Voser Report – Feb ’10

Newsletter February 2010

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the last few years the membership has varied from 20 to more than 25, not counting children. Currently, we are 24 members and 7 children/teenagers. Although we have been growing, we have also lost members. We lost members because they stopped wanting to meet with the church for various reasons. One member led an immoral life and did not accept any gentle correction. One member thought that we were too conservative. A couple joined the church, but then left again after one year because the husband had his own particular views of church. One member moved to another city and attends the local church there. I can say that every time one member left, the church felt deeply about it even though we knew that most of these people had to leave unless an attitude change occurred. In spite of all these people leaving, the church has slowly grown in numbers since 2002, when I started my full-time ministry with 19 members, including myself. Though the most positive about the growing process is not a great increase in numbers, but the unity that has become stronger among the members and the willingness to serve has become greater. What may that tell us? It makes clear that the members who stayed, have drawn closer to each other and they make up a stable church body. I believe that we can now concentrate on the growing process more than before where there were at times severe dissensions and quarrels within the church.

Andrea with her baby Jeanette that was born on February 11 2010

Adults and children make up now more than 30 in attendance

With the birth of a baby in February of this year, we have grown as a church over 30 people. This includes members or children of members who are at church at least once a month. We have had four newborn babies within just a little over a year. Also, we had two spiritual births last year, James and Maria. We hope the baby boom will last for a while and that we also can experience a few baptisms in the next few years.

What are the main obstacles for growth? Johanna and Margrit told my parents over again that they wanted to come to church. Margrit has been once or twice at church service on Sunday morning and perhaps two or three times a at Bible study on Wednesday evening over the past year. Johanna has still not yet come to church. Our prayer is that eventually they both will come and stay. Ueli is another visitor. Last year he even seemed to be almost ready for baptism and now he is not anymore. Currently, he is still in the military service. He continues to stay in close contact with James and Martin who are his neighbours asking them Bible questions. He also sometimes attends church services.

Our teenagers Rahel, 13, and Benjamin, 15

We have still almost all the teenagers of church members who attend regularly. Anna turned twenty years old last November and continues to attend church, when she is not overloaded with her study and work. One time she came to church with her computer and worked after the worship service on a seminar paper for her education as an elementary teacher. She also works five or six hours on Sunday afternoon to finance her education. She once said that she feels like she is too young to make a decision to become a Christian. She remains a regular visitor. Benjamin, 14 and Rahel, 12, still come with their parents to the worship service every Sunday. Once every few months Lena and I have a Bible study with them during their vacation time from school. What conclusion is there to be drawn? We continue to work with these and other people and we need patience and may be even more patience than ever.

How We Want to Improve our Outreach

This year we work on enlarging the number of church contacts that come to church events like the Knusperfestli in December or the Grillfest in July. We want to encourage church members more to bring along as many people as possible. One way to do that is by printing invitations that church members can give to their friends. We also will pursue with the help of orphans in the Ukraine. That certainly can also provide opportunities for new contacts. This is especially true if we can find regular donators who become appreciative of this work we are doing. There are other ways in which we will try to reach out. As we continue to work on our outreach, I will inform you in which ways we are creating mission opportunities.

Regula and Elfriede after the worship service

News about People

Elfriede, 81, has to take a lot of medicine because of her liver that is not working properly. She is doing a little better. She registered for an elderly residence place so she can be better taken care of. The procedure to find an apartment can take years, but we pray that she will soon find an apartment where she will receive good care. Angelica, who is in her third month of pregnancy, started her final exams for her gymnastic education.

Prayer Requests

  • Elfriede who has been very sick and is improving slowly
  • Lena’s mother who is undergoing chemotherapy to fight breast cancer
  • Peter who has been unemployed since January of this year
  • Regina’s husband, Peter, is looking for a full-time teaching position for ethnology.
  • Babies: Ilja’s, Elena’s and Jeanette’s health and continual growth
  • Angelica who is expected to give birth to a child in September
  • Teenagers of church members – Anna, 20; Mathias 18; Benjamin, 14; Rahel, 12;
  • Ueli, a church visitor, who went to serve in the military service for several months

Our church contacts Margrit and Johanna

Any Funds Can Be Sent to Our Overseeing Congregation:

Park Avenue Church of Christ / 5295 Park Avenue / Memphis, TN 38119

Grace and Peace, Ivan + Lena

Ivan + Lena Voser / Ziegeleistrasse 34a / 3612 Steffisburg / Switzerland

E-Mail: voserivan@hotmail.com Phone number: 0041 33 534 57 37