The first several years that Our Savior Lutheran Church existed were not easy. We struggled to find our identity, we struggled financially, and we struggled with difficult surroundings as we worshipped in a make-shift worship space.
One thing that helped us hold our focus on Jesus and his love for us was the way, even from the earliest days of our life together, we began reaching out to others, especially those in need. In 1994 one member of the Body of Christ in this place had an idea. She wanted to help children in our community who wouldn’t have new clothes to start the school year. She contacted the social service person in town and asked how we could help. Out of that conversation, out of the prayers of God’s people, out of the generosity of many, many individuals, “New Beginnings” was born.
The first year seven children received a new jacket, pants, shirt, underwear, socks, and a gift certificate for shoes. We purposely arranged the program so that we never know who receives the clothes. The social service department in town gives us a code for each family so that strict confidentiality can be maintained.
The next year 16 children received new clothes. We realized this program was a blessing and so we shared the idea with the other congregations in town. It caught on. The third year 35 children received three shirts, two pair of pants, socks, underwear, a fall jacket, and a gift certificate for shoes.
The next year we took the program to an adjacent town and their social service department and their congregations. It caught on!