A Sweet Saturday of Service

First Free women and girls are invited to gather on Saturday, April 6, 9:30 – 11:30 in our church gym for a sweet way to connect with one another as we work together on a variety of projects. We’ll be busy preparing 500 encouragement/treat bags for cancer patients through Victory in the Valley, helping the Lady Bugg House to prepare for their upcoming fundraising dinner for 300, as well as preparing a treat for the staff at Jackson Elementary School. The Union Rescue Mission is in need of canned goods, so we invite you to bring a canned good(s) as your “admission price.”

Here’s some info about each of these ministries we will be serving this weekend:

Victory in the Valley:

Victory in the Valley’s mission statement is:

To encourage cancer patients & families on their journey by offering HOPE through emotional and spiritual support, while providing practical services to improve the quality of their lives.

First Free’s own Diana Thomi is the executive director of Victory in the Valley. When Diana’s mother Lois was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer in 1982, Lois was greatly encouraged by a former cancer patient. Prompted by this friend’s act of caring in a dark time, Lois, with the help of Diana, founded Victory in the Valley a year later. Today Victory in the Valley provides a variety of programs and events that help raise awareness and support for cancer patients, such as support groups, quilting classes, prayer support, transportation, pet therapy programs, and more. It will be our joy to help Victory in the Valley continue to spread encouragement to cancer patients through these sweet encouragement bags. We still need a few more items donated to fill these bags. Stop by the Women’s Ministry Table to see how you can help. You can find out more about this valuable ministry by visiting their website at www.victoryinthevalley.com.

Lady Bugg House:

Lady Bugg House states on their ministry website that they are:

Dedicated to mentoring young mothers and their children who are committed to change and spiritual growth.

Founder and executive director, Michelle Pitman, and the staff at Lady Bugg House serve young mothers and their children through their resident and non-resident programs. The Lady Bugg House provides a host of services: helping with educational, employment, and health needs, nurturing social, emotional, and spiritual development, and sharing parenting and life skills – to name a few. Many of you have already served as volunteers to this ministry in a variety of ways and now we’ll have the joy to help them prepare for their celebration and fundraising dinner. You’ll have the fun of wrapping plastic ware in napkins and decorating water bottles for this dinner of over 300!

You can find out more about the ministry of the Lady Bugg House by visiting their website at ladybugghouse.com.

Jackson Elementary School:

Several years ago First Free decided to “adopt” Jackson Elementary School as a way to become more involved in our community here at 1825 N. Woodlawn. We have had the joy of interacting with the administration and staff at Jackson and helping them meet some of the needs of their students and parents. Furnishing lunch buddies for students, organizing the coat drive at Christmas, and providing lunch for their Career Day presenters are a few ways we have purposed to be a good neighbors to Jackson. From time to time we’ve slipped a fun treat in the staff mailboxes to encourage these teachers and administrators as they work hard to teach our younger generation. Our plan on the 6th is to prepare a special treat for these special friends at Jackson.

Union Rescue Mission:

The Union Rescue Mission is an evangelical Christian ministry committed to sharing the gospel and meeting the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the homeless and poor in our community.

Our neighbors on North Hydraulic Street not only are committed to feeding the spiritual needs of the poor but also feeding them….real food! One of their slogans says: Where Hunger Ends & Hope Begins. Bring a canned good or two or three with you to our Sweet Saturday of Service and we’ll make sure it gets to the homeless and hungry through the Union Rescue Mission.

We look forward to seeing you on this special Saturday. With lots of projects we’ll need lots of help. Moms, your daughters, elementary school aged and older, would be of great help, too! Bring them with you for a fun and worthwhile morning of sweet service!


Missionary Thank Yous

Here are several more “Thank yous” for the card packages sent at the last Women’s Retreat, and a few prayer requests from our sweet missionaries:

From Marta Klein:

Dear Friends at First Evangelical Free,

Thank you so much for the gift of Thank You Cards and the words of encouragement. I am hoping to send you a video of photos of my journey so far. It has been a difficult year of transitions and learning languages. I am so thankful to be a part of what is happening here. I pray that I will continue to be teachable. Can you please join me in that prayer? I would appreciate it.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. I hope to visit when I get back to the States in April 2013.

Nzambe apambola na bino! God bless to you!

Marta Klein

Short Term Missionary to Dem. Rep. of Congo with the Evang. Covenant Church

From Debbie Shoberg:

Dear Women at First Free,

Thank you for your packet of stationary, and your encouraging notes, letting me know that you had prayed for me at your spring meetings. Wow! Not only are your prayers an encouragement to me, but God heard them and He has acted as a result. This year has been tough in that our team mate in church-planting returned to the U.S. But God has been present when Jim and I felt alone, and He has continued to work in our French friends’ hearts.

I was able to lead 2 Bible studies with 4 women total, studying with me and I saw spiritual growth through their interaction with the Word. Yahoo! 🙂 I hope the studies continue and that more women will join.

This fall brings family changes – we take our oldest, Amber, to boarding school in Germany (6 hr. drive away), for 10th grade. I knw we will miss her, while being happy for her, too. And I’ll teach Keisha 5th grade at home. We saw she needed to switch to schooling in English. So I need wisdom to teach her well, and have a good teacher/mom relationship in it all!

May you see God as sufficient for you in family and reaching others, too!


Debbie Shoberg



“Thank you!”

This past March, several of us gathered together for our 2012 Women’s Retreat. You may remember that on Friday night of the retreat, we worked long and hard together to make simple, special note card sets for several of our sisters serving over seas. The cards were  prayed over, packed up, sent off, and, we do believe, received with gladness. May you, too, be encouraged, as you read how others were loved well by you!

Here is a note from one of the missionaries…

Dear First E. Free Women’s Ministry friends,

Thank you for the beautiful hand-made cards that you so lovingly created. The card you made for me continues to serve as an encouragement as it sits on display in my home. I look forward to sending on the other cards and the encouragement they will bring. I think I will send many of them to missionary friends in Ethiopia to encourage them in their ministries. Thank you for thinking of me and for spreading your love and the love of Jesus to others!

love, Jenny Stoll

And here’s one more…

Yesterday I received a package from First Free in the mail. I couldn’t imagine what was inside, my first guess was a CD with photos from camp from Jim Wilson. I was so pleased to see the handmade note paper. What a great idea for a ladies meeting. I saw your creative fingerprints all over this so that is why I’m sending the thank you note to you. I am forever rifling through my stationary drawer looking for notepaper and the correct size envelope. That happened to me just yesterday. I like the blank inside so I can use it for anything. I have some beautiful note cards but they all say “Happy Birthday.” I could envision the First Free women sitting around talking and enjoying themselves while they made these. It makes them even more special. Please pass along my thanks to all those involved.

Ellen Harris (Czech Republic)