Services in South Dakota, Minnesota and birthday celebrations!

Whew! Let me catch my breath!

Where has the last six months gone? It just seems like it was January and here it is, now mid- July.

 

The last time I wrote on the web was that we were in the prairie lands of western South Dakota. Next we ventured on to our home office in Sisseton, South Dakota. Again, how different it is to go back to where you were born and raised, see your home that you lived in for 40 years now being occupied by somebody else, and to see our childhood home and the farm. All of the memories of that was very emotional. We were blessed to stay in the home of a child evangelist who is on the road, and then spent the days down at our ministry office sifting through 35 years of ministry stock, dead files, and thousands of photos, bus parts, tools, music equipment... and as they print on Auction sale ads, "too many numerous items to list!"

 

Besides all that craziness while in Sisseton, we held an exciting service in our "home church!" It's always great to see friends and family - and most exciting was seeing the dozens who responded to the altar call. That's where the joy comes from!

 

 

Sisseton, SD altar call

 

It was a joy to see our friends, the Wilmer's and Sundvall's from Northern Minnesota, drive over for the rally. They have been on many, many fun and fellowship tours.

 

 

It was also fun getting a quick getaway to the lake with our nephew LJ and his son Zeke! We always treasure the chances we get to see family.

 

 

Then we drove to St. Cloud, MN for our annual ministry board meeting, and on to Minneapolis where we met our niece Londa for lunch to celebrate Larry's 76th Birthday.

 

 

Our next stop brought us to Owatonna, Minnesota. On Sunday, June 30th we took part in the morning service at Elevation Church who is pastored by our friends Doug and Debbie Jones. Sunday night we held a rally in the Owatonna city park. Despite the pouring rain, thunderstorms, tornados warnings that scared many people away, 2 hours before the rally, the wind calmed down, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we had a great time of music, ministry and altar call! It was a perfect fun filled evening.

 

 

 

 

Pastor Doug and Deb Jones with Larry and Gloria

 

Then.... then the frosting on the cake was the delicious meal and birthday pies Debbie made to celebrate Larry and Pastor Doug's Birthday who share the same birthday... June 28th. 

 

 

And then there was more cake! Larry was blessed with ice cream cake with our friends Bob and Sharon Conklin. He loves loves dairy queen ice cream cakes!

 

 

 

To wrap up the flurry of ministry and fun, last Tuesday we raced to the Minneapolis airport to head back to Nashville. After the intense security check, I proceeded to the x-Ray machine and I was halted by a stern scolding... "And just tell me why YOU didn't take your shoes OFF?" I smiled..... "I am 75 years old!" He deflated and acknowledged with an "OK." That's a perk of being 75.... I don't have to take off my shoes! They strip about everything else off or out of carry-on bags, guess after unloading all that, I am too old to be a threat! Yea!

 

So now here we are, back in Nashville in our home office...... have a great month!

 

 

Gloria

 

 

P.S. We fly back to Minneapolis on July 24 for a service in Wilmot, SD on Sunday, July 28th in the City Park. Then we'll be in Sioux Falls, SD on Sunday, August 4th for the morning service at Calvary Assembly of God. We'd love to see you! 

 


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Peach Pie

1 pie crust

1 c. sugar

½ c. flour

¼ c. butter –softened

4-6 peaches, sliced

¾-1 c. cream

 

Mix the sugar, flour and butter together until crumbly. Place ½ of this in the crust. Slice the peaches over the crumb mixture in the crust. Add the remaining crumb mixture over the peaches. Pour the cream over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

 

 


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Greetings from Sisseton, South Dakota!

 

It's good to be back here after being gone since last mid-September. It's been great to see family, friends, and our staff at the office.

 

 

We drove from Nashville to Sisseton, unloaded and reloaded – it's strange feeling "homeless" without a home or motorhome while we are here. It's like the feeling of being somewhere, but not quite sure where.

 

 

One thing is for sure - no matter where we are, Larry reminds me that he hasn't lost his sense of humor! 

 

 

 

After our quick stop in Sisseton, we were off to Rapid City!

 

 

We had an incredible time of ministry at Journey Church with Pastor James Moore and his congregation. His zeal and passion for the lost is inspiring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Lundstrom's were a blessing to Journey Church in so many ways. Their passion for souls to be saved was a great encouragement to us, their music ministry was excellent and their preaching was powerful and full of truth. We are grateful for Larry and Gloria!"


Pastor James Moore
Lead Pastor
Journey Church, Rapid City, SD

 

 

Pastor James & Melissa Moore and Larry & Gloria

 

 

 

Altar call in Rapid City, SD

 

 

The following Wednesday night we were on the prairie lands of South Dakota on our way to Faith, SD… beautiful green rolling hills, although you wouldn't want to get lost there in the winter. Ha!

 

We were greeted by a great group of farmers and ranchers for the rally at the Faith Bethel Lutheran Church.  It was wonderful to see people come together and rededicate their lives and make first time commitments. Needless to say, Larry is so thrilled to be back preaching.

 

 

 

Altar Call in Faith, SD

 

 

We'll be in Sisseton for our next service and then off to Minnesota. We're asking for continued prayers for safety and health while on the road. God bless you until we chat again!

 

Gloria

 

 

P.S. We love being able to see our friends and partners while we are traveling! Bernie and Sharon Moser have been with us on Fun & Fellowship Tours and have attended many of our rallies over the years. Always a joy to be with them!

 

 


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Southern Lemon Cream Pie

1 -9 inch pie crust, baked

1 can sweetened condensed milk

½ c. lemon juice

3 egg yolks

 

Mix eggs, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You can top it with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

 

 

(Perfect after-dinner compliment to that yummy fried chicken! Ha!)

 

 


 

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On the road, again! Happy Father's Day!

Greetings from the road! 

 

 

We are in the middle of a Midwest Tour and feel very blessed to be ministering on the road this month - even back in South Dakota.

 

It's hard to believe that Father's Day is this coming weekend, but the holidays just seem to come faster and faster these days. We appreciate all of the Father's in our lives and the blessed role they have in our families, cities and nation.

 

Here is Larry's article from our newsletter this month - enjoy!

 

 

In the area where I grew up, most of the fathers I knew had grown up in families struggling to make it. This month I turn 76 years old. I feel very privileged that I was able to spend my childhood years being raised on a farm, one mile outside of Peever, South Dakota, with a population of 208 if everyone was home!  The amenities on our farm were not that great and left much to be desired, especially to today's standards. Our plumbing consisted of an outdoor bathroom with a path to a three holer. We didn't have a water tower, but we had a windmill. Yes, we had running water… you would have to run to get it. And our garbage disposal entailed the pigs and chickens awaiting the slop pail every day.  We had batteries that provided power for the radio. We didn't have electricity and used oil lamps with wicks that needed to be trimmed often for light. We had chores that needed to be completed every day, and we always spent most of the day outside. 

 

Why have I shared this? I shared this because it was my experience living on the farm that also built in me a work ethic. I remember hearing how businesses in the big cities would go and find farm boys to work for them because they came with a built in work ethic.  As the years went by, we learned to enjoy work as it put "grit" inside you.  One of the other things that I remember from that time period was that many families were weak on emotional expressions.

 

One funny joke that illustrates this is one day a mom was feeling a lack of appreciation. She said, "Henry do you love me?" Henry was driving and seemingly ignored her. She persisted again, "Henry, do you love me?" Henry's expression was solemn as his hands gripped the steering wheel tighter with no response.  One last time mom said, "Henry, do you still love me?" Henry finally looked at her and said,

"I told you 40 years ago, I loved you and if anything changes I'll let you know." 

 

While I am super thankful for the work ethic that I was raised with as our family worked hard and long, the trouble we experienced was that our communications suffered. I love, however, that the Bible certainly shows how these two can be joined and actually instructs us that this is a way to teach our children to serve the Lord as Deuteronomy 6:6-9 states,

 

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

 

Even more than that however—more than a good work ethic, more than tender words, more than providing needs and wants for our children, the greatest thing that we can pass down to our children is what Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."  Why??? It is simply stated in Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul."

 

We can give our children so much these days…much more materially than my father could give me. We can even give our children a good work ethic, an excellent self-worth and opportunities far beyond what we could ever imagine, but ALL OF THAT is for naught, if we don't keep the main thing…the first thing…knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, saving them from eternal torment and separation. I pray that as we live in these last days, we are all being challenged as our families are under attack, many ripped apart for a number of reasons that we don't want any left behind knowing Christ has shed His blood for each and every family member. The greatest mission I have as a father is to do all I can to make sure my family is in heaven with me when that day comes.

 

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4

 

 

 

May this weekend be full of joy and memories, but also a wonderful chance to establish a culture of Truth in your families! Be blessed!

 

Gloria

 


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Chef's Salad Dressing

1 cup Wesson oil

1 cup ketchup

1 tsp. paprika

1/4 cup malt vinegar (or 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar)

1 tsp. salt

4 T. grated onion

1 T. lemon juice

 

Place ingredients in a jar and shake well.

 


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Happy Mother's Day! Remembering Mom...

Hello from Nashville where it is a toasty 86 degrees here today!  Everything is so colorful: the lawns, the flowers, the trees!  You just can't help but have an extra spring to your step and a smile on your face!

 

With Mother's day coming up, we know it is a busy week for everyone, but we wanted to say "hi" and to share a recent newsletter article with you of some favorite things my mom taught me.  We are thankful that after many Mother's Days on the road (and people being so sweet and kind to invite us into their lives on this special holiday), it is truly a treat to be able to be with our kids this year.  These moments are precious and we cherish each and every one!

 

Happy Mother's Day and please make sure to give some extra love to your Mom if you are able!

 

What My Mother Taught Me

 

I can't think of Mother's Day without, of course, thinking of my mother's (Julie Brooks) life-long impact and wisdom that she poured into my life. I was privileged to have her 72 years here on this earth, and she has now been in heaven for three years! What a gift! I miss her every day!

 

 

Nearly daily, when I am in the midst of making decisions, out of my memory comes an impacting teaching moment that was shared with me by her. My mom truly lived out Deuteronomy 6:6-7 each and every day, "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

 

 

I could certainly write a book recounting them all, but I only have a little space so I decided for the fun of it, I would get a start and share the first few that come to mind. Here we go!

 

• Mom taught me to always put God first in my life.

• Mom taught me to always put my husband after the Lord and that the children should surround us, never come in between us.

• Mom taught me to then place the children first before anyone else outside the family; their needs were number one. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5

 

• Mom told me to take care of myself and my body by exercising and watching what I eat. I can't tell you how many diets we went on together. HA!

• Mom taught me to laugh even though sometimes the laughter maybe came at the wrong time! Laughter was health to the body and the mind. "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

• Mom taught me to save money even if it's just a little bit because over time, it would add up. It would be there on the day I would need it. Wow! That has proven to be true!

• Mom told me to work hard and whatever I do, do it well. With 10 brothers, there was definitely opportunity to put this principle into practice for the future! "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." Colossians 3:23

 

• Mom taught me by her example to read my Bible every day, as well as, to be on my knees praying before bed every night as that is a place where God would meet me and my needs.

• Mom taught me to please God first, as His opinion is really the only one that matters. Live my life so that Christ will be glorified. Don't worry about what others think, please God! "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." 2 Corinthians 5:9

• Mom taught me by her living example to honor those older than me and those who are placed in authority over me. Appreciate them, give respect, share gratitude whenever you are able to.

• Mom instilled in me the importance of making prayer the hub of my life, and what it means to make my requests known to the Lord and to "expect a good report!" "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" Philippians 4:6

• Mom taught me to live life…have fun…fully enjoy each day! "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24

• Mom taught me how important it is to be a confidant to those who need a confidant!

• Mom taught me don't gossip! Be so close-lipped that a parrot living in your house would have nothing to repeat. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

• Mom certainly instructed me on how to do laundry. Among other important details, be sure to check all pockets before throwing it in the machine in case of Kleenex, important papers or money!

• Mom taught me to protect my family and to not speak bad of my father or siblings to anyone. (With ten rambunctious brothers, that was hard!) "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12

 

• Mom instilled in me that before cooking and baking, pray over it. It worked for her as everything she made was delicious!

• Mom encouraged me when I was discouraged and would whine, "Missy…you'll make it!!!! Why???" She then emphasized, "Because you have to!" In other words, you have no choice! Mom told me and reminded me often, "Missy, live your life so pure, Godly and clean that if someone says something bad about you, they won't believe the accusations."

• Mom told me and reminded me, "When you get married and have children and they do something dumb that embarrasses or irritates you, remember you were once a 'calf' yourself."

 

 

Brooks Family Reunion - Celebrating Mom's Birthday

 

Thank you, Mom, for the numerous life lessons you taught me even when you didn't know you were teaching! With every year that passes, I am continually reminded of these principles that were taught through word and deed while growing up at home. They left a great impact on my life, marriage and family!

 

Gloria

 


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Almond Crispies

1 (1 1/2 lb.) pkg. almond bark

3/4 c. peanut butter

5 1/2 oz. Spanish peanuts (opt.)

4 1/2 c. Rice Krispies

 

Melt almond bark; stir in peanut butter, peanuts, and then add Rice Krispies. Drop on waxed paper.

 


 

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Spring time...prayer time...and garage sale time!

 

It's a gorgeous 85 degrees here today in Nashville! 

 

The trees have exploded with leaves and everything that can bloom or leaf is in full blossom. 

 

 

All the buds have now opened to reveal the vibrant colors of God's rainbow! 

 

 

To add to the sensory delight, the birds are chirping and singing their songs.  It all is making my day cheery and great. 

 

 

 

 

All the above sets the mode and mood for Larry and I's 7 AM prayer time in our prayer room.  We have family photos on the wall that we look at and personally pray for each one.  As we are sure you are aware, families are under attack now more than ever.  They need our constant prayers for all they face and go through. 

 

 

After our time of prayer for our family, we begin praying for extended family, partners and friends.  Our  list grows longer each day as we receive calls, texts and emails that share prayer requests.  These range from those who are walking through grief as they have lost a mate, parent or child to those who are sinking in dire depression even to the point of being suicidal to those battling health issues that include  cancer, heart issues, surgeries and those who are struggling with broken marriages and relationships.  There are dozens of needs we pray for each day.  What a privilege it is to take it all to the Lord in prayer and then to rejoice as the testimonies come in of answers to prayer!

 

 

On the lighter side, last Saturday morning I told Larry, "I want and need to just get out, do something fun and give my brain a rest."  Then I suggested, "Let's go to some garage sales. (Like I need more stuff to find a place for)." I hadn't been to a garage sale in over a year so I was excited.  Larry grinned and agreed and off we went on our adventure for the day as we scoped down garage sale signs posted on the street corners.  Oh yes, in preparation, I took an envelope with 15 one dollar bills in order to limit the items that would be returning home with me! 

 

After looking at 3-4 sales, we pulled up to a sale that was overflowing with stuff (or treasures depending on who is looking).  To my amazement and unbelief, there were three small flat headstones for sale!  I noticed that all three had the last name "Jones" and also had birth/death dates listed but I didn't pay close attention to them.  Just then, a scruffy looking man who apparently was an avid garage saler reached down, picked one up and struggled to haul it to his vehicle.  The homeowner picked up the second one and followed behind carrying it to the car. 

 

When the homeowner came back to the driveway, he saw me and asked if he could help me.  I chuckled, "Wow...I thought I had seen everything at a garage sale, but this is the first time that I've seen someone selling used headstones!"  He quickly corrected me, "Oh, these are not just any headstones...these belonged to the nationally known country singer, George Jones.  These belonged to his three dogs.  I thought they would be worth money so I purchased them and now I am moving them on."  I gulped, "Okay."  He struggled as he picked up the third one and then proceeded to take it to the man's trunk.  I smiled at the seller and said, "Rest in peace."  He laughed because he probably thought he made a good deal.  Each to their own!

 

Oh by the way, I spent my 15 dollar bills!  I got a brand new bath rug for $2, three new picture frames for $1.50, new shelving for $5, two new cast iron skillets for $4 and a new tablecloth for $2.  Yay!  It was fun, but I better not get into the habit of this unless I want to hold my own garage sales!  HA!

 

I hope and pray you are doing well---blessed and a blessing to others.  May God protect and provide for you.   May you feel His presence in every moment of every day!

 

 

Gloria

 


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Peach Cream Pie

1/3 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

pinch salt

1/2 pt. whipping cream

1 c. (very thin slices) peaches

1 unbaked pie shell

 

Blend all ingredients exept peaches. Set aside. Place peaches into the pie shell. Pour cream mixture over and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Make sure it has thickened. Enjoy!

 


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Fifty years ordination celebration, blizzards and Easter!

Hello! What a whirlwind week Larry and I have had. We boarded a flight from Nashville to Rapid City, South Dakota on April 5th and it was sunshine, green grass and flowers when we left.

 

It was also beautiful in Rapid City where we were welcomed by 50 degree weather and sunshine for TWO DAYS. 

 

Our reason for going to Rapid City was that Larry was recognized and honored for 50 years of ordination with the Assemblies of God at Rapid City First Assembly of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Steven Schaible (District Superintendent of South Dakota A/G) prayed the blessing over him, and then us together. It's mind-blowing to know that we were there 50 years ago for Larry's ordination and never even dreamt we'd be back 50 years later to the same place – but there we were. What a special joy and privilege to be called to reach the Lost. It's truly humbling.

 

 

After the celebration that evening on the 9th, the dreaded blizzard, slipped in and dumped nearly 20 inches of snow, plus wind, ice and temps down to just above zero. The interstate was closed and our original flight was cancelled so we rescheduled for Friday. That was cancelled and we tried to re-book again and due to the still raging blizzard, no flights were going in or out. Then they hit us with the news that the first flight out of Rapid City would be on Sunday due to the back up of hundreds of flights that were cancelled coming in and out. We were just told "no seats available going anywhere until Sunday." Ugh. So, we found a reasonable hotel, set up our office and decided we were going to rest and work. It worked out good!

 

Thank God, we flew back into Nashville yesterday and are happily safe back home again. We call our home our "happy place".

 

 

As Good Friday and Easter are approaching, I'm reminded of our newsletter article:

 

 

I am just sitting here thinking back…way back…to the mid 70s when Larry and I hosted the first of our 18 tours to Israel. At that time, Israel still was somewhat primitive and conventional, but it has now been modernized with towering hotels, fancy restaurants, superhighways, exclusive gift shops and state of the art technology. What a change!

 

I remember our first trip walking through the Old City. It was like going back 2,000 years to the ancient times of the Bible. All of the Bible stories that we read as children came alive as we visited Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee just to name a few of the destinations. What an experience! Day by day, each place we visited, the Bible came alive, the songs we grew up singing came alive, my faith came alive.

 

For me the most captivating experience was visiting the presumed Garden Tomb where Jesus was thought to have been buried. I will never forget walking through that little doorway, looking to the right to peer into the cold dark tomb and seeing it empty. I was literally moved to tears.

 

It was again, another confirmation, "He is not here. He has risen." Seeing it with my very own eyes, the realization hit me again. The tomb was empty!

 

This very fact brought hope, exciting hope, to all believers that Jesus left, He rose from the dead, but more thrilling is the knowledge that He is coming back to take us home to be with Him. The empty tomb brought triumph! The empty tomb meant no longer does the stench or sting of death dominate, but rather promises life and hope beyond these days in which we live. It was almost like someone had put a note on the tomb that read, "I'll be back soon."

 

My friend, I cannot fully put into words what seeing the tomb empty secured in my soul, but after seeing it, I felt the weight of the promise and the genuine excitement that He is coming back for those who love Him, repent of their sins, and receive Him into his/her life. We then receive the greatest gift of spending all eternity with Him. 

 

Through the years, I have talked to many people who have had near death experiences. I love to hear the stories that tell what happened before their earthly departure. My oldest brother, Jake, was dying of cancer and we were able to be at the hospital the last few days of his life. During these times, his wife requested that we sing the old hymns to him as he loved the old happy Gospel songs that he remembered as a young man. Jake was drifting in and out of consciousness. I prayed that before he died, he would hear the angels singing and inviting him home. Nearing death, we were standing by his bed. I was rubbing his shoulders and forehead as he lay there unresponsive when all of a sudden, he jolted, opened his eyes bright, turned his head towards me and with a look of awe in his eyes plainly said, "Do you hear it? Do you hear it?" I leaned down to him and asked him, "What do you hear, Jake?" He smiled and answered, "Music…heavenly music…can you hear it?" He then closed his eyes in peace. He didn't pass away for another day or two but God had answered my prayer.

 

A few days ago, I was visiting with a woman that I had met at a clinic. Our conversation led us to the subject of our mothers and how blessed we were to have them in our lives for so long with my mom living to be over 100 and her mom living to 89 years old. She then shared with me that her mom was a Christian and had been legally and completely blind for many years; consequently, she never had the privilege of seeing the faces of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, but she would take her hands and gently feel their faces. The lady continued with an incredible story, "Six hours before my mom died, God gave her sight. She was able to see every grandchild and greatgrandchild for the first time. The room exploded with joy!" She further explained, "After my mom saw everyone, greeted them and hugged them, she smiled, closed her eyes and went home to heaven." Tearfully, her daughter finished, "Those were the most miraculous six hours I have ever experienced."

 

Just talking about this makes me homesick for heaven. This is the true meaning of Easter and the resurrection… HOPE BEYOND THE GRAVE! We, too, can have that hope if we receive Him as our Lord and Savior. What an incredible, indescribable, inexpressible gift!

 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:3-6

 

 

Gloria

 


RECIPE

 

Graham Cracker Cookies

2 cups sugar

2 squares chocolate

1 cup cream

3 cups crushed graham crackers

22 marshmallows

Nuts (optional)

 

Boil sugar, chocolate and cream  to soft ball stage and cool 1 minute. Add graham crackers, marshmallows and a few nuts. Mix and spoon out on wax paper.

 


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Snowy update and on the road memories...

March has arrived! Our home office in Sisseton, SD has been bombarded with nearly 70" of snow this winter season. Just the other day, they were experiencing -41 degree wind chill. 

 

Here in Tennessee, we are experiencing flooding. The devastation is unbelievable and recently, tornadoes have hit the South.

 

Our hearts are heavy for those that are facing hardship. Our home, as well as the homes of our children are located in higher areas for which we are grateful.

 

 

 

 

One of the children of one of our office staff - enjoying the almost 70" of snow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truly, in these days of crisis and chaos, it is so important to keep our focus on all we have to be thankful for an on the One to whom we give thanks!

 

 

My article in our March newsletter echoes this same sentiment:

 

 

Throughout the years and many miles travelled over the roadways, I've been asked how I ventured into writing. Well, here it goes and only one word is required to answer this question completely— OBEDIENCE!

 

Back in 1976, God began nudging me to write. You have to understand, I didn't care to write, even one bit, so I didn't want that idea to gain any traction and nestle in. I tried with great passion to convince God that I'm not a writer nor do I enjoy it nor do I want to!

 

Let me go back a little further to the beginning. It was February/ March of 1976 that God began to put pressure on me, "I want you to write." As you can tell, there were a couple of years of me dragging my heels. It is now 1978, and we were in Colorado taping a Lundstrom TV Christmas Special. The exhaustion, fatigue, wear and tear were taking their toll, as for several days, we were up at 5 AM or earlier and working until midnight in frigid subzero temperatures. LaShawn and LaDawn were nine and five at that time; I had to get them up, dress them in their TV clothes, style their hair and attempt to keep them upbeat throughout the grueling hours of taping.

 

The most challenging part though was at the same time caring for our son, Donovan,

who was 11 months at the time, and he began to have a series of seizures. The pressure of the road progressed and the concern for our son along with everything else left me distressed and fearful of the "what if 's." I would sit by his crib all night to make sure he was still breathing and okay. One night a seizure became so violent, the hospital in Colorado said we needed to fly him to Denver ASAP. Due to a horrible blizzard in the mountains, commercial flights were not going and our ministry plane wouldn't be able to navigate either. Talk about hitting the throne room in prayer!

 

Praise the Lord—God brought him out of it again for a couple of days. In the midst of this, during my nightly vigil watching over Donovan, in the quiet, I heard a clear voice say, "I want you to write." I snapped, "You want me to write? I can barely breathe to survive all of this and now you say…write? No! You have the wrong person! I don't write and I don't want to write…end of conversation!"

 

Fast forward a couple of days, and we were now taping a segment in the Durango, Colorado, mountains. Waiting in between scenes, I found what I thought was a safe refuge on the balcony of a ski chalet. I wanted quiet. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to catch my breath. While I sat there alone, savoring the majestic scenes of the snowcapped mountains with people skiing peppered against the brilliant white enjoying my hallowed space, I heard a voice so loud and clear commanding, "I want you to write." I literally turned to see who had invaded my privacy and who would say such a thing. There was no one around me within 200 feet. A bit spooked and disturbed and even a bit angry, I audibly lashed out, "God, stop it. No, I can't and I won't!" His voice thundered back, "Gloria, obedience is what I want."

 

I began to weep begging God… "No…no…no." Then I tried to convince Him, "God, you want me to write? At this point, I have nothing good to write about." Again the response, "Obedience is what I command." By this time, I was assured it was truly God getting my attention. I broke, "All I have to write about at this time is pain and disappointments and survival. That is definitely not glorifying You!" Then the boomerang, "Gloria, share your struggles. Be honest and open. More people are suffering than rejoicing. Share how I am with you in the midst of your struggles and how I have brought you through one by one."

 

Those words were quite a load to assimilate and swallow. A couple of nights later, I wrote my first article for the "Message for America" Lundstrom magazine. I wrote it with fear and trembling, certain it would be rejected by people.

 

To my shock and utter surprise, letters began to pour in with the almost verbatim message, "Gloria, we thought you were living a storybook life being on TV with all the glitz and glamour, but when you shared your struggles and how God brought you through, you gave me HOPE to keep going."

 

The rest is history!

 

No, I have not had the made-for-a-movie storybook life, but I have had God's very best for me. We love God, family and ministry. I stand firm that God has been faithful, He is faithful and I know He will remain faithful! It is always my desire to be a HOPE-GIVER in a world so desperate for HOPE!

 

"The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:11, NKJV

 

Gloria


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Sour Cream Swiss Steak

2 lb. round steak

1 medium onion

1 can mushrooms

½ cup shredded cheese

½ cup sour cream

 

Flour and season meat to brown it. Put meat in casserole; top with onion slices and mushrooms. Make gravy in fry pan. Add cheese and cream. Pour over meat. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

 


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New Year, New Victories! A trip down memory lane for Valentine's Day...

Hello from Nashville!  By the looks of the weather back in South Dakota, I am so glad we are here at this time.  Our hearts go out to those back in the Midwest that have been dealing with the snow, winds and dangerous subzero temperatures. We've had a good start to 2019 here and are thankful to be close to our children and able to prioritize our health check-ups for now. But you know Larry, always ready and excited to share the Good News with anyone, anywhere!

 

It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is almost here.  Larry brought me flowers yesterday.  He told me that he was gave them to me early so he wouldn't forget.  I told him he could bring them every week of the year as far as I'm concerned!

 

Reflecting back…I wanted to send our latest article!

 

This is Marriage?

 

Of course, everyone has the expectation, "Ours will be the perfect marriage." I'm no exception—I knew mine would be, too. I started talking, dreaming and scheming about marriage from the time I was five years old, playing with bride and groom paper dolls. As a teenager, every time I looked through bridal magazines or attended a wedding, I pictured myself in a beautiful wedding gown, walking down the aisle. I could see myself repeating the vows, being kissed by the groom, throwing my bouquet, opening gifts and being swept away in a decorated car into the sunset to live happily forever after in a storybook land. My dreams were intricate with every detail filled in, but somehow my reality didn't quite go along with my dreams. Let me reminisce a little.

 

Larry and I were married on October 16, 1965, in Sisseton, South Dakota. It was a beautiful autumn day. Everything about my wedding day was going as planned as I had spent a lot of time and energy carefully dotting the "I's" and crossing the "T's". I was determined I wasn't going to run around on my wedding day like a chicken with its head cut off. My wedding day was perfect—calm, smooth, and organized just as I had always imagined. That is…until one hour before the wedding. I was at home, getting ready to go to the church, when I heard my father bellow, "I'm NOT going to wear this clown suit anywhere!"

 

He was serious. "But, Dad," I protested, "you have to wear that tuxedo. Everybody is supposed to match."

 

 "I'm NOT wearing this tux, and that's that!" he thundered back. Practically in tears, I ran upstairs to plead with him to wear it. But when I saw him, I began to laugh. The tuxedo rental company had mismatched the jacket and slacks. The slacks were 4-5 sizes too big, and he looked like a clown. Thankfully, Dad had just purchased a handsome black suit, and I agreed that it would look much better than the tux. Catastrophe avoided: off to the church we went.

 

Five hundred fifty guests were seated in the big, beautiful church. The music and ceremony went just as planned. Larry's brother, Lowell, presented a touching marriage sermon. Larry and I sang a song to each other, exchanged rings, and were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Larry Lundstrom. It was beautiful! After the wedding reception and gift opening, we slipped out and headed off to North Dakota for our honeymoon.

 

 

 

But it seemed that the minute we got into the car, my dream began to unravel little by little. On the road, a car of drunken men noticed the decorations on our car and attempted to sideswipe us. By the grace of God, we weren't killed. The following morning, Larry woke up, sat on the edge of the bed and began to sneeze and blow his nose… for nearly three hours. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and said, "Good grief, Larry, you're probably allergic to me!" (Thankfully it was just pollen and not me!)

 

Five days after we were married, Larry and I moved into a back room of an old Flexible bus. After living in that old beater, with no air conditioning or bathroom, we learned we were pretty "flexible" to survive in it! There we were, newlyweds, living in an old bus with Lowell and Connie Lundstrom and their two children, Londa and Lisa. Privacy was at a minimum—we had curtains for doors.

 

After six days on the road, the bus engine blew up, forcing us to move into an old, borrowed car. The back right door was bashed in and a broken window had been temporarily repaired with cardboard and plastic. The snow and cold blew in through the door and window. There we were, the six of us plus clothes, guitars, diaper bags and bottles, all packed into an old car and pulling a small instrument trailer. We continued on to our tour in Kansas with limited finances and all of us piling into a motel room. As we crawled into bed, the past two weeks of our "perfect" marriage flashed in front of my mind. Then I thought of a conversation that Mom and I had before the wedding. Mom told me seriously, "Missy, you know you'll be moving into a new lifestyle. You'll be giving up your single life where you make your own decisions and will begin making decisions together with your husband. You'll be moving into a bus with four others with little or no privacy. Remember, with that come challenges and different personalities. Everyone will have days of discouragement and things will go wrong. Let me give you some good advice: Think before you talk and learn to keep your mouth shut."

 

Almost 20 years later, during a visit with my mother, I said to her, "Mother, you never told me how many 'one of those days' I'd have!" She laughed. "Well, Missy, that's just part of life. You've made it this far, and you'll continue to make it." If there has ever been a time in our lives—yours as well—that we need to hear the words, "You can make it," it's now. All of us need the confidence of God's help in our marriages, homes, jobs and relationships.

 

Yes, now, after 53 ½ years of marriage, I can say that my marriage definitely did not look like my dreams. But, I wouldn't change a thing! What I have learned about my relationship with God through my marriage has been worth every hardship. What I have learned about Larry and my children, has been worth every stretching and challenging moment. What I have learned about me…I am not the same person I was when I got married those many years ago…has been worth every opportunity for growth. My reality (though not perfect) has become much better than my dreams ever were because I stuck with it, grew through it and am thankful for every day I have to share with my man.

 

 

 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." Hebrews 10: 35-26

 

YOU CAN MAKE IT AND IT'S WORTH IT!

 

Gloria


REFLECTION

 

 


RECIPE

 

Crazy Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2  1/2 tsp. soda

4 T. cocoa

3/4 cup oil

2 T. vinegar

2 cups cold water

2 tsp. vanilla

 

Mix flour, sugar, soda, salt and cocoa together right in the pan. Add oil, vinegar, water and vanilla; mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in a 9x13 pan.

 


 

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Christmas memories from the past and present!

Merry Christmas from Tennessee!

I find it almost humorous to think back to when our children were little, our daughters, LaShawn and LaDawn would lay on the floor by our old record player and their very favorite song was "Tennessee Christmas."  In fact, it was so special that when we would come home in JULY, with near 100 degree temps, they would still lay down on the floor by the player and put on "Tennessee Christmas." Who would've thought… all these years later that we are living here and truly experiencing a real Tennessee Christmas! We are so thrilled to be back here with the kids after so many years apart on the road. What a delight when they call with a "Hey mom, stopping over for a cup of coffee." or "Dad, let's watch a football game together." That truly is music to our ears.

Here are a few more Christmas family memories and photos from our newsletter!

 

The Gift of Family

In your wildest dreams, you couldn't imagine what Christmas was like growing up in a family with five older and five younger brothers, my dad, mom and my favorite dog Tippy. Our home was a cross between Grand Central Station and the San Diego Zoo! The anticipation, excitement and noise would make a space shuttle blasting off sound like a nursery full of sleeping babies in comparison.

 

We didn't have much monetarily, but we always had a way of making Christmas an unforgettable event. Treats, goodies, presents and of course our own homemade Christmas program made it an "evening to remember!" The big old house reverberated with fun and laughter. My brothers' toys definitely got their test of durability challenged by Christmas morning. I think it was my five younger brothers that ultimately prompted "Tonka" to invent what was then known as "indestructible" toys and trucks. The one good thing about being the only girl in the family was that none of my brothers ever fought to play with my doll and dishes!

Years passed and before long, Christmas began to change. In 1965, Larry and I were newlyweds and with over 320 rallies a year as we toured with the Lundstroms, we were more than happy to just even get back home for a week to spend with our parents and families on the Lundstrom farm.

L to R: Lowell & Connie, Larry & Gloria, Leon & Ronda

Christmas really changed when our children were born. We had our own home, and we went all out for Christmas. Oh yes, it was a huge even as we will it with our own favorite traditions! One thing I know, I was never accused of being the "Grinch who stole Christmas." I love Christmas! I was always teased about decorating everything in the house but the bathroom commode.

Larry & Gloria with young LaDawn, LaShawn and Donovan

Donovan at Christmastime

Christmas changed again when the children grew up and left the nest. It was an all-out, action packed party when they arrived home for a couple of days. We'd fill it with games, sibling stories, loads of junk food and laughter.

And once again, we experience our newest change as we now live in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. We are within 30-40 miles from our three children. How great it is to have them pop over to the house anytime. The changes I anticipate are we will decorate a lot less, we will concentrate on things that really matter, we will practice simplicity (and even us paper plates), and we will appreciate that we are all together! But, we know that…yes, there will still be lots of sibling stories, fun and laughter. Now they definitely entertain us! Most of all, this year, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the true meaning of John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He IS our reason to celebrate.

May you have a blessed Christmas knowing that one night, when Jesus was born, our lives changed for all eternity.

 

Gloria


REFLECTION

 


RECIPE

 

Fern's Fluffy Angel Dessert

¼ cup lemon juice

1 pint cream, whipped

1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

1 can cherry pie filling

1 angel food cake

 

Add lemon juice and milk to whipped cream. Mix well. Tear angel food cake into pieces. Place ¼ of cake in bottom of trifle bowl. Then ¼ cream mixture. Repeat these layers. Spoon cherry pie filling (1/2 can) after the 2nd layer. Repeat layers. Top with the other half can of cherry pie filling.

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Happy Thanksgiving! We pray this time set aside to remember the bountiful graciousness of our Heavenly Father is filled with cherished moments with those you love and hold dear.

THANKSGIVING:  Thanks & (For) Giving

I recently came across this quote and it really challenged me as we enter into this  season.   "Thanksgiving has two parts: gratitude and generosity. Gratitude for the blessings of God and generosity for others—that is the way it was on the first Thanksgiving Day.  Thanksgiving is a holy day as well when properly celebrated. Thanks…and giving. Thanks to God…giving to others."


I loved the way Thanksgiving was explained as two-fold. Our first responsibility is to stop and recognize the goodness of our God. I am not sure if it is as the years go by, that I am learning more or if God is just teaching me more, but I am learning to stop and give thanks.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 states, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." It is a command in scripture and I believe it is vitally important because when we truly choose to stop and really see all the blessings that surround us, our hearts cannot help but overflow with gratitude.  


I think in the crazy pace of society, we can rush here and rush there easily taking for granted the abundance the Lord has given us. When we stop being thankful, we can easily start comparing, complaining and concentrating on what we don't have. I encourage you to take just 3 minutes a day to STOP and recognize three blessings from the Lord. Get a thankful notebook and begin to write them down each day. You will be surprised at how as you STOP, you will begin to SEE more than you ever did before!


The next part of the statement is focused on giving to others. We know that generosity is certainly a blessing to many, and we love being able to give to help those that are in need. We often think of this in material matters, but this Thanksgiving, I would like to challenge you that
there is a gift that only you can give which can have greater ramifications
than food or clothing…it is the gift of forgiveness.  


We know that the holidays can be so very painful as families gather together. I think of an article I once wrote that addressed how we can be walking wounded. It recalls a time when I was determined to get a potato fork into the ground even though it was frozen. After moments of struggling, I decided to give it my hardest shove. A split second later, my foot slipped and the fork buried into my foot. What resulted next was a trip to the hospital, several stitches and a very large bandage on
my foot. I was instructed to wear the bandage for a month. When it was time for the bandage to be removed, I found I was reluctant because it felt safe and secure, but the doctor informed me that in order for the wound to fully heal, it needed to be exposed to the air. Some of us are like that wound, it is covered up because it feels safe, but deep down we know the wound is still there and if it would get pricked, we respond out of pain and memories. It is keeping us from fully living life.


So, what exactly is the gift of forgiveness? The dictionary explains it like this, "Forgiveness is the giving up of resentment or claim to requital on account of an offense. Forgiveness is conditioned on repentance and the willingness to make reparation or atonement.  The effect of forgiveness is the restoration of both parties to the former state of relationship." I love this quote that explains it so eloquently, "To forgive is costly. To forgive is to carry one's own wrath on the sin of another. The guilty one is released, the offended one frees him, by bearing his own indignation and resolving it in love. God forgives by carrying His own wrath on the sin we've expressed against Him. He absorbs our guilt and makes us free. Forgiveness goes through sin to freedom."


As I was writing my book "Free At Last," I felt God say, "Gloria tell people to take the bandage off their wounds. Let Me breathe the power of healing into their lives. Let Me cleanse the wound. Then it will heal." And you may ask, "Why should I? I've been so hurt. It is so unfair."  Ultimately there was never a person more deeply wounded by cutting remarks, false accusations or rejection than Jesus Christ. Christ suffered for us as an example that we should follow in His steps. Man owed a debt he could not repay, so God paid a debt He did not owe. Jesus Christ substituted Himself for us to pay the cost of forgiving. Because we have been given such a great gift of forgiveness, we, too, then can share this same gift with others.  


As you sit around the Thanksgiving table, it is my prayer that you will most certainly give "Thanks to God", but also you will "give to others" the priceless gift of forgiveness releasing hope, healing and restoration into your family.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Gloria


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