The 50th Annual Convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society opened with the traditional and cherished Communion Worship service. LWMS Pastoral Advisor Jeffrey Mahnke led the service in which 2,756 sisters and brothers in Christ joined together at the La Crosse Convention Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin to share in the message of our glorious Lord and Savior.
Martin Luther College President Mark Zarling began his sermon message, based on Psalm 1:3, by showing a photo of a weeping willow tree and asking everyone to think of a memory that may have been triggered by that photo. As we considered those memories, he then asked us to consider why, in so many circumstances, a tree becomes not only the focal point of a yard, but so many times the focal point of our memories. Sometimes, the tree may have been there before us. Sometimes, we may have planted the tree and watched it grow as our family grew. In either case, that tree will most likely still be there long after we’re gone. How amazing to consider this creation of God, and how long God allows it to live! How even more amazing is it to consider that, as long as a tree lives, how does that compare to our Lord? Doesn’t that make us stop and ponder? Truly God has planted us for a purpose!
God has not called us into this life so that we can waste the gifts he’s given us. We were planted by the Lord, so that, like a tree, we can bear fruit and display the splendor of God.
Pastor Zarling pointed out that at the first, God planted the seeds of the LWMS and now, 50 conventions later, it has grown and prospered and continues to strengthen. Just as trees provide shelter, fruit, shade, rest and comfort, so does the LWMS with their love and support for missions.
Remember, we were all planted by the Lord to display his splendor; therefore we are all Planted for a Purpose!
It has truly been an inspiring convention. It is bittersweet attending the closing service as that signifies the end of the convention. The first hymn was "Hark! the Voice of Jesus Crying" (CW Hymn 573) which was sung at the first LWMS convention. Pastoral advisor Brady Coleman led us in worship. President Paul Wendland from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin, preached on the theme "We are Debtors - Not to Some, But to All." He painted a wonderful reminder that our work is not done as we are planted for a reason. Pastoral advisor Jeffrey Mahnke led the installation of new board members.
Outgoing President, Jackie Hieb, expressed a special thanks to Pastor Mahnke for his service to LWMS before handing over the reins to new president, Jeanne Martin. We then learned more about different missions through the presentation of the flags.
It is sad to leave but also exciting to share a renewed faith with those around us. It will be inspiring to witness more next year in Dallas, Texas!