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Love does funny things. It recently brought a young Venezuelan,a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Fort Myers, FL. Rev. Maita has come to marry Ruth Pollex, a teacher at St. Michael’s Lutheran School. They met while both were serving as missionaries in the Dominican Republic. Their immediate plans are to live in the Fort Myers area where Rev. Maita hopes to find a place to serve God as a Lutheran pastor. It just so happens that Amigos en Cristo is looking to bolster our pastoral staff with a Spanish speaking pastor who can help with our Hispanic mission churches in Bonita Springs, Immokalee and other future sites. Pray that God’s will be done. And stay tuned to find out what happens next.
By Jim Pennington CDE, LCMS Foundation – Gift Planning Counselor
As of this writing, Congress has not decided whether to renew the charitable IRA rollover, or qualified charitable distribution (QCD), for tax year 2014. Since 2006, many donors age 70 ½ or older have used this option to exclude from taxable income qualifying charitable gifts transferred directly from their IRA to charity, including gifts to ministry. If Congress follows what has become its usual pattern, it will pass an extension in December that will apply through 2015 and be retroactive to January 1, 2014.
If you are considering a gift from your IRA for 2014 and are 70 ½ or older (on the date of the gift) and itemize your tax deductions, you may want to go ahead and make the gift up to the amount of your RMD (required minimum distribution). If Congress passes the extension and makes it retroactive, you will be able to treat the contribution as a rollover gift. If Congress does not pass the extension or make it retroactive, you will still be eligible to deduct the gift as an itemized deduction.
If you do not itemize or if you are making gifts in excess of your RMD, you may want to wait and see what Congress will do. If Congress does not pass an extension, you may want to make the gift from other resources. Of course you should always consult your tax advisor before making any contributions.
For more information or help answering questions you may have about making a gift with lasting impact, contact Jim Pennington, LCMS Foundation – Gift Planning Counselor.
Immokalee English Church
Under the leadership of Vicar Karl Glander our English language ministry in Immokalee continues to develop. Every Wednesday night Vicar Karl meets with a growing group of young people for food, Bible study and friendship. While these young adults are fluent in the native language of their parents, they feel more at ease speaking in English. This has created a wonderful niche for discipleship.
Immokalee Hispanic Church
Our Hispanic ministry in Immokalee was greatly enriched by receiving Danuel Morford into membership through affirmation of faith. Before moving to Immokalee, Dan spent many years working as an accountant as a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America. He now volunteers to tutor our Amigos Center English language students.
Immokalee Haitian Church
Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS plans to extend a divine call to Vicar Saint Luc Charelus to serve on their pastoral staff together with Rev. Andre Mezilus. Saint Luc is a student with the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology at Concordia Seminary. God willing, he will finish his theological studies by the summer of 2015.
Bonita Springs Hispanic Church
During 2014 we baptized two children and one adult and received two adults into membership. The expansion of our music ministry has been a highlight. Visit our website to hear a sample. We hope to prepare a gift CD of their music during 2015.
On May 4th, 2014 was the induction service for two vicars for our Immokalee ministry. Vicar Saint Luc Charelus will finish his theological studies next year; Vicar Karl Glander is just beginning his 4-year program of study. Both are enrolled in distance education programs of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO and work under the direction of local mentors and supervisors. Upon satisfactory completion they will receive a Theological Diploma which makes them eligible for a divine call to the pastoral ministry of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Upon graduation, we expect Saint Luc to join our pastoral ministry team at Bethlehem Haitian Church – LCMS. Karl will head up our English language mission in Immokalee.
We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 22 in our Immokalee church and we shared the joy of God’s gracious gift of His Son in Immokalee this Christmas.
Congratulations to Maria Herrera on the transfer of her Board of Immigration Appeals accreditation to Amigos Center! She is now recognized at both our Golden Gate office and Bonita Springs office!
Pastor Selle speaks on the topic of immigrants being an easy target for scamming and fraud in the wake of a new ID scam.
Pastor Robert Selle was given the opportunity to be on D’Latinos al Dia. They talked to him about receiving the FACE Award as well as the Newcomer’s Information Guide (Guia) produced each year by the Amigos Center. Check out the clip.
Amigos Center was written about on page 16 in the current issue of Lutheran Life.
On August 7th, Amigos en Cristo Lutheran Church in Bonita Springs held a Family Festival after worship services. It was a special occasion to invite friends and family to church. The festival featured live music, children’s water park activities, food, dancing, and games. Families could also enroll in our Marriage Enrichment Program, first communion classes and baptism instruction for children.