FROM THE PRESIDENT
“Thanks be to God” is our theme this year. We are experiencing social distancing and sheltering in place due to the COVID-19. At this time, I know that you are praying for many in all walks of life. We thank God for you as you support Bethesda Auxiliary with prayers, donations, and volunteer efforts.
Since you are a supporter of Bethesda Auxiliary and/or Bethesda, you
are an integral part of God’s plan for us. For over 116 years, our faithful God
has guided Bethesda through many challenges. We thank God that for over 60
years, you have helped the Auxiliary honor our commitment to our mission,
“Reaching forward in FAITH, WORD, and DEED by sharing the love of Jesus with
people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in partnership with
Bethesda Lutheran Communities.”
Our commitment does not lessen nor does it end as years pass. In these
uncertain times, our commitment increases. The Auxiliary continues to work with
the Religious Life team and the I/DD support team in finding ways to share
Jesus. We are so fortunate to live at a time when technology has given us
avenues to aid Bethesda staff in bringing devotions, Bible lessons, digital Bible messages,
and prayers to those we support. Families and guardians are able to communicate
by audio and visual on tablets, computers, and
phones with their loved ones. We thank God for this ability.
During these months of sheltering in place, some of you who live close to those we support have personally provided funds for meals and daily activities. Many who do not live close have sent cards to those we support and to staff to encourage and provide strength through Bible verses. At this critical time and immediate need, when all those we support are at home 24/7, the Auxiliary has provided funds to assist staff with resources to help with daily activities.
As we look to the future, I am confident in God’s love and guidance. I am often reminded of these Bible verses:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55: 8-9 NIV
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121 NIV
He is our faithful God; He knows our needs, both personal and for Bethesda. He will see us through.
This is my last message to you as Auxiliary President. It has been a blessing to serve with you.
Reaching forward in faith and serving in love,
BETHESDA AUXILIARY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE at our recent meeting in Portland, OR.
Our Response to the
Martin Luther had some comforting suggestions about how we
should deal with plagues and other calamities like the Coronavirus.
He knew of the bubonic plagues that swept through Europe at the end of the 12th
century, which killed one-fourth of the population of Europe. That plague left
deep social, economic, and emotional scars on all classes of Europeans. A
number of epidemics swept through Germany during the 15th and 16th
In August of 1527, this dreaded plague struck Wittenberg.
Luther’s prince, Elector John (The Steadfast), ordered Luther and Wittenberg
University to leave for Jena. Unmoved by the elector and by the pleas of his
friends, Luther and his pregnant wife, Katie, stayed behind to minister to the
sick and frightened people. Luther was obedient to a Higher Authority. He feared God more than he feared the plague or his
prince. He believed the promise laid down in 2 Kings 17:39: “Fear the Lord your
God, and He will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” So, instead
of fleeing the plague, he stayed behind and administered comfort to the
fearful, the sick, and the dying. He
knew that Christ did not want His weak ones to be abandoned, as St. Paul
teaches, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak” (Rom.
Like Moses of old, Luther and Katie “stood in the
breach.” This “standing in the breach”
is referenced in Psalm 106:23, but the episode describing it is recorded in
Exodus 32:1-14. There, in verse
7, “the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down [from Mt. Sinai]; for your people, whom
you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.’” They did
so by fashioning a golden calf, and then worshiping it. Then, in verses 9 and 10, “the Lord said
to Moses,’ I have seen
this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; Now therefore let me alone [in other words, get
out of My way!], that my
wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make
a great nation.” But, in verses
12 and 14, Moses besought the Lord his God, and said. . . “Turn from
Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people
. . . and the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people.”
Moses had to stand in this breach again, in Exodus chapter 14! This is a rare thing to do–to stand before
the Lord God’s consuming fire (Heb. 12:28) and survive. We see Moses, here, as
a type, an imprint, of the One who was to come, the Lamb of God, Jesus, who
stood in a much greater breach FOR US
between God’s fiery wrath and our sins and the sins of the whole world. Jesus
took upon Himself the world’s sin, its death, and the power of our enemy, the devil, and they
were all “consumed” on the Cross with the “fire” of Christ’s love FOR US and the whole world!
Again, Moses was an example of the One who was to come (Deut. 18:15-19). We are to be examples of the One who has come, “For to this we
have been called, because Christ suffered FOR
US, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps (1 Pet. 2:21). Martin Luther has it this
way, “As our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also
ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ
to the other, that we may be Christs to one another [LW, 31:376,7]. In so doing, we fulfill what St. Paul says to us in
Eph. 5:1-2. “Be imitators [we get our English word, “mimics” from the Greek
word used here], of God, as beloved children [children love being mimics!]. And
walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up FOR US, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
So, in the face of this spreading modern plague, we say with St. Paul: “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not like so many, peddlers of God’s Word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). Let us continue to be what we are; “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
Pastor George Putnam,
Bethesda Auxiliary Counselor
Message to the Ladies of the LWML
We, as representatives of Bethesda Lutheran Communities Auxiliary, feel privileged and blessed to be present at your conventions. Many of us, too, are members of the LWML and look so forward to the fellowship, stories of mission work, and hearing God’s Word and how it has been and continues to be shared with people of all nations. We have a shared mission of spreading the Good News to anyone we meet.
As we gather, whether it is this
summer, postponed until fall– in person, or on
your computer, we can be certain that “Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV), and no matter what our circumstances, He says, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of
my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a ESV))
If we are blessed to gather in person, please introduce yourself at our Bethesda Auxiliary display table. We look forward to meeting you to share and rejoice in what our Lord is doing as we, too, serve the Lord with gladness! Linda Koeller
Cross and Bell Award Honorees
Donna Sandquist has been an amazing supporter of the Northeast Zone Good Shepherd and Bethesda Fairs for many, many years. When I would ask for volunteers for a committee to host the fairs in Julesburg, Donna would often be the first one to volunteer. Even though she was working full-time, she always made time to work on planning the fairs as well as making items to sell at the fairs. When we would have “work nights” to work on items, she would try very hard to attend and help.
out. Since retiring from her job, Donna has taken on our church’s “tea towel” fundraiser. We sell them at the zone fairs and at Lucy’s Place in Sedgwick, Colorado. Donna often embroiders a tea towel a week. In the past year, when she saw a need for additional tea towels, she began stamping them and distributing them to other women to embroider. Donna has an amazing Christian faith to share with all of us. She certainly does whatever she can to share that faith and help others around her! She is a great example of being the hands of Jesus.
Eileen Banholzer was introduced to Good Shepherd as a
teenager when her mother, Paula Lierman, was the first president of the Idaho
Unit at the time it was chartered in 1956. She
taught at a Lutheran School in Milwaukee for many years, returned to Idaho in
the early 90’s, and was soon an active, devoted member of the Idaho Unit. She
has been Corresponding Secretary, worked on the By-Laws committee, and as a
contact chairman. She is currently serving as Vice President. Eileen is a
valuable asset to the success of our annual yard sale, putting in many hours
gathering items and working cheerfully during the event. She is an active member of LWML and has served
as Zone President. She still finds time for several community groups including
Magic Valley Symphony as Reception Chairperson.
Janet Camin has been a faithful servant of her Lord
and of Bethesda Auxiliary for many years. Her service to the Idaho Unit has
included contact person and the By-Laws committee. Janet is currently the
Recording Secretary and has been for several terms. She participates in our
annual yard sale, as her health permits, and willingly helps with other
fundraisers and wherever she is needed. Janet also served as 2nd
Vice President of Bethesda Auxiliary. As the wife of a Pastor, Janet has always
been active in church activities, including LWML, having served as President. A
nurse by profession, Janet’s compassion and love of the Bethesda ministry is
evident in her dedication to the Idaho Unit.
Marilyn Kramer is no stranger to Bethesda as she has been a loyal, devoted member for many years. She previously served as Vice-President and Publicity chairperson. She has completed 2 terms as Idaho Unit President and has graciously accepted a third term. Marilyn is a dedicated worker and a conscientious and well-organized leader who puts forth much prayer, time, and effort to promote the Bethesda ministry. She is a willing and capable worker at our fundraisers and Unit activities, and is a pleasure to work with. Marilyn received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Concordia, Seward, and as a faithful servant of her Lord, taught 16 years at Immanuel Lutheran School. At Immanuel, she is a member of the Altar Guild, active in LWML, and works occasionally at the Child Development Center.
Marilyn Rehley has been a faithful, active Bethesda Auxiliary (and before that, Good Shepherd Auxiliary) member for many years. The Rehley’s oldest son, Paul, lives with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). So, at Zion, Marilyn started a special Bible class for Paul and others with I/DD. She still teaches that class today, and the congregation welcomes these faithful members from Marilyn’s class, as members of the Body of Christ. Marilyn yearly collects memberships/donations and has fundraisers. The women of the congregation have hosted the Oregon Unit Annual Celebration. One year at a Bethesda Auxiliary Annual Celebration, Marilyn’s fresh baked apple pie brought in $80 in the oral auction. Marilyn also comes to every OR Unit Annual Celebration no matter how far she has to travel. The Auxiliary is blessed to have Marilyn teaching God’s Word and encouraging her congregation to welcome ALL individuals.
Dennis Bohren – Gresham, OR
Rev. Dennis Bohren has been the Pastoral Advisor of the Oregon Unit of Bethesda Auxiliary for four years. He is one pastor who truly has a compassionate heart for marginalized people, for missions. and arranging and participating in mission trips of all kinds, all over the world. Pastor Dennis has been to two mission trips to the Dominican Republic to see the disabilities ministry there that Bethesda Auxiliary has so faithfully supported. A special relationship with one young man, Alex, was developed, and we all agreed, that this young man remembered Pastor Dennis several years later on the second mission trip. His compassion is unforgettable. As pastoral advisor for the OR unit, Pastor Bohren has been extremely active in doing Bethesda Sundays. At our twice yearly unit meetings, Pastor Bohren would drive from Gresham to Hillsboro, bringing other officers and members with him. His devotions were always a great blessing. He attended several Governing Board meetings in Portland so that he could gain more knowledge and understanding of Bethesda. At the Annual Celebrations, he welcomed people and then served as our “Vanna” at our oral auction fundraiser. We thank the Lord for bringing him into our ministry and blessing so many people with his enthusiasm for ministry with people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
News from the States
Bethesda History – from Bethesda Messenger
From October 1960 to April 1966, activities in Good Shepherd Homes:
- total of 5,161 birthday cakes have been given to the home.
- tours conducted through the home numbered 2,569 with a total of 25,100 people.
- volunteers contributed a total of 102,449 hours in many varied areas of service.
- the Thrift Shop has realized a net profit of $67,884.36.
- trading stamps and coupons converted to cash have amounted to $53,771.90. In addition, the children are benefiting from a bus, laundry equipment, two large freezers, and many miscellaneous items purchased with stamps and coupons.
years ago, the Lord blessed me with the joy of Rosa Flath.
Working in chaplaincy for Good
Shepherd Lutheran Home of the West with Rev. Kas Kachmarek (Pastor “K”), I met
Rosa at the Good Shepherd Auxiliary meetings. This dynamic lady had such a
passion for serving her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and sharing His love with
people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rosa served the Auxiliary as President of the
Oregon Unit, and then continued to serve as an Area Chair. In this position she contacted and encouraged
the Good Shepherd Auxiliary contact ladies in the surrounding area
congregations to pray for and financially support Good Shepherd Lutheran Home
of the West’s ministry.
Often ladies would go to the homes to visit the people, sharing a devotion and sing with them, and helping the staff with special projects and providing needed items. Rosa encouraged Good Shepherd Auxiliary members in all the congregations to have a Christmas party in their Adopt-a-Home facility and to buy Christmas gifts for their Adopt-a-Resident.
What a blessing and example Rosa was for so many people. Her radiant smile and out-going, easy-to-be-with personality was a gift from the Lord that He used to bring joy to so many, including me. Thank you, Lord, for Rosa and the strong, vibrant faith You gave her, that blessed so many. Amen! Rosa, we will see you in Heaven.
Bethesda Auxiliary (Good Shepherd Auxiliary) members Terry Putnam Bethesda Auxiliary – Oregon Unit President
Sustaining Partner Fund
Did you know Bethesda Auxiliary
has a Sustaining Partner Fund? It was started in the mid- 1990’s by our forward- thinking President at the time,
Ellie Bierow. That fund is still in existence today
and is now called the Bethesda Auxiliary Fund. The fund is controlled by the
Auxiliary and is used for staff- requested support for the people
we serve when urgent funds are needed.
Follow the steps below to become a Bethesda Auxiliary Sustaining Partner.
- Choose “monthly gift” and fill in the amount of your donation. Drop down the designation box choose IN SUPPORT OF BETHESDA AUXILIARY.
- Continue with your payment information
You are finished. Your donation will be deducted monthly from your account, easy peasy.
Or if you would like to contact Bethesda personally, contact:
Chris Krueger. Bethesda Development Systems Specialist
600 Hoffmann Dr
Watertown, WI 53094
This is a very convenient way to support Bethesda Auxiliary and know your donations are well cared for.
Leadership Project Update
Mona Fuerstenau, Director of Ministry Partnerships, began the Leadership Project in 2017 and it has impacted 13 people we support who have become leaders in their local areas. Each person is using the skills they learned in the project to lead and serve. Amy continues to teach Sunday school with 4-5th grade boys. Paul, a volunteer for Bethesda, leads two Bible studies for people we support in Oregon and has done a few video devotions during COVID-19. Ruben assists at the food bank outreach and participates in Spanish-speaking ministries at his local church. Don continues volunteering at three churches. Chase sings in his church choir, and Jenni has starred in another video for BLC. Krissy advocates at the state capital in Minnesota. Not only have the participants grown throughout their experiences, the direct support staff are now championing the leadership growth and opportunities of the person they support.
People supported by Bethesda and those who mentor and train these leaders could use some of the following items:
The Bible Box description: https://www.bibleboxonline.com/gallery and purchasing information: https://www.bibleboxonline.com/products
- Lego Bible: https://www.amazon.com/Brick-Bible-Complete-Set-Presents/dp/1626361770
- Resurrection Eggs: https://www.christianbook.com/resurrection-eggs-20th-anniversary-edition/9781602006515/pd/06515X?en=google&event=SHOP&kw=toys-0-20%7C06515X&p=1179710&dv=c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMInKSRoKzI6AIVlv_jBx3FPAzJEAQYASABEgIIPvD_BwE
- Easter Story Egg: https://www.zieglers.com/the-easter-story-egg-book-toy-activity-holy-week/religious-articles/seasonal/easter/
- Nativity sets are very helpful at Christmas, but we usually ask each person what style of nativity they would like. It is also dependent on what is most appropriate for the house.
If you would like to contribute, please contact Karen Carter.
If you do not live in an area supported by a unit, send your form to:
Bethesda Financial Secretary
PO Box 1036
Manhattan, MT 59741
Brief Bethesda Auxiliary History
Our Auxiliary was formed in 1955, organized in 1956, and incorporated in 1958 as Good Shepherd Home of the West Auxiliary with 116 members. In 1988, it grew to 10,987 women. The theme was “In Love We Serve.” Executive meetings were held at Terra Bella in California, moving to other sites as Good Shepherd Auxiliary expanded its ministry. A few names have been used for publishing Bethesda news: THE SHEPHERDESS, The Booster, Bethesda Messenger, The CALL, and presently, our newsletter: Shepherd’s News (June and November issues). In 2011, Good Shepherd Auxiliary became Bethesda Lutheran Communities Auxiliary. 2015 brought a new connection with Bethesda Lutheran Communities with an appointed Advisory Director to the Bethesda Lutheran Communities Board of Directors. In 2018, Bethesda Auxiliary mission was blessed by support of 4,000 men, women, and youth across 42 states.
Bethesda Auxiliary supports Bethesda Religious Life and raises funds for a variety of projects for them and the I/DD people we are blessed to serve.
We continue our mission of reaching forward in FAITH, WORD, AND DEED by sharing the love of Jesus with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in partnership with Bethesda Lutheran Communities in 2020 and beyond with God’s help!
ENCOURAGING CARDS MEAN SO MUCH TO THE STAFF OF
OUR HOMES DURING THIS TIME OF THE CORONA VIRUS
There is always a need to encourage our staff but especially during the COVID-19 crisis. If you would like to make cards of encouragement which include a thank you and Bible verse, please contact Karen Carter for bulk mailing addresses to our regional offices.