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The Adventure Continues

Dear Vital Signs friends,                                                                                                  October 2010

    The leaves are falling.  The breeze has a portentous coolness to it.  And the Christmas trees are on full display over at Menards. Hmm…it must be October!

    To be honest, we haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy the change in scenery as much as we’d like.  But the pace and the variety of our activities these past few weeks has been exhilarating enough.  In fact, in order to cover most of it, I’m only going to be able to give the briefest descriptions in this LifeSharer letter.  But I do hope it conveys our belief that Vital Signs Ministries has, even after all these years, launched into some of our most important work yet.  

    1) We were greatly encouraged by the letters and e-mails some of you sent along after last month’s LifeSharer letter, sharing in our joy and gratitude over the lives which were saved from abortion. Even after all these years, those two stories (involving three preborn children) thrilled us to the core.

    And, I’m really pleased to tell you we’ve seen another dramatic situation since then, one in which we spoke to a couple, comforted them as the mother broke down into sobs and were able to take them over to the pro-life pregnancy center. This couple isn’t “out of the woods” yet, though. Sin has wracked their lives something fierce and they need wholesale heart changes in order to escape the enemy’s snares. Pray for them.

    There was one other sad situation for which we request your prayers. A woman that Claire and I know and have regular contacts with brought a young girl into the abortion clinic. We both spoke to her but she refused to even acknowledge our presence. You can imagine the intensity of the situation as well as the difficulties in future dealings with this person. Again, prayers are greatly appreciated.

    2) In addition to our sidewalk counseling and prayer ministry at the Bellevue abortion clinic, we’re beginning to gear up for the opening of the Planned Parenthood abortuary in northwest Omaha.  We’ve had two Saturday morning prayer meetings there since the last LifeSharer letter and more are planned in the weeks leading up to the opening. After that, we’ll be assuming weekly intercession, sidewalk counseling and peaceful protest ministries.

    3) Claire and I were pleased to participate once again in the Life Chain. How churches have dropped out of this simple but powerful public witness to the sanctity of life is one of the most appalling cave-ins of our time. How terribly sad. I am pleased to say, though, that our church (the little congregation of Faith Bible Church from the near south side of town) was remarkably well represented. Indeed, I’m sure that FBC presented the greatest percentage of any church in Omaha for the event.  Almost 70% of the church’s adults were there on the corner of Dodge and 72nd. Awesome, huh? What a wonderful congregation Claire and I have found!

    4) Our letter-writing activities, phone calls and Taking Action posts on Vital Signs Blog have really been paying off.  We’ve seen neat examples of how others are following our lead and we ourselves have received several responses from the politicians and business persons we’ve contacted. Our Senators have responded; our Congressman gets back to us on Facebook; and just last week, Claire and I, respectively, had engaging phone conversations with our City Councilman and Nebraska’s Attorney General.

    5) Since the last LifeSharer letter, Vital Signs has uploaded onto YouTube and our own web page our new PowerPoint presentations, “Speaking of Heroes” (5 minutes) and “Church History & Abortion” (10½ minutes).  Both are very informative and, we’ve been told, quite inspiring.  They represent the front edge for us of a whole new outreach, one that moves through cyberspace to the whole, wired world. Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks!  Go check them out.  

    6) Speaking of a Vital Signs outreach that goes international, here’s where I tell you about a great step forward in our Russian language website. That site looks really great and it has wonderful stuff already available but we haven’t had the time (or the funds) to better stock the site with pro-life info and Bible study helps.  However, a good friend who lives in Eastern Europe is offering to do written translation for us at an exceptional rate. Now, Vital Signs isn’t in the greatest shape financially and we haven‘t been able to afford the costs of translation for over a year -- but this does represent a golden opportunity for sure. So please join us in asking the Lord to provide funds to greatly expand this critical part of Vital Signs Ministries. Thanks.

    7) The number of visitors (including regular users) of Vital Signs Blog remains encouragingly high.  In the last few weeks, we’ve had several days where the page loads have topped 550, even 600.  The influence of certain posts expands even further through Facebook and e-mail forwards.

    8) This morning the Omaha World-Herald printed a column I wrote about the fetal pain legislation reintroduced into the U.S. Senate by Republican Senator Mike Johanns. This is the second essay of mine that the newspaper has published just this year. My, my. Some of you remember that the paper’s opinion of me in years past was…Well, forget it. Let’s just enjoy the present state of things. For those who don’t get the paper, I provide a link you to the article http://www.omaha.com/article/20101013/NEWS0802/710139962

    9) The entirety of my “Beasts of the Bible” sermon series has been uploaded onto the Vital Signs Ministries web page. I’m editing it now prior to sending it over for translation into Russian. This Sunday at Faith Bible Church, I’ll be starting a series on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.

    10) In recent weeks, our Book It! discussions have tackled Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity and the classic (but tough going) economic treatise by F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. Next up is something much smaller but no less profound, a play by Malcolm Muggeridge called Sentenced to Life.  

    11) The new outreach of “When Swing Was King” continues to soar higher than our fondest expectations.  We have now finished Volume 5 (there will be 14 when we’re done) and I will start working this week on Volume 6, our Christmas presentation. Just since late summer, we’ve delivered the program (a sweet combination of big band music, fun trivia, and photographs from the 1930s, 40s and early 50s) to audiences at 7 different facilities.  Several of them now have us on their regular monthly schedule and there are three new facilities waiting in the wings.  And we haven’t really done any promotion yet!  The response has been fantastic!  

    Thank You, Lord. Vital Signs is getting close to seeing three full decades of Christian pro-life work and yet You’re giving us new and important challenges too. “When Swing Was King,” creative video presentations for the internet, expanding the Russian-language website, Vital Signs Blog, and more…packed in tight with “old” activities like sidewalk counseling, letter-writing parties and Life Chain. Wow!

    12) Since the last LifeSharer letter, we had to endure some major drama concerning my Mom but things seem to have stabilized on that front.  We do spend quite a bit of time there with her.  It was being there and making friends with so many residents and staff that first inspired “When Swing Was King” and we’ve managed to engage in other volunteer service as well.  One of those activities is taking Mom out to the “dollar stores” where we stock up on things to donate to the nursing home to use as bingo prizes and other gifts.  Fun times to minister in this way with Mom.

    I won’t list anymore items for this month’s letter.  After all, I realize that these letters are like my sermons – the most popular just happen to be the shortest!

    But let me conclude with this thought. We are very encouraged and confident that our efforts are packing a stronger punch in the culture wars than ever before.  And, by God’s rich grace, we will continue moving forward until He calls upward.  Your help is critical, of course.  Your prayers…your calls and letters…your participation in our various ministries…and your financial assistance, especially as we try to end the year in the black AND expand our Russian-language cyberspace outreach  -- all help is of tremendous value. Thank you.     

    Autumn blessings,