A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

FaithBITs will be:

September 21, 2018


God = Love

I often reflect on my influence of faith on my children’s life. All the prayers, devotions and talks with our kids; are they listening? Are they “really” listening and understanding?

I do my best to volunteer at church and in serve in the community, but is it enough? What else should I do? I now have a preteen and teenager, so conversation sometimes takes the form of Q & A. One moment recently answered my question, “Are they listening?”

This summer both kids went to Bible Camp (Wapo), and once home from camp I launched into our Q & A routine. I asked, “What did you learn from camp?” The answers were okay, but without much detail. They had a good time, made friends and learned about God. However, I was wanting more; was there an impactful moment? Then they told me that I had to see their camp T-shirts.  Shirts that they chose and really loved.

God = Love

God answered my thoughts and met me in my doubts. I needed to be reminded that God speaks to us and through us and that the exact message and timing are God’s.

I need to trust in my actions and trust in God working through me. As I reflect today I know, and feel, that I am blessed!

Psalm 136:26: Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Photo: The T-shirt from camp

September 14, 2018


Kelly, Wendy and Sierra

A light in the dark

By Sierra Carter

In August I went on a four day canoe trip to the Boundary Waters. I was in the safe keeping of group of Immanuel leaders Kelly Kautz, Barbara Freeman, and Kelly’s friend Deb. My leaders were joyful, patient, and encouraging. I was at ease from their dynamic relationship; I trusted them to be my guiding light in the wilderness, across four unfamiliar lakes, and through 14 plus hours of paddling.

But, what happens when the canoeing is done for the day? When night comes? When we are spread out across tents? When my guides are tucked into sleeping bags and snoring? When I have to potty at the height of darkness in a place that requires a bear bag!?

I was frightened; I was surrounded by people I trusted, but felt utterly alone, engulfed by darkness. I rarely invoke the Lord’s name, but I called out, “Lord have mercy!” The Lord did not seem to recognize my prayers for a couple of hours.

Sierra's quoate

Feeling forsaken, I finally reached for my headlamp, and stepped into darkness. I hesitated, and then it happened. It was the sound of a zipper followed by an even brighter light. It was Wendy Wurscher! She hesitated upon seeing me planted there, and then offered to walk with me into the forest. Wendy, a stranger before that moment, became my guiding light every night thereafter. She gave me courage, promised me relief, and eliminated my doubts. We established fellowship.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Photo: Kelly Kautz, Wendy Wurscher and Sierra Carter

September 7, 2018



I lost a tooth!

By Pastor Angela Fairbanks Jacobson

One Sunday morning in July after worship I stood shaking people’s hands when little Wesley came bounding over from the other side of the sanctuary just to share his news with me.  Actually, his big smile told all as he pointed to where his little tooth had been.  Our conversation went something like this:

I lost a tooth! 
Your first one!  Did you find something else under your pillow?
What kind?
A big one and a little one.
Wow… what are you going to spend it on?
I put it in the offering!

Pastor Angela's quote

I was so humbled, touched my hand to my heart, and for a moment paused before greeting folks again as they were leaving the sanctuary.  We had just witnessed pure generosity.  And pure joy.  Giving away tooth fairy money would have never occurred to me when I was a child.  Yet, a little child shall lead them.  A holy moment, all wrapped in a smile.

August 31, 2018


Lake Superior

Let’s jump in!

By Pastor Paul Nelson

On a golden day earlier this August, I stood on the shore of Lake Superior contemplating a swim. Refreshing, renewing, reviving, and rejuvenating are all words that could describe the waters of Lake Superior. Cold is another descriptive word for Superior, but I would say it’s inadequate.
I stood at the water’s edge for a while, thinking about braving those icy waters and finally, after encouragement from my wife, we joined hands and ran in together (well, I might have been dragged a little bit).  If you are thinking of jumping in Lake Superior, this is the time of year to do it, and I recommend it. Immersed in that cold water one is well and truly alive. 

Pastor Paul…plunge in

This fall, each of us can take a refreshing, renewing, reviving and rejuvenating plunge into the waters of our baptism by stepping up to care and serve at and through Immanuel. There are opportunities to learn, to teach, to serve, to share, to comfort and be comforted, to grow, to make friends and strengthen relationships.

You might jump in and share your musical ability, or serve as an usher, greeter, reader, or altar guild helper. You might join a small group or Table of 8 and be blessed in friendship. You could help mentor children and young people. You can participate in one of the many service opportunities Immanuel offers. Of course, you might be tempted to stand safely on the shore of non-involvement, but I hope and pray that you won’t. I want to encourage you to be refreshed and renewed as you share fully in the blessing of being God’s people. So join me, let’s jump in!

August 24, 2018


John Urbanski

Tears…well up!

Reflection by John and Jennifer Urbanski

During a recent visit to Haiti, we witnessed the amazing impact Rotary International and Haiti Outreach are having on local communities as water wells are installed or refurbished.  During the inspection of a recently inaugurated well, we asked how this well has changed people in the community.  The committee treasurer eagerly jumped at the chance to speak.  She wore a lacy, crisp white dress and her face was beaming with pride.  She spoke in Creole, but our translator shared her words of how this clean water was making life much better.  Their source of water used to be a small river that is not very close.  She explained that they used to have cholera in their community.  People had died from this disease.  But now that has stopped. Tears welled up in her eyes.  She stopped in mid-sentence.  The committee president finished by thanking God.  Every person present felt both the pain and joy of this woman’s story in spite of the language barrier.  It was a testimonial to the value of this fresh water project for this village.  People in this Haitian community gave thanks to God for the blessing of fresh water.


Urbanski Quote

John 4:14-15: Jesus said “those who drink of the water that I give will never be thirsty.  The water I give them will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty…”

Like the woman at the well, these people know, first-hand, clean water gives life!

Jennifer and John Urbanski

August 17, 2018


Elva and Kim

Transformed through Unconditional Love

Reflection by Kim Rathjen

This is my friend, Elva. Our friendship has developed over the last 3 years. We have been together about 4 hours total during that time. Elva lives in Lomas de San Isidro, a marginalized community in an abandoned quarry outside of Mexico City. Her house is a few doors down from the AMEXTRA center. I know the way. As she unlocks the gate and guides me down the hill and behind the first house, her greeting is always the same, “Welcome to my humble house. I don’t have much but you are always welcome here.” Her home is made from bare cinder block bricks and other scrap items. Inside is a huge oven that her husband uses when he bakes bread to sell and a table with 4 chairs. She offers horchata – a sweet, creamy rice drink with cinnamon – feeds me bread, chicken, rice, tortillas. We talk (usually through an interpreter) about family, the community, her work with the herbal soaps, teas and tinctures she makes and sells. Elva will most likely never come to my home. I think I would be embarrassed to have her – my wealth and abundance a stark contrast to her life.


Kim's quote

Ours is a lopsided relationship. One the Giver, one the Receiver. Much like my relationship with Jesus. Elva has chosen me to be her friend. She lavishes me with food and friendship. My only role in this relationship is that I show up. I, the one who has so much, receive more than I deserve from my friend, who has very little. This kind of love is transformational and I am changed because of it. I call Lomas de San Isidro “My Happy Place”. It is because of the people I know there who give me more than I can ever give back.

Kim Rathjen

Kim Rathjen is an Immanuel member, mother of two adult daughters, and she is on staff serving Immanuel as our Coordinator of Inreach and Outreach. To contact Kim: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Archived FaithBITs

I’m new


Immanuel Lutheran Church © 2017

A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America