Str8UP Youth Mission Team brings loo to a lawn near you

One of the Str8UP Youth fundraising loos landed on a lawn near Woodway Park this past weekend. (Courtesy Photo)

by Stacy Bender


Str8Up Orlando 21 is a team of Youth students from the Libby Assembly of God.

Isabella Swanson, Briana Filler, Joel Goodman, Morgan Davis, and Emily Harmon, along with church staff, will be traveling to Orlando in August of 2021 to participate in a National Training and Leadership Conference and a Mission Trip in downtown Orlando. “This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for these students to explore and learn how to use the gifts God has given them!” shared youth pastor, Kela Miller in an online post.

“We plan to do more than keep students busy for four days and to burden our already busy leaders with more to do,” wrote camp organizers. “During the week, every student, parent, and leader on the trip will be engaged in an interactive experience that will inspire them to reach beyond themselves, break through their comfort zones, and do more than they thought possible. In addition, each person will receive training that will stretch their thinking to realize the potential of putting their time, talent, and energy into the Lord’s hands.”

The Libby Youth team is currently focused on raising funds for their late-summer trip in a multitude of ways.

This Sunday, June 6, all are invited to a
BBQ pulled pork and bake potato lunch at the
Assembly of God, 105 Collins Ave. from Noon – 1:30 p.m.

A GoFundMe account for the Mission Trip has been set and can be accessed by visiting:

Coffee Lovers may purchase a bag of beans at Camp Creek Coffee in Libby with a portion of the proceeds coming back to the youth group.
A fireworks stand will be set up from June 24 through July 4. And of course, as many have now started to note, the “Toilet Tippin’” event is flushing across town and raising donations from those who wish to send the colorful commodes on to their next destination.

Those wishing to make a direct donation to
the Str8UP mission group may do so by contacting the church office directly, 293-8331, and making

Christ Lutheran Church in Libby continues forward with
“re-envisioning” service following challenging pandemic year

by Moira Blazi

Pastor Abigail Orellano, left, of Christ  Lutheran Church in Libby is joined by Dan Hunter and Randy Paul as meals from Christ’s Kitchen were once again served this past Wednesday, May 26.


At Christ Lutheran Church in Libby, things are starting to get back to normal.  Shut since March of 2020, the church’s meal ministry – Christ’s Kitchen – which serves anyone in need with homecooked, delicious meals, is back in business.
Open for take-out only right now, they will begin serving meals in the fellowship hall very soon.

Many other ongoing programs, and
new ones as well, are also gearing up and reaching out to Libby and its surrounding area. The Montanian visited with Pastor Abagail Orellano to get an update on what is happening and how she is adjusting to her new job.

“I started here on September first –
right in the middle of the pandemic – and it was a huge challenge” Orellano said. “To be with the congregation and get to know them was hard.” Being very careful about covid protocols., Orellano did came to know her congregation through some personal

“Despite the Pandemic, we tried to keep as many traditions going as possible. We moved the 2020 Christmas Eve service out to the parking lot. And though it was cold, we had a very big turnout.”

In-person worship on Sundays is now back as well, with a shortened service and most congregants choosing to wear masks. Instead of hugs, worshipers offer each other a sign of peace from a short distance and the Sunday service is livestreamed and can be viewed in real-time on the Christ Lutheran Church facebook page. For those who do
not use Facebook, videos of past services
are then archived on the Church’s website, libbylutherans.org.

Pastor Orellano has endeavored to keep many activities ongoing this past year, such as the Ladies bible study and an added children’s ministry called Wee Worship. Started through Zoom, Wee Worship is a short 20 minutes right after each weekly Sunday
service. “We sing songs, read a bible story from the children’s Bible and do a quick
object lesson,” Orellano shared. Currently, there are 2-5 kids attending, but with a
return to in-person teaching (and playing), Orellano hopes to host many more Wee Worship classes this summer.

Eight and a half months pregnant,
Orellano is due to give birth this June 15. When that happens, she will take maternity leave until August. In the meantime, she has enlisted the help of past Pastors Steven
Benson and David Rommereim, along with retired Pastor Al Jenson, who now ministers to folks at the Lutheran retreat center in
Kalispell. The three will rotate Sunday visits and bring their diverse outlooks and preaching styles to the congregation.

Excited about the current “re-envisioning process” for Christ Lutheran Church in Libby, Orellano promises to bring a new baby, new life and new ideas to the congregation and extended community.





Dear Doc,

I know the CDC says

that those who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks anymore. Is

the pandemic over?

Pandemic refers to a very large outbreak of a serious infectious disease involving an entire continent or the whole world. In most of South America, the Middle East, India, Nepal, and parts of Europe and Africa, the pandemic is still severe.

As of Saturday May 22nd,

the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 remains high even in the U.S. and Canada.

The good news is that in North America the trend these last few months and weeks is that the exposure

risk continues to go down along with hospitalization and death rates. For North America we are hoping the

exposure risk to the COVID-19 virus will be very low by the time school starts this late summer.

This depends on how many people get vaccinated and how careful the unvaccinated are. In the last 2 weeks

Lincoln County has only

reported 4 cases which is the lowest since the end of June 2020. This puts our local risk of exposure at medium risk. However, Flathead, Kootenai (Coeur d’ Alene), and

Spokane Counties -all nearby – are still at very high risk of exposure, but improving. Obviously, the risk varies a lot from County to County as more and more people get vaccinated. Because people are so mobile (tourists, families, and business folks) and are able to travel all over

the world, COVID-19 will continue to be an issue for health care facilities in the U.S. until the vast majority of countries around the world are under control. This could be several years away.


Please send questions

to Greg Rice at gregrice@frontiernet.net or mail to: Greg Rice,
1020 Idaho Ave, Libby, Mont.,