Summer Newsletter


Soul Surfer is a new summer movie that closely follows the real-life experiences of Bethany Hamilton, a young woman from Hawaii.  You know it has to be real, because even the most clever screenwriter couldn’t come up with a story so fantastic!

When Bethany was 13, she and her friend Alana, along with Alana’s brother and dad, went out surfing in preparation for a surfing tournament that was coming up.  While they were out in the ocean, Bethany was floating on her board and must have looked like a helpless sea turtle to a hungry fourteen-foot tiger shark below.  The shark bit off her arm just below the shoulder.  If the shark had bitten two inches closer to her body, the attack would certainly have been fatal.  Bethany lost over 60% of her blood after the attack.  Her friends helped paddle her back to shore and fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash around what was left of her arm before rushing her to the hospital.  Her father was supposed to have knee surgery that morning, but she took his place in the operating room.  Bethany then spent seven more days in recovery at the hospital.

Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing.  Less than one month after the incident, she got back on her board and went surfing again.  After a slow two years of recovery and practice, Bethany won first place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s National Championships.  In 2008, at age 18, Bethany became a professional surfer and placed second during her first attempt in the World Qualifying Series.  And all that with only one arm.

The theme that runs throughout Bethany’s story—whether it’s on the big screen or in her autobiography—is her deeply-rooted faith in Jesus Christ.  She constantly credits him with helping her along her courageous journey.  The Bible verse that crops up frequently in the movie is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  And for once in a movie, that verse is used correctly.

Maybe I’m a picky Bible snob, but too often Philippians 4:13 is used as an achievement motto for supermen and superwomen: they’re getting ready to give a presentation, play sports, or take a test; and they summon their life verse, marshaling its power in their pursuit of success.  “I can do anything I want to because of Christ who makes me strong!”

But the apostle Paul had nothing like that in mind when he penned those words to his friends in Philippi.  When he wrote this letter, a persecuted Paul was most likely imprisoned and still smarting from the various beatings he had received at the hands of his enemies.  In verse 12, he said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  This was no Superman Paul, but a wise, mature, suffering Paul who knew from whence came his strength.

The word that Paul used that is translated as “do” is not the typical verb for doing or making in biblical Greek.  Rather, it means enduring, overcoming adversity, getting by.  So Paul is saying, “I can get through all things—I can endure adversity—because of the Lord who strengthens me in my weakness.”  The Message paraphrase of the Bible captures it perfectly: “I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

And this is why this verse makes perfect sense for Bethany Hamilton’s story—and for all our stories of hardship and suffering.  When we are faced with difficult circumstances, whether it’s unjust persecution or having your arm bitten off by a shark and the painful recovery that follows, we can confidently claim the power to endure that comes from Jesus Christ, who has already overcome sin and death on our behalf.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Amen to that!

Pastor Ray


The session will have its regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, August 22, at 7:00 p.m.


Please cruise by the Opportunity Table and sign up if you are interested in providing special music for worship, in hosting Fellowship Time after worship, mowing the church’s lawn, or the manse’s lawn during the summer. There are many blanks waiting for your name!


Summer hours for the church office will start after Memorial Day weekend.  The office will be open Tuesdays-Thursdays from 8:30-11:30a.m. during the summer.  This will run from June-August.


Get ready to clean!!  We will be cleaning our stretch of the highway (2 miles east of Dairy Queen on Highway 35 and heading 2 miles eastward) on Sunday, June 5, following worship at 11:00am.  After clean-up, we’ll meet back at the church for a lunch of delicious chicken enchiladas! Please wear your orange FPC t-shirts from last summer, and if you don’t have one, talk to Pastor Ray—he has leftovers!  (Kind of like the enchiladas…)


Sunday, June 19, Live Talking Action Figures are coming to Norfolk! The Great American Comedy Festival is bringing THE SKIT GUYS for some clean fun for the WHOLE family with a GREAT message! FaceDown Productions is teaming up with the Great American Comedy Festival to get the word out.


A Goodwill trailer will be in Wayne and will be parked in the following location: NW Corner of Pac N Save parking lot, Parallel to Hwy 35.  This trailer will be available for donations from June 22-June 29, 2011.


You are invited to join us at the 7 Annual Christian Cross Festival to be held at Skyview Lake in Norfolk on Sunday, June 5.  This is a FREE event planned that will include Christian music, testimony, children’s activities, and fireworks.  Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and plan to spend a day of Christian fellowship with us.  Food vendors will be available. Some of the artists who will be performing are: Building 429, JJ Heller, Breathe Deep, and many more!


At the May session meeting—despite our recent exposure in Parade magazine—the sitting elders decided to take a year off from session-sponsored enchilada sales at Henoween (Friday, July 8).  If anyone else has a craving to organize the sales, please contact the church’s office.


As you know, many places in the U.S., especially Joplin, Missouri, have been devastated by tornadoes and severe weather. Even though many of those places are far away, you can help!

Option 1: The Orphan Grain Train in Norfolk is collecting “Mercy Kits” for victims of tornadoes. The list can be accessed online at: Mercy Kits, and the kits can be dropped off at the Orphan Grain Train’s warehouse (606 W. Philip)

Option 2: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance encourages believers to give, act, and pray.  You can make a donation online; you can organize a group to go work on site; you can put together clean-up, baby, hygiene, and school kits; and you can pray for the relief efforts.  Visit PDA for more information.  Thank you!


Register now for the O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Saints) Celebration on September 21 and 22, at Calvin Crest in Fremont, sponsored by Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries. The Tuesday and Wednesday Celebration theme is “Shalom—God’s Blessing of Peace,” keynoted by the Executive Presbyters of Homestead and Missouri River Valley presbyteries, Richard Wyatt and Kevin Keaton. The Celebration offers entertainment, relaxation, knowledge, spiritual growth, fellowship, and the hospitality of Calvin Crest. Additional information and registration materials may be found at Calvin Crest online.


Summer Schedule includes:

Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. – Sewing Souls will meet to work on projects for Camp Calvin Crest Quilt Auction.  Babs Middleton will be hostess.

Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. – Intro to Knitting and Crocheting – This is a chance to learn new skills, hone your present skills, and help others with their questions.  A variety of pattern books will be available for ideas.  There will also be an opportunity to work on table decorations for the Annual Tea in July.  Are you a pro at “baking” Styrofoam cups?

Wednesday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m. – PW will meet to finalize plans for Annual Tea and program will be announced later.  Jan Liska is hostess.

Wednesday, July 13 at 6:00 p.m. – PW ANNUAL TEA – Our theme for this year is based on HATS and the guest speaker will be Mary Duffy from O’Neill, NE.  This is an opportunity for you to wear one of your favorite hats – or bring that favorite hat to share its history and memories with others.  And you may win a prize for bringing your favorite hat!  There will be an opportunity for children to color pictures of hats creatively and win a prize.  And, yes, there will be food to eat!  So bring your mother, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, and friends – and enjoy food, fun, and fellowship with us!

Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. – Intro to Knitting and Crocheting – This is another opportunity to learn new stitches and maybe finish up a project or two.  Invite friends to come with you and enjoy the fellowship and the “yarns” of knitting and crocheting!

Saturday, July 30 at 9:00 a.m. – Sewing Souls will meet for a day of sewing to finish projects for Camp Calvin Crest Quilt Auction and to start new mission projects.  Come for the day or any part of the day that works into your schedule!  This might be an opportunity for you to learn new sewing skills or to renew your sewing skills.


The new PWPH Reading List for 2011-2012 is available – look for the color of gold on a table in the Fellowship Hall!  Reading a minimum of four books on the new list will qualify you for a reading award.


Please pray for the success of our Mega Sports Camp vacation Bible school. June 6-9, 9:00-11:30 a.m.


Don’t forget to stake your place at Calvin Crest this summer! They offer camps and programs for kids of all ages—from Family Camp through senior high—and all interests—from night owls to ranch camp to mountain biking camp. And remember: our church pays half of the cost to help you make camp a reality. Visit for more information (click on the “youth programs”) button.

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