Update Newsletter

August 2019 Volume 42 Number 9

Junior High Youth Retreat
The high school youth group tends to get all the press, but not this month! The Junior High students were invited to attend a two-night retreat from July 12th-14th in Kokomo at “Camp McGavic” for outdoor activities and Bible study sessions. Pat and Sue McGavic, parents of Chris Hyman, hosted the event at their home and property near Kokomo, Indiana.
Students enjoyed a giant slip ‘n slide water slide made of large tarps lining an even larger hill on the property. The water slide cooled the students during the hottest weekend of the summer. Because of the heat, some activities were moved indoors. The “camp out” became a “camp in” when students opted to sleep on the floor in the McGavic home rather than in the tents on the property. The adult leaders did not complain, as the heat made sleeping outdoors unbearable.
The group interacted over a variety of activities throughout the weekend. They traveled to Kokomo’s trampoline park, enjoyed volleyball and Gator rides at the McGavic’s. The students also played ball and indoor games at a local church gym and enjoyed many table games and activities available inside the McGavic home.
Students took breaks in the activities to settle down with their Bibles and learn important truths for life in Junior High. Lana Shoaf taught three sessions around the theme “Stand Firm” demonstrating how to stand firm when life isn’t fair and people are “weird.” Through the stories of Esther, Daniel, and Jesus, they discovered how to stand firm in the face of life’s frustrations and challenging relationships.
The highlight of the weekend for many students was the service project at Cross America in Kokomo. Cross America’s mission is to “send a cross and path to salvation to every home in America.” They do this by folding a large cross-shaped pamphlet, gluing a metal cross to the inside flap, and sealing it to prepare for mailing. These mailers are then collected until enough are gathered for an entire zip code. The goal of Cross America is to send a mailer to every home in every zip code in the United States. Students from First Mennonite worked diligently to fold and seal many mailers to help toward that goal. They felt satisfied knowing they contributed. As of the penning of this article, 1,247,495 crosses have been sent to homes in America. Individuals and groups can sponsor a zip code to help Cross America share the gospel across the country. More information about Cross America is available on their website at www.crossamerica.net.
The group welcomed the incoming sixth-grade students attending through the leadership and friendship of current junior high youth. At the end of the weekend, all the students went home tired and smiling. Smiling because they grew in knowledge, service, and friendship. †

Wednesday Evenings This Fall
After the Prayer Walk on August 7th and the Picnic Pot Luck on August 14th, Wednesday evenings will again be abuzz with new programs for the fall season. First, all classes will join to kick off regular Wednesday evening programming on August 28th with a program featuring illusionist Rod Snow. He is the same speaker and performer who kicked off the season last year! Beginning September 1st, the following programs will be offered for adults.
Chapel: Local retired missionary, Randall Fudge, will teach a series during September and Luke Fetters from Huntington University will teach another series through the month of October.
For Women: Lori Bailey will facilitate a study about personality types called, “Wired That Way.”
For Men: A study will be offered for men with a designated facilitator yet to be determined.
Regular children’s services will be available for all ages. The Nursery and toddler room will be staffed and programming from pre-school through fifth grade is available for kids. Junior high and Senior high youth will also meet regularly. †

Baked Goods Needed
Cookies, and cakes, and pie - oh my! It’s time to start thinking about baking for the Michiana Relief Sale! Gather those recipes and ingredients and be prepared! The “Baking Supplies” table will be set up soon. †

A Good “Time In”
By Lana Shoaf

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
James 4:8

Consistent discipline is perhaps the most challenging parenting practice. The methods are as various as the parents, some relying on a good old-fashioned spanking and others for the intentionally considerate “time-out” with a string of creative consequences sprinkled along the spectrum of behavior-correcting methods. Tim and I used a good variety of these methods in raising our four biological children, but when it came time for training requirements in the process of adoption, the suggested methods of discipline were few.
Our training sessions educated us on the possible trauma we may encounter as adoptive parents, which limited our options for discipline. The most popular method offered in all the sessions was the seemingly simple, ”time in.” This requires the parent to keep the child close when correcting. Instead of reinforcing physical trauma through physical punishment or the possible promoting of isolation during a “time out,” the “time in” is designed to draw the child near to authority as a consequence. This communicates to the child that he or she is not alone, but rather loved and supported by the adoptive parent even in times of undesired behavior.
Once we were all settled in with our newly adopted son, we began using this method and it wasn’t nearly as pretty as the textbooks portrayed. Instead of sitting quietly near me, I often held our son in my lap on his small stool in the middle of our kitchen. There were times he wanted nothing to do with my close proximity. I gently reassured him I would not leave him until his consequence was finished. There were some pretty intense moments in this style of discipline, but after about four months, something changed. Our son’s behavior became markedly better and we eliminated the “time in” method almost entirely. The books were right! Our son realized, even in his tough behavior, we loved him enough to discipline.
As adopted sons and daughters of the King, Christians would benefit from a good “time in.” Instead of choosing to isolate themselves from God by turning their backs when they felt wronged by Him or in shame by something they did, turning inward is a far better choice. Although it’s awkwardly close to the One we offend, our proximity allows God to instruct and reassure. When a brave believer can approach the throne in repentance, God draws near, growing the heart of the believer closer to His.
But drawing near to God isn’t always a tender moment. Sometimes it involves some frustrated reasoning or outright yelling on the part of the believer. God’s response is different too, yet always motivated by relationship and reconciliation out of His great love. After the yelling and tears, God’s tender discipline draws us to new heights with new perspectives and new opportunities to minister. †

Notes of Appreciation
The family of Alvin Neuenschwander would like to thank everyone who prayed for and visited Al during his stay at River Terrace, and especially Pastor Jim Schwartz for his support and comfort for Al. His memorial service of celebration was very meaningful and was appreciated by all. We would also like to thank the Kitchen Committee for the delicious meal after the service. All of the food, the wide variety of salads and pies, along with the extremely helpful kitchen staff was appreciated.

The Family of Alvin Neuenschwander †

My Coins Count

Quarter Towers for “My Coins Count” are now available! These plastic tubes, mounted on a wooden block serve to collect coins and money for the Michiana Relief Sale. The towers were made available on Sunday morning, August 11th and all were encouraged to participate. Activity sheets are also available to offer ideas for children to earn coins to fill the towers. The Quarter Towers will be collected on Sunday, September 22. Checks are also welcome and can be made out to First Mennonite with “My Coins Count” on the memo line. The focus of My Coins Count at the Michiana Relief Sale is to help provide water resources to vulnerable people around the world. Access to clean water helps keep families together, means healthier children, less hunger, better education, and fewer conflicts over scarce resources. It is a vital work of MCC. †

Michiana Relief Sale
The Michiana Relief Sale is one month away already! The sale this year is on Friday, September 27th and Saturday the 28th at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. Thanks to all who are working on quilts, crafts, baked goods, and filling Quarter Towers for My Coins Count - but that is only half the fun!
You are also invited to ATTEND!
Attend and bid at the Quilt, Silent, and Children’s Auctions!
Hungry? Choose from pulled pork or sausage sandwiches, haystacks, cinnamon rolls, Welsh cakes, taco salads, egg rolls, international dishes, and more!
Purchase noodles, cheese, meats, pies, cakes, rolls, cookies, and more to take home!
Shop at the Ten Thousand Villages Relief Sale Store, The Sewing Box, and the Garage Sale. Children’s Activities begin at 5 p.m. on Friday and at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Make it a family / friend / date day! †


Among Our People

Roy Lehman was at Lutheran July 4-5 with kidney stone issues.
Curtis Sprunger had surgery at Lutheran July 9.
Bill Beachey had hernia surgery on July 12.
Renelle Stauffer gave birth to Hannah on July 14 at Dupont. Hannah went home on July 21.
Rick Kaup had heart catheterization at Lutheran on July 15.
Roy Lehman had prostate surgery at Lutheran on July 23.
Connie Nagel spent several days in the hospital with congestive heart issues.
Jamie Cressman was admitted to Lutheran July 31 with back pain. He was later diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and began chemo on August 5th. †

Wednesday Programming Help
Wednesday night programming will be starting soon! “Get in the Game” is the theme for the children’s department this fall and they need adult volunteers! Help is needed in the following classes this fall:

2 volunteers for the 2-3-year-old class
2 volunteers for the 4-K class
3 volunteers for the baby nursery

3 volunteers for gym chaperones

Please see Chris or Debby as soon as possible if you want to “Get in the Game” and serve the kids of First Mennonite! †

Children’s Ministry Seminar

A children’s ministry seminar called “Fear Not” is scheduled at First Mennonite on Saturday, August 24 from 9:00am until 1:30pm. This seminar will bring seasoned children’s ministry professionals lead by Ryan Frank, the CEO of KidzMatter. The sessions will offer support for children’s ministry volunteers with sessions devoted to children with special needs and trauma. The seminar will help volunteers, but is also an excellent option for training foster parents and teachers. The seminar qualifies for foster care hours and professional growth points for teachers. The event is open to anyone in the congregation or community. Registration forms are available in the church foyer, with an additional option to register online through the church’s website. †

Berne Preschool
Did you know the Berne Preschool at First Mennonite Church began in 1970? This school year marks 50 years of instructing pre-school students. The staff, including Greta Lehman, Nancy VanEmon, Melinda Taing, and Lori Sprunger, is gearing up for another full year teaching and ministering to preschoolers from the community. The first day of preschool is August 22nd.
The Preschool runs two classes. The Bears class is for students turning 4 years old before August 1st and meets three days each week. There are two classes of Bears, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They both offer the same activities of learning, playing, singing, and eating snacks. These activities prepare them for the next step in the students’ education, which for many is kindergarten. The Cubs class is offered for children turning 3 years old before August 1 and meets two times per week. In this younger class, more time is dedicated to self-directed learning through stations and lots of time for educational play. Story time and group singing offer structure and memories to last long into the education of these little ones.
Perhaps the greatest asset of Berne Preschool is its staff. Greta Lehman sits as the current director of the preschool. She began as a teacher in the Cubs class in 1985. She also served as board of director. Nancy VanEmon began as a teacher at the preschool in 1993. She teaches in the Bears class and is the assistant director of the preschool. Melinda Taing began substitute teaching at the preschool when her youngest child was a student in the Bears class. She continued to sub until she joined the staff in 2003 as a teacher in the Cubs class. Lori Sprunger also began at the preschool as a substitute teacher and served in that capacity as a valuable asset for seven years. She joined the staff permanently in 2011 and teaches in the Cubs class. “Miss Greta,” “Miss Nancy,” “Miss Melinda,” and “Miss Lori” are treasured titles fondly remembered by students long after preschool graduation.
As the veteran staff and new students arrive this August, consider praying for effective ministry within the walls of First Mennonite Church through Berne Preschool. The students and families touched by the staff and classes can experience meaningful connections of fellowship throughout the school year. Pray these connections bring a desire to draw closer to God and believers from our church and community. †

Activity Bags
The Children’s ministry team is looking for someone to help keep the kids activity bags cleaned out and stocked! This is on a rotating basis with others. Please see Chris or Debby if you are interested in serving in this way! †