Good Sam News

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Journey With Our Building Puentes Mission Team 

First, we would like to thank everyone who participated in our two fundraisers – the Chili Cook Off and Sweet Frog night were both a success and were a fun time to connect with each other and enjoy some good food! In addition to Thrivent Member Choice Dollars and Facebook Campaign donations from friends near and far we raised a total of $2400 to offset the cost of the trip for our team of eleven. Our team has a heart for mission and God has faithfully blessed each family with the funds to cover their remaining balance.

We will be leaving for Puerto Rico in two groups – July 21st and July 28th and all returning August 3rd. 

When I pray for people, I love to know a bit about them and have a face to bring to mind! So, as you keep the team in your thoughts & prayers leading up to and during the trip, I hope to learn a bit more about them helps you connect more deeply with them through this shared journey.

Katie Hayden – This is my 1st mission trip! I’m excited to meet new people, experience a new culture, and grow my faith while helping others. I am most nervous about the bugs! 

  • Spouse: Mike Hayden  
  • Kids: Elizabeth- 5, Charlie -3, Henry -3 
  • Hometown: Hollywood  
  • Day Job: Part Time ESOL Teacher in Calvert county
  • Hobby: Lately, Training our two new puppies 
  • Joined Good Sam: February 2019, but have been attending for about one year    

Kathy Marbach – I served in Guatemala previously restoring homes in a village in the highlands. I am most excited for this trip to learn something new and refreshing, use my Spanish skills and do recreational activities in Puerto Rico. I am most nervous about the heat and being dehydrated.

  • Spouse: Pete Marbach 
  • Kids: Cora & Mabel
  • Hometown: Edinburg, VA
  • Day Job: Caring for Kids & Part Time Spanish Teacher
  • Hobby: crafts & Sewing, Zumba/Exercising 
  • Joined: 2017

Eric Thurber – I have done a couple local mission service opportunities in the past. I’m most excited about visiting a new place and meeting people, as well as getting back into construction type activities.  Nervous about sleeping in the heat!

  • Spouse: Kelly Thurber
  • Kids: Max – 5, Eli -4
  • Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS
  • Day Job: Navy Test Pilot
  • Hobby: Racing cars & outdoor stuff
  • Joined Good Sam: 2016

Kelly Thurber – I served as a short term missionary in Uganda in 2011 & 2013. I have done a few other small trips in the US over the years and I am most excited to be part of a group effort with my church and bonus that I get to use my construction skills. I am most nervous that it’s been so long since I have used my skills; I worry I will struggle to work, teach and lead adequately.

  • Hometown: Birmingham, AL
  • Day Job: Usborne Books & More Consultant & Educational Services Rep
  • Hobby: Volunteering & Outdoor Activities
  • Joined Good Sam: 2016

Ron Stepp – This is my first mission and I’m excited to help people who need assistance and to spend time with the Puerto Rican people. My only concern is my poor hearing will impact my ability to understand people which may inhibit how I am able to connect with them. 

  •   Spouse: Laurie Stepp
  •   Kids: Three Boys – 33, 31 & 28
  •   Joined Good Sam: 2004 – currently living in York, PA
  • Hometown: Buena Park, CA
  • Day Job: Retired from NAVAIR flight testing
  • Hobby: Bicycling

Laurie Stepp: While helping my 3 sons raise funds for mission work in Mexico, I wished I could have belonged to a youth group doing that kind of thing; and now is that time! I am excited to live and work in a community of like-minded Christians who want to share God’s love where needed. Although, I am worried a very little bit about being in the 16-person dorm with no AC! Ron and I hope to continue to travel abroad and do Thrivent Builds.

  • Hometown: Modoc Co., CA.
  • Day Job: Retired
  • Hobby: Grandchildren, Gardening, Cycling 

Diane Hay: We are getting to the age of retirement so we are looking forward to meeting new people and to see if trips like this are something they would like to continue to do in our retirement.

  • Spouse: Rob Hay
  • Kids: 2 grown kids, Stephanie and Gregory
  • Hometown: Hatboro, Pennsylvania
  • Day Job: Certified Veterinary Technician
  • Hobby: Camping, Hiking, Travel
  • Joined Good Sam: 1996

Rob Hay

  • Hometown: Collingdale, Pennsylvania
  • Day Job: Engineer
  • Hobby: Camping, Hiking, Travel, Biking
  • Joined Good Sam: 1996

Gennifer Koebke – I’m excited to be going on this mission trip with my husband and son. I enjoyed our mission work with adults with disabilities at last summer’s Youth Gathering in Houston where we made so many new connections. I’m most excited about meeting new people. I’m most nervous about sleep issues.

  • Spouse: George Koebke
  • Kids: Megan & Chelsea (grown), & Gregory -15, Grandson Bode -2
  • Hometown: Mayville, NY
  • Day Job: Elementary school reading teacher
  • Hobbies: Watching Gregory play baseball, visiting with family, reading, swimming
  • Joined Good Sam: 1998

George Koebke- Our family is looking forward to helping the people of Puerto Rico in whatever way we can.

  • Hometown: Hyattsville, MD
  • Day Job: Retired Boeing flight test engineer
  • Hobby: Doing small repair jobs

Gregory Koebke – I enjoyed the National Youth Gathering last summer and working with adults with disabilities. I’m most nervous about being away from familiar routines and most excited about seeing Puerto Rico and meeting people there.

  • Hometown: Maryland
  • Day Job: Sophomore in High School
  • Hobby: Baseball


Join me on Sunday, August 11 during fellowship where we will take about 15-minutes and discuss 5 techniques to welcome someone new.

As you know, we have been trying to establish a “Welcome Team” that will provide consistency and be intentional about creating an atmosphere where all who enter our doors feel welcomed and valued.

On August 11th , we will offer some insights as to the kinds of things that reflect that sentiment. Bring your ideas too!  What makes you feel welcomed in new situations/places? What gives you pause and leaves you uneasy?  Perhaps while reading this some ideas are already bubbling to the surface.  Send me an e-mail and we can get the conversation started.  It would be fun to get some ideas and begin to communicate before the 11th.

Let’s learn together how we can best display what it means to truly welcome others into the community of Good Sam.


Gail Wathen, Council President

A Path To Connection

Some of you may have noticed a new path that was created on our property. It is a path that allows for easier access to the soup kitchen and the food pantry from the mobile homes that reside behind our building. This path was not created by us, but what a wonderful opportunity for Good Sam to really welcome our neighbors. During our last two council meetings, we discussed how to respond with regards to this path. It was unanimous that we should not only embrace the opportunity to connect with our neighbors, but also make the path inviting and safe for them to travel.

On Sunday, July 28th, I invite you to bring your ideas and meet with me during fellowship so that we can create a vision and a plan for this surprise blessing.  Let’s shout “YOU ARE WELCOME HERE” through our response and actions.  As the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns are sung “they’ll know we are Christians by our love by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.                                          


Gail Wathen, Council President

Sunday’s Sermon, July 14, 2019

…from Worship at Good Sam on July 14, 2019

Lessons: Deuteronomy 30:9-14, Psalm 25:1-10, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37

Sermon: “What God Sees”

Prayer: O Lord God, your mercy delights us, and the world longs for your loving care. Hear the cries of everyone in need, and turn our hearts to love our neighbors with the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Sunday’s Sermon, July 7, 2019

…from Worship at Good Sam on July 7, 2019

Lessons: Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalm 66:1-9, Galatians 6:[1-6] 7-16, Luke 10:11,16-20

Sermon: “An Accompaniment”

Prayer: O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, you are the city that shelters us, the mother who comforts us. With your Spirit accompany us on our life’s journey, that we may spread your peace in all the world, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

July Highlights

Good Sam Happenings in July

July 7 [Sunday Theme] “An Accompaniment”

* July 13th- Yard Sale

July 14 [Sunday Theme] “What God Sees”

July 21 [Sunday Theme]  “A Message from…”

* July 21st- Building Puentes Mission Trip Group Leaves for Puerto Rico

July 28 [Sunday Theme“A Message from Pastor Eva Steege”  

* Stitching Sisters Summer Camp Week 1 (July 29th & 30th) from 9am – 11:30am

July newsletter “Grapevine”

Sign up for our weekly email news to stay up on all the Good Sam Happenings.

Summer Members in Mission

NEW Members in Mission This Summer

We are creating a SPACE FOR GRACE this summer. During the school year so many people have sports and activities and other obligations. Some of us may travel this summer near and far, or take the opportunity to enjoy the weather on weekends or sleep in. Summer is a time to relax and refresh and get to know some different faces! I’d like to introduce you to a couple of new members who have taken on big roles in our new summer program:

Kathy Marbach, her husband Pete, and their girls Cora and Mabel, moved here in 2017 with the Marine Corps. She was searching for an active Lutheran church and found Good Sam. Originally from Edinburg, VA, Kathy has always been active in church and ministry everywhere she goes! She has served as a small group leader with the Virginia Synod youth, volunteered in the nursery, a VBS volunteer, and served on the council for Hispanic Ministry in California. Here at Good Sam, she has stepped up as a substitute Sunday school teacher, serves on the fellowship team and helped coordinate our thriving Eat & Play Fellowship of Families programs. This year she began teaching Spanish in an after-school program and is continuing to teach this summer at a Spanish Camp for St. Mary’s County Public Schools. Kathy is also part of the team headed to Puerto Rico in July and has previously been on a Lutheran cultural youth trip to Puerto Rico in 2008 as a trip chaperone and in 2007 she went to Guatemala to build houses. When Kathy sees a need she is ready to jump in! Why did Kathy join the Summer Programs Team? Because the Bible instructs us to TEACH our children the ways of the Lord and she believes this is the priority of the church as in Deuteronomy 11:18-21.

Josh Buyert relocated from Iowa here to Pax River a couple of years ago when he got a job as a civilian with the Navy. His wife Tabitha and their daughter Elizabeth were finally able to join him here in 2018 and they all joined Good Sam earlier this year. They also welcomed their son Connor in April. Tabitha grew up Lutheran and they tried a few churches before finding their way to Good Sam. Although they have been participating in church activities for a while, this will be Josh’s first real leadership role in the church. Josh and Robert Mack volunteered to help lead the Middle & High School youth this summer. He was involved himself as a youth and is excited to connect with that group at Good Sam. Why did Josh join the Summer Programs Team? He saw a need during our interest meeting and wanted to fill that need, he felt called to step up. His hope is that people show up and have a good time! We are excited to welcome new energy and role models for our teens and hope to create lasting connections for them with their peers and other adults in the church.

So, we invite you to come have dinner with Good Sam (Yeah, no cooking! Unless you want to bring something to share), shake up your Wednesday night and enjoy the company of others in whatever way you want to participate. Doors will open at 4:30 PM, Dinner at 5:15 PM, Angelic Voices Choir practice at 6:00 PM, an opening prayer at 6:15 PM and activities and small groups until 7:00 PM. Drop in when you can, leave when you need to, bring a friend, or make a new one! Join us in our Space for Grace this summer.

June Highlights

Good Sam Happenings in June

June 2 [Sunday Theme] “Easter Conversion: New Life Means New Choices”

June 9 [Sunday Theme] “My Own Know Me”

June 16 [Sunday Theme]  “When the Spirit comes….”

June 19 Summer at Good Sam Kick Off – 4:30 pm to 7 pm (Wednesday Community Time with a meal and activities for every age)

June 23 [Sunday Theme“and if you belong to Christ…”

June 26 Summer at Good Sam – 4:30 pm to 7 pm (Wednesday Community Time with a meal and activities for every age)

June 30 [Sunday Theme] “Inheritors of the Spirit”

(Summer Schedule begins May 26 through Sept 3)) and Worship Starts at 9:30 am)

June newsletter “Grapevine”

Sign up for our weekly email news to stay up on all the Good Sam Happenings.

Sunday’s Sermon, June 9, 2019, Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday

…from Worship at Good Sam on June 9, 2019, Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday

Lessons: Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17 [25-27]

Sermon: “A Message From Pastor Mitch Watney”

Prayer: God our creator, the resurrection of your Son offers life to all the peoples of earth. By your Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love, empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from John’s Gospel.

A Trip To The Movies…

Join your friends from Good Sam, on Monday, June 17th to see a limited screening of the documentary, Emanuel, the Untold Story of the Victims and Survivors of the Charleston Church Shooting.  This film, directed by Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, powerfully weaves the history of race relations in Charleston, the significance and impact of Mother Emanuel Church, and the hope that somehow emerges in the aftermath.  Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members, EMANUEL is a ‘poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, examining the healing power of forgiveness’ (from the trailer).

The film will be shown at the Lexington Exchange 12 plex in Wildewood at 7 pm on June 17th.  Tickets are $13.  We will meet and talk about what we see at Coffee and Conversation on June 23rd, right after Fellowship time. See this link

Purchase a Ticket!

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