St. Elmo News

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By The Staff

Thursday, Jan. 5
• This is the deadline for enrolling in the Master Gardener program. See the information following the announcements.
• The St. Elmo Business Association, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
• The Wheatland Unit of Home and Community Education, 1:30 p.m., Marilyn Sproat’s home.
• The St. Elmo Women’s Civic Club, 7 p.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
Saturday, Jan. 7
• Royal Neighbors of America #5784 will have a potluck at noon at the Phillips Building. Ham and beans will be furnished for the potluck.
Monday, Jan. 9
• St. Elmo Lions Club, 6 p.m., Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
Tuesday, Jan. 10
• Reservations for the SEBA Holiday Party that will be held Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Effingham Lone Star Steak House have to be made by noon by calling Barbara Barr at 483-6176.
• Basic computer class, 10 a.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• Intermediate computer class, 11 a.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• The Avena Township Park Board, 6 p.m., St. Elmo Community Park Centennial Building.
• Basic computer class, 6:30 p.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• Intermediate computer class, 7:30 p.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• American Legion Post 420, 7 p.m., American Legion Home.
• Fayette County Board, 7 p.m., Fayette County Courthouse, Vandalia.
Wednesday, Jan. 11
• The U of I Extension will host a workshop, “Finding Your Get Up and Go,” at 1:30 p.m. at the Effingham Extension office. There is no fee, but those interested need to pre-register by calling 217-347-7773. The workshop will introduce strategies for getting motivated and taking action, and will cover optimism, attitude, social involvement and positive outlook.
Thursday, Jan. 12
• Excel class, 10 a.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• Lunch Bunch, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
• The St. Elmo Library District Board, 7 p.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• Effingham Chapter #110, Order of the Eastern Star, 7:30 p.m., Effingham Masonic Temple.
Master Gardener Info
• This Thursday is the last day to enroll to become a master gardener. If you have an interest in gardening and want to learn more about gardening, fruit trees and how to manage insect pests, then you may want to check out the University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardener program, where you will receive 60 hours of training.
The program will be given at the Effingham Extension Office, starting Jan. 18. If your schedule will not allow you to attend the training in person, there is an online version of the training available.
You can contact Rachelle Hollinshead at 217-347-7773 or e-mail her at rhollins@illinois.edu.
Whoops!  A Correction
In the Clayton Black story on his internship, it was said he is the son of Dean and Elloise Black of Vandalia – he is their grandson. His parents are Mike and Karel Black of Brownstown. Sorry about the mistake.
Rhodes-Side Gleanings
Is my following story peculiar or bizarre?  At 1:30 a.m. Christmas Day. I woke up to music playing. I thought maybe I went to sleep before I shut off the TV – but the TV was not on. Where was the music coming from?  It didn’t sound like it was coming from the outside. I went to my laptop computer and raised the lid – saw scenic views change and heard the background music. I then saw a picture of my deceased paternal grandparents’ old farm house in Arkansas.
I saw at the bottom of the computer screen that the DVD my son had given me a couple of years ago was what I was seeing and hearing. The DVD is in my computer, but I have not played it for more than a year. The DVD was made by Steve and his Chicago friend, Scott Edmonds, and includes almost 2,000 slides I took years ago during vacations, centennials, school activities, etc.
The next day after Christmas I picked up my son, Steve Rhodes of Chicago, at the Effingham train station and took him to the Hilton Garden Inn for lunch. He is a computer analyst, and I thought his knowledge would tell me why I heard the DVD Christmas morning. He was stumped and said it was bizarre. If anyone can figure out why this happened, please let me know.
When I am using my computer word processer to write my news articles, sometimes weird things happen, and I have said many times that my computer has its own mind. Maybe it was telling me I am right.
After eating lunch, Steve and I viewed the beautiful Christmas decorations and Christmas trees at the Hilton Inn and Keller Convention Center.
That afternoon, my daughter Phyllis Lea and family ­– Dr. Prentiss, Soo Jin, Chae Rin and Ginger (cocker spaniel), of Green Oaks – came. We had our gift exchange that night and the Christmas dinner the next day. I gave my granddaughters several board games and we played three of them – Cooking Scrabble, Name 5 Game and You’ve Been Sentenced.
They all left Wednesday morning, and the Leas dropped Steve off at the Effingham train station.
I ate lunch at Mary Ann’s Restaurant after church on Jan. 1 and was invited to sit with Mary Truitt, Ruth Benson and Gwen Caldwell, all of Vandalia. I invited them to my home after lunch. They came, we had a good visit and they enjoyed seeing my nativities.
Mission Newsletter
“A Zajicek Update” is the title of the current South America Mission newsletter and it follows (Frank was the agronomist at the U of I Experiment Farm near Brownstown in the late 1970s and early 1980s.)
May its gladness and peace encourage and comfort you now and throughout 2012!
Thank you for being on the team taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of GAIRA.
Although we moved the meeting place of our kids group, known as GANSA, to a different location in June, we were blessed with an active group of 25 youngsters and a new co-worker on our team of five.
Thanks to Luz, Frank’s accelerated aging trend due to life with Marie and Stevie has been throttled. Truly, it IS a wonderful life.
Along with Gaira ministry activities, Frank continues serving on the Esperanza Church Elder Board. He enjoys a special time each Tuesday with fellow SAM missionaries Jon Howard, Sam Tse and Jeff Roddy. Besides encouraging one another, the boys spend time in prayer.
With a heart for our neighbors in Gaira, Luz is building relationships of trust with several ladies. In addition, she led a weekly Esperanza Church ladies group on the basics of the Christian faith. Together with Frank, Luz guided a young family through tough times.
Kids Corner
While Stevie graduated to first grade, Marie has responded well to intensive therapy, having now honed her speech and motor skills. She likes to imitate mom in the kitchen and go to the beach while little brother remains disciplined and organized going from homework to toys. Both are blessings to our lives. Stevie has an explosive contagious laugh. Marie has discovered cosmetic facial art.
A Few Prayer and Praise Items
• Please pray for Marie as she develops conversational and academic skills.
• PRAISE GOD for the relational relevant discipleship in Gaira.
• Expanding impact of GANSA Gaira ministry in 2012.
• Ministering through Community outreach programs here.
• Thanks for forming the team with us to serve God in Columbia.
Blessings now and always. Frank and Luz.
Zajicek Mission Stories
Rhodes Side Gleanings
I received Christmas greetings e-mail from South America missionaries Frank and Luz Zajicek that had two stories that follow.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even or Turn the Other Cheek – a Tale of Love at Christmas
Luz settled comfortably into a chair at the beauty shop. She had not planned to be there on Saturday morning, but she WAS there.
Just a touch-up of things to be ready for a wedding of a young couple from the Experanza Church that evening. Before she left out house a few blocks away, I ventured my guy opinion, “But your hair looks fine, Honey. Didn’t you just have something big done a week ago.”
“You can’t understand, Frank. One strand out of place and every other lady at the wedding notices. Here’s a honey-do list to be completed before I get back … and keep the kids from crippling injuries while they play.”
Right, I don’t grasp that gem of perception.
Since the usual hairdresser that Luz likes and trusts was busy and Luz was in a hurry (so as not to leave the well-being of Marie and Stevie in my hands for too long), she accepted the offer of another stylist.
 “Ouch” cried Luz as the hair stylist passed the heated wand under her front bangs and touched Luz’s forehead. “You burned me!” exclaimed Luz, experiencing the sharp pain of a burn, not simply the radiant heat.
Shot back the wand-wielder, “You just felt the heat as I passed by your forehead. There was no burning of your skin. I have never done that to a client.”
“A first time for everything,” Luz thought as the increasing pain testified to the reality of the injury as the beautician rattled on in soap opera fashion about personal problems with boyfriends.
As an eternity passed by for Luz, but the hands on the wall clock only shifted seven minutes, the stylist hot wand slinger proudly announced, “All done. You look wonderful; have a look for yourself in the mirror?”  Luz faced the mirror, but the fiery pain blocked the optic nerve’s normal function. Her focus was on getting home, not on her hair.
Adeptly hiding her pain, Luz paid and left hurriedly for the house. “Fortunately, this red stripe is not visible to the general public and maybe Frank won’t notice either, “ Luz reasoned in auto-consolation.
Fast forward to Monday AM. Luz was not feeling well. Marie playfully touched Luz’s head, prompting an “ouch” from Luz.
“When and how did you hit your head, Honey?  Did the kids do that?”
“No, neither Marie nor Stevie, nor an accident here. It was the hot iron the stylist used on Saturday.”  
I think her training for this job was branding cattle at a local ranch and sheering sheep. “You should go tell her at least to let her know what she did to you, I piously advised.”
“No, what good would it do?” Luz countered. “She’ll never admit a mistake. That’s the culture here. Or she would say something like, ‘oh, that’s not so bad.’  Besides, I forgive her. I really want to go back some day to get to know her. And later, to tell her the Good News of Jesus Christ.”  
“Turn the other cheek.”  Not heard of, not popular, not headline-grabbing. And not only here in Columbia, but all over.
Perhaps it’s a commentary on the WHY of our ministry in Gaira. And everyone’s ministry: Showing God’s love to the unloved and lost; not just when we feel like it, but as part of our nature, from the heart. Building relationships and presenting the Gospel to those around us wrapped up in sin, separated from God.
And uniquely related to the Story, part of the True Christmas Event:  Loving the unloved in Jesus’s name, in a world wrapped up in the hype of the holidays, the fleeting, vaporous, rushing emotions of the end-of-the-year events. The reality of sin and the solution found in Christ Jesus along.
“For unto you a Child is born…and He will save His people from their sins.”
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve; and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Rhodes-Side Gleanings
Included in the email were pictures of Luz’s burned forehead.
The next story is very touching.
What’s It Worth to You?
About a month before the end of the activities Carlos showed up for Sunday morning OANSA kids club. He looked to be about 12 years old, tall and slender. He was a good soccer player and quiet most of the time.
Since he was new to our club, I had the opportunity to lead him through the introduction to OANSA, normally a five Saturday process. He was intent on doing it quickly, but well.
He was always on time, ready for the day’s events and a bit more disciplined than the other boys. Which really did not say a lot for discipline.
To my surprise and joy, Carlos finished his introductory folder complete with Bible verses memorized and other basics of OANSA material mastered in three weeks!
At the end of the year activity known as the Clausura, Carlos finished his last memory verse and OANSA theme, based on 2 Timothy 2.15.
Somewhat bashful, he mustered enough courage to ask about the OANSA T-shirt for his new level in the club.
In spite of being impressed by his efforts (at least those we knew about), Carlos lacked sufficient attendance to qualify outright. Still, in order to do follow-up visits during school vacation time, I ventured to ask Carlos where he lived.
He just answered, “A long way off.”  Querying whether he lived over by the Gaira River, he quickly responded, “No, I live off to the East in the foothills of the mountains.”
“How long does it take to get here for OANSA?”
“I leave the house at 7:30 a.m. and then walk back afterward, arriving around 1:30 p.m. as long as it’s not raining which isn’t often.”
So I talked to Luz and our OANSA director, Gilberto, about giving Carlos a ride to his house in our car.
We all agreed and after cleaning up after not only our OANSA group, but revelers from the Friday night before, we all took off on the excursion.
Twenty-nine minutes and 30 seconds into our journey, leaving behind mud holes, numerous obstacles in the road and close calls with a log truck and a cattle trailer on narrow sections, we arrived at a simple, yet cool, shady location with limited electricity in the evenings. Running water was plentiful from the source upstream on a mountain river.
Nestled under huge mango, avocado, coconut and other tropical trees, his three brothers and a baby sister along with his parents live in a simple one-room house.   I should say that they sleep in the house, spending most of the time outside either working on a ranch, tending animals and pet parrots or doing a bit of school work.
As we said goodbye to Carlos and his family, we all thought of the sacrifice Carlos made to get to a two-hour activity. “Would I walk three hours to or for anything, let along a two-hour time filled with activities and then only a scant amount of refreshment?” we each thought on our way back to the pavement. “And in the heat, voracious biting insects and rain?”
We would like to think that we are having an impact on the youth of Gaira. But we all realize that it is God alone who draws people to Himself.
We’re making follow-up visits to not only Carlos, but also those who faithfully participated in the OANSA program over the last two-plus years. Through a series of events, we have gotten to know the parents of many of the kids.
After all, we are about building relationships, presenting the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ to our neighbors in Gaira, studying the Bible with them, while meeting some physical needs.
Please pray with us as we seek to communicate the Gospel in culturally relevant ways.