Lifetimes: May 2019

All Hands on Hope Feed My Starving Children MobilePacks™–It’s About the Food and MORE!

By Becky Benson, Director of Serve and Inviting Ministries

It’s the week following the heroics of the 2019 All Hands on Hope MobilePack™ and my heart is still overflowing with gratitude for the way you made it possible for 2,088 more kids to eat and live a fuller life through your hands, hearts, pocketbooks (raising well over $143k) and prayers. Never underestimate what your work has meant to God’s children. In fact, as the 12th MobilePack™ came to a close, God’s faithfulness working through you, has allowed for 7.5 million meals to be packed, more than $1,428,700 raised to pay for these meals which has fed 20,564 kids for a year! That’s simply incredible. Read that again: you have put All Hands on Hope for 20,564 children.

Bette Olson

Besides the obvious joy of witnessing your work which has fed so many children, one of the other joys of these MobilePacks™ is hearing your stories of connections and conversations as you packed food, hauled ingredients, assembled boxes, labeled and prayed together.

Bette Olson, a constant presence at the labeling tables said this: “My friends from Cardigan Ridge, Barb and Lois, were so impressed! We three especially enjoyed watching the families working together. Nine of us came together on the 30th to label; my friend, Elaine, did it last year and believe me, she wanted to come back!”

Brenda Roloff shares: “When I showed up to pack on Tuesday with a friend, I assumed the memories that I would make would be from packing with him. We teamed up with a group of older women, and shared the true meaning of giving back. One of them, Delores, was just shy of 97 and her smiles and stories will stay with me for much longer than the two hours we shared.”

Brenda Roloff

From some corporate sponsors: “We had such a blast last night packing meals and being runners a little bit; it was a busy, busy night while we were there but had such fun and praise God for the meals this event was able to pack! Always a nice time coming and supporting.” “This is such a great event! Thank you! It’s really great to be able to share this with my family!” “We are happy to help a great cause!”

Juanita Janeczko said: “This MobilePack™ was ‘the most fun I’ve had wearing a hairnet,’ to quote the Feed My Starving Children staff. It is fun to see returning faces at the labeling tables. I met a young man who talked about music and reading until the noise level in the room drowned out the conversation. There was a triumphant moment when the last bag had been labeled! And then there was the triumph of meeting the goal at the last minute. So many people coming together to feed children we will never meet, whose lives are changed and it starts with a little label applied to a small bag that is then filled with food and love. I’m still smiling and feeling lifted up by the experience of the week.”

Jack (5 years old) and Delores (96 years old)

Don Martin reflected, “It was wonderful to see the broader community come together to meet the challenge. The Incarnation staff, the Feed My Starving Children Action Group and the Feed My Starving Children staff all worked quickly and cohesively to find a way to pack 750,000 meals when it appeared that meeting the goal was in serious jeopardy; to have responded so quickly and effectively and to bring everyone along with the quick change of adding a shift was an incredible display of leadership. The word went out far and wide, and quickly. I packed with a woman who participates in Bible Study Fellowship, a man who had never packed before whose pastor told him THAT MORNING during Bible study that he should go over to Incarnation and help out, and a family of about 15 that gathers at Incarnation every year. A new acquaintance of mine and his family who are immigrants from Liberia, packed three nights and provided an incredible prayer after one of the packing sessions. Former co-workers and current neighbors who heeded my last minute calls for help packed. The guys in small group and coffee who I met with on Thursday morning who then showed up Thursday evening to pack. It was all very inspiring.”

Juanita Janeczko

Anne Cremons offered, “My prayers today are all of gratitude and joy as I think of each of your lovely faces, always cheerful and willing, along with that of the many, many folks who came to pack as well. I think of the woman who came with Bette Olson from Cardigan Ridge. We did labeling together Wednesday night for a shift. As the room filled with eager packers of all ages who jumped right into packing, she kept looking up and saying, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this! This is so wonderful—an entire room of happy people dancing around and working their tails off!’ That was magical. The whole hall was humming with industry and joy—God must have had the hugest grin on his radiant face! Thank you my beloved Incarnation family for leading us to surpassing our goal for the 12th time, and May God bless and keep every one of those 2,088 little ones.”

From the Staff

By Pastor Jeanne Hartfield

At a conference recently, a speaker told a story about his spiritual director (who is a priest) and the priest’s brother (who is a jet fighter pilot). The priest was about to celebrate a milestone birthday and to make it special, his fighter pilot brother arranged for him to have an experience in the Air Force flight simulator. When the experience was over, the priest asked his brother why they used flight simulators so much. His brother responded, “At the moment of crisis, you will not rise to the occasion. You will default to your training.”

This idea resonates with me when I consider a life of faith. One of the reasons we focused on the Lord’s Prayer and several different prayer practices during Lent this year is because our prayer habits shape our relationship with God; how we understand God’s goodness, mercy and love; and prayer habits build a foundation of trust in God that does not depend on us living perfectly. This is our training. Then, when life gets messy or a crisis comes, we have resources and a relationship with God that we can draw on to face what comes our way.

Last year was messy for me. It was a year of tremendous joy with the adoption of our daughter and a year of deep grief following the death of my dad. Both of those realities brought significant change to our lives and routine. In the midst of that I struggled to connect with God regularly—both because the logistics of daily life were so different and because my heart was pretty tender with grief. I felt raw and vulnerable even sitting in the presence of our loving God. Thankfully, because of practices of purposeful (though not perfect) connecting with God, in my season of crisis I felt in my gut that God shows up even when we struggle to. I could cling to the truth that God is merciful and God’s love is steadfast and true, and I had hope in God’s promise that the light of Jesus shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it (see John 1:5). I trusted that our God, who makes new life even out of death, would bring me out of that hard season and I too would, eventually, experience new life.

It’s spring and new life is indeed happening—both outside and in my own life. I have been remodeling my prayer practices to suit this season of life and it feels good to be back in the “flight simulator” of faith. As I regularly connect with God again, I’m assembling a collection of prayers, Bible readings and devotional readings that really speak to me so the next time I find myself struggling, I’ll know where to turn.

What truths about God do you cling to in difficult times? What promises from God give you hope?
What meaningful prayers, Bible readings or devotional readings would you gather into a collection for times of struggle?

Experiencing Incarnation’s Long-Standing and Life-Giving Partnership

By Joy Alizadeh

Pastor Donald Kiwango (Head Pastor Mkwawa), Pastor Nuru Makweta (Head Pastor Kigamboni) Fredi Kifyasi (Secretary Kigamboni) and Hapnes Ngonja (Women’s Organization Leader).

At the end of January this year I had the great opportunity to be with Incarnation’s partner congregations in Iringa, Tanzania. While the beauty and warmth of the weather was a welcome respite from our Minnesota January weather, I was most struck by the warmth and welcome of our partner parishes. While I was only able to be there for five days due to a three-day delay in my travels, I feel I have new lifelong friends.

Our Partner Parishes of Mkwawa and Kigamboni are thriving congregations, each headed by dynamic leaders: Pastor Donald Kiwanga at Mkwawa and Pastor Nuru Makweta at Kigamboni. I was greeted by all of their staff, associate pastors and evangelists. They all impressed on me how much they love and pray for our congregation at Incarnation, and how much this partnership means to them.

Upon arrival on Saturday, we went to Mkwawa where I was introduced to all the staff and toured the church campus. Their assistant pastor, Sifuni Makongwa was hosting a young men’s leadership training seminar. The young men were so engaging and filled with love for the Lord and eager to help lead their communities with the skills they were learning. It was moving to see such engagement and such strong community ties. The congregation of Mkwawa has built a beautiful church facility and it is large enough that many of the events that happen in Iringa are hosted there. It positions them to be a leader and mission point for the area.

Incarnation’s sponsored students at Pommern School with Pastors Kiwanga and Makweta.

That afternoon we went to visit their three preaching points: Ikonongo, Itamba and Frelimo. Each of these preaching points are growing and are led by their own evangelist-Rhoda Chalale at Ikonongo, Amran Chalale at Itamba and Bethseba Nzuyu at Frelimo. Preaching points provide a place of worship for those in the immediate area, so that people need not walk a long distance to parish main station for worship. Incarnation has been instrumental in supporting the work of the congregations of Mkwawa and Kigamboni and their respective preaching points.

That evening, Incarnation hosted a dinner at the Lutheran Center in Iringa for the leadership of both churches. April Trout, the St. Paul Area Synod Bega Kwa Bega program coordinator in country, and Peter Harrits, Director of Bega Kwa Bega, were both able to attend as well, a lovely way for all of us to get to know one another.

The next day I spent at Kigamboni. They gave me a hearty African welcome and after meeting all the staff and touring their beautiful church, grounds and gardens we visited their preaching points. Kigamboni’s preaching points are Mawelewele led by evangelist Lyton Bembe, Kitasengwa led by evangelist Yonathan Mkuye and Wahe, led by evangelist Leonad Kitalika.

Pastors, staff and lay leaders at Mkwawa.

All of these preaching points are growing and support very active congregations of their own. Wahe is the newest preaching point and it has an interesting story. Wahe started through a pastor coming to a home to pray for a young man who had physical challenges with his legs. Through his faith and the community strength and support of him, a church has sprung up. It currently meets in a palm-covered, open-air structure they built as their numbers quickly expanded beyond what the young man’s home could hold.

All of the people of Mkwawa, Kigamboni and their respective preaching points hold Incarnation in their prayers throughout the year. They have been especially praying for us as we have been searching for a new senior pastor. They will be so excited to hear of our new pastor, Kai Nilsen! They each ask for our prayers. They all are so grateful for the financial support that Incarnation has given them, but most importantly they appreciate the partnership of prayer and presence, Bega Kwa Bega (shoulder to shoulder), that Incarnation has shared with them over the years. They are eager to reciprocate this partnership and look forward to a renewed opportunity for visits and communication.

We, at Incarnation, are also looking forward to the renewal of this partnership through a special day in September of 2019 and a possible trip to visit our friends in the summer of 2020. In the meantime, please keep our partners in your daily prayers.

Expanding the Ways You Can Give

NEW! Text Giving is Now Available

You can now make a contribution with a text! Simply send a text message to 651-376-2141 with the amount you would like to contribute. Within a few minutes, you’ll be sent a text with a link to register. You may then enter your credit or debit card information. Once your registration is complete, you will receive a text verification and receipt of your donation via email. Giving through texting is one of the fastest, easiest ways to give. You can select the ministry you would like to contribute toward and even set it up to make recurring contributions.

Online Giving

You may also sign up at the Incarnation website to make an automatic contribution from checking, savings, or credit card. Under the GIVE tab, you’ll see a link for online giving. You may set up an account to manage how your gifts are allocated across the various ministries.

Automatic Bill Pay

Your financial institution may offer the ability to sign up for automatic bill pay, enabling them to send Incarnation a check based on the frequency and amount you select. This option is often a free service with no fees to you or Incarnation. Inquire at your financial institution.

All of these giving options help to provide consistent ministry support. Questions? Contact Financial Secretary Amy Faymoville.

Apostles Book Review:

Love Without Limits: Jesus’ Radical Vision for Love With No Exceptions    

The love of God crosses all boundaries. Every. Single. One. Every day, millions of people lament the loss of civility, respect and hope, and they wonder if it’s possible to cultivate a love big enough to overthrow hate and heal our hurts. With courage, authenticity and relevance, Jacqueline A. Bussie proclaims, “Yes! It’s possible!” and urges readers to widen love’s wingspan and to love as God loves—without limits or exceptions.

In Love Without Limits, Bussie imparts practical solutions for people of faith who hunger to love across division and difference in these troubled times. Through poignant personal memoir, engaging theological reflection, inspiring true stories of friendships, unsung heroes and creative readings of scripture she challenges readers to answer God’s call to practice a love so deep, it subverts the social order; so radical, it scandalizes the powerful; so vast, it excludes no one. You can read an interview with author Jacqueline Bussie in the January 2019 issue of “Living Lutheran.” Look for this volume on 231 in the Incarnation Library.

Among the Congregation

Sympathy to: Gina Akins and family on the death of her father; Sandy Evanson and family on the death of her father; the family of Paula Sartor on her death.


Solid Ground Spring Shower

May 19 – June 9      

Be a part of a Spring Shower for Solid Ground residents! Purchase NEW items from the following list: bath towel sets, twin or queen blankets, hot pads/holders, soup ladles, pizza cutters/pizza pans, silicone spatulas and plastic food storage containers with lids. Drop items in the bin labeled “Solid Ground Spring Shower” in the Atrium. You may also write a check to Incarnation with “Solid Ground Spring Shower” so any items not donated may be purchased.

Part-time Accountant Needed

Incarnation Lutheran Church is seeking a part-time accountant to begin July 15. This position is for 28 hours a week and offers prorated vacation and sick time. The duties include maintaining and reconciling the general ledger; maintaining bank records; working with contributions; paying bills; completing payroll; supervising the weekly counting teams and maintaining procedure manual for all duties. Incarnation will be moving to a new Church Management System this fall, including the financial module, so candidate must be able to embrace change. Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field or be a CPA. Ideal candidate will have five years of experience performing non-profit or church accounting. To apply, please send a cover email and resume to Danette Griffith, Administrator by May 31, 2019.

Summer Stretch

June 10 – 14

Registration is open for 5th – 12th grade students interested in being a Summer Stretch Participant or Youth Leader. Summer Stretch is a program where students participate in worship, Bible Study, service projects and afternoon activities like Nickelodeon Universe, Como Zoo, Bunker Beach and more. Cost: $130. More information and registration forms can be found in the Incarnation Office. Registration Deadline: May 22.

Primetimers: Living Into Your Primetime

Thursday, May 23, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Primetimers is a time of fellowship and learning for those ages 60 and older. This month, we will be hearing from author and technology expert, Ronald Peterson. Ronald has a passion for the sciences as well as helping people continue to find meaning and joy in retirement. Cost: $4, includes lunch (hamburgers, beans, fries, watermelon). Sign up in the Incarnation Office.

Summer Incarnation Office and Building Hours

Beginning May 24 through August 30, the Incarnation Office and building will be closed on Fridays at 12:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, the Incarnation Office will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Casual Biking Fellowship Group for Adults

Five Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., June – August

Bike at a casual pace, experience creation and connect with others who enjoy biking. This group takes easy to moderate trails in the Twin Cities, meeting at each trailhead. Designed for adults, the group bikes for two to three hours, up to 20 miles (approximately 10 mph) with devotions led by the group leaders. The group also includes a one-time service project to support Ralph Reeder Food Shelf. Register:

Vacation Bible School Registration

Register by June 12 by 4:00 p.m. After this date you will be placed on a waiting list.

Children four years of age through 4th grade are invited to attend Roar Vacation Bible School, June 17 – 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. On this epic adventure, kids will explore God’s goodness and celebrate a ferocious faith that powers them through this wild life! Cost: $30 per child or $80 maximum for family.

Prayer and Blessing Service for Caregivers

Wednesday, June 19, 7:00 p.m. at Incarnation in the Sanctuary

Whether you care for an elder or children or you care for others as a professional or a volunteer, this worship service is a time to pause, pray, receive a blessing and hear messages of faith that speak to your care for others. Invite your friends, family, co-workers and others who serve as caregivers. This Prayer Service is a part of the Caring Community initiative of Incarnation’s strategic plan.

Solid Ground Summer Tutors and Camp Chaperones

Solid Ground is excited to offer their own on-site summer camp again this year. Camp will include morning tutoring sessions and a variety of fun field trips in the afternoon. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with kids this summer! Sign up for one day each week as a tutor or chaperone. Substitutes are also needed. For more information, contact Hannah Parish at or 651-846-9024.

June 17 – August 8 (No tutoring or camp the week of July 4th)
Tutoring Sessions: Monday – Thursday, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon Camp Activities: Monday – Wednesday, 12 – 3:00 p.m.