Mine is a story of thanksgiving for a miracle. Last June, I went to Phoenix, Arizona, fully expecting the worst for my son, Richard. When I arrived at the hospital, he was in the ICU on life support with about 12 IV’s running. The doctors weren’t holding out much hope. The left side of his heart had stopped functioning, and to make matters worse, he had developed a bowel blockage and needed immediate surgery.

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After two years in the Peace Corps, my wife and I felt we still had more to offer. Through Lutheran Missions, we learned of teaching opportunities at Lithuanian Christian College. It was through this opportunity that we got acquainted with the local Salvation Army.

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Get Involved!

My husband Bill and I were snowbirds and had not yet joined the church. Bill decided when we came down in 2007 that we would join Hope Lutheran Church. Since I was a lifelong Lutheran, this made me very happy. Bill always wanted to be the best, the first. He joined the church in October 2007 in the Memorial Garden. I joined the same year in December. So, I guess he won for the last time!

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In conversations with others during the process of becoming a member of Hope, I found that I was far from the only Catholic there. I found myself wondering if they felt as guilty attending a non-Catholic church as I did. You see, as Catholics, we have been brought up with the ‘guilt’ card, followed up by fear. Later in life, I found this to be sad but true. When a dear friend of mine said to me one day, ‘I have always known a kind, loving and merciful God, where you grew up in fear’, I knew something had to change. I really began to rethink my spiritual journey – so I came to Hope and the first thing that Pastor Barry said was, “Welcome, welcome, welcome to all who are new to Hope” and then when he said, “When you walk through those doors you are family, as we are all children of God.” I can’t tell you how at ease and welcome that made me feel.

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Be a part of the story!

Everyone has a story. Now we want you to share yours!

We’re seeking testimonies of faith, answered prayers, personal struggles, or help you’ve received from the church. Tell us about why you joined Hope, your favorite service here, or the friends you’ve made along the way! Share how a ministry has helped you, how a message has moved you, or how your family of faith has loved you.

Tell us how God has guided you, or how He’s shared blessings or challenged you with hard times.

Write a few words or a whole page! There’s no wrong way to share your #StoriesOfHope.

Each week, we’ll share these #StoriesOfHope on our Facebook page @HopeLutheranVillages and on our website at www.hope2all.org. Keep an eye out! You may see yourself or your friends featured on Hope’s pages!

Please submit your #StoriesOfHope via email to Information Coordinator Marina Ernst at marina@hope2all.org.