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Peace Lutheran Church Orofino, Idaho

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Among the many names attributed to the Christchild in these beautiful verses from Isaiah is the name “Prince of Peace.” Sin separated us from our holy God. Our hearts were captives of its unending chaos of guilt and shame. At just the right time our loving heavenly Father sent His one and only Son to be the Prince of Peace for each of us. Having become the satisfactory payment for our sins on the cross, Jesus now attributes His righteousness to us, and the Father declares us not guilty. It is that complete forgiveness that grants each of us, by faith, the never-ending peace that all is right between us and our heavenly Father.

The members of Peace Lutheran Church in Orofino, Idaho, have been blessed both to receive and to continue teaching Jesus, the Prince of Peace, since becoming a congregation in 1950.

Much has happened since our last article was published in the October 2015 issue of the Lutheran Spokesman in the “Slice of Life” series. Most important, and by God’s good grace, is the faithful preaching, teaching, and hearing of the Gospel administered through the Word and sacraments. In the trying times of the pandemic, the Lord preserved Peace Lutheran of Orofino, Idaho, through those means of grace. When we couldn’t meet for several months, the Lord did not stop providing faith in the forgiveness of sins, courage and strength for our fearful hearts, and a plan to bring the Word first online, then outside in a local park, then thankfully back into our church sanctuary. The visible witness of our fellowship together was God’s gift to strengthen us as individuals.

In the last seven years we have had many visitors and contacts. One of our ongoing mission outreach efforts is to utilize the local newspaper, which offers the free printing of religious devotions from local pastors on a regular basis. Over twenty-five such articles have been submitted, and many good comments, some contacts, and a few visitors have been the result. Recently a young family of six has started attending services and has begun instruction classes. Another local man has also been attending morning Bible class and worship services. Knowing God gives the increase, all our members continue to take the opportunity the Spirit gives to plant the seed of the Word.

We are thankful to the Prince of Peace for calling home six of our long-time members to the Church Triumphant and their eternal peace. Although grieved by the separation of temporal death, we are joyful that “the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57:1-2) Hallelujah!

Perhaps every congregation has its own amazing example of God’s steadfast love and kindness, but one that stands out for us at Peace Lutheran Church is a man with a heart problem. Not spiritual, but physical. After a heart attack that left him with only eighteen percent of his heart functioning, he lived with an LVAD (left ventricular assist device), a device that weighed nine pounds, twenty-four hours per day for three years while waiting for a heart transplant. He got his heart transplant a year and half ago, and has spent more days in the hospital than not. Because of complications, he’s been life-flighted by helicopter ten times (so far) to a larger hospital in Spokane, Washington. Through it all, his loving Savior has reminded him that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. And the spiritual heart transplant he (and every child of God) has received from his Lord has kept him in perfect peace.

Currently we have twenty-five members with eighteen communicants. With an average attendance of ten, worship services are held Sunday mornings at eight o’clock. A half-hour Bible study is offered prior to Sunday service September through May. Last year a long-time couple from the congregation purchased the property next door to the church. We are thankful, because she also is our main church organist, so that’s handy!

By Spirit-worked faith, the members of Peace are thankful to the Lord of the Church for His steadfast love and kindness in guarding our hearts and minds with the peace of His Son Jesus Christ. We look forward to our Triune God’s blessings and His gracious plans for our hope-filled future. “ You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

David Naumann is pastor of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Clarkston, Washington, and Peace Lutheran Church in Orofino, Idaho