Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect and pray with us.  

I was on a church canoe trip in the BWCA. My parents made me go. I was a sophomore in high school and our pastor and his wife organized the trip. I didn't want to go.  I don't think any of my friends did either. But in those days, if the parents said you were going, you went. We had a guide from Camp Vermilion. We were working our way across Lac La Croix. The wind and the waves were against us, white caps. Even though we were macho high school boys, mostly, our arms were getting tired. It seemed like we were barely holding our own against the wind. Our guide could tell that we were close to giving up. That's when she taught us this song:

They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings like the eagle.

They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint.

Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait.

(Isaiah 40:31)

She got high school boys to sing this song. And it lifted and empowered us. Pretty soon we were paddling in time with the song and we made it across the biggest lake any of us had ever been on. That was in 1969. Camp Vermilion, and more recently, Camp Hiawatha have been ministering to me and my family for over 47 years.

My kids grew up spending lots of time at Vermilion when I was pastor at Outing and Littlefork. In my next call, to Lord of Life Lutheran in Baxter, I was involved at Luther Crest Bible Camp. Now serving at First Lutheran in Aitkin, I am delighted to be back to Vermilion and Hiawatha.

Years ago, First in Aitkin played a leading role in raising money for the "Tend and Nourish Campaign." Now First is stepping up again to serve through the "Watch Them Flourish Campaign." This campaign isn't a focus upon ourselves or upon the other valiant churches that we partner with through Voyageurs. Our focus is upon our faithful Lord and the Holy Spirit at work among us.

My friends and I paddled across Lac La Croix with God's help and a song. Once again today, we "wait upon the Lord." We turn to God, listen, and work, and watch to see what God will do among us. My parents made me attend that first canoe trip. Now, 47 years later, that canoe trip is one of the top half dozen best life experiences I've ever had.

God bless us in our shared partnership via Voyageurs, and in the completion of the new dining hall/retreat center/canoe base/storm shelter. Thanks be to God.

Rev. Darrell J. Pedersen

First Lutheran Church, Aitkin MN
VLM Board Member