Int'l LLL convention elects Onnen president

Michael “Mick” Onnen of Davenport, Neb., was elected to a two-year term as the new presidentlll-conv-onnen.gif of the International Lutheran Laymen’s League during the auxiliary’s 91st International Convention, July 24-27 in Lexington, Ky.

Onnen succeeds John “Jack” Kidwell, who served in the post since 2004 and was not eligible for re-election.

“I am truly honored and humbled to stand before you today,” Onnen told the general session audience following his election.  “I thank you for your kind vote of confidence and for the loving words of support and blessing that I have received from many of you.”

Also elected were Mark Dunlop of Des Peres, Mo., financial secretary, and regional governors:

  • Neil Widstrom of Tifton, Ga., Region 2.

  • Martin Henrichs, Valparaiso, Ind., Region 4.

  • Edward Bieno, Stoughton, Wis, Region 6.

  • Clarence “Sonny” Mack, Montgomery, Ill., Region 8.

  • Gary Rohloff, Fort Worth, Texas, Region 10. lll-flag.gif

  • William “Bill” Snow, Watertown, S.D., Region 12.

  • Lou Marting, Mission Viejo, Calif., Region 14.
  • The convention, held under the theme “Live by the Spirit,” from Gal. 5:16, provided more than 1,000 attendees with a fitting goal: to share the Gospel message around the world and in their own communities.

    “When we ‘live by the spirit,’ we have the best example to uplift us and encourage us in our daily lives,” said outgoing Int’l LLL President Kidwell.

    In his address to the convention, LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick said he appreciated the League’s focus on mission and outreach.  “Thank you for your continued efforts in producing resources for use by congregations and individuals for the purpose of Gospel outreach, and for your dedicated partnership in the Ablaze! movement,” Kieschnick said.          

    Rev. Ken Klaus, speaker of “The Lutheran Hour,” spoke throughout the convention, offering Christ-centered messages during the general session, The Hoffmann Society reception, a mini-retreat for men, and The Lutheran Hour Rally.

    “Being a Christian is not a spectator sport; following the Savior calls for courage and commitment,” Klaus said.  “The Lord has entrusted us with the salvation story … we are people of Christ with the one and only message of hope that can forgive sins and save souls.  ‘Thus far, no further.’  Here is where we make our stand.”

    Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who has ridden the winners of U.S. Triple Crown horses nine times, served as the keynote speaker during the convention’s sold-out fellowship luncheon.  Day offered insights about how the Holy Spirit works through imperfect people like himself and how his life was turned around, by God’s grace, from a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse when he heard the Gospel message and realized his need for the Savior.

    “Everything in my life now is about having a personal, ongoing relationship with the Lord,” Day said.  “There can be no true joy apart from the will of God.”

    As the Ladies Luncheon speaker, Terry Kieschnick, wife of the Synod president, focused on Is. 52:7, “How blll-hayride.gifeautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God Reigns!'”

    “God is our shoemaker,” Kieschnick said.  “He designed us, He made us, and He bought us ….  Each of us has specially chosen gifts and abilities” to help us serve Him, she noted.

    Other convention activities included a new outreach track for younger adults; a “servant event” in which children attendees collected canned goods for God’s Pantry Food Bank; a reception for members of The Hoffmann Society; and a special recognition ceremony to honor the “Outstanding Ambassadors” of the League’s worldwide Gospel outreach, Lutheran Hour Ministries.

    The next International Convention of the Int’l LLL is planned for July 16-19, 2009, in Greensboro, N.C.  For more information about the St. Louis-based Int’l LLL or Lutheran Hour Ministries, visit or call (800) 876-9880.

    To find out how to view convention highlights online, click here.

    Posted July 31, 2008

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