New Orleans, Louisiana July 16-20

Dear friends,

In the next several months you’re going to start hearing more from me, Toni Veeman, Talia Johnston, and several of our youth about the upcoming LCMS National Youth Gathering. The Gathering has been held every three years since 1980 at various cities across the nation. It serves to bring Missouri Synod youth together in worship, community service, learning and fellowship. For the past several gatherings attendance has been around 25,000 people. That’s a lot of Lutherans in one city! I have been to two of these: the first one was in New Orleans in 2010, and the last time was in San Antonio Texas in 2013. The gathering in 2013 was the first one my own kids attended and it changed their lives for the better—mine too! My hope for this year’s gathering is it will change the lives and strengthen the faith of those attending including the adult leaders.

Of course we wouldn’t even be able to dream of going to this vital event if it weren’t for your steadfast love, prayer, and support. Needless to say a five to six day trip for 15+ people to a major city far away from Portland is costly. But you have made it possible through your generous giving not to mention our treasurer had the foresight many years ago to include the Gathering in the annual budget. So this year all systems are “go” for another faith-building adventure to New Orleans. As of this writing, there are eleven high school youth going and three adult leaders including myself. The Board of Children Youth and Family Ministry’s plan is to have the youth that are going speak to you on Sundays about what the Gathering means to them and what their expectations are in attending. That will start happening in April. Along with that I will be handing out prayer sponsor cards similar to the ones we are doing for the preschool. For example, you can take a prayer sponsor card for Sam Wiedemann and pray for him before, during, and after the trip. There will even be instructions on the card on how to watch the evening worship live online from the Mercedes Benz Dome (formerly the Superdome.) That way you’ll be able to see and hear for yourself what Sam is experiencing. I’ll have cards for all the gathering attendees including the adult leaders—we need prayer too!

Stay tuned for more and God bless! Pastor Don