Ah, and here it is again… February, the Love Month. Since three milliseconds after the stroke of midnight on Christmas we’ve been reminded by countless red-and-white-laden store shelves that this is that time of year when we’re urged to think especially warmly about our loved ones. Spouses and “significant others,” families and friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ, those in special need of love in our community, nation or world… all are potential recipients of at least a small extra helping of the warm fuzzies during this month of hearts and flowers.

Uh… What was that? “Those in special need of love in our community, nation or world”? Gee, I’d really like to, but I’m just one little person out here in Cass County, MO. How am I supposed to love the community and nation, let alone the world?

Glad I asked. As Christians we know that our hearts’ desire is to love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34), and this isn’t merely a nice suggestion but an actual command of our Lord (John 15:17), not to support chocolate sales or earn heavenly brownie (more chocolate!) points but as a way of expressing how much we love Jesus, how profoundly grateful we are for His presence and saving Grace in our lives, and how much we want the world to know that we are His disciples as we love and serve one another as He loved and served us (John 13:35).

Fortunately, the Bethlehem LWML is about to give you some help. During the month of February, you will notice the presence of what we hope will be an enjoyable and even delicious extra focus on Mites, a project we have lovingly named “Have a Heart for Missions.”

If you’ve hung around the LCMS for any length of time at all, you are no doubt familiar with Mites and Mite Boxes—how beginning with the grand sum of $6,651.31 gathered from 92 Lutheran “Ladies Aid” societies in 1930 (itself pretty remarkable for such hard times), the total ingathering of mites has grown to over $100-million in the past 75 years, which is a whole lot of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, folks. Mites are the primary way that the LWML funds its mission projects throughout our District, nation, and, yes, the world. The projects are determined by vote at national and District conventions every two years with 75% devoted to District projects and 25% to national. Check out the LWML bulletin board outside the sanctuary for details about current projects, and, if you’re really burning with desire to learn more about the history of Mites, here’s a link: lwml.org/mites

In addition to providing a bit of extra information that we hope will inspire you to find that little purple Mite Box and become perhaps a little extra-intentional about fattening it up, we have a couple of special projects that we hope you will enjoy.

The Challenge Calendar—When you come to church on Sunday, you will receive a February calendar with suggestions about special ways you might feed your Mite Box each day—some serious, some a little zany. We hope that this will be at least as much fun as digging under your car seats, in the washer tub, or under the couch cushions for loose change, although that can be something of an adventure in itself. When we call it a “challenge,” this is not to imply any kind of a competition but simply an encouragement—a personal challenge, if you will—to ramp up your Mite giving for this special endeavor. What will you win? You already have.

Bake Sale!—Come to church starving hungry on Feb. 15 and be ready to spoil your taste buds rotten on cookies, cakes, muffins, and other delights to send your glucose soaring. Lutheran women (with the exception of me) are legendary great cooks, so we hope that all will stop by to peruse and purchase. (If anyone would like to contribute baked goods, that would be absolutely great as well. These would need to be brought to the church before the 8 o’clock service on Sunday.) All profits will go to Mites.

We pray that “Have a Heart for Missions” month will provide a bit of extra enjoyment as you “spread the love” throughout our community and nation and around the world… because He first loved us.

-Carol Jacobson for LWML