An Ashy Valentine                                                             February 2018

If you go to www.gideons.org you will learn all kinds of facts about Gideons International, a group whose mission is to get the Bible into the hands of people.  Here are a few facts about this organization:
            *Active in 200 countries
            *Over 171,000 members and 96,000 auxiliaries (spouses)
            *Over 12,000 “camps” (local chapters).  there is one camp in Dutchess County
            *About 2.2 billion scriptures distributed since starting in 1899 with about 87                    million in 2016.  Currently being distributed in more than 90 languages.
            *Finances for the purchase of scriptures are largely provided by freewill offerings                   of local congregations. They cost about $1.30 per copy.

As you can see, the Gideons have a passion to get the Bible into the hands of people and share Jesus, a mandate they see as given by Christ for all Christians to take seriously.  At St. John’s Lutheran we too take this seriously and our Social Ministry Mission Team (SMMT) works at collecting funds to purchase Bibles.  Last year people donated $2917 to be used to buy Bibles which were handed out to people in Nepal Uganda and China.  Like the Gideons, The SMMT has a passion to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

At St. John’s we also have an Evangelism Mission Team (EMT) whose purpose is to help share the Good News of Jesus with others.  EMT purchases Bibles for people to take or to hand out, but they also reach out in other various ways, including cleaning the environment through the Adopt-a-Highway Program,  engaging with people and handing out free items at the Arlington Street Fair and caring about the needs of pedestrians on Wilbur by installing benches on our property for their comfort. Often the first step in sharing the Good News of Jesus is just caring and showing love. 

It would be wonderful if, as you read this, you have a burning desire to share Jesus with others by getting involved in one of these ministries, especially SMMT and EMT which are right here at St. John’s.  Please contact me if you want more info on how to help in these ministries. (845-452-1550) But even if you do not belong to either of these groups, there are ways you too can share about Jesus.

For example, when in a conversation with work colleagues about the weekend why not add a comment about having attended worship or something you found particularly meaningful in the Bible study you attended or talk about an upcoming church event you hope to attend.  When you simply share faith as part of your daily life, you may find people accept and respect that you are a Christian and some will respond.  It may even lead to deeper opportunities such as inviting others to church, praying with those who are hurting and sharing God’s Word with someone who feels lonely.       

      This year is unique.  February 14 is both Valentine’s Day AND Ash Wednesday.  So if you get ashes imparted to you February 14, remind yourself that we are all but dust, yet God’s amazing love gives meaning and hope to our lives. Make it your Lenten discipline to share that love and hope with others. Make it your Lenten discipline to share verses from the Bible with others and perhaps hand out a Bible or 2.  Make it your Lenten discipline to  share the best “valentine” the world has ever been given–God’s love in Jesus.  

Jeanne Jones

(Director of Lay Ministry)