“The Pelican Update”

Praise the Lord for the Grace, Mercy and Peace, which are OURS because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Do you remember adolescence and the changes that came with that stage of life? That is where we are at in the life of The Pelican. There is a lot of planning, preparation, and implementation for present and future MATURITY. It is not easy, but most certainly necessary. We know that we can’t keep doing things the way we have been.

One example is our English Classes. Three years ago, English was only inroad into the community. Through three English Night classes, the Lord attracted many unbelievers to His mercy and connected them to His church as well. Over that time our English Classes have garnered 7 committed volunteer teachers. Time and experience have also shown us the need to improve the program for the good of all. Finally, as Word & Sacrament ministry has grown & developed, my time as the pastor must be spent developing leaders, fundraising, and starting new ministries throughout our area. English Night must be reorganized to be run completely by others.

We tried this last Spring without success. Now, after another attempted hand-off on January 5, we are suspending classes until February 19th so that we can prepare a better program to serve the needs of the community and the volunteers. The program will also have to stand and operate without Pastor Mark, so that the ministry that leads to eternal life may flourish.

It is an interesting place to be – “in the middle of in-between”! We do have big plans for the future, and we need the Lord Jesus to lead with power every step of the way. Keep us in your prayers on this so that many more people may be reached and transformed by the news of free forgiveness in Jesus!

Eglise SILOE, our Haitian ministry is going well with Pastor Saint Luc Charelus faithfully gathering people around the Lord Jesus FOUR times every week! Pastor Saint Luc works two jobs and still makes time to reach people for Jesus and gather them to The Pelican. Eglise SILOE now has signs to direct Haitians to the Lord Jesus at The Pelican.

There is no doubt that you have heard about the changes in Venezuela. We have prayed weekly for such an exchange of ‘good government’ to replace ‘abusive government’ since we began worship. Our prayer is that the Lord Jesus would deliver this blessing to Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, and now Nicaragua.

Two peaceful vigils of support for democracy, justice, and freedom in Venezuela have been held at The Pelican since January 23. While these are neither organized nor sponsored by The Pelican, we have become known as a location where people may safely gather to worship, praise the Lord, find comfort, celebrate, and spend time together. We are praying for freedom from oppression so that people may work in peace, have access to basic foods and medicines, and be able to publicly worship the Lord Jesus freely without danger from their own officials.

Worship attendance is just over 50 with an unexpected Sunday with 75 folks on the last Sunday in January.

On February 4th we begin our first evening service during the week! Over the past sixteen months we have job changes, or schedule changes take 12 adults from our Sunday morning worship service. Therefore, we are starting a service every Monday evening at 6:45 p.m. We pray that this will reach not only those who we know, but also many others as well!

Loss of a Brother: On Friday January 11th a 54 year-old husband and father suffered a fatal brain aneurism. Victor Piñate leaves behind his wife, Tamara; his 22 year-old daughter, Ana; and his 14 year-old son, Samuel. Keep this family in your prayers as they contend with the challenges of this loss.

Plans for the future: FAU summer teaching internship. We are applying for a summer teaching intern to help us with the English Classes we offer, and to help design a program for our future Language Institute.

Thank you always for your care and encouragement for this ministry and our family as well! Everyone is serving well in various capacities in our community, and we are blessed to love what we do! God bless you in the love of Jesus, and have a wonderful February in Christ’s freedom and grace!!

Your Brother in Christ,

Pastor Mark Eisold

Everyone who has seen a pelican in action is amazed by its size, maneuverability, vision, courage, and gift as a fisherman.  I mean, who can dive into the water headfirst from 40 feet in the air – with their mouth open – and catch a fish?  Yet, even at rest, the pelican has an uncanny way about it that communicates tranquility, confidence, and satisfaction.  The “personality” of the pelican has made it a symbol for everything to worldly success to tropical relaxation.

While this may set the pelican several bars above many other animals and birds, it hardly explains why the early Christians used the pelican as a symbol for Christ.  Yes, its true.   Though many contemporary Christians have never heard of this, the pelican was an important symbol for the love, sacrifice, power, and life delivered by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

You see, long before Jesus walked on
the earth, the people of the Mediterranean had an incredible respect for the pelican.  In fact, the pelican became a legendary figure.  In times of famine, the pelican was known to tear at its own breast, draw blood, and feed its young in order that they may have life.  Naturally, when these people received news that God, in His great love, had come into the world in human form, shedding His own blood to wash, adopt, and redeem us (Holy Baptism), and to FEED US (The Lord’s Supper) so that we may have forgiveness and life, they made a direct connection with what they already had seen in the pelican.

The symbol of the pelican feeding its young with three drops of blood from its chest was used in numerous cathedrals through the end of the Middle Ages.In some, it was included as stained glass, in others the scene was etched into stone on the alter.  

In some churches, the tabernacle over the alter was completely fashioned in the shape of a pelican.  The story of the pelican, as a reminder of our Lord Jesus, was included in European Christian literature and song through the 17th century.  Even in the United States, the symbol of the pelican has been found in Lutheran churches as a reminder of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Still today, liturgical items bearing the pelican symbol can be purchased.

In 2016 in Naples, Florida – where pelicans are abundant and popular, the pelican is a perfect fit for a new, Christian mission in the LCMS with:  a great vision for filling the community with Christ, training all converts to be fishers of men, and courageously diving headfirst into a multi-ethnic community to start a multi-ethnic congregation.  Welcome to the Pelican Community Center and Lutheran Church.