Why is Lutheran Girl Pioneers Important? // Guest Post

I am so excited to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite blogs!

I am Christine Bohn, and am so pleased to be able to say that I am the Executive Director of the Lutheran Girl Pioneers. I am also a part-time church secretary and have been for almost ten years. I have been married to Kevin, my biggest supporter and cheerleader, for nineteen years. We have two teenage girls, Rebecca and Emily, and two cats, Boots and Night-Night (who think that they are people!). I teach the upper grades for Sunday School at my church in the middle of Wisconsin and am the Caravan Counselor (the girl in charge!) of our local Lutheran Girl Pioneers.

I started working as Executive Director of the Girl Pioneers on August 1 of this year, so I am still trying to get everything organized and learning all that I have to do. It’s a big job, but I already love it! And I love the Girl Pioneers ministry!

 

What is Lutheran Girl Pioneers?

Lutheran Girl Pioneers is a para-synodical organization, which means that we are affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, but receive no synod funds. We are financially supported solely through membership fees and donations. We were formed in the 1950s in response to the Girl Scout movement.

The ladies of our synod wanted to give our girls a group, similar to Girl Scouts, but with Jesus as the center of all we do; instead of “trying our best”, we realize and teach that our best is not from us, it’s from Jesus.

Although Girl Scouts today is very different from the Girl Scouts in the 50s, Girl Pioneers isn’t. Yes, we teach different things than we may have back then, but our focus is the same - teach (and show through our every day example) these young ladies in a very practical way how to be a Christian woman in their world.

And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
— Matthew 16:24

The nuts and bolts of it: Lutheran Girl Pioneers teaches life and leadership skills, all while promoting life-long Christian friendships that last into eternity. The girls move up in the program through different levels:

  • Sunbeams (Kindergarten through 2nd grade)
  • Travelers (3rd-4th grade)
  • Trailblazers (5th-6th grade)
  • Homesteaders (7th-8th grade)
  • and Spinners (high school) 

    The girls can earn charms for a charm bracelet by completing each level and by completing Special Achievements.

Any WELS or ELS church can charter (start) a caravan, and by doing so, they get the benefits of being part of a larger national organization: being able to purchase Girl Pioneer supplies from the National Office; leaders receive the support and guidance that they need; girls are able to attend District and National activities, including camps.

 

Why Is Girl Pioneers Important?

Lutheran Girl Pioneers is a vital ministry available to all the churches within the WELS and ELS. Girl Pioneers is so much more than a social club or craft club. It’s girls coming to the meetings and knowing that they are totally accepted for who they are. It’s girls on a camp out not having to worry about being picked on. It’s girls inviting their unchurched friend to come to a lock-in and her hearing about Jesus for the first time. It’s girls comfortably being able to chat about their faith struggles and victories. It’s girls growing strong in their faith, in world that often ridicules and insults them for that faith.

And if that isn’t enough, it even goes further! It’s leaders who are studying God’s Word together, answering questions and serving selflessly. It’s the parents of the unchurched girls who join you on a camping trip who get to sit through Bible studies around the campfire, and ask questions they would never ask in a large group.

Yes, Girl Pioneers is important because we teach outdoor skills, kitchen terminology, and make fun crafts. But, it goes so much deeper than that!

(Jesus said,) For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
— Matthew 18:20

Every generation is different from the last, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we all agree that the times we live in, at the very least seem more dangerous physically, but especially spiritually. You can’t turn on the nightly news or login into Facebook without seeing another terror attack, here or abroad. You hear daily of injustices, killings, riots in our city streets, terror groups recruiting young people, kidnappings and human trafficking. For adults, this news is overwhelmingly scary. Can you imagine what it’s like for our girls? Even schools aren’t safe anymore.

But Pioneers is! Not because nothing bad could ever happen at a church or to a church group; no one is so naïve to believe that. Pioneers is safe because of what we offer love. Jesus’ love shown to us, and our reflection of that love to our girls. And when our girls feel loved, accepted and safe, they then reflect that light everywhere they go. We can’t change the world, but we can certainly reflect Jesus’ light which we know can change hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit.

As leaders in this great ministry, we have the opportunity to not only teach skills, we have the enormous responsibility to show what it is like to live in this ever-changing world as a Christian woman, wife, mother, sister, friend.

And, if all these other things weren’t enough, Lutheran Girl Pioneers creates a fun place to come hang out with your friends and have a great time!

Now what?

If your congregation has a Lutheran Girl Pioneers ministry, support them! Offer assistance, donate to their treasury, pray for your leaders and the girls they serve.

If your congregation doesn’t have LGP, prayerfully consider starting a caravan. You don’t have to know everything, or have a large number of girls. Our Caravans vary in size from 5 girls to 100 girls. You can tailor the Girl Pioneers ministry to fit your church! You can meet once a month, or four times a month. You may meet all together, or have separate leaders for each age level. You can bring in guest speakers. You can go on outings. The possibilities are endless!

The beauty of Girl Pioneers is that you are not in this alone! You have questions? Call the National Office or your district rep. You need ideas? Visit the Girl Pioneers Facebook page and ask. You are not doing Lutheran Girl Pioneers alone - you have a tremendous support system in place!

To find out more information about Lutheran Girl Pioneers, visit our website at www.lgp.org, “like” our facebook page “Lutheran Girl Pioneers”, call (608-731-5232), or email me (girlpioneers@gmail.com) in the National Office!

Dear children, let us not love with words but with actions and in truth.
— 1 John 3:18

Naptime is Stamptime // Stampin' Up! Sponsor Spotlight

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
— 1 Peter 4:10

This has been one of my favorite passages in my adult life. We all have different gifts. What are yours?

Keeping house? I wish this was one of my gifts!

Mothering your children? Oh, how often I feel I fail at this one.

Musical talent? I have a little bit.

Public speaking? Not me.

Teaching? Yes! That one I can do. For several years before kids, I was a teacher. Now I use my teaching skills in different ways every day.

As a mother, I teach my children the simple tasks of life – how to brush your teeth, how to put on your own socks and shoes, how to make your bed. 

But my favorite way to use my teaching skills these days is in my “job” as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.

I use quotation marks because while I do make a little bit of money doing it, I don’t look at it as a job. For me, teaching others how to make handmade cards and gift packaging or preserve their memories is a creative outlet that lets me use the skills God has given me, and I really enjoy it!

If you’ve never heard of Stampin’ Up! before, you might be wondering what exactly it is. The company started out with rubber stamps, but has grown into much more than that! Now we offer three types of stamps, as well as coordinating cardstock and paper, ink, ribbon and embellishments. And that is one of my favorite things about Stampin’ Up! – everything coordinates so you don’t have to go to the trouble of matching products yourself.

Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite products with you – things that I think anyone could use and enjoy!

The first is called Paper Pumpkin. It is a monthly kit subscription that can be purchased month by month or by a prepaid subscription. It costs $19.95 + tax each month, and you get everything you need to complete a crafty project.

Sometimes the kit includes supplies to make cards, and other times it makes a home décor project or some fun gift packaging. The kit is always a surprise, and it’s such fun mail! 

The other product I wanted to share with you is called Project Life

If you are like me, you have a ton of pictures of your kids and family on your phone or camera. But that’s where they stay. Project Life is a form of scrapbooking, but it’s really just putting your pictures into an album so that your family can enjoy looking at them.

Stampin’ Up! has exclusive Project Life card kits and accessory packs to help you get your pictures into albums. Here are a few pages I’ve done to give you an example – they go together pretty quickly! 

This is just a taste of what Stampin’ Up! has to offer. If you’d like to learn more, you are welcome to join my Naptime is Stamptime Facebook group where I share projects I’m working on, tips for stamping, and sales.

here i am

Very early one morning long ago a mother awoke. She packed up her four year old son's clothes, made a lunch for him and for herself and set off. Long ago this mother had made a promise at the altar of the Lord. Now it was time to honor her promise.

Have you ever made a deal with God? Have you been so frustrated with circumstances you cried out to God? You promised if he would answer your prayer you would return something to him. That's what this mom did. Maybe you know her. Her name is Hannah and her son's name was Samuel.

In a remarkable testimony to Hannah's faith, we see her honoring her promise. She took her son to the temple far away. She entrusted Samuel to Eli, the aged priest who had called Hannah out for appearing to be drunk as she poured out her heart in agony. Now he would be her substitute as the child's counselor and caregiver. Ouch!

I know of very few moms who would be able to have the integrity of Hannah. Look up Samuel 1 to read her story. Hannah honored the Lord and so did her son. When God called Samuel to serve him, Sam's response was, "Here I am, Lord." Mom had taught him to be ready to serve his Savior any time, any place. He had learned his lesson well.

The rest of her life God richly blessed Hannah because she understood her child belonged to the Lord. That doesn't mean she loved Samuel any less. It means that she loved the Lord more. Later, God especially honored Samuel as the prophet of Israel. He filled Samuel with the Holy Spirit and power.

What about us? Do we have the integrity of Hannah? Do we honor the promises we make to God? What are we teaching our children about service to others and to the Lord? Are we willing to give our beloved children back to God to work in his service?

It is my prayer that every child learns to readily respond to God's call as faithful Samuel did: "Here I am, Lord." Serving others is the way to a joyful life and a heart filled with love for the Lord!