Dear Friends and family, We are sitting in a pocket of real winter today —37 with wind chill, but the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Not sure what is happening east of us but I heard some bad things in the Eastern United States. People always say we have such terrible weather out here on the plains but I don’t think it is anything like those states around the Great Lakes and the East Coast. I suppose it is all in what you get used to.
I came down a day earlier than normal this trip because of predictions. I even went out and bought a new pair of long underwear. Actually I have been putting them on every morning. When I got to Baker I realized I had not brought my snow boots — that was intelligent. So I went downtown to the local clothing store and bought a new pair. Not cheap! But I think I like them better than the ones I have. When I wear them under my slacks they look a little like gray boots so don’t think I will bother with shoes tomorrow.
Checked the MDOT road report and it looks good for traveling tomorrow so think I will head home after church in Plevna. I am already packing a few things so I don’t have so much next week when I leave on Christmas Day. Amazing what you accumulate as you trickle things down each week. I really have to say I have enjoyed my experience. I was writing someone a letter this morning and mentioned that other than Zion this is the only other church I have served for a longer period of time. I was aware intellectually, but have seen how the relationships, experiences and dynamics are all different. Baker had a husband-wife team for twelve years. They were high energy folks, musical and made a lot of good things happen here. They will be sorely missed, but I think like most situations you know when it is time to move on. My 10 weeks gave them a little breathing space after their pastors left and now they will have to get down to the serious business of how to continue ministry without a pastor. They have four Lay Pastoral Associates in the three churches who will pick up some of the slack. I think that will be a good experience for one and all. Were I to stay I would start to tweak a few things. I can tell I am a traditionalist in liturgy and I would have to find some way to compromise with the music people here. They are so talented, but their choice and my preferences don’t always run the same direction. Not a problem just a matter of personal preferences. But I will leave that for the next person to occupy this office. I didn’t want to change anything in such a short time. I am so blessed the pastor from Broadus was willing to drive over to Ekalaka and thus relieved me of one of the three parishes. I did go down a couple of times and know I would have enjoyed working with them but there are just not enough hours in the week to get it all done.
I have enjoyed what little shopping I have done here. They have several very nice stores. Grocery store is excellent, some nice little eateries, flower shop, drug store. I met the lady who runs the local Food Bank and Senior Center yesterday. We had a nice visit and were I here that is something I would help with. They are SO important in a community.
So one more week here and then I will turn my eyes north to Savage. I will preach there the first time on the 8th, the same day as their Lutefisk Dinner. I asked if they really intended to have church on that all important day and they told me they would have the speakers on in the basement so they could hear the service. I am wondering if I will be preaching to an empty sanctuary! Okey dokey! Lutefisk is important. I heard the fish at the dinner in Glendive this year was especially good. One expert said the best in years. I am so sorry I missed it. I am going to tell them at Savage to save me a plate as I have to go to Skaar across the river to preach on the 8th, weather-permitting.
I am so blessed with meeting interesting people, challenging myself a little and feeling as though I am helping out where needed.
God’s blessings on you all and if I don’t communicate again before Christmas, a blessed Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New Year.