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The pastor said it correctly, when he remarked that there was something missing from our family gathering this weekend.  Of course, it was my Uncle Jerry – he who was always looked for to bring levity and cheer to all our family events.  In his absence, the sure hope of the gospel was on display.  What a great plan!  Who wouldn’t want a Savior like Jesus – so beautiful, so kind and patient, so sacrificing to condescend to make a way for us.  A way that turns such sorrowful days into days of rejoicing and great hope – confident hope for the day we will see this all-lovely Jesus who will surely wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, as the former things pass away.
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Gerald (Jerry) LeClerc, 79, of Devils Lake, ND was called home by his Heavenly Father on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at Aneta Parkview Health Center, Aneta, ND.

Gerald Alexander LeClerc was born Nov 18, 1937 in Grafton, ND, the fourth of eight children blessed to Alex and Mae (Schumacher) LeClerc. The family farmed near Grafton and Devils Lake until purchasing a farm near Drayton in 1947. Jerry’s love of the land and lifelong commitment to agriculture and rural communities, grew out of his early experiences on the family farm.

Jerry graduated Devils Lake High School in 1955. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from NDSU, he returned to the family farm. Following the sudden death of his father in 1964, Jerry farmed on his own until 1968 when he accepted a position with NDSU Extension as Assistant County Agent, Pembina County. In 1970 he was hired interim County Agent, Towner County. In March of 1971 Jerry landed the County Agent position in Steele County, which he held for 25 years until his retirement in 1995. Throughout the course of his career, Jerry received many awards and accolades in recognition of his work, most notably the National Association of Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award in 1989; the NDSU Alumni Association Outstanding Agriculturalist of the Year Award in 1996; and induction into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2004.

While living and working in Finley, ND, Jerry was involved in many civic and business organizations, including the Steel County Crop Improvement Association, Soil Conservation Service, and American Red Cross. He belonged to Trinity Lutheran Church in Hope, ND, and served 12 years on the Finley City Council. He claimed to have never met a Steel County resident he didn’t like, and appreciated how warmly they welcomed a Frenchman into their midst. In 2009, Jerry moved back to Devils Lake, becoming an active member of the faith community at St Peters Lutheran Church and producing an abundant vegetable garden to help supply the local food shelf.

Jerry was grateful for the wonderful people he met and worked with throughout his life, many of whom became lifelong friends, traveling companions, hunting and fishing buddies, and fellow “tellers of tall tales”. Blessed with a brilliant sense of humor, his quick wit brought joy and laughter to many a gathering or conversation. Although he had no children of his own, he helped raise many. Strong of character and generous with his time, Jerry touched the lives of hundreds of young people he worked with through 4-H. He loved and cherished his nieces and nephews and would move mountains to be present for the important moments in their lives.

Jerry was a blessing in the lives of those who knew him. He is survived by sisters Lillian (Gordon) Shafer and Rosalie (James) Ringstrom; brothers Dale (Betsy) LeClerc, Ray (Judy) LeClerc, Ron LeClerc, and Warren LeClerc; and many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sister Beverly Schmidt, brother-in-law Leo Schmidt; sisters-in-law Myrna LeClerc and Luella LeClerc; and many dear relatives and friends.

Prayer Service – Friday, July 21, 2017 at 7:00p, Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Memorial service – Saturday July 22, 2017, 11:00a at Immanuel Lutheran.  Internment  – Sacred Heart Catholic Church Cemetery, Oakwood, ND, alongside his father’s grave.  Memorials to St. Peters Lutheran Church, Devils Lake, ND; Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch; or a hunger organization of choice.

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What follows is a guest post from my brother-in-law, Larry.  Yesterday in
church we had a Sharing Day, something we’ve done now and again to
provide testimony to what God is doing on behalf of his people.  Larry
stood up and gave such beautiful voice to many of the thoughts and
feelings that those of us in the family business have experienced during
the past decade as we have struggled with earthly loss only to find
unspeakably great gain in Christ along the way.  Through it all, Jesus has
been careful to teach us, to cut away idols and character flaws that do not
represent him, to provide in ways that we couldn’t have dreamed, to show
us his beautiful, tender nature, and to allow us to share in these
ordained sufferings.  [For more background on that, see here.]

 

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

This has proven a true saying as the three (two brothers and their dad)
have been able to lift each other up when one or the other on any given
day was sinking below the weight of care.  God provided personal
encouragement to each man, which was used to encourage the others
in due season.  It is also a testament to the character of these three
and to the power of God within them, that after ten plus stressful
years they find themselves on good and loving terms.

– – – – –

 

In November of 2008, I (Larry) had been sharing about our business troubles that had begun just two years earlier in 2006. Well, just to bring you up to date – things got worse.

 

These have been long and stressful years for my wife Kim and me, for my brother Dana and his wife Kim, and for our Dad, Roland – years filled with financial hardships, difficulties and challenges resulting in many hard and difficult lessons learned.  There have been questions, realizations, and consequences – all stemming from decisions made, actions taken, and probably from actions taken too late.

 

Some verses come to mind –

Proverbs 22:7 “…The borrower is servant to the lender.”

Proverbs 27:23-24 “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”

Proverbs 23:5 “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

 

This has not been a quick test for us. The feelings and emotions we’ve experienced during this time along with the reaction to our circumstances have included confusion, frustration, uncertainty, uneasiness, anxiety, weariness, anger, and despondency. We’ve asked “Lord, will this never end?” At times I was tempted to apply Proverbs 31:6-7.

 

Now I have taken note of the difference between my plans and God’s plans. More so, up until this point, I had considered myself a man-of-action. I would go after projects, anticipate, think ahead, make lists, get supplies, get equipped, make – build – create – do – go, go, go!  Proverbs 16:9 tells us: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”; and Psalm 46:10 tells me to “be still…”

 

At times God says to me: “No,” “Stop,” “Not now,” “Wait,” “This way,” “Not that way.” Then, while in this position I find myself stuck and in an uncomfortable, unnerving, and seemingly unending set of circumstances. I’ve realized I can’t fix it, I can’t stop it, I can’t change it, I can’t free myself – God has brought me to the end of myself!  I’ve come to treasure this verse from 2 Chronicles 20:12 “…We do not know what to do, Oh God, but our eyes are on you!”

 

We’ve been learning that this is an example of how God may, at times, use the storms and afflictions of our lives to work His will and accomplish His good purposes. What are his purposes? Well, among them, He intends to make us aware of our dependence upon Him; to show His glory and power; to show His goodness and loving care; perhaps to discipline us, his sons (as in Hebrews 12); or perhaps to humble us; to turn our attention away from idols and earthly things – Pastor Walt recently reminded us this world is not our home.  Another important lesson God wants us to learn is the rare jewel of Christian contentment.

 

We can take comfort in knowing and believing that God’s timing is always perfect. He brings the storms. He controls the timing, intensity and duration of the storm. Remember the disciples in the boat with Jesus (Mark 4:35-41)? “…Even the winds and waves obey him!” The Lord our God is sovereign over the times and seasons and all circumstances of my life. From Ecclesiastes 3 we are reminded that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. Then later in chapter 7 we read: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”

 

God gives us rest. He gives us his peace and comfort. He sustains me. He gives me my daily bread. He gives us hope, his mercies are new every morning! He delivers me, he rescues me. He lifts me up!

 

Perhaps God has brought you through the storm. Perhaps God has proven his faithfulness to you over and over and over again.  Walk with me, dare to trust God and lean on him when you enter the slimy pit and cannot find your own way out. Follow him where he leads, when times are hard and hopeless.  Do not become bitter toward your Savior. Do not be anxious.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. No whining, don’t grumble. Be thankful in all things.

 

“It is good for me that I was afflicted” (Psalm 119:71).  Don’t give up on God before his work in you is completed. Remember Joseph in prison – wait on the Lord. He brought me in and he will bring me out!

 

I like the concept of restoration. These are comforting verses:

Psalm 90:15 “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.”

Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten…”

 

I don’t know for sure what God has planned for all of my tomorrows. I know that my life is but a mist, a vapor that appears for a while and then vanishes (James 4:14). This world and all its troubles will soon be forgotten. But I do know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth (Job 19:25).

 

We want to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you who have been praying for us.  We are privileged to call you our brothers and sisters in Christ!

 

So in closing I can say though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, …no sheep in the pens, no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17-18)!  Praise the Lord!

 

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Painting: “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt

 

 

 

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C and diploma - crop

Congratulations to our youngest daughter, Courtney, who graduated this month from Bethlehem College and Seminary with a History of Ideas major.  Congratulations to this bright, lovely, introspective, and witty daughter who displays the right mix of sense and sensibility.

My dear Courtney, you have worked through many challenges to accomplish this goal and have overcome the very demanding rigors of your major.  You have read thousands and thousands of pages and written hundreds and hundreds of pages.  You have grown both in your knowledge of western thought and philosophy as well as in understanding of how God has been at work throughout time and through eternity. You show great wisdom in applying revealed truth to everyday life. During these years, you have been witness to Jehovah Jirah, our Provider God, working on your behalf again and again through God’s people (tuition help, full-time employment for your earning year, generous housing provided, even oil changes and serpentine belts replaced at no cost).  This is your God; He who walks with you now into your future!

We look forward to seeing how God will use all the gifts He’s poured into you as you remain yielded to him.

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3-fictional-characters

A light, little romp today… a bleed over from a currently popular Facebook meme:  “Name three fictional characters with whom you identify.”  I pass this along here because someday my posterity may not know or remember me, but they will surely be able to find these three characters in literature to piece together a fairly accurate sketch of me.

My choices?  Miss Bates (from Jane Austen’s Emma), Puddleglum (from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair), and Miss Caroline Bingley (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice).  I desperately wanted Joe Gargery (from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations) for his simpleness, but alas, I know I am not that good.

My reasoning?
1) Miss Bates for her social awkwardness;
2) Puddleglum for his rare mix of pessimism and faith; and
3) Miss Bingley because, well… Hamlet expresses my thoughts in all ways but one; unlike me, he seems unable to answer his own question:

“I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?”

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

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To My Dear Father
1 August 2016
Hi Dad,
I wanted to take the time to wish you a happy 76th birthday.  I recently had the opportunity to go through some old photos and I was reminded of how grateful I am to have had you and mom as parents and the good home and upbringing you both made for us girls.  First and foremost, I’m so grateful for the value of love for God which you both gave us.  It must have been difficult to meld your two denominations, especially in a time when those things were more strictly divided. But I always knew that Saturday night we’d be settling into our preparations for the next day and that Sunday morning, without fail, we’d all be going to church.  That rhythm you set, despite going to two different churches, let me know that our time set apart to reverence our Lord was not going to be negotiated and it established a pattern in our hearts from an early age.
Although Holly was too young to remember, Heide and I have warm memories of living in town.  But I want to thank you, too, for all the opportunities you made for us when we moved out into the country (hard to believe that was “the country” once, isn’t it?) You instilled in us an ethic of work (with the morning to-do lists you’d leave us girls) and of doing a job well.  You gave us opportunities to enjoy the fruits of our labors by allowing us to earn money with the gardening and our chickens or pigs.  And you gave us the privilege of knowing that we were contributing in our small way to the family good, whether it was helping to set fence poles or harvesting vegetables or taking care of the animals or hoeing the shelter belt.  I (we) didn’t always like those jobs, but amazingly we all look back now with fond, funny stories of those tasks and we’re so glad they were a part of our childhood.  Work wasn’t the only opportunities you provided for us, but it’s surprising how warm and fuzzy that forced labor seems to us now.  I also thank you for things like your work at our lake cabin, 4H, a playhouse, time with our larger family and cousins, vacations, as well as showing us how to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, etc.
Lastly, thank you by leading us in good character.  As a man of routine, we watched you go off to work each day (even when office politics must have made things difficult at times) and come home on time.  You’d enjoy a very s-l-o-w-l-y eaten supper (while we cleaned up dishes around you) and then you’d have a bit of a rest on the couch before heading outside to do your “putzing and tinkering” (often with Jim, a.k.a “Elmer Fudd”).  Your willingness to help others in need, your honest work, moderation in everything, and your steady approach to almost everything you’ve ever done, really defines you.  Thank you for letting us grow up seeing that played out in your life.
So, on this, your 76th birthday, I pray you will know that we hold you very close in our hearts… as we do each day.  Thank you for everything.
Lots of love,
Kim

 

Dad and Kim - snip

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Lucy, Calvin, Lewis

Welcome to our very blessed family, sweet little Lucy Grace, born May 26th at 9:59 p.m., 7# 9 oz. and 20″ long.

You are named after one of my favorite characters in literature – good Lucy Pevencie.  May you live courageously and nobly as Lucy does, and find Aslan ever your hope and joy.

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college II

This is an open letter to my nieces and nephews who are attending college this fall (Curran, Charlie, Peyton, Noah, and Morgan). I just wanted to let you know that you’ve all been on my heart as you make your way to classes this year. I carry such good thoughts about my college years and even still both Uncle Dana and I would readily join Courtney at school if we had all the freedoms in the world – ha. I hope that you will always love learning even beyond these years in college – it adds so much richness to life!

Even more than your schooling, though, I wish for you to finish your years there with a growing, vibrant faith in the Lord Jesus. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses or forfeits himself? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Jesus asked. You must vigilantly guard your heart for, I dare say, you will find a very different worldview promoted from that in which you were raised – a view which reflects a world without a God. You will find this worldview to be, not only ambivalent toward God, but vehemently opposed to God. As others have characterized the new atheism, they do not believe that God exists… and they hate Him. I am most certain, you will encounter the evangelists of this worldview on campus.

College is a hotbed that Satan desires to use to divide young people from the mooring of the teachings they have received while they were growing. Let me warn you that each day you must enter the battle for body, soul, and mind – a battle for your body (against sexual sin – active or visual), a battle for your soul (against the abuse of drugs and alcohol), and a battle for your mind (against a worldview that denies God… and hates the name of Jesus).

(Of course, Curran, you’ve been doing this for some time), but in college, one begins to stand independent of your family… but not alone. The prayers of your family precede you, but even more immediate, our loving Father offers life and hope and peace to those who are His. Sexual sin, chemical abuse, life empty and bereft of any connection to our Creator – these are only impotent substitutes that our enemy can conjure to distract mankind from true joy and peace and a meaningful life and future, which is only found in Jesus Christ.

I’m sure you’ll be aware of your academic GPA while at school, but, even more, I would remind you to guard your heart and be protective of what one author calls your spiritual GPA (God, Peers, and Authorities). If you determine to make your personal relationship with GOD through Jesus your priority, you will need to have some key PEERS who are seeking to do the same thing so you can walk together, and you will need to cautiously select the AUTHORITIES to whom you grant the leadership and mentoring of your mind and spirit. I would warn you against any who would divide you from the loving-kindness of God, be they peers or the teachers and mentors that are academically over you.

That’s all… I just wanted you to know you go through these years with your family rooting for you and waiting and watching to see what wisdom will be formed in you, but above this, we pray that Christ will be formed in you in these key years.

Blessings, dear hearts.
Love, Auntie Kim

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