Roz Witter:
What good is it? My brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds can such faith, save them suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to them, go in peace, keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, What good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead. Let us not be weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest. If we do not give up Other scriptures: there are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord, there are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone, it is the same God at work. Now to each one, the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good. Each of us should use whatever gifts we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength that God provides them. So that in all things, God may be praised through Jesus Christ to him be the glory and the power forever and ever our amen.

Roz Witter:
Anne will now introduce our speaker.

Anne Spicer:
For many of you, she might not need an introduction. Jody was a member of our church for many years. And with her husband, Greg Ellingson, they raised three beautiful kids. And with her 20 years of service in youth ministry here, she raised a lot of our kids too. <Laugh> Jody went on a mission trip to Haiti in 2013 and fell in love with the people and the missions there. And in 2017, she began working full time with mission E4, as director of partner relations. Jody is passionate, energetic, joyful, and she is a purposeful follower of Jesus Christ. <Affirmative> the love that she has for Jesus. And the love that comes through Jesus is through her we’ll spill out in everything that she does. And so I am happy to welcome Jodi Ellingson.

Jodi Ellingson:
Good morning. This is kind of fun. Be here with all my friends, <laugh> family, everybody online. Yeah, we’re excited to be here. And I thank you for, having us Peace church has been a big part of mission E4 for a long time. And we are super grateful for this congregation, for the people of this church that support children that support our ministry, that build benches, that help us do the things that we are that we’re called to do. Four, our schools meet every level of, of needs physical, educational, mental, spiritual, and we are giving kids hope constantly. That’s what our message is, is to give kids hope. And that’s done through some of the stories that I’ll get to share with you in a minute. Afterwards after the church service, you’ll also be able to meet some new team members Pete and Pam center here with us today.

And they’ll be back by the table in the back and you’ll get to, to meet them also. So introduce yourself and yeah. Get to know them too. That’d be great. So, so a little quiz, you know, I can’t come here without a game or something. Right. Cuz that’s what I did up here with all your kids. So a little quiz today. So don’t move your hands yet. But in a minute, I’m gonna ask you to, I’m gonna count down 3, 2, 1, go and on go. I want you to point north. Okay. Sometimes we have to get our bearings recalculate, which way is north? Where are we gonna go? Ready? 3, 2, 1 north. Oh, you guys did pretty good. Well kind of <laugh> some of you are. Yeah. Yeah. So the last church I, as that they all were poking each other’s eyes out. I was like, oh, that was a bad idea. So I was a little scared to do that this morning, but right north is that way. Sometimes we just have to get our bearings.

Have you ever been lost? And the GPS is telling you to go down that way and it’s a dead end. And you’re like you know, we get frustrated, discouraged when we’re trying to follow that path that somebody is telling us to go and we can’t quite do it. Well, that’s like real life when we’re following God’s path, right? God has a path set out for us, a focus. And sometimes we don’t know where we’re going. Which way are we going? Which way are we supposed to be going? So what we need to do is reset, recalibrate, relearn that direction to stop and focus on what God has for us.

You that know me. No, I’m not very good at following my notes. So gimme a minute. <Laugh> cause I’ll be like all over here. I’m gonna try really hard. All right. So today we’re gonna talk about not getting, weary. Focusing on recalibrating in our direction that God has called us to do. So I’m gonna start with a story. There was a missionary and he was in his hut one day and he heard a knock on the door. So he goes and opens the door and there is a little native boy standing there with a fish. And he says, hi, <laugh> you know, to the, okay. I say, Hey, I don’t know what he said. Hello? You know, whatever he said, so this little boy has this fish and he hands it to the pastor. And he says, pastor, you told us, you taught us how to tithe. So here is my tithe. And the missionary was like, oh, that’s, that’s fantastic. You were listening. That’s fantastic. And he takes the fish and he said, but I’m confused if this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish? And the little boy beaming said, oh, they’re still down in the river. I’m gonna go catch them now. Right? The faith of a child. Right? <laugh> so you know, these, little kids don’t get as weary. And I don’t know why that is that we become weary a little, easier, Galatians six, nine says, let us not become weary in doing good for the proper time. We will reap a harvest. If we do not give up, can we have faith like this child? Can we recalibrate our thinking what God wants us to do? So I have a real life fishing story. Greg and I go on a fishing trip every summer.

We love walleye. We love to go catching walleye. Oh, you guys were on this fishing trip. <Laugh> I forgot about that. Rob and Sylvia were on part of this trip. But don’t judge them after you hear this story. <Laugh> so we went on our fishing trip up in lake Vermillion, cuz we can’t get into Canada the last couple years. And, and we set up our, our tent, our camper, we got in the boat early in the morning, went out to go fishing. And by lunch we had not even had a bite. And we were like, this is not what happens on our fishing trips. We’re typically pretty good fishermen <laugh> but it, it wasn’t working that day. So we went home. We recalibrated went back on the boat, spent all day on the boat. No fish, not even a bite. So we went home, built a big fire, made dinner, laughed, put on new lures, tried to figure out if we were Jigging too hard, too fast, we didn’t know what was going on.

So we were just like, all right. So we’re got the next day, all day long in the boat, probably of hours sitting in this boat and we didn’t catch any fish. Day, 2, 3, 4, and five, no fish. <Laugh> again. Don’t judge us <laugh> but that’s the truth. We had no fish. We went home and we’re like, do we go buy fish? What do we do? Like we just did not know what to do. So driving home. And I started thinking about this story and we laughed a lot about it. Kind of maybe cried. I don’t know <laugh> but I’m driving home. And I started thinking about this story in Haiti. I started thinking about Roland. A lot of you that have been to Haiti, you met our security guard. His favorite thing to do is go fishing. Every trip that we teams that we brought down there, we got to eat his fish.

And I started thinking if they went all day, my Luna, the Luna, my little girl that I sponsor down there, her dad is a fisherman. And I started thinking about him and if he went all day without catching a fish, he would come home and say, I’m sorry to Luna. And her five brothers, I have no food for you. I’m sorry. You’re gonna have to go to bed hungry. And that just hit me really hard. Then I thought about five days, if he went five days without fishing or without catching any fish, he would probably be burying his youngest child. They had no food, they have no money. And that just hit me really hard. That that story, memory, is fun for us. But in Haiti it’s such a different story.

Galatians six, nine reminds us, let us not become weary and doing good for at the proper time. We’ll reap a harvest If we do not give up. Working in Haiti can be, it can be weary. There’s times, natural disasters over and over again. $20 a gallon for gas. We complain about it here, $20 dollars a gallon. And that’s what they make in a week. Think about your week salary to spend it on one gallon of gas. This is stuff we can’t even fathom. It’s hard there. Not enough food, not enough medical help. The poorest country in the Western hemisphere is Haiti, but this is the whole reason that Scott Long started Mission E4. He wanted to help. He wanted to serve. He wanted to reap a harvest. He wanted to get these little kids by doing good things and doing what they needed. Churches like this one are people that help our mission.

He started this mission, with 70 little kids in a school. And today there’s over 2,600 kids being fed and getting free medical help because of sponsorships in churches like this. And so for that, we are super, super grateful. This past fall. Many of you probably heard about the kidnappings in Haiti for 2 months, there were 17 missionaries that were kidnapped. The gangs. It’s outrageous. It’s easy for us to get weary. But our God can do immeasurably immeasurably more than what we think or imagine. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that. And I believe it a hundred percent that God can always do more than we think.

Listen to this story or listen to this in Isaiah 40, 28 and 29. It says, have you heard, have you known the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth. He, he doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. This is the God we serve. This is the God that does so much for us.

One day we were on a zoom call. This is last summer. We were on a call with Taran and the Haitian the principals, the directors, the school directors, and each school has a different director. And we were hearing what they were doing. They just registered more kids. That of course is my favorite because then I get all these little smiley faces. Well, sometimes they’re not smiling, but these key cute little faces.

<Laugh> sometimes they’re really scared of us with a big camera on their face. You know? So they, they don’t have the big smile, but they, I get all these cards and then I get to come to churches like this and get more kids sponsored. And so I get super excited about that and they know that I don’t sit still, even on zoom calls. It’s really hard for me, I get really excited. Taran asks them what is hard right now for you? What is hard? And one of the directors spoke up and he said, you know, it’s hard. Like we love your enthusiasm. We love that you get excited about these new kids, but what’s hard Jodi is you don’t see the other hundred kids with their parents lined up outside the gate, wanting to get their kids in to the school. It kind of broke my heart <laugh> I was like, shoot. That is hard. That’s very hard.

But the reality is 70 little kids grew to 28 or 2,600 kids in our schools because someone didn’t get weary because God could do. There we go. I’m back. I have another story. So a friend of mine went down to Haiti and she wanted to go visit her her children that she sponsors. And so we got on the, the big tap taps, which is basically a, a truck with a covered wagon or covered covered the back part. And you, you Smosh in there, there’s a Haitian joke that says how many people fit in a tap tap. Just one more <laugh> they, they Smosh ’em in. So we’re in a tap tap. We’re heading to the school. She’s so excited to meet this child that she had sponsored for a long time. And she, we got to the school, found the classroom that she was in.

We saw her eating her plate with her rice and beans. So she’s eating. And my friend is watching her, you know, kinda like the, the mom with the kindergartner, from afar, watching her little girl, seeing what she’s doing and she a few bites. And then we saw her get up and she walked over to the fence. Okay. So our school has a fence around it. That’s made of 10 big metal. I don’t know if it’s 10, is it 10 metal sheets that are kind of rusty sometimes? You know, like we, we have to replace them every once in a while, but our teams haven’t been down there to replace them in a while and they, they have holes in ’em and then there’s a gap where it connects to the, the wood post. And then, you know, sometimes the wood poster kind of lean in one way or another.
Jodi Ellingson:
And <laugh>, well, there was a hole, like a rusted out hole and she walked over to that hole and she started feeding a little boy through the fence and, and we were like, what’s she doing? We weren’t quite sure what she was doing. We walked over and asked her and she said, well, this is my little brother. He’s not in school. And so I’m feeding him because this will be his only food today. Again, heartbreaking. But this is the reality. And of Haiti. The gratefulness that I have for that little girl, my friend was like, I wanna sponsor that little boy and get him in here. And, and just the thankfulness, the gratefulness that we have, that these kids can be sponsored and can get that food. And that medical need, if we don’t become weary in doing good.

So I find it significant that Jesus mentions the poor in his very first sermon. The spirit of the Lord is upon me for, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. Luke four 18. Who are the poor that he talks about. Well, Luke uses this term more than any other gospel writer. And in each case, the speaker always Jesus is talking about people who have nothing. This doesn’t just mean people who have no coin for the plate, but much more, literally nothing. Meek, spiritually poor, physically poor, either way. If we are able, we should find a way to serve the poor, to bring good news to the poor.

We all have gifts and we need to recalibrate and think about those gifts and think about how God wants us to use our talents that he gave us. Side story. <Laugh> have you ever helped someone move? They got the big truck out there. You got all the boxes, you got all the furniture and all of a sudden up the driveway walks the sky, you know, big guy. Right, right. And you’re like, yes, we’re gonna give him the big, heavy stuff. Right. And he walks over and he picks up a little box and he carries it out to the truck. And you’re like, no, no, no, no, no, no. That’s that’s for somebody else. You’re gonna carry the big, heavy Oak wood frame. Right. Because you know, you were gifted. You’re gonna use those muscles to do the big stuff. Right. And that’s like us, right. We were gifted. Don’t offer to come to the church and get the mail every day. If you know how to balance a budget, or if you know how to, I mean, not that that’s important, that’s probably important, but <laugh>, we want you to use all your gifts that God gave you. We want you to use your strength. We want you to use everything that God gave you and God gave us all stuff. And that’s why we need all talents. And that’s why we need to recalibrate to do what God wants us to do.

If we’re doing what God calls us to do, we won’t be weary. We will not become weary. The spirit of the Lord is upon me for, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. So that’s the verse I just read. Now listen to one more story. <Laugh> one of my friends was going another friend going down to visit their, their sponsor child. And if you’re my friend and you haven’t gone down to Smith’s, <laugh> visit your sponsor child. That’s something that I’ll be talking to you about, cuz that’s just what we do. <Laugh> this guy wanted to go, come down, meet his sponsor child. His sponsor child was turning 17 or 18 was gonna be graduating soon. And so he wanted to meet her. So he comes down, he prepared a list of questions. He wanted to ask her you know what she does after school, her favorite topic or her favorite subject what her family is like and what, you know, what she likes to, to do after school in school, all those good questions. Right? Well, he had also prepared that after he asked her all those questions, he wanted to ask if she had any questions for him coming from America, what he does for a job, you know, he thought she’d probably be interested in that, right? As we all would and most are. So he said afterwards, do you have any questions for me? And the 17 year old girl said, I do, Paul, I have one question for you: is Jesus Lord, your life?

That’s when the poor bring the good news to us, right? That was a beautiful story. And I love that, that the heart of these kids in Haiti, they know what’s important. They’ve recalibrated. As much as we think what we’re doing is important. Knowing Jesus is, is, is the most important bringing good news to the poor or the poor bringing good news to us. Is it time for us to recalibrate, to rethink our path, to rethink how we spend our time and our money, how we have to different capacities of different giftings. And to use those here at the church. In missions, we just saw that very large list of things that peace women’s ministry in this church support. What a beautiful list and what a beautiful thing that this church to be a part of this church that does so much.

So Galatians six, nine, I leave here for you to ponder, let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time, we’ll reap a harvest. If we do not give up. Jesus calls us to help the poor. And we could do that in many different capacities. What is yours?

Let me just end in prayer. Lord God, we thank you today for peace church, for all the beautiful things that peace church does. We thank you for your heart, for the poor and that you’ve taught us to give, to love, to serve, to support. And we thank you for this opportunity that we have to do that, that you’ve opened the doors. We just need to recalibrate to decide which door we go through. So thank you for this opportunity here in Eagan to help serve the community, the people of our church, the, the military, the children, the teenagers.

We pray Lord that people that haven’t, that don’t know, you will know you more. We pray Lord that if there’s people in this room that don’t know you, that they would ask more questions, that they would learn more about you, that they would accept you as their savior. Lord, we thank you for the God that does immeasurably more than we could ever hope for more than we could ever imagine. We thank you Lord, for, for just life, for life here, guide us this week on a path that you light up for us, guide us this week. Lord, for us to be reminded that we are following you, and that you have a plan for us in your name, Jesus name. Amen. Amen.