Introducing... Karen Asfeldt, our new Equipping Ministry Assistant, who has been with us for about a month. She's doing a great job, and takes the desk of Paula Rokusek, who served two wonderful years at Living as the first non-me paid staff.
Our congregational culture leans on unpaid servants to accomplish first-rate ministry, so any paid staff- including me- exists to make the work of others possible, profitable and joyful. And that's what Karen is doing.
She also likes to write, so by way of introduction, here is entry one in what (I hope) will become a regular blog in the LWFLC social media empire (Okay, that was intention- I felt like being "epic" today)...
Church Works – The Purpose of the Lord
At the start of 2012, I knew that my family and I would need to consider and determine a number of decisions. For example, where would our son Kristian choose to go to college? Would our daughter Hannah want to host an exchange student again? And, finally, how would I resolve the growing feeling that it was time for me to leave my role as a stay-at-home mom and avid school volunteer in order to return to gainful employment?
As I thought about these decisions, and the fact that I am an idea person and I am not particularly gifted at being decisive, I became determined to make one verse—Proverbs 19:21—the guide and focus for my year. “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Having this focus has not only reminded me that I am not alone in any choice, but that I have a history of many decisions (often I didn’t recognize at the time) that have worked! God has used them for His glory and my good. By way of introduction, let me share a few of them with you…
God knew, for instance, that despite being born a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea and growing up in a Christian home in rural South Dakota, I would need to make my own choice to follow Him. That took place at Pickerel Lake Bible Camp when I was a pre-teen. How interesting it is to me now to see that the people I know and interact with through this congregation are spiritually (and maybe even physically) related to the AFLC Bible School students who influenced my life then!
God also knew, for instance, that when I chose to go to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, instead of upsetting the household by choosing either my mom’s alma mater (Augie) or my dad’s (SDSU), I would be choosing a place where I would not only gain a useful Christian liberal arts education, but I would meet my husband and future head of household. Thomas and I will have been married 23 years this month.
Throughout my college years and my career, it became increasingly clear to me that my gifts included communication, organizational skills and creativity. As a result, I was often asked to be involved with activities as an unpaid servant, or as one who coordinated other volunteers. Because of my decision to use these gifts, my first exposure to Sue Mallory, a recognized expert on lay ministries and co-author of The Equipping Church Guidebook (which we’ve studied here at Living Word), came in the early 1990s. I think God must have been smiling when I recognized these training materials and agreed to be a part of the church’s Equipping Ministry Team several summers ago!
As an off-and-on community volunteer and stay-at-home mom during the past 14 years, I have been blessed to love and care for my family and afforded the opportunity to grow through many types of civic and Christian service and leadership. One small example is this: God challenged me to write and (nervously!) direct my first Christmas program when Kristian and Hannah were preschoolers and my then church needed someone to take on the task. Little did I know at that time, that despite only being trained by watching my own Godly mother’s example, this experience would strengthen me to take on a similar role at Living Word—when my own children were teenagers!
I am reminded of Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
And so I come back to the decisions of this year. Just so you’re in the know, Kristian is heading to the University of South Dakota in late August. Hannah is excitedly anticipating the approval of our application to host a girl from Slovakia, and I am joyfully finding God’s purpose in my new role as the Equipping Ministry Assistant at Living Word.