Last night our beloved Aunt Crystal was taken to heaven. She and Dick were traveling to see family in WA when their car was hit and she was killed. Crystal was Luther's youngest sister, and she was truly a delightful person. We are so grateful for the time we had with her this summer both here in Fergus Falls and in Bottineau for the Larson Family Reunion.
Crystal had a way of making everyone feel at home in her presence. She was beautiful inside and out. She was such an encouragement to me as a mom. She raised six children in North Dakota on a tight budget. She told me that she thought I was a good mom. This encouragement came at a time when I was feeling quite down about how things were going with my children. We shared the same Christian values, and she affirmed me in these things as I raise my children. I will always cherish her warm smile and the love that she showed my children when we visited this summer.
While we were on furlough four years ago we spent a delightful Thanksgiving at Dick and Crystal's home in South Dakota. Here is a photo from that wonderful day in 2005:
Ethan's cousin Jackie sent this beautiful photo of Dick and Crystal Grorud taken last week in Arizona: We loved Aunt Crystal, and we will truly miss her. We rejoice that she is in the presence of our Lord and Savior in heaven worshipping at His throne. We will cherish every memory we had with her. We are praying for her wonderful husband Dick and her entire family that the God of all comfort would comfort them all during this time.
I really enjoy the Fergus Falls, Minnesota culture in certain respects. We have awesome neighbors right behind the house we are staying at. They are so generous, welcoming, hospitable, forgiving (of our kids' crazy antics sometimes), and friendly. Today our neighbor gave the kids a box of popsicles. How generous! The other day she invited us to have homemade donuts and juice at her picnic table. In Fergus Falls there are no privacy fences. The yards all connect to one another with no fences in between. My mother-in-law says that if people put up fences, the neighbors are usually offended. In Boise, Idaho it is the opposite! Privacy fences are required by law in the city. People generally avoid talking to their neighbors and independence/privacy are highly valued. It can be lonely sometimes. It is different here, and I like it a lot better.
I am very proud of Ethan. He did great on his Greek pre-requisite class in August. Tomorrow the semester begins, and he is taking a full load: 16 credits. God has made lots of provisions for this to happen, so we are taking it one day at a time.
The kids had a good first week of school. They rarely give me all the details, but at least they are happy when they leave for school, and they are happy when they get back. That's a good sign, right? Now if I could just make some friends here in town so that Lizzy and Amy have some other kids to play with once in a while. That is something I am praying about. It was so easy in the other places we have lived because everything was all together. At Calvary in Boise it was a "one stop shop" where we had school, church, Bible studies, mom's groups, volunteer opportunities, etc. all in one place. And in Hungary, well, that's a whole different reality. The Bible College was friends, fellowship, Bible study, prayer, etc. all in one. Now we are in a smaller town so it is harder to find what we need. We are also still praying about what church to join. That is a new and interesting experience (looking for a church). God will open the doors for what His will is for us. I am praying and trusting in His guidance.
Today I removed my Concordia graduation ring from my finger. This is my silent protest against the ELCA's blatant move away from the truth of God's word, and their stubborn ways that would completely ignore God's warning through the tornado in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. I agree completely with John Piper's article written in response to the ELCA's decisions on human sexuality that contradict God's Holy Word and seeks to reinvent the word into their own crafting. Not that I was surprised. When I went to Concordia 15 years ago, they had already gone off the deep end into the abyss of atheism and liberalism. The denomination seems to have followed their colleges into the abyss themselves. I am probably going to get in trouble for writing all of this down, and being the nice Minnesota girl that I am, it is hard to write it. And the criticism I will receive will be hard to swallow, too, but may the truth ring out! Lord, save us, and come quickly!