Help Others Step Closer to Jesus

St. Matthew Lutheran School
7th Annual Turkey Trot
November 17, 2017

Early in my ministry, I was standing in the hallway greeting students good morning when I received a response that shook me to my core... "Mrs. Palka, I'm not supposed to tell you, but we had to sleep in our car last night, and I was so scared."

An immediate investigation revealed the embarrassment of an eviction due to a series of unfortunate financial circumstances. Instantly, I watched the body of Christ work together to help this family get back into a suitable living environment and ensure that basic needs were met.  Scripture states in Matthew 25:40, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do onto Me" and it was so exciting watching congregational members be the hands and feet of Jesus in action during this situation.  Sometimes, God uses us to help those in other states or countries, and sometimes, those He presents us with opportunities to help people in our  very own community.

The Blessings of Parent/Teacher Conferences

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11
One of the most fascinating aspects regarding working with children is watching God grow and cultivate their individual gifts, talents, and personality traits throughout their lives.  Often, teachers will notice certain qualities and wonder how God is going to develop and use that characteristic in the future.  For example, we've watched students fascinated with science and space grow up, attend MIT, and work for NASA.  We've watched children who were fabulous at fixing broken items around the school grow up, and become engineers or accomplished mechanics.  We've had students, who were wonderful tutors, attend the Concordia colleges and now are high school math teachers.  We've had kids that were fascinated with dissection become surgeons, while one student who was famous for doodling is now employed as an animator for Sony and Play Station.

"Give Me Your Eyes": Grades 6 - 8 Spend a Day Loading Train Cars With Items for Those in Need

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto Me."  Matthew 25:40

Recipe for a Matthew 25:40 Day:

  • Mix together 68 passionate St. Matthew sixth, seventh, and eighth graders
  • Blend in 20 extremely helpful St. Matthew parents and teachers
  • Fold in approximately 35 compassionate Lutheran high school volunteers
  • Knead together with a generous scoop of Jesus' love
  • Add 4 semi trailers and 5 trucks filled with food, handmade quilts, clothing, school kits, toiletries, and other basic necessities
  • Place all items into 5 train boxcars
  • Simmer in the beautiful sunshine at the Detroit ConRail train yard
  • Bake for 2.5 hours or until done
  • Enjoy the taste of being the hands and feet of Jesus and the joy that comes from helping those in need!

Yesterday, our sixth through eighth grade had the awesome opportunity to...

Lutherfest 500 Is Almost Here!

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto Me!" Matthew 25:40

You've heard of the Indy 500, and the Daytona 500, but are you ready for Lutherfest 500??
This Friday, St. Matthew Lutheran School will wave the checkered flags for the start of Lutherfest 500, a special anniversary celebration commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  In 1517, Martin Luther led the Reformation in Germany.  The Reformation was based on the Biblical truths of Jesus and the gift of forgiveness that comes freely through grace by faith in Him.

Emergency Procedures A Follow-Up Reflection To Last Friday's Events

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Once, I was walking behind a group of Kindergarteners as they were passing by one of the fire alarms located in the 200 wing when I overheard one little boy say to another, "No one is allowed to pull that handle!" Immediately, the other little boy quickly rebutted, "No one except Mrs. Palka!" As I heard this, I just smiled hearing this was one of my claims to fame as the principal.  However, the truth of the matter is that every time that we rehearse this drill throughout the seven annually scheduled practice sessions, pulling the alarm is actually one of my jobs!
So imagine my shock a few years ago when I was in a meeting with another staff member inside my office and the fire alarm went off!

Ladies and Gentlemen... Start Your Engines and Get Ready as St. Matthew Lutheran School Prepares for Lutherfest 500 on October 13!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift. Ephesians 2:8

Twenty-four years ago, the St. Matthew Lutheran School staff of 1993 were collaboratively working on a school family fellowship event when the first "Progressive Dinner" concept evolved. It was during this brain-storming session that the design of each classroom making a portion of a meal and parents purchasing tickets to "progress from room to room" to sample the meal was conceived.  As the part-time 6 - 8 Language Arts teacher at that time, my assignment was to work in the kitchen with a few 8th grade moms to make spaghetti for approximately 75 people, and it was a wonderful night!

What's Your Legacy?

"Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith."   Hebrews 13:7

If you were asked to name your earliest childhood friend, how far back could you stroll down memory lane?  Was this friend someone in your neighborhood?  Maybe someone you met at school? Perhaps you played together on a sports team?
My daughter is very blessed that her favorite St. Matthew Preschool 3 buddy back in 1999 still remains one of her closest and best friends, even eighteen years later! Despite the fact that Jen was always the tallest girl in the class and Kristine was always the shortest, their personalities, sense of humor, and convictions have always been extremely compatible and complementary of one another.  
After all these years of spending so much time together, both girls have also come to know each other's extended families quite well, but the one extended family member that Kristine always adored and admired was Jen's grandpa.

Back To School Celebration This Sunday Come and Train To Be One Of God's Mighty Warriors!

If someone would ask you "What is one of your favorite television shows?", how would you reply?  For me, one show that I find fascinating to watch is "American Ninja Warrior"!
This action-packed series follows extremely intense competitors as they tackle a sequence of tremendously challenging obstacle courses.  Preliminary contests are held in six different cities around the United States and the top qualifiers from each city progress to the National Finals, which are currently being held in Las Vegas.  During the National Finals, these amazing top competitors will face a grueling and incredibly demanding four-stage course. The winner will receive the title as the most elite American Ninja Warrior and take home a grand prize of $1 million dollars!

Large or Small... God Can Use Us All! A Third Grade Student's Experience of Having God's Eyes to Help Those In Need

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you have done unto Me." Matthew 25:40

We live in a society where "list making" is a very prominent organizational strategy.  We make grocery lists, "To Do" lists, favorite playlists, check lists, chore lists, and even wish lists.  Sometimes, my desk can be so cluttered with lists, that I need a list to remind me to finish each list!

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with third grader, Joe Lancaster, and learned about his "Do Something" list.  He told me that he began this list last year when our school motto was "Do Something", and he explained that his list includes ways that he could help people who are sick, hungry, or in need.  Over the summer, his mom heard a news story about "The Detroit Food Pantry" and how Citizens Bank would match any amount given to this organization.  He told me that his reply was, "Oooooh! That's a good idea to put on my "Do Something" list."

"Give Me Your Eyes"


If you have ever needed corrective lenses before, you know that experience of putting your new glasses on for the first time and being totally amazed at the clarity and preciseness of your vision! I was in third grade and still remember to this day walking out of the eye doctor's office wearing my new glasses, being in awe of my new and improved sight, and the ability to see things like street signs and birds flying through the sky with such clearness! It occurred to me that I had become so accustomed to my poor vision that I didn't realize everything that I was missing!


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