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Archive for the ‘Marriage and Family’ Category

 

Dana and I are so happy and blessed to add another member to our family tree – our lovely Caroline Maria Werner Young.  Can it be a week has passed since their happy wedding in the Cities?  We have so much to be thankful for in the wedding of these two who committed their lives before God – to each other and to His kingdom.

 

Indeed, on their wedding day, God extended His first of what we trust will be many graces in their lives.  The days around the wedding had been “African hot.”  The night before, just as the rehearsal came to an end and friends and family were driving across town to our dinner, a torrential rain came up to usher in the evening.  We were thankful to be in a room of candle and twinkle lights as the rain poured outside.

 

We had prayed and prayed for months about the weather for the wedding day since the couple had an outdoor ceremony planned at the place of their reception.  True, everything could be moved indoors if needed, but the hope was to be married outdoors in that beautiful setting.  According to pattern, the day of their wedding, Friday, May 25th, was a hot day too, but it was not as humid as it had previously been. It was sunny and bright (lovely for photos).

 

However, as we headed west toward the venue that afternoon, it was hard to not notice the dark clouds rolling in from that direction… and again the prayers began.  Through the next hour and a half as guests began to arrive, we watched the sky become darker and darker and the wind pick up dramatically.  Folks were checking local radar weather and reporting various things:  “Rain to pass through area quickly and then be gone”; “Hail in eight minutes”; and asking, “Can we delay the service maybe 15 minutes to let the storm pass?”  While others wondered openly what’s to happen, many of us kept praying.  At least once, our trusty crew of two went out to reset chairs upright which the wind had blown down and I wondered how we’d dry all those chairs well enough if the rain did come through.  At one point I was told plans were being made to move the chairs in from the amphitheater.  Not a tragedy, but not what our couple had hoped for.

 

Then, just 15-20 minutes before the wedding was to begin, the sky seemed to be brightening and the winds were becoming gentler.  And as we watched, our gracious God carefully moved that rain and wind to another location, giving us a most pleasantly calm, mildly warm, gentle evening (and dry chairs) for their lovely outdoor wedding.  The wedding went off at the appointed time and moved back inside for an altogether lovely reception and dance.  Just like the couple at the Canaan wedding, Bryce and Caroline received the first answered prayer of their wedded life!

 

Now as they go through life together, we pray that this young couple will always be mindful of the goodness of their God – our “abounding in loving-kindness” God!  We pray they will grow in strength together as they seek to bring Him glory in their newly created family and that God will lead and guard them always.  Amen.

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A very honoring funeral was given Uncle Warren on Thursday, May 31, 2018.  The pastor gave a straight gospel message and my cousin, Wade Shafer, Warren’s godson, ended the service with a very personal and heartfelt address with memories shared of Buddy Holly and beers being slipped to a certain nephew.   The demands of Uncle Warren’s enlisted service as a Green Beret in Cambodia during the Vietnam War were recognized; certainly that time would be defining for the rest of his life.  Thanks were given to those who cared so well for Uncle Warren in his later years and a special charge was given to Warren’s only daughter, Kelsie.

As I readied myself for the funeral, memories of better days than the latter were brought to mind: Uncle Warren’s crazy hula dance at our family reunion (grass skirt and coconut shells and all); handing over a large jar of his pocket change to my sister and me; helping my dad dig the hole for our outhouse at the lake; his amazing pasta meals and rice pudding; his business ventures – The Pantry restaurant and the camp grounds; how he most seriously reprimanded me to the point of reformation when as an upper elementary student I used a newly picked up phrase around him (“Oh my God”); his help to Dana and me during the ’97 flood; dancing at his first wedding with all the cousins; going to the first Star Wars movie in the late ’70s with him; etc.

In light of later years, Warren seemed to be the star of a tragedy, but it was good to recall better, lighter days – I will greatly miss that Warren.

– – – – – –

Warren LeClerc, 70, of Grand Forks, ND was called home by his Heavenly Father on May 24, 2018 at Dunseith Community Nursing Home, Dunseith, ND. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. in the Amundson Funeral Home in Grand Forks. Visitation will be one hour before service time. Burial will be Friday June 1, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. in Drayton, ND.

Warren Lyle LeClerc was born November 14, 1947 in Devils Lake, ND, the youngest of eight children blessed to Alex and Mae (Schumacher) Leclerc. He was tender-hearted and from a young age showed a special empathy for those less fortunate or treated disrespectfully.  Intuitively, throughout his life Warren could see when someone’s light was being diminished by the words and actions of others and felt called to intervene.

Warren attended school in Devils Lake, spending summers on the family farm near Drayton, ND. During the Vietnam War, he served with the 46th Airborne Green Beret, stationed in Thailand, an experience that would profoundly influence his life. He went on to attend Hartnell College in Salinas, CA where he also operated a hotel. In 1980 Warren was united in Marriage to Colette (Hefter) LeClerc. The couple made their home in Grand Forks where daughter Kelsie was born in 1986.

Warren had an entrepreneurial spirit, which combined with talent and passion for cooking led him to open The Pantry Restaurant in Grand Forks, where he served as co-owner and operator for many years. He later turned his rural Grand Forks property into an RV Park, welcoming travelers from several states and countries. Many returned annually and became dear friends. In 2000 Warren was hired as a security officer at Red River High School, retiring in 2014. He loved and cared about young people. His humor and willingness to truly listen and empathize with their personal struggles, big and small, endeared him to many students over the years.

A private person, who valued humility and championed anyone blazing their own unique path in life, Warren was also deeply spiritual. While peace often alluded him in his earthly life, He believed in his Lord and Savior and now knows the peace and joy that passes all understanding.

Warren is survived by his daughter Kelsie LeClerc, Grand Forks, ND, sisters Lillian (Gordon) Shafer, Detroit Lakes, MN and Rosalie (James) Ringstrom, Encinitas, CA; brothers Dale (Betsy) LeClerc, Monterey, CA, Ray (Judy) LeClerc, Grand Forks, ND, Ron LeClerc, Bismarck, ND; ex-spouse and friend Colette 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.

He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Beverly (LeClerc) Schmidt, and brother Gerald LeClerc.

 

~ Official obituary

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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.
– – – – –

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.

 

~ Official obituary

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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!

 

– – – –
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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