saint John’s mission group, met in October to sketch out the coming year of “doing.” We invite one and all at Saint John’s to participate in any of the following service activities.

The Artisan Fair and Bazaar, a fundraiser for the Heseders’ work, will be at Saint John’s on November 8 and 9. Come volunteer—or just shop and eat!

On Saturday, November 16, come volunteer at Serve 6.8 from 9:00 AM to Noon. Serve 6.8 is made up of volunteers from many churches who work together to have a larger impact on the community. It is located at the corner of Drake and Lemay, at the east end of the Clearwater Church building. The Heseders will be helping to bag up toys to fill wishlists of needy children in the community. The toys are there, as are the lists; the need is simply the labor to put everything together. We did this last year and it was really fun and rewarding.

Saturday, December 7, will be the evening Heseder Christmas Party at the Gardner’s. Instead of a white elephant gift, bring a winter hat, gloves, mittens or scarves. More details to be announced as we get closer, or just ask Sue!

April Mission Trip to Puerto Rico!

We have tentatively set April 25–May 2 for a week of work in Puerto Rico. If you saw our presentation last November, then you know it was a wonderful week of fun, adventures and meaningful work and worship. Please consider joining us this year for Chapter Two. The Heseders will pay for your week in Puerto Rico, with your only expenses being airfare and spending money. This is an easy trip with lots of fun built in. Speak to any of the Heseders if you have questions or any calling to go.

Africa in October!

For the more adventurous, there are a number of Medical Mission Trips to Africa available. Several of the Heseders are tentatively planning for a trip to Tanzania October 8–19. This trip will fill up quickly as it is a very popular destination, so those commitments will need to be made in November or December at the latest. So pray fast! For questions, check with Kimberly, Jo or Nelly, who have all participated in MMTs in the past. The financial arrangement is the same as above, with the Heseders paying for your mission time in Tanzania. Do bear in mind that flights are considerably more expensive, and many choose to do a safari before returning home.

We wish to thank the congregation for their continued support of the Heseders. We have been a group for eight years now. We also encourage support for the many missionaries in the field. One of the best parts of a mission trip is getting to know and love those who are full-time “doers of the word,” helping the poor, sick, widows and orphans around the world. Check the latter part of the newsletter for news from the Saint John’s supported missionaries who we know and love.

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Artisan Fair and Bazaar to Support International Missions

Start your holiday shopping at Saint John’s Lutheran Church, where the work of thirty artists and craftspeople will be available for sale. Well-known local artisans will be selling handmade items including woodcrafts, pottery, jewelry, textiles and fine cuisine. Saint John’s will be selling crafts collected from around the world. Visitors will enjoy door prizes, a bake sale and a silent auction. Concessions (breakfast and lunch) will be available all day.

The booth fees and proceeds from Saint John’s sales will support local and international work and support for those in need around the world, including medical clinic work in the jungle of Peru and villages in eastern Africa, relief work in Haiti, restoration in New Orleans and outreach to our neighbors right here on the Front Range.

Support this important work while enjoying the handiwork of our fantastic vendors. It’s a two-day event you don’t want to miss: Friday, November 8, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Saturday, November 9, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, at Saint John’s. Free admission.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Five

The morning of our final clinic day in Kahe began in a wonderful way: with a baptism. One of the patients we cared for this week is a severely malnourished child that we have connected to the local resources in the hope that the healthcare system will come through to support the child and his mother. Due to the severity of the child's condition, we connected the mother with the local Lutheran pastors in Kahe. Baptism was discussed, and the mother agreed. Therefore, this morning, there was a joyful baptism at the clinic. Many from the waiting crowd attended and provided beautiful harmonies for the acappella hymns. One of our team members was chosen as the godmother/sponsor. The child received the baptismal name of Marco, which is a strong biblical name, and he is also named after one of our team members. It was an emotional and an impactful way to begin the final day.

The clinic day went quickly as there were many patients waiting to be seen and limited time to see them all. At the end of the day, we were unable to see all of the patients, which is always a challenging situation. We hope and pray that those in greatest need of both spiritual and physical care were able to make it through the line to be seen.

Partnering with the local Tanzanian healthcare workers this week has been wonderful. Each one desires to do what is right to support their communities. This was seen through many tender moments where they went out of their way to do what is good and right. Challenges may exist in healthcare access, availability, and resources. However, there are admirable people here doing the work.

This evening Pastor Charles led the team and local missionaries in a communion service to close out the week. The evening concluded with a final debrief. Team members are looking forward to several days of enjoyment exploring Africa in new ways before traveling back home. The week has been a success and our hearts are full.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Four

Our fourth clinic day was another good, smooth day. The team has figured out a routine and flow that works well. Our morning routine brings us to the clinic by about 9:30 AM each day. We leave our hotel at 8:00, stop to pick up the Tanzanian healthcare workers and then drive to Kahe. The noise on the bus has grown throughout the week as conversations and chatter occur amongst the team. They're great sounds to hear! After our safety huddle and morning prayer, we begin to see patients by about 10:00 or 10:30 AM. The local pastors and workers staying in Kahe have the school all set up and ready for our use by the time we arrive. The patients who registered the day prior are usually sitting in their benches in the proper order waiting for registration when we arrive, and then the crowd of other expectant patients grows throughout the day.

Patients waiting patiently

The past few days have brought several circumstances that our team holds in prayer. People who are viewed as less than normal by societal standards are often shunned and outcast. This leads to very challenging situations and lifestyles for these families. We have met several developmentally disabled children, a couple of people with albinism and a severely malnourished child. We have worked to connect them with local resources for both spiritual and physical care. It is eye-opening and heartbreaking to observe the struggle.

Faces of the day

Today brought many patients with similar health concerns that we have seen during the week. Our first major wound care needs came through the clinic today. Kristal and Kristin partnered together on treatment plans. Kristin continues to make an impact through physical therapy treatment plans for the patients, teaching them new skills and concepts. Pastor shares an excellent evangelism message that connects the concept of a deep faith in Jesus to growing healthy tomatoes. Mark and Chris are beloved by the children and set the tone for clinic flow by obtaining patient weights. Nelly and Kristal continue the process by gathering each patient's vital signs, and the five nurses (Kay, Kimberly, Laura, Rita and Vicki) all work in nursing triage. The local Tanzanian healthcare team has shared the great need they have observed and how happy they are to be working in Kahe this week. Hopefully the connections we are beginning to create for the locals will carry forward.

Morning prayer and devotion
Pastor sharing his message of Jesus and tomatoes
Nelly obtaining vital signs
Laura assessing a small child
Vicki and Hery triaging a large family

As we prepare for our final day of clinic, we pray that we will see the patients in greatest need of care. We look forward to continued service here where God has called us to be in Kahe, Tanzania.

Enjoying time with the children after clinic

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

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