I am sorry the meeting went so poorly. Maturity and wisdom in this holy Office come only by the painful removal of our naivety and innate pietism. The hidden underbelly of the Church isn’t in teen-age pregnancy and divorce but in power struggles and vanity posing as piety. The devil is found among us most often in the Church Council, the Voters’ Assembly, or in the conventions of the districts and synods. Those things are the Sheep’s clothing. The sheep’s clothing makes it practically impossible to tell the sheep from the goats. They look the same. They all behave sometimes badly and sometimes well. It is not our job to separate the chaff from the wheat or to look into the hearts of men. It is our job to preach. That is a great privilege and honor but it comes at a cost. In order that the sheep might hear “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” they have to crucify you – at least a little. Do not think that your suffering went, or goes, unnoticed by Our Father. He knows your pain and sorrow. He has seen it before. He watched His Son endure the same and for mercy’s sake He refused to remove the cup. Thanks be to God! He does all things well. Even this little cross will do something, somehow. If nothing else it will teach you to pray. It will empty you of yourself and make you ever more dependent upon Grace. Perhaps it will also expose the unbelievers or move the faithful to be more supportive. Whatever happens, I doubt it will be removed. As long as you serve in this Office you will suffer for God and for the Truth, but you will not serve in this Office forever. The Day of Our Lord Jesus Christ is not so far off as it once was. In the meantime, I will pray for you. I pray that God grants some relief, that He gives you some joy and peace. But mostly I pray that you will you find the faith, courage, and patience to carry on. Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But your Kinsman-Redeemer prays for you that your faith will not fail. And whatever He asks in His own Name the Father grants. Now be less naive. Do not think that these meetings are your purpose or forum. You will not change the hearts of the people by speeches and arguments at the podium, gavel in hand. But God will work in and on those people through your preaching, the Holy Sacraments, and your teaching in Bible class and the bedside. The hearts of men wear and change more slowly then the cliffs of Gibralter, but the Word of God and the waters of Grace are more powerful and consistent than the water and winds of the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Make compromises where you may. Endure what you must. All that the Word of God would not be absent from that place. That is why you were sent. That is how you fulfill your calling.