Newsletter – February 2024

February – April 2024 Newsletter

“… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38

 From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

Dear family, friends, and ministry partners:

Here are daughters Lisa and husband Jon pictured on the outside, and Heidi and husband Ryan on the inside. Then Lisa & Jon’s five of our clever grand-children – Aaron &   Noah, the shortest soon-to-be twin 4 -year-olds; Evelyne and Isaiah, almost 8 -year-old twins, and almost 6- year-old Solomon, known as “Solo!” Pictured in the middle are Heidi and Ryan’s two: Grace, 11, Gabriel, 8!  Wow –imagine the fun they had together for a week in December the beach at Senegal.  Grammy Tammy and Grandpa Rossy are SO looking forward to being with all of them when Lisa’s family come to Connecticut when they are back in the U.S. on sabbatical in August from their amazing and incredible missionary work with MAF in Conakry, Guinea!  We are so proud of all our kids and grandkids and the love and dedication they share in their respective ministries at Yale Divinity School, with BRAC and Mission Aviation Fellowship.  Please continue to pray for them!

In December Tammy and I had the opportunity to serve in ministry in Southern California where we led a carol singalong and gave a “driveway” concert in our old “stomping ground.” It is amazing to see our audience of more than 40 friends and neighbors come to this program of mostly carols.  During the Pandemic, Ross gave over 30 of these outdoor concerts on our cul-de-sac in Sierra Madre and the folks really appreciated the chance to get out of the house and enjoy some music and fellowship!  While in town, Ross provided a Christmas program for the Rotary Club of Sierra Madre.

We are looking forward to ministry opportunities in the coming months here in Florida, in California and the Bahamas!  In our 46th year of marriage, Tammy and I prefer to be in warmer climates in the winter time!

For the past fifteen years or so, I have been aware of having Dupuytren’s Contracture on the palm of my right hand below my 4th (ring) finger and my 5th (little) finger. This is a gradual thickening and tightening of tissue under the skin of the hand. It is apparently hereditary.  I remember my grandfather had it to such an extent that he could no longer straighten out his 4th and 5th fingers.  My brother and two of my three sisters have had this situation, and had some surgery.  The surgery is rather risky, especially for someone like me who relies on my keyboard skills to accompany when I am leading worship or giving a concert.  I used be able to stretch an octave plus two in both hands.  I still have that reach in my left hand but my right hand is now struggling to make the octave.

I have been receiving some hand physical therapy over the past couple of years and it has helped to a certain extent.  There is an injection called Xiaflex which can “fix” the problem but the fix apparently does not last for too long.  I am sharing this situation with you, my treasured friends and family and ministry partners, as I would really appreciate your prayers for wisdom and guidance to decide what the best course of action would be.  My hands are God’s hands and I fervently desire to use them for His praise and honor and glory!

Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers for our precious family, our ministries, and for your much-appreciated financial support.  You and yours continue to be in our prayers.

With heartfelt gratitude, much love and prayers for God’s richest blessings

Ross and Tammy

 

Newsletter – November 2023

November 2023 – January 2024 Newsletter

“… for He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed.  His dominion will never end.  He rescues and He saves, performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
Daniel 6:26-27

From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

Dear family, friends, and ministry partners:

Tammy and I were privileged to visit Destin, Florida for a week in late September/early October where I served as worship leader at the Annual Festival, hosted by the Church of God, Big Sandy, Texas.  We caught up with many dear friends from our time teaching at Ambassador University there during the 1990s.  I also gave an evening concert.  (featured photo –  telling this group of delightful children the story in song of “Daniel and the Lions” complete with their percussion instruments and timely lion “growls!” Right photo – a worship service telling the story of how my original song “Rivers of Living Water” came about.) On the 6-hour drive to the Gulf Coast we enjoyed seeing much more of the beautiful state of Florida.

Another recent ministry highlight was a concert for the Senior’s Group at Trinity Wellspring Church in Satellite Beach, Florida.  My long-time friend and brother Steve Schantz serves there as the Associate Pastor for Senior Care and is greatly loved and respected by all the members of this wonderful church family.  During the program, I told some stories, including accompanying George Bev Shea singing “How Great Thou Art” in Pasadena, CA and I also fielded many requests of favorite hymns and songs.

Please continue to pray for the safety of our daughter Lisa and her husband Jonathan and their five precious grand-children (twins Evelyne and Isaiah, 7&1/2, Solomon, 5&1/2, twins Aaron and Noah, 3&1/2) living in Guinea in West Africa and their missionary work with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship.)  They face so many, many challenges!

Our other two treasured grand-children, Grace (10) and Gabriel (7) live a little closer in Connecticut!  Their parents, our daughter Heidi and son-in-law Ryan, continue their important work with the NGO BRAC, and at Yale University respectively.

With the world situation right now, we need to pray as never before “Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  My original song with the title “Your Kingdom Come” seems to resonate with audiences now more than ever before!

Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers for our family, our ministries, and for your very much appreciated financial support.  You and yours continue to be in our prayers.

With heartfelt gratitude, much love, and prayers for God’s richest blessings,

Ross and Tammy

Newsletter – August 2023

 August – October 2023 Newsletter

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  Habakkuk 2:14

From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

Dear family, friends, and ministry partners:

Tammy and I recently returned from celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary on a wonderful Alaskan cruise of the inside passage.  This has been a “bucket list” item of ours for some time and it was truly amazing!  The weather was perfect.  On one excursion we saw at least 25 humpback whales and 10 orcas in a two-hour period.  The breathtaking beauty of the snow-covered mountains, the glaciers and the beautiful ocean waters reminded me of the above scripture in Habakkuk.  God’s creation in indeed awe-inspiring and we pray for the day this prophecy is fulfilled!

On the way to our adventurous seafaring voyage, we made a stop at our old stomping ground in Southern California where we attended Tammy’s high school reunion.  It was so good to catch up with a lot of our long-time friends.  While there, I was privileged to perform the wedding ceremony for one of Tammy’s classmates.  I also paid a visit to the Rotary Club of Pasadena where I have been a member since 1980, and I am now an honorary member.  I played background piano music during the luncheon and then led the 100 plus guests in the singing of “God Bless the U.S.A.” and the Pledge of Allegiance.  It was delightful to see so many dear friends and former neighbors.

In early June, I traveled to Woodbridge, CT. I gave a concert at the elementary school attended by Grace (10) and Gabriel (7), children of our daughter Heidi and her husband Ryan.  It was a real treat to catch up with these 2 of our “grands” and to spend a half-hour entertaining almost 100 of their classmates.  The children particularly enjoyed my Australian folk songs and knew all the words to the song “Kookaburra”! I closed the program by singing “What a Wonderful World.” See over

I am looking forward next week   to making my fourth visit to give a concert at Trinity Wellsprings Church in Satellite Beach, FL – about a 90-minute drive from our home.  Also planned in September is a visit to a church conference in Destin, Florida where I will lead worship and give a special concert.  Tammy will travel with me and join me on some songs as she did on our church visits to Nebraska and Texas.  It is always a joy to have her sing with me.  People often ask why Tammy did not sing and record all my original songs!

Also in June, I made a return visit to Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts where I served as Music Director for the Annual Reunion Concert.  I have been privileged to do this for the past 22 years, except for three years due to the pandemic.  This William’s annual Reunion musical weekend is hosted by our long-time, dearest friend Martha Williamson, a Williams alumnus who also serves on the Board of Trustees. Though I never attended this college, after so many visits and performances there, I feel very much at home and “part of the family”

Please continue to pray for the safety of our daughter Lisa and her husband Jonathan and their five beautiful children (our other five treasured grand-children!) in Guinea in West Africa and their missionary work with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship.)  They face so many, many challenges!

Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers for our family, our ministries, and for your very much appreciated financial support.

You and yours continue to be in our prayers.

With gratitude, love, and blessings,

Ross and Tammy

 

Newsletter – May 2023

May – July 2023 Newsletter

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

(Featured Image – Lisa and Jon with their 5 children at their new home in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa.)

From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

It’s hard to believe 2023 is one third over!  Tammy and I are enjoying life here in Florida.  In February, we made a trip up to Jacksonville to serve as worship leaders and guest speaker at Christian Family Fellowship.  We were invited by Pastor Marty Davey and were able to catch up with his wonderful wife, Yvonne, who grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, about 50 miles from my hometown of Warwick. In March, I traveled to Washington D.C. and served as a guest speaker/worship leader (picture at left) at Living Hope Christian Fellowship, the Grace Communion congregation in Vienna VA.

The weekend before Easter Tammy and I traveled to Kearney, Nebraska to lead worship at the Palm Sunday service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and give afternoon Concert.  We were honored to stay with our dear friends and ministry partners, Lisa and Russ Hilliard, who are members of that church.  Their hospitality for our three-day visit was truly outstanding and very much appreciated! What a surprise it was to see four huge billboards advertising our visit with our picture on the main street of this city of about 40,000!

Lisa and Jonathan are VERY busy with their five young children and with their important work for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)  in Guinea.  Please continue to pray for their safety and for the children to adjust to school life and learning French.  There are many, many challenges!

It was a delight to have Grace (10) and Gabriel (7) visit us for 5 days in April.  Our daughter Heidi was here with us for part of the time, but had an important business trip to D.C. with her work with the BRAC NGO.  Grandpa Rossy is still recovering from bowling with the grandkids – my first time in 25 years, and from trying to keep up with Gabriel on the tennis court!

Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers for our family, our ministries, and for your very much appreciated financial support.

With gratitude, love and blessings,

Ross and Tammy                 

Newsletter — February 2023

February – April 2023 Newsletter

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:3-4

From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

(Featured image above: Ross and Tammy lead worship in December at Grace Communion Church in Big Sandy, Texas)

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

We wish for you and yours a very happy and blessed New Year!  I so enjoyed having Tammy join me for the 3rd Sunday of Advent for a Zoom worship service with our dear brothers and sisters in Bellflower, California.  Even though, like many of you, we have some experience with the virtual technology that has become so prevalent and useful during the Pandemic, there were some challenges with integrating Powerpoint slides and making sure the audio levels of live vocals, piano and pre-recorded tracks were properly set up.  With only seconds to spare, assistance from long-time friend Frank Fish, Pastor Reuben AND of course, God’s help, we managed to get it all together!

The following weekend we traveled to East Texas and had the joy and pleasure of leading a worship service for the 4th Sunday of Advent, live and in person, with some 70 brothers and sisters at Grace Communion in Big Sandy, Texas.  Our hosts Pastor Jerome and Helen Ellard were so wonderful and gracious and it was such a delight to catch up with so many long-time friends from this part of East Texas where we spent 8 years from 1990 to 1998.  It was great to catch up with Tom Crabb, Marty and Jane Yale, Rick and Lois Peterson and so many others.  Rick was my right hand during more than 20 years of service at Ambassador College and needless to say, Rick and his son James spoiled us with the best audio, lighting and projection I can remember in 26 years of this ministry!

On a personal note, I was overjoyed to have Tammy joining me on this ministry visit.  She has such a wonderful alto voice and I realized that accompaniment recordings done for the various best-loved Christmas carols 25 years ago were no longer in keys comfortable for me, but were absolutely perfect for Tammy!  And it was a real joy for both of us to renew friendships and worship together with dear friends we had not seen in many years!

In other news, we are so happy that our 2 treasured daughters, Heidi and Lisa, and amazing sons-in-law Ryan and Jonathan were able to be all together this past week in Guinea, West Africa, along with all 7 of our precious grand-children.

Though we could not be together with the rest of our family for their new year’s gathering, we have thoroughly enjoyed their reunion vicariously through great pictures and videos.  Though modern technology can often frustrate us (older folks!) we are so grateful that it brings us together with our family (and friends) from the other side of the world!

We are looking forward to new special opportunities for our ministry in this new year.  We are already committed to a ministry trip to Nebraska in early April and anticipate many more as the dust settles after what has been, for all of us, a very long and trying three years!

As always, we thank you so much for your prayers for our family and ministry and also for your support.  Please know that Tammy and I regularly pray for you and yours.

With gratitude, love and blessings,

Ross and Tammy

 

Newsletter — November 2022

November 2022 (Thanksgiving) Newsletter

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum

Featured picture above — the “Blomberg Seven” in Guinea — Lisa and Jon (holding twin boys Aaron and Noah,) in front are Solomon (their “Solo” child) and twins Isaiah & Evelyne

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

We survived Hurricane Ian and then Tropical Storm Nicole (which became a hurricane!)  Having left Southern California in January of this year, along with its earthquakes, droughts,   fires, mudslides, traffic etc., we didn’t expect to deal with a hurricane here in N.E. Florida so soon!  Thankfully, we fared well with only a couple of minor leaks, unlike so many of our neighbors who were inundated with water and the damage that resulted.  We are so grateful for God’s protection and His mercy. Shortly after the hurricane, Tammy admired a pillow cushion with the inscription “give thanks with a grateful heart” and our neighbor gifted it to us as a reminder this season of Thanksgiving that we should always have an “attitude of gratitude” not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day so graciously God gifts us!

This season we are especially proud of our son-in-law, Dr. Ryan McAnnally-Linz (Heidi’s husband.)  Ryan has recently co-authored another book with his mentor, Dr. Miroslav Volf, entitled “The Home of God,” (A Brief Story of Everything.)  The book, published by Brazos Press, came out in late September.  I found this book to be extremely enlightening and encouraging!  Ryan continues teaching at Yale University Divinity School and is Associate Director of the Center for Faith and Culture.  Heidi continues working as Deputy Director of Yale’s Macmillan International Center. It will be wonderful to welcome Heidi’s family here for Thanksgiving.

We will have to wait till next summer to see Lisa’s family. News flash!  The “Blomberg Seven” have completed  their missionary work in Turkey and, for the past few months, are now living in Conakry, the capital of Guinea in West Africa!  God has opened new doors for both Lisa and Jonathan to serve once again with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF.) This is the organization Jonathan previously served  with as a pilot. In this new location, Jonathan will once again serve as a pilot and Lisa will serve as the Country Director for MAF.

Needless to say, this is a major transition for Lisa and Jonathan and the entire family and is especially a challenge for the children who, at their tender ages (6 ½ year old twins Isaiah and Evelyne), 4 ½ year old Solomon, and 2 ½ year old twin boys Aaron and Noah) are attending a French-speaking school.  (Their parents are already totally fluent in French.)  Lisa and Jon have this new calling, along with  a fervent desire to serve God and His precious children in this part of the world.  Please do pray for their safety and security and for their housing and schooling needs to be met, as well as for peace of mind, needed help with the children, and for like-minded friends.

Tammy and I are hoping for our whole family to be together next summer when Lisa and Jon will have a spiritual retreat somewhere in Europe.  We SO miss our grand-children!  In this new community on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, we are finding new ways to minister to our neighbors and to shine the light of Jesus.  We have a number of ministry trips planned around the Christmas season, including one to serve at the Grace Communion congregation in Big Sandy, Texas (our old stomping ground from 1990-1998.)

We thank you so much for your prayers for our family and ministry and also for your support.  Please know that Tammy and I regularly pray for you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With gratitude, love and blessings,

Ross and Tammy

Newsletter — August-October 2022

August-October 2022 Newsletter

                                                                             

Photo: Ross and Lisa lead worship at Life Christian Fellowship in Pasadena, CA with our 5 grandchildren joining us on stage for a praise dance!

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:3

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

Tammy and I just returned from a 30-day trip to Washington state and our old “stomping ground” in Southern California.  It was truly wonderful to spend quality time with Lisa and Jon and their five children!  Because of the pandemic, we hadn’t yet met Aaron and Noah (now 2 and ½ years old!)  Needless to say, they have more energy than a barrel full of monkeys and we are rather exhausted!

We enjoyed leading worship in Orlando at the Grace Communion congregation in May and caught up with many dear and long-time friends. Among them was Derrol Nail, a student of mine back in the 1990s when we were at the Big Sandy, TX Ambassador campus.  Derrol is now the NASA Communications Director at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, about 35 miles south of our new Florida residence.  We can see the rocket launches very well from our place, but nothing quite as spectacular as being right there for a launch, thanks to Derrol’s generous gift of passes.

In addition to the joy of spending such precious time with Lisa and family, it was also a truly wonderful privilege to lead worship together with Lisa at Life Christian Fellowship in Pasadena.  The praise songs we led included “In Christ Alone,” “I Love You, Lord,” “How Great Thou Art” and “How Great is Our God,” “Ten Thousand Reasons” and “Shout to the Lord.”

After a couple of weeks recuperating from our last trip, we leave in a few days to spend some time with Heidi and Ryan in Connecticut, along with 9 year old Grace and 6 year old Gabriel.

We appreciate your prayers for our ministry and family.  Please know that you and yours are in our prayers also.  As the lyrics to one of my worship songs go, “may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done, even here on earth, as it is in heaven!”

With gratitude, love and blessings,

Ross and Tammy

Newsletter – May-July 2022

May-July 2022 Newsletter

“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:31

 Thanks to the pandemic, this was my first in-person program in a church since March 17, 2020.  Ironically, the above event took place this past St. Patrick’s Day, exactly two years since I gave a “Zoom” program from the chapel of Royal Oaks Assisted Living in Duarte, CA for 200 residents!

 From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum 
rfjutsum@aol.com                                                                                                                                                

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

Happy Spring! We are almost settled in our new home, a 7th floor condo in Flagler Beach, Florida on the Atlantic Coast, about half way between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. It was quite the herculean effort to scale down from our large home in Southern California to this comfy 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo, but we are very happy to have made the move and enjoy our wonderful views of the ocean AND the sunset over the Atlantic IntraCoastal Waterway behind us.

The above-mentioned program took place at Wellsprings Church in Satellite Beach where our long-time friend Steve Schantz serves as the Senior Chaplain. The audience of about 100 really enjoyed the musical offerings which included some Irish favorites, but also a few original compositions selected purposefully in light of the heartbreaking situation in The Ukraine at the moment — “May Your Kingdom Come” and “For the Least of These”…

All seven of our grand-children together in the Middle East over New Year’s… Solomon (almost 4,) Grace (almost 9) holding one of our almost 2-year-old grandtwin boys Noah, then almost 6 year-old twins Isaiah and Evelyne (with Evie holding twin brother Aaron) and last but not least Gabriel (almost 6.)

We are SO looking forward to meeting the grand-twin boys in July when Lisa and Jonathan and their family will be visiting the U.S. on an extended leave. In the meantime, as we follow the Lord’s lead to serve wherever in the Body He desires (this coming weekend leading worship at a church in Orlando,) our ministry is also supporting Lisa and Jon’s wonderful work in the Middle East and we are also contributing to a Canadian pastor friend’s ministry bringing needy refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

Your continuing support and your prayers are so very much appreciated. We continue to use our P.O. Box in Sierra Madre, CA. We pray for you and yours regularly and long for the day when there will truly be “no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, no more death.” Indeed, “may Your Kingdom come soon!”

With gratitude, love and blessings,
Ross and Tammy

Newsletter — February-April 2022

February-April 2022 Newsletter

“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:31

Featured Image: Our five older grand-children all very happy together for the New Year in the Middle East — Heidi’s children (Grace, 8 and Gabriel, 5) on outside in grey — Lisa’s three oldest (5-year-old twins Evelyne and Isaiah in pink and blue and 3-year-old Solomon in dark blue)

 From the keyboard of Dr. Ross Jutsum                                                                                                                              rfjutsum@aol.com                                                                                                                                                 

Dear family, friends and ministry partners:

Tammy and I wish you a very happy New Year.  We have some really BIG news to share!  We recently sold our home for the past 22 years here in Southern California and are planning to move out of state.  We don’t know where exactly as yet, but, for a couple of months, are renting a place near the Palm Coast area in Florida (on the Atlantic coast about half-way between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine) and we will check out various areas before deciding where to settle.

Down-sizing is something our girls have wanted us to do for some time and we finally did it!  Going through 43 and ½ years of things we have accumulated during our married life, not to mention all of the girls’ things and many belongings of Tammy’s mother from when she lived with us — it is all rather daunting!  However, we have finished all of the sorting and tossing and deciding what little to keep and are having an estate sale.  Then we are off on our new adventure.

Of course, I do not plan to retire from ministry and we plan on keeping our non-profit 501C3, State of the Heart Ministries, in California, where one of our Directors will still be living.  We will be keeping our P.O. Box 56 in Sierra Madre as the ministry mailing address.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been forced to scale back on ministry travel and that will no doubt still be the case.  However, we plan to use the ministry funds more to support our daughters and their families’ ministry efforts and outreach.  And of course, we will continue to serve and share in whatever place God leads us to land!

We plan to continue our quarterly newsletters with family and ministry news, along with our ministry web site.  Wherever doors open in churches, retirement communities and other venues, we plan to walk through them and through music and worship, let our lights shine with the love of God and the good news of salvation through Jesus and the gospel message.

As you can see from the picture on the first page, our daughters and sons-in-law have had a wonderful time together with all seven of our grand-children in the Middle East for the past couple of weeks.  (Almost two-year-old twin boys, Aaron and Noah, were not close by for this photo.)  With our potential re-location to the East Coast, we will be closer to Heidi and her family in Connecticut and also several hours closer to Lisa and her family overseas.  We hope to have the flexibility to visit our kids and grand-kids more often.

In a few months we will be entering the 26th year of “State of the Heart Ministries.”  It has been quite an incredible journey thus far and we are trusting our loving and wonderful Lord to guide us in this transition and show us the ways He wants us to continue to be His hands and feet, His lips and eyes as we go forward.

As always, we so appreciate your prayers for our family and our ministry and are so grateful for your financial support also.  We continue to lift up you and yours to our loving God in prayer also.

With gratitude, love and blessings,

Ross and Tammy

 

Newsletter – November-January 2021

Last quarter, I asked for your prayers for my dear sister Robyn in Australia.  Sadly, Robyn passed away a few weeks ago after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer for more than 2 and ½ years.  Tammy and I had the precious privilege of talking with Robyn a week before her passing and she was ready and even told us of the planned Celebration of Life service a few weeks ahead.  I suggested to Robyn that I would like to compose a special song for that occasion and she said “Oh Ross!  Would you please?”  I was able to complete the lyrics in a day or two and Robyn’s amazing husband, Ian, read them aloud to her when she was awake and able to comprehend that it was from her “little brother.”