God Works through Kids Hope

God is working in my life. Sometimes I experience the effect of God on me directly. Sometimes I experience the effect of God working through me to help another person. This is how God has worked through me as a Kids Hope mentor.

Today I had lunch with a father and son. What was special about that was that I had been the son’s Kids Hope mentor about five years ago at Randolph Elementary. That had been a time when he was stressed about his parents’ divorce and was having difficulty at school. Dad said that I had helped the son get through a really difficult time. For the past five years the son has spoken of me and our special time together, and he still has a picture of us together on his dresser.

Dad had reached out to me on Facebook and arranged for us to have lunch today. It was like Randolph Elementary was just yesterday, except that my mentee is now taller than I am. I felt good as he talked about how he feels confident about how he will deal with the challenges of starting high school and the changes in his family, as Dad’s girlfriend moves in with her two children. He talked enthusiastically about his interests and hopes for the future. As we prepared to leave, Dad and I reflected on the importance of mentors in our own lives, as both of us still have a relationship with the mentor from our youth.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to be a Kids Hope mentor.

Paul Stratton


A God Sighting from Marlene Runnion

I read the devotions from Christ in our Home on a daily basis. The one from Wednesday, June 26 is particularly appropriate for Holy Trinity as we seek our new pastor so I wanted to share it. The title is God provides the replacement and it is based on 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21. Quoting from the devotion: “Through God’s help, Elijah achieved a great victory on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). When Jezebel sought to kill Elijah, he fled. He met God on Mount Horeb. He complained that he was the only one left in Israel who worshiped God. God told Elijah that there were still seven thousand worshipers in Israel. God also told Elijah that a successor, Elisha, has been chosen. In those times when we are worried about who our next pastor or leader will be, today’s reading comforts us with the knowledge that God is in charge. God will provide a leader. The story of Elijah reassures us that God will not forget us.”

A God Sighting from Joan Gaul

Last week my nephew, Phil…an electrician, was on a ladder in a downtown Detroit building doing a renovation.  He  was jolted with electricity 3 times and then fell off the ladder. His boss rushed him to Hutzel  hospital and they quickly did an EKG, very concerned about his heart. They then transferred him to Detroit Receiving Hospital Trauma Center.  He had shattered his elbow, his back was black and blue and all swollen, and he could barely function.  The next day he had surgery.  The doctor came out of surgery after an extra hour, but he said it went well.  He also said if  Phil had not fallen off the ladder he would have died from electrical shocks – so that he was very lucky.  We (the family) all agreed God intervened and we are all very  thankful.  Phil is also very thankful and will now be able to walk his only daughter down the aisle at her wedding  this September.  Praise God.


A God Sighting from Bill Deacon

Our good family friend, Bob, was heading up north with his two brothers. They were towing a pontoon boat. As they rounded a corner on a country road, the boat slipped off the trailer. The three brothers contemplated what they could do about the situation. Lifting the boat back onto the trailer would be quite a task for the brothers who are all over 65 years old. God provided an answer – a car full of four young men stopped to help! Bob and his brothers were back on the road with the boat on the trailer. As Bob was telling me the story, I said “Bob, that’s a God Sighting!” He said no, “Those were angels!”

Tidying Up

My awareness of God working in my life sometimes begins with an unexpected incident and gets clarified over time. This time it began with a broken garage door. The spring that raised the garage door had broken and needed to be replaced.  What seemed like a simple fix led to replacing both garage doors, painting the house trim to match the new garage door color, and having the painters also clean and re-stain the deck.

The bottom line is that to begin this chain of expenses I had to clean the garage floor 11 feet back from the doors, so the new doors could be assembled and installed.  That would have been no big deal if it were not for about 40 years of my professional life being in over 40 boxes on the floor, which had to be cleared.  That was God talking to me loud and clear. I had to deal with my professional past before I could deal with my personal present as a broken garage door.  So, day after day I sorted through desktop knickknacks, clinical files, staff meeting notes, training materials, books and journals.  I had to say good-bye to each of them as I processed the good, the bad and the ugly of a long and mostly successful professional life.

What God taught me was that I was OK mourning the death of that part of myself.  This meant that I had to stop feeling sorry for myself for what was no more and to stop being resentful at getting older.  Instead I have to celebrate the good stuff of the past and appreciate what has become part of the person that I am today going into the future.  The assurance of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness made it easier for me to move from one stage of life to the next stage of life.   I feel unburdened and set free, and yet I know that this transition is still a work in process.  God had put a broken garage door into my life to jump-start it all. Thank you, God, once again.


Submitted by Paul Stratton

Holy Trinity’s Eagle Scouts

Boy Scout Troop 782, located at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, is proud to present eight Eagle Awards on November 5, 2018.  This will increase our total to 315 Eagle Scouts since the troop was founded in 1954.  We are ranked #6 in the nation.  There were five Eagle Scouts in the troop when J. Kenneth Bourgon assumed the Scoutmaster position and he added 267 during his tenure.  Since Mr. B stepped aside, Scoutmaster Bill McCarley has added 43 additional Eagle Scouts!

New Eagle Scouts are Alex Chartier, Ryan Falconer, Terry McMillan, Michael Miney, Erik Schmidt, Austin Stratton, Miguel Teran and Matt Zelin.

Alex Chartier is currently a senior at Stevenson High School.  Alex is in the National Honor Society, Jazz Pit, Clarinet Ensemble and Marching Band.  He is the Drum Major as a senior.  Alex plans to double major in Business and Mechanical Engineering at either Kettering or University of Michigan-Dearborn.  He has been to Philmont Scout Ranch which, Alex considers his best Scouting experience.  His project was to collect items for the Blessings in a Backpack.  His crew spent 98 hours collecting and packaging items for the BIAB national office.

Ryan Falconer is currently a senior at Churchill High School.  Ryan has been in the CHS marching band as a Section Leader for four years and CHS ‘Touch-a Truck Program’ for two years.  He plans to major in either Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering and has applied to Purdue, Lawrence Tech, Princeton and University of Michigan.  For his project, Ryan planned and organized reworking an outdoor meditation garden at the Finnish Center.  His crew put in 226 hours.  He has been to Philmont Scout Ranch and was Crew Chaplain.

Terry McMillan is currently a senior at Stevenson High School.  He is in the National Honor Society and received the KLAA Student Athlete Award.  He has his varsity letter in swimming.  He is also in the Chess Club, Community Service Club and Lighthouse International Church Youth Group.  Terry went to Philmont Scout Ranch and was a Crew Leader.  He plans to attend University of Michigan and become a doctor.  For Terry’s Eagle project, they built sign posts for Holiday Park Nature Preserve and donated 70 hours.

Michael Miney is currently a sophomore in a home-schooling program. He plans to attend Schoolcraft College before transferring to University of Michigan to major in Aerospace Engineering.  He recently has attained his Second-Degree Black Belt on his way toward his Fifth-Degree Black Belt in Martial Arts.  His project was completed at the Branch Line School.  He and his helpers built garden beds for students to learn how to grow food.  They contributed 128 hours to the project.

Erik Schmidt is currently a senior at Stevenson High School. He has received Summa Cum Laude his first three years and is a member of the National Honor Society.  Erik is in the Deca club for marketing/business students.  He has earned his Tennis varsity letter.  He was a member of the Concert Band for a year.  Erik has worked with Cell Phones for Soldiers and collected over 5,000 phones!  College is in his future and probably he will major in music.  Erik’s Eagle project was to rework the St. Aidan Church community gardens and his team contributed 125 hours.

Austin Stratton graduated from Career Center Construction Trades program. He plans to attend a trade school to continue his construction career.  He recently earned his Cross-Country varsity letter.  He just spent a month in Alaska and had a great experience.  His Eagle project was to build benches for the Merriman Hollow conservation area.  His crew of 11 people contributed 128 hours to the project

Miguel Teran is currently a junior at Franklin High School.  He has been on the Robotics team for three years.  He has also been selected for the Bel Canto Choir.  Migues plans to attend college and study Electrical Engineering.  For his Eagle project, he and his crew spent 78 hours to build wheelchair adapters for Clark Park picnic tables.

Matt Zelin is currently a senior at Stevenson High School.  He has been on the Cross-Country team for four years.  Matt plans to major in architecture or aviation. His project was to collect and assemble Pocket Flags to be sent with a note to Sgt. Kuaff Matthew stationed in Kuwait for distribution.  His team contributed 103 hours.

That Bracelet – Thank You God

I asked the man how he knew I was a Christian, and he pointed to my bracelet that read, “God’s Work. Our Hands.”

As I boarded the airplane to return home from visiting family there were over 40 seats available.  I found a middle seat with an overhead space for my carry-on luggage.  I asked if the middle seat was taken, and the man in the aisle seat moved over and motioned for me to seat in the aisle seat, which I preferred anyway.

During this hour and a half flight I had planned on reading a novel, but, soon after takeoff, the man asked me, “how did you come to know Jesus?”  While the question took me aback some, I was prepared by having given this “elevator speech” about my faith before.  What followed was a blessing. We talked about our shared Christian faith and their mission work around the world.

Jerry and Marilyn Fine are the authors of One-on-One with God (www.ONEonONEwithGOD.org). This is a structured training program for how to make disciples, which they have taught to thousands of people, many of whom have gone on to disciple other people.  As I have worked as a church leader and have learned about faith development, I have struggled with being a disciple teacher.

Of all the seats available on this airplane and of all the topics to talk about, here was a couple who could give me what I needed in order to learn more about making disciples. Late in the conversation I asked the man how he knew I was a Christian, and he pointed to my bracelet that read, “God’s Work. Our Hands.” And I said, “thank you, God, once again.”

Submitted by Paul Stratton