Willing Hearts and Hands3 min read

When Nativity, St. Charles was struggling to remain open, the Michigan District stepped in with support to call a full-time pastor—not only to help bring Nativity back to health, but to plant a mission in nearby Chesaning. Rev. Mitch Vogeli and the tiny congregation of 15 joined forces with a well-established food distribution program. From that opportunity, they have since branched into Recovery Ministry, and continue to look for new ways to connect with their community and reach people with the love of Christ. Below is one of Rev. Vogeli’s monthly reports on the mission’s activities, which gives us a glimpse of God’s amazing work in the area.

The highlight of our ministry in March was our Easter worship service and brunch, as we came together with our community to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. We had passed out many flyers and made a number of contacts with both our Chesaning and our Saint Charles communities. Our worship service had 116 people in attendance. That is the greatest number of worshipers in attendance in the 25 years of Nativity’s existence. We praise God for bringing so many together at our place to worship and celebrate.

Following the worship service we packed our fellowship hall with 150 people coming to enjoy our Easter brunch. We had very good participation by our members to prepare and serve the food. Thrivent Financial® provided funds to purchase needed supplies and fill a freezer full of meat from a local meat market to give away to someone at the event. The meal and tickets for the freezer drawing were all free. We titled the brunch “Love Your Neighbor Brunch” because the freezer contained two sets of packaged meat: one set for the person winning the drawing and one set for that person to give away to a neighbor to bless them.

Those who came to the brunch were amazed at the food and celebration. Freshly made pecan, chocolate chip, or granola pancakes; Belgium Waffles; freshly tossed omelets and a full buffet line with breakfast items of eggs, sausage, French Toast, along with freshly grilled Italian sausage with onions and colorful bell peppers, ham and cheese hoagies, and cheesy potatoes for those wanting lunch. Of course, a wide variety of dessert items were also available.

God blessed us with the resources to provide this amazing meal and meat giveaway at almost no cost to our church. Our people are learning firsthand that God fills the hands of a willing heart with an abundance of resources to love others.

Our Restoration Ministry in downtown Chesaning continues to impact the lives of many. God is moving our leadership to consider restructuring what we do for this event, since our growth and participation has plateaued for the last several months. We are praying and planning to see where God will open up new opportunities for us to continue bringing Christ into restoration.

Our monthly food distribution continues to give us amazing opportunity to care for the people of Chesaning and surrounding area. It also continues to give us new ideas on how to care for our community. This event was instrumental in bringing the large number of people who visited us on Easter.

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About the Author

Rev. Mitchell Vogeli is the pastor of Nativity, St. Charles and also a church planter in Chesaning. He served the LCMS for 30 years in various positions, including teacher, principal, and DCE. He decided to go to the Seminary after spending 3 years assisting Rev. Paul Werner in planting Living Hope of the Bay in Ray, MI. Rev. Vogeli and his wife, Teri, live in Chesaning.

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