In Going GREYT! we feature stories of some of our ‘more experienced’ people within the LCA , who have been called to make a positive contribution in their retirement. We pray their examples of service will be an inspiration and encouragement to us all as we look to be Christ’s hands and feet wherever we are, with whatever gifts and opportunities we’ve been given.
Arthur Schuster is an organiser. He has always been an organiser. It is his God-given gift. And he has used it with gusto to serve God for the best part of his 87 years!
It started on his family farm at Yerong Creek near Wagga, New South Wales, when, aged about 10 years old, he began organising the local youth to clean sugar bags full of stamps to raise money for missions.
Most recently at the LCA New South Wales District Convention at Warrambui in September, Arthur’s gift for organisation was recognised with a presentation by Bishop Mark Lieschke. It was an acknowledgement that Arthur had been a member of the NSW District Finance Committee, later known as the Finance Advisory Committee, since the LCA was formed a whopping 51 years ago.
Between those years he has lent a hand organising everything and anything you could imagine, from being a member of church councils and committees, as well as community committees for Little Athletics, football and basketball as his three kids were growing up.
This has included serving on the church council of Immanuel Lutheran Church Woden Valley, Canberra, for 29 years, including three as vice–chairman and 12 as chairman. Arthur is now a member at Canberra’s Tuggeranong congregation, where he has just finished an eight-year term as secretary.
His talent for organising began at home, a mixed wheat, sheep and cattle farm in the NSW Riverina.
‘I was a farmer and didn’t have any great education, but I like organising things – it was my gift from God’, Arthur says. ‘I’ve always been organising things.’
As a youth, he was president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia’s Luther League in NSW, which has blessed him with many lifelong friendships.
Arthur has held many voluntary church positions, including chairman of the Henty Parish, NSW, for many years – a seed sown when Henty’s Pastor Rob Paech encouraged the youth of the congregation into stewardship.
‘He had said to use the best of your gifts you’ve been given to the glory of God and that’s what I’ve been doing all my life’, Arthur says.
And a jack-of-all-trades he has been, from farming, painting houses, and even selling firewood. A move to Canberra in 1975, with wife Modesta and their three sons, led to a broadening of his organising skills into a photography and video business, and even included three years as a learner–driver instructor.
‘I can always find something to do, I’m game to do everything … on the farm you become pretty adaptive’, he says.
Now in his retirement, Arthur has even more time for volunteering and has rekindled his childhood support for the LCA’s Stamps for Mission program, which has raised around $400,000 for LCA International Mission programs and projects since it was established in 1938.
‘Wagga Pastor Winkler went to local radio station 2WG and he would collect sugar bags full of stamps’, Arthur recalls of his youth. ‘I used to cut them off (the envelopes) and bring them into our youth who would clean them. We had 40 to 50 kids cleaning them a couple of times a year.’
In the past three years he has collected about 40 kg of stamps, including 5.5 kg from one person alone! He once received $1200 of new stamps, and has also received thousands of dollars in unstamped stamps, all of which he sourced from friends, local dentists, real estate managers, and other businesses which still use stamps.
He’s also taken to utilising free advertising in The Canberra Times to find new sources of stamps. It’s often provided an unexpected boon when the stamps are not franked through the post – raising their value immensely with collector-buyers, and providing additional fundraising opportunities. It’s also provided blessings, including a recent opportunity to witness through sharing a prayer over donated stamps with a generous benefactor.
‘The total of money I have sent so far to Stamps for Missions from placing $1 worth of stamps on envelopes for firms is $3002.55 [and recouping the money], plus I have put stamps on 1000 envelopes for the church’s Warrambui conference centre at Murrumbateman,’ he says.
Arthur has been blessed with good health throughout his 87 years and just wants to, ‘keep doing what I’m doing’, he says of raising money by placing stamps on envelopes, in addition to removing used ones.
What he’s doing includes serving coffee on Sundays and at church garage sales to fundraise for missions, to helping at the breakfast club at Richardson Primary School in suburban Canberra for the past nine years. The mission was started by the nearby Tuggeranong Good Shepherd Lutheran congregation about 18 years ago. For more than six years he also mentored students at the school.
No matter what he has put his hand to throughout his life, he has been guided by the sentiment of his most loved hymn, Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. And it is his favourite bible verse that guides him forward each day: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes will not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
For more information about Stamps for Missions contact National Project Director Peter Nitschke at email@example.com or on 08 8365 7717.
Helen Beringen is a Townsville-based communications advisor who has been richly blessed through a career as a wordsmith. She is inspired by the many GREYT people who serve tirelessly and modestly in our community. She hopes by sharing stories of how God shines his light through them, others will be inspired to share his light in the world.
Know of any other GREYT stories in your local community? Email the editor firstname.lastname@example.org
This feature story comes from The Lutheran November 2017. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.