Apostles Stories

Pentecost Sunday | The Power of Picnic

Pentecost Table

Hello friends,
Do you know what the disciples were doing before they received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost? Waiting…as a group. They were waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. They were waiting for the Spirit to come. We are offered the same invitation today to receive yes the very same Spirit the Apostles received from Jesus Christ. A group of believers waiting together in a room for the Spirit to move. We can do that. 🙂
This past year has been full of waiting. Waiting to see loved ones, waiting to hug friends, and waiting for the pandemic to end. Pentecost Sunday and the Pentecost Picnic marks the celebration of mandates being lifted and much of our joy together restored. Prayers have been heard and answered.
As old relationships are rekindled and new relationships forged may we be brave to gather and “wait upon the Lord.” May we wait for fresh words of healing for this past year and beyond, may we listen to each-other’s stories and point where God has been at work, and may we be open to the Holy Spirit’s gentle whisper within.
The power of picnic. The renewal of fellowship. The coming of the Holy Spirit.
May Awe Come on Every Soul,
Carson Daniel

New Life at Apostles!

Hannah, Arvid, Emelia, and Ben.

Emelia reading to Arvid.


Paul, Elizabeth, and Miles


Miles sleeping


Dora, Elie, Carson, and Clementine


Hello friends,
I held Clementine in my arms and a thought popped in my head “Clementine is a living sacrament”. A living sacrament…she is an outward, tangible, and visible sign of an inward grace given to Dora and I. Clementine is a living icon of the divine. Within each person is the image of God, not simply in appearance but in the soul we are imprinted with the watermark of the Almighty. Children are a gift from God and in our common life together at Apostles we have been blessed with three new gifts from heaven. Miles Varnado, Arvid Anderson, and Clementine Daniel have been welcomed with open arms to this world! What a joy! Alleluia! May our Apostles family be encouraged by these great gifts among us. For they are evidence of our Father’s heart and reminders of the goodness of life.
For the Kingdom,
Carson Daniel
Below you will find a few photos of these new people and some responses from their parents.
The Andersons Welcome
Arvid Wayne Anderson!
Responses from Ben and Hannah
What is your favorite late night snack while you have cared for your newborn?
We haven’t really developed a favorite late night snack while caring for our newborn, but on any given day we can put away a good number of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups.
What have you learned about the Lord through the birth of your new baby?
The birth of our second was very different than the first, and very much an answer to prayer. We’re thankful for the ways God has shown us his faithfulness with both experiences, but also reminded us that not getting what we ask for does not mean he is less faithful. More than ever, we know life is such a gift from our Creator, and we are so thankful.
Where have your seen the Church (God’s people) loving your family in this pregnancy and birth? (Meals, encouragement, prayer, money, etc.)
We have felt the love and support of so many family and friends. From check-ins to meals and gifts, we have been blessed with reminders that we really are part of a village, even in the midst of such bizarre and isolating times.

The Varnados Welcome

Miles Adrian Varnado!

Responses from Paul and Elizabeth
What is your favorite late night snack while you have cared for your newborn?
E: Celery and peanut butter with a few strawberries
P: Almonds and pistachios
What have you learned about the Lord through the birth of your new baby?
Because our baby was breech we had to trust God in a lot of things through the last few weeks. It was an exercise in giving up control and learning to trust that God will guide our son.
Where have you seen the Church (God’s people) loving your family in this pregnancy and birth? (Meals, encouragement, prayer, money, etc.)
E: ‘The weeks before Miles was born were challenging, and it meant a lot to have people praying with us for a safe birth. Knowing that others were trusting God’s hand in our boy’s birth story helped me process what was happening and trust God more. I felt the presence and peace of God in a very real way through the encouraging words and prayers from women at church.
P: Hearing from men in Wednesday group who have adult children has provided a lot of perspective and calm. It helped me zoom out from some of the anxiety-ridden aspects of early parenthood I was focused on and onto the bigger picture. It was also a reminder of the unique gift that the church has to unite people in various stages or life or from different backgrounds.

The Daniels Welcome

Clementine Daniel!

responses from Dora and Carson
What is your favorite late night snack while you have cared for your newborn?
D: I have enjoyed almonds, specifically salted and roasted. I think if I’m being less healthy: the blueberry lemon donuts my sister brought me!
C: Lol donuts, PB&J, and other health food.
What have you learned about the Lord through the birth of your new baby?
D: I have really been contemplating why the Lord uses the term “be born again,” in light of giving birth and tending my newborn. This metaphor of being born again has really come alive for me through this experience. Also, the extreme life-giving capacity of women has been showing me a lot about God’s creative nature and the craziness as to how humans come into the world.
C: The Lord is Good and he uses everything to shape our souls. I had a mini panic attack the afternoon following Clementine’s birth. The stress finally hit me and God invited me to go sit on a park bench outside the hospital. The Father tended to me but I was also reminded how this level of intensity, risk, and wildness is a beautiful gift of the Father. God was calling me up that day, as a husband, Father, and man. The call is high, and God knows that but he also will never leave me alone.
Where have your seen the Church (God’s people) loving your family in this pregnancy and birth? (Meals, encouragement, prayer, money, etc.)
D: Definitely through the lovely meals we have received and the prayers on our behalf. There was concern about Clementine’s size, which is why we were induced early, and I had a lot more peace knowing we were being lifted in prayer. Clementine’s arrival was eased by the prayers of the church (and my mom) and I am grateful!
C: We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Church. We have seen in a real way how the Church is fulfilling Christ’s admonishment, “They will know you by how you love one another.” We have been so loved!

Introducing Apostles’ Stories with Angela and the Christmas Bird

Carol and Angela

Introducing Apostles Stories!
Hello friends,
Father Martin and I sat down one afternoon and thought of an idea. We wanted to find a way to share stories of how the Lord was moving at Apostles. There are countless stories of the Spirit moving in peoples lives but often those stories are not widely communicated. Story is at the heart of being Christian. The Bible itself is a collection of many stories of our spiritual ancestors and most importantly about a faithful God. The faithful and loving God in stories of the Bible is active today. May this blog be a place full of testimonies, creative movements of the Spirit, and answered prayers.
For the Kingdom,
Carson Daniel
Read below for a great story of creative blessing:
Time…. what do you do when you find yourself with time? If you are like me, “2020 time” was a bit weird. Sometimes I forgot what day of the week it was. But all the sudden in the middle of July I found myself with extra time . . .large chunks of time in my house, in my yard. I started cleaning, weeding organizing especially my messy backyard. A backyard full of stuff that my husband and I don’t like to throw away, but we are not sure what we are going to do with it. Instead of cleaning up my yard by throwing everything into the trash, I started turning the backyard junk into yard art. It became a bit of art therapy to me.
Solving the problem of how to make something that wouldn’t fall apart and that would look fun, beautiful, cheerful gave me something to think about that wasn’t related to other problems going on in the world around me. It was fun to see what others would consider trash from a different point of view. Driving down the road and seeing a hub cap leaning against a stop sign, my sister-in-law said, “Now I see a flower!”
Fish and sea creatures came into my backyard first, then butterflies and insects. I made a butterfly out of an old garage door spring and gutter straps, then an alligator from a rusty post hole digger, downspouts and galvanized pipe. Lady bugs and flowers appeared from projects started and abandoned years ago. My self-inflicted rule was I couldn’t buy anything except hardware to attach pieces together and spray paint. I put some of the pieces on my wooden fence that ran along the sidewalk where neighbors walk. My fence is high, so I can’t always see people but I can hear them. It was fun to hear people calling my butterfly a dragonfly. I even had neighbors stop and ask where I bought the pieces, that was all the encouragement I needed to keep going!
And I had more stuff I needed to recycle, so for Halloween a dinosaur appeared in the evergreens and a turkey appeared around Thanksgiving.
I truly enjoy making beautiful things with my hands- painting, drawing, sewing, cooking, and gardening. When I am creating something, and I lose track of time I call it “my little taste of heaven”. When I look at God’s creation I am truly awestruck by His creativity and His sense of humor.
As Christmas approached, I felt I needed to make something that could be carried around to bless friends and family, maybe a way to deliver Christmas Cards. My heart truly just wanted to make people smile during this trying year. A little blessing.
I have always enjoyed drawing birds. It was one of my favorite things to teach when I was an art teacher. They really do come in such an amazing variety of shapes, sizes, colors and personalities! I don’t think there are large red birds in nature, but I was feeling like fire engine red needed to be the color for Christmas. The big red Christmas bird came into existence. She had to be portable, and she had to be able to handle the weather, especially the wind and the snow. She also needed an explanation if I was going to just put her in someone’s yard and leave.
Social distance rules have created some interesting solutions. I wrote an explanation….it ended up in the form of a poem.
From Thanksgiving to the New Year I moved the bird around to friends and family’s front yards, back yards, and patios. This quirky bird reconnected me with friends I hadn’t talked to during the Covid year and with those I knew needed a little silly smile in their day. It became a conversation piece between neighbors and something to look at out the window for elderly friends and family stuck indoors. It even visited Apostles to greet guests on Christmas eve!
We affectionately named the bird Carol. She has landed at my house for now, but who knows where she will land in the days to come….Fire Engine Red works for Valentine’s Day too, doesn’t it?
The Christmas Bird Poem
Have you heard of the legend of the Christmas Bird
Who has come to visit you?
She appears in years of sorrow
To remind us of what is True!
She sends love and hugs and cheer
From friends who love you best
She flys around the city,
North, south, east and west
She’ll only stay a day or two
And then be on her way
To wish another loved one
A blessed Christmas Day.
This Christmas Bird is like a song
About a baby boy
Who came into our broken world
Bringing hope and love and joy.
That song about a Savior
Born many years ago
He can bless our hearts, souls and minds
If we will let Him so.
This crimson bird hopes you’ll be cheered
And spread your love around
To those who might need a smile
Who might be a bit down.
This year of 2020
When distance we must keep
This Christmas Bird wishes you lots of joy,
And love so rich and deep.