Ministry Challenges

(NEW SITE)

"YOU (God) must increase, and I must decrease"

After graduating from the Summer Institute of Ministry Training School in the summer of 1999, I (Sal) was all pumped-up to do college ministry. I continued this book table outreach at UMM’ Student Center that a guy used to do from my local church did for 5 years after he graduated from UMM. I had the desire to do the same, so I would sit at this table in the Student Center almost every Wednesday from 11a-2p. Then at Food Service (a.k.a. PFM-Professional Food Management) almost every Tuesdays (whenever) @4:45p-6:30p. I met many college students through this table outreach every week, which helped build the bridge between my local church and the college students. It worked for me, which got me plugged into the current local church I’m involved in since my sophomore year of 1996. I wanted to the same for others as it did for me when I attended UMM 95’-99’.

Numbers Become Overwhelming at Booktable

I did the book table faithfully from the Fall of 1999 and it started to dwindle between 2001-2002. I started to become overwhelm of the many people I was meeting and I didn’t have the time to minister to each individual. I had this sign-up sheet where students and professors/staff/faculty at times would jot down their name, e-mail, questions/needs/prayer request. I would then try to e-mail each individual an answer to their question, which became a lot of work by myself. I would try to pray for more individuals to team-up with me, which He did send some people my way. Some of them would just sit with me once, twice….regularly. I realize that it would be easier and more effective whenever there was someone sitting with me. It was like how Jesus sent his disciples 2 by 2! Another advantage of another person sitting with me was that the particular individual knew people that I never met before. It became a tag team outreach as we would pray and team together in reaching out to these individuals. I started to build relationships with these people that their friends introduced to me and ended up becoming a chain reaction or domino effect. Unfortunately, meeting all these people at the booktable became quantity and less quality ministry. I wasn’t able to get close to individuals to help them grow as I would like to. I remember one individual would come to the book table and while I was taking to them; another individual would try to talk to me. To not be mean, I would talk to this new individual and the other person would leave as he/she felt over look at. It started to bother me, which I slowly decreased the time I do the weekly book table-from 2x to 1x to 0 times by the end of the Spring of 2002.

Positive Results: Instead of trying to reach "everybody", I asked God to narrow down several individuals to focus on. It led to mentoring several college men in a weekly or regular basis. Also, from all those questions I was challenged from doing the book table from all sorts of topics and issues. I ended up keeping those answers I found through long hours of research and putting it in website form. It resulted to all these websites:

  • Goodnews UMM: Issues
  • UMMAlpha: Nations
  • Borrowing Money to the Needy?

    I associate with a lot of college students that are always financially in need. They asked me to borrow money ($100, $40, etc..for transportation means, phone cards, etc…), which majority have never paid me back. I would get frustrated at times when this happens over and over, but God somehow provides or redeems what I lost. The Bible does say “its better to give then receive”. I try to remember this verse when I do borrow money and never get it back, which I feel I do get it back-not materialistically, but spiritually-eternally. I also see this as a learning opportunity-a test from God to see where my heart is. It’s useless if I give with the wrong heart-might as well don’t give at all if my heart isn’t right. I’m learning this day by day as God brings people in my life asking for help, whether it’s financially or any other form. I remember when I was in college, I would indirectly run (I never asked, but my parents would ask) to my parents whenever I was in need of financial help. I feel it has been a blessing and that God wants me to be a blessing to those in need or are poor; especially those who are less fortunate as I am.

    Alcoholic Rehab Without Discipline

    A local church family asked my housemate and I to house a young adult in need of a place to stay for just one week-around August of 2001. Will call him John, who we knew a while back as he came to visit our church with this family several times before. I wanted to prove to this local church family and the church that I can be used effectively by getting him on his feet! After 2 years since SIMT School, I wanted to show them that what I learned is being used. We got to know John pretty well from these past visits, which we were looking forward to housing and getting to know him within this week. When he came over, we greeted him and shared our personal background stories slowly overtime. John was looking for a job, so we would try to help him find one within this week time. We got close to helping him find one, but none! After a week and getting to know him, it was time for him to leave. This local church family called us and we told him if we could have him stay longer until he finds one. Well, he did find a job after less than 3 weeks, but we had him live with us longer to get him more stable (financially, spiritually, etc…) before finding his own place. It became a month, 2 months, etc…. Then our landlord found out we were housing him in our 2 bedroom apartment when he got John’s mail somehow. John had enough money to pay rent, so we had him continue to live with us as we got closer and became friends. It wasn’t too long when we found out that he still had problems with alcohol. We knew he was recovering after being in a drug treatment center in downtown Minneapolis for 2 unsuccessful months (quitted the program after some unexpected situations and irresponsibility in his part), but we didn’t know how severe it was. We had to learn it the hard way:

    -I went to take a 3 week vacation in October to the Philippines, when I came back-I would later find out some troubling news. My housemate told me that he was easily convinced by John to take him to Alexandria (45 minutes northeast of here) to visit some “old buddies”. Well, John who was trying to turn back his life, went back to his old friends to drink. In fact my housemate told me that he even bought some alcohol with him to drink with his old friend. I told them why did they do this as I was shocked to see them do this behind my back. I was disappointed, but I somehow let it go and said to myself that this was just a “small thing”.
    -One time I had to drive John to the local county hospital as his stomach wasn’t feeling well. It was soo..bad that he had to go to the emergency room past midnight! I remembered I was in the waiting room for an hour and slept. Then John came back and I was happy to see him that everything went ok! I was mad that he could’ve prevented this if he stopped drinking, but I cared for him so much that I was more concerned and happy of his well being!
    -While I was gone as most of the time when these uneventful situations happens, John was drunk and being abnoxious outside our rented house. Our neighbor took this situation in his own hands after he got overboard and tore a tree branch from his front yard. He then called the cops, which a cop lady came over and tried to take him inside-out of harms way in the public residential neighborhood. Being drunk, he got too violent and ended up hitting the lady cop. He ended up getting arrested for a day and was taken to court to be fined.
    -Hospital Visit Again: He went to the hospital again, but this time in an emergency visit. They had to pump all this alcohol out of his body, which he was taken to the Fergus Falls Treatment Center. He called me from there and I ended up picking him up while he was dressed foolishly in his orange suit. I picked him up right before visiting some friends from Fargo, ND for the Living Waters Ministry: Fireworks Fundraiser Sale at the Walmart parking lot in Fergus. Yes, I should've did some discipline guideline right there!
    -One of the rare occassions I caught him drunk wasn’t really friendly! A friend of mine told me that he was going to drive while intoxicated from the house of his “drinking buddies”. Not wanting him to endanger himself or others, I tried to prevent him from driving. As I was intervening, I noticed a very unpleasant spirit visually. It was a side I never seen before and never ever want to see again-unfortunately I would see again! We were able to take his key from him and walked back to our house. John came over furiously as he stormed to the living room. My housemate and I were sitting in the living room couch when he stood in front of us asking for his keys back. He started to get physically violent as he knocked the 3-bulb lamp from it’s stand to the carpeted floor-fortunately it didn’t start a fire. We then stood up and told him that we weren’t going to take this. Unfortunately, it’s been a while that I cannot describe the exact events from here. I do remember that we did go out to his car again and he got more physical. I believe I was praying during this time, which I was led to put the keys in the car and have the headlights on during our dispute with him. By the time I let John go into his car, the battery died and he wasn’t able to drive after we gave him the keys. He was mad as I smiled inside with relief. After this, I can’t remember exactly what happened after, but we got through this evening and had to prepare for what’s going to happen to discipline him.

    Discipline Plan

    I never lived with an alcoholic before and I never ever had to deal with a severe situation as this before. The only situation similar to this that I could reflect back to as I write this is when I was an RA. I had to confront two college minors-students busted with having a fair amount of open bottles of beer. What we did to discipline them was to have them make posters on the health affects of alcohol and put them around the residential hall. That was about it! What my housemate and I did with John was that we’ll kick him out of the house if he ever came home drunk again. It’s been awhile, which I can’t remember exactly whatever happened after we sat down with this discipline guideline plan.

    Current Status

    John ended up getting 2 DWI's:
    First one was on Main Street when he was swerving out of a bar, which the cop pulled him over in front of the Conoco gas station. I would find out about this the next day when I get a call from him at the Kandyohi County Jail in Wilmar, which I should've talked to him right there and negotiate sometype of guidleline before bailing him out.
    Second one was outside of a bar in Hoffman when he hit a parked vehicle while drunk. He got sentenced for some number of months in jail and then hitting an oncoming vechicle head-on going to Alexandria. Praise God that the driver of the vehicle didn't get killed, which would be on my conscience for the rest of my life! He served a total 9 months (June 03'-March 04 w/a 1 month break in September-October) at the Douglas County Jail. Right now, he is looking for sometype of treatment as he is housed at the Alexandria Shelter (4/19/04) after getting a taste of reality when he came out in 3/30/04. He is asking me help find sponsors to donate a total up to $200 that will cover transportation to some rehab place in Atlanta, GA (...more on jail ministry rehab)

    ...more on alcohol

    Ministry Relationship With No Trust

    I volunteered at the See You At the Party 02' in Alexandria, MN when I met this guy that appeared to have a heart to minister youth-looks can be deceiving! I'll call him John again! Well, a UMM Alumn also took notice and he got me going into contacting him to have him do some ministering in Morris-especially the college campus in reaching out to African Americans since he could relate to them. I was in a desperate help in having co-laborers in reaching out to this particular group of people after Alpha & Omega was going down in numbers. I also remembered one of those prophetic dreams that was shared to our local church that appeared to be on target with John! I called John a month after SYATP and I told him if he felt called to come speak at an A&O meeting some Friday. He first told me to come to Alexandria and see first hand what God is doing through him there. I went to visit him for a day and joined him on his regular ministry activities: College Fellowship "One Eighty" at Alexandria Technical College-he was part of the fellowship, Jail Fellowship at a Lutheran Church-bible study w/ jail mates or former ex prisoners/jailmates, and this particular day was his Birthday as he got acknoweldge by each fellowship group. He then went with me to Morris (sameday or after-can't remember?), so I can show him the ministry opportunities at this college campus community. Well, I took him around the campus and scheduled a Friday for him to share-particularly men one night! I sent an e-mail beforehand to invite the men of A&O to come. Unfortunately, I didn't talk to individuals to spread the word until last minute about John speaking. Before the 8pm A&O fellowship would start, we sat in the Student Center to buy some time and invite men last minute to hear John share his heart. While we sat in the Student Center, John and this older women (somehow contacted another brother in Christ and found out John was speaking, which she wanted to meet him through some connections she had in Alexandria) chatted. A UMM Student teased to me that John was flirting with this blond lady. I kept telling him "no he wasn't", which I had to explain to him the circumstances. I would later regret this "inkling" that was a clue of how John was really at, but I didn't speculate until later on. The fellowship group started, which was only for men; later realize that I should've opened this up to everybody after 2 college women asked to come, but I closed the doors on them. When we started the men "only" fellowship in this particular A&O fellowship, there were 2 men. I was a little dissapointed became the predominate "minority" A&O men didn't come, but I was content with the 2 Caucasian American men. ***Learn? I learned that we sometimes have ministry desires to reach a particular group of people, which God wants us to reach "every nations" or people group. This selfish desire can be a disruption to what God wants to do through us.*** John spoke his heart out that captivated the men present there, which he built some bridges to the UMM Campus Community this particular evening. We decided as a group to do this in weekly basis on Friday evenings, which lasted for only several Fridays. Through our A&O student membership, we would schedule Oyate Hall or other rooms every Fridays. Being a Friday, we had few numbers, but the consistency of the same individual college students. John began to build relationships with these individuals that led to others of their peers at UMM.

    Getting to the Groove

    John still had his heart to continue the ministry activities he was involved in Alexandria, so I would drive him back and forth for so long. When he would stay with us in Morris in the 4 men (built for 2 only) apartment (same time as the "first" John in the store before), he would get in the groove of what he felt God called him to do in Morris. We would get up early in the morning (if possible all the men) to read the Word and be pumped up to do His work that particular day. John would sometimes volunteer at the Salvation Army (only a block from our rented apartment) and would use this connection to get FREE stuff (he didn't work, so he would find "street" ways to get daily clothing or things). He also had the heart to reach the older people, so he would meet a lonely senior citizen (father of a Salvation Army employee) man in his house just to talk and keep him company.***What did I learn? John taught me to NOT preached to senior citizens as a sign of respect of authority, but to just listen and be an ear. This is a way to shine Christ's light to them through our own individual actions. We would sit with this senior citizen man and listen to stories he wanted to share. I realized that we young folks can really learn from older people and gain wisdom****

    He would go to the campus early and meet with college students before I did many times. His ambition to minister to them really encouraged me as he taught me to daily read early in the morning and night as a way to get fueled up. John would at times sleep only 4 hours! I was excited to see another co-laborer that had the heart to mentor/disciple the college students-"the harvest" at the campus.

    Real or Not

    After awhile John was here, I would start getting questions about him. One college student asked me how I met JOhn, which I told her the story as mentioned above on how I met him. She told me that JOhn believes she can be used by God migthily, which I agree. However, she look puzzled still and wanted to know his background. I really couldn't give an answer as I just knew him based on when I saw him at SYATP. I would later find out that he was a father in Minneapolis, which he "escaped" his responsibilities (had to pay child support). He spent all this time doing ministry in both Morris and Alexandria to "esacape" his responsibilties. I began to realize that he would love to "preach" and "talk the talk", but not "walk the talk" or "practice what he preaches". That really began to bother me! In the summer of 2002, John took the John I (mentioned above) to Minneapolis one weekend. Well, John II hit his stress peek after he got a letter on how he had to attend court in Minneapolis to pay child support. The side of John II that I never knew became revealed. In fact I saw it months ago in March when I took him to the cities with a teenager I mentor. I was going to pick him up in Alexandria and then back to Morris to head to the cities. I visited him in a lakeside home he was staying for free for voluteering with the Regeneration Center. He look "stress" as he sat in his bed depressed. After talking to him about our planned trip to the cities, he got encouraged and started listenting to Gospel music and read the Word with me to get "pumped-up". I should've notice this first hand, but he told me that he had a drinking problem. I somehow ignored it as I understood him from my experiences with John I. Well, getting back to his trip to the cities with John I-John II wanted to help John I find a job after he was unemployed for a season (2 plus months). They were hoping to do some labor work (painting, carpentry, roofing, etc..) in Minneapolis to get some quick money. That evening when they went to the cities, John I called me and told me an unexpected, but somehow not suprising story! He told me that John II took him to a bar and they both got drunk! I was mad and furious, but I tried to stay calm in prayer! John I told me that John II was getting abnoxious and authoritative to the point that John I was scared. John I took his vehicle in the middle of the night and left John II in Minneappolis. John I arrived in Morris early Saturday morning 4am or so? He was desperate to leave as he told me that he didn't like how John II was acting. I first though that it was good John II did some discipling with John I after his drinking problems, but it became too fearful for him. We (John I, my housemate, and I) decided as a group to never have John II ever live with us. John II called us the next day and wanted to restart over. We told him to get his life straight and take care of his responsibilities as a dad. I was so mad and hurt after being deceived that it took a long time to forgive him. Yes, God did say that we should forgive those who tress pass against us; however, I learned how I was at falt and needed to get my life straighten out. After this incident, I grew away from ministering at the college campus via booktable (a factor to stop doing this particular outreach as mentioned in the story above this website). I felt ashamed of letting John I co-labor as the relationships he built with the college students ruined my credibility in my part ministering at this campus. Yes, it sounds selfish, but it really bothered me for a season of away from the college ministry.

    Positive Results: My move away from the campus made me focus on the ministry God already gave me before through my job at the group home. Currently, I try to attend an every other Monday fellowship group with some folks from my local church-Anointed for Business. God is doing mighty things through my job as it'll be my 5th anniversery this coming June of 2004. I currently meet with folks at the college campus, but not in a regular basis; whenever there is a open time. God already sent some co-laborers throuch Chi Alpha (a fruit that came out of Alpha & Omega-thanks Ami) this past year (2003-2004). ***What did I learn? I learned that God wants to use other to minister to the people we have a desire to reach. We need to be delivered from selfish ministry work and co-labor with his family of believers! Let others get blessed too instead of taking all the blessings!***

    Trying to Help those Who First Need to Decide to Want to Help Themselselves

    Another story is a guy from Chicago, who we met unexpectedly in his freshment year. We will call him Don...more later!

    more.....good works-is it God or god stuff?

    Below is part of an e-mail I sent to christian brother of mine on 8/1/04:

    "Till then, keep in touch and in prayer 24/7-don't give up whenever you feel you are at the end of the rope because Jesus is right behind you pushing you to keep on going!"

    I sent this after a recent "ministry challenge" I and other leaders from my local church were dealing with, which we saw part of the "light" to the end of a particular ordeal/situation.

    Enabling?

    I have grow-up helping people, which I get a "high" from. However, I'm learning now that we can do so much when we help others. When we try to be there for people all the time, they start depending on you...in a way where they're depending on you instead of God for themselves. When do you draw the line? This is where discernment (see teachings) comes in, which you need the Holy Spirit in prayer to give you guidance on tough day-to-day decisions/choices. Another tip on making key decisions is getting council from as many people (older the better since they've experienced life longer) you can.

    Yes, it's hard to say no to people-especially when they are in tough circumstances. However, when they go to God and come out of it. Their faith and total dependence on the Heavenly Father grows. Enabling those in need can affect others around them too, which your actions can negatively or positively impact those that you may not expect to be affected.

    Related Links:

  • Raising Thinking Kids, from Focus on the Family
  • Sin Has Consequences

  • Reccomended Resources

    Life
    (e.g. Persecution, Purpose, etc..)

    Does God Have a Wonderful Plan For Your Life?

    "That depends. If you die unconverted, you'll think He has a terrible plan for you. But what about Christians, can we tell other believers that He has a wonderful plan for their life? Find out in this video clip from www.CrossTV.com"

    Blessings

    Blessings

    Blessed

    "Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your glorious name"
    -by Matt Redman (2002 album: Where Angels Fear To Tread)

    Want to read more about some "good news" (e.g. positive news you don't hear/read on mainstream media)? You sometimes don't have to look too far. We all may have it hard in life, but sometimes we just got to look at our lives in a different perspective. Just take a look at your life and just count your blessings (e.g. abilities, not your dis-abilities)!

    This website it to open the eyes of readers on how much we be so thankful for-how blessed we are! When I say we, I mean all of us. We are blessed by God someway no matter if you don’t believe or do believe in Him! Before I ram on the blessings, I want to mention that we are blessed by Jesus Christ, my personal Lord and Savior!

    My personal philosophy, which is rooted from my knowledge of Scriptures and experience so far in life is-“that we should focus on what we have and not what we don’t have during times of lost”

    “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.”-Hebrews 13:5

    Blessed at UMM

    Since this website is college focussed, I would like to share with current and future students of UMM what they should be thankful as a former student (95’-99’):

    -phones in your residential hall rooms (phone lines were not place in each room until the 2nd or 3rd quarter (Winter & Spring of 95’-96’; no semesters back then. During the first quarter, each of the 30+ residents in the floor I live in-Gay II-II-had to share one phone only. The good thing that came out of this was the “force” to socialize with one another, which really built the bondness in our floor-like family!)
    -internet/cable t.v. hook-ups in each residential hall room (we had to watch t.v. in the t.v. lounge as we didn’t have cable t.v. hook-ups in our rooms, which also “force” all of us in the floor to bond together more-like family!)
    -variety of meal plans (we had only 1 meal plan, which we only ate at Food Service-a.k.a. “PFM”-professional food management, so we would pay a full-academic year of food that we didn’t eat everyday)
    -regional fitness center (we didn’t have the RFC, so we would workout or play at the Physical Education Center or the P.E. Annex-destroyed in 1998-where the New Science Building exists). I remember playing volleyball or basketball at the P.E. Annex Friday nights as this was the place to have physical activities late at night.
    -small college community: I went to a high school that had over 1,600 students (1 of 360+ students in the class of 95’) and having been going to a college with less than 2,000 student felt like home-family compared to a Big 10 University-of Minnesota-Twin Cities’ 20,000 + students. I really got to know a very diverse of people, which I probably would be clinged to a cliché or homogenous group of people.

    Blessed at Morris

    "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

    Remember, don't forget to count your blessings before you go to bed!

    -Morris Community Church

    HEALINGS: -E-mailed:
    From: "Harvest Community Church"
    Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 11:38 AM
    Subject: Good News!

    HI!
    EVERYTHING IS IN CAPS BECAUSE I'M SO EXCITED TO TELL THE WORLD THAT THE DOCTOR JUST LOWERED NOAH'S INSULIN DOSAGE!
    That's good news. His blood sugar levels are going down so much that his current dosage of 1 unit is too much for his body. So he's been dropped to 1/2 a unit! I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. I haven't come across one person, saved or not that doesn't believe that God is going to heal Noah. I'm seeing it happen and it's amazing. Please keep praying and please pass the word. Thank you!
    -Shared: 4/6/03 "Bethany Eastvold's (UMM 02' grad-now with Harvest Community Church in Fargo, ND) thyroid in her throat has been starting to go away. Thanks for your prayers" (words mixed-part of the letter from Bethany to Mona Lee Hostetter).
    -Shared: 3/?/03 "Chris Tiernan's arm"...is now completely healed...according to doctors (letter from doctors read by Mom-Tanya Tiernan

    Before After
    Before: Chris Tiernan smiles showing his cysts as Becky Odegaard supporting him
    After: Chris Tiernan still smiling as he claps with one of his buddy's at a Sunday Children Church service

    -Sent:2/28/03 2:43 PM Tracy received an awesome report last night. About 2 weeks ago she had an MRI that showed that she had spots on her nerve endings of her brain which led the doctors to diagnose her with MS. While she was in the hospital they did a spinal tap and sent it to Rochester. One of the things they were looking for was a confirmation of the MS. She got the report back last night and there was no MS. She doesn't have to have another MRI for 6 months - just to make sure. Tracy believes she was healed sometime between the MRI and the spinal tap. Praise God. She should be home anytime.

    (Tracey goes to New Life Community Church in Argyle, MN and is part of a church plant team called "Outfitters" www.angelfire.com/mn/mcc/outfitters.html that got started in Morris Community Church-Morris, MN)

    Do you got a praise report to share? What are you thankful to God for? Please feel free to e-mail us what God is doing in your life to encourage folks that come to this website. You are welcome to remain anoymous.

    Give Thanks Verses, from Bible Search

    "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."-Revelations 11:17


    Return to My MCChurch's Main Homepage

    General Blessings

    Before I mention the obvious of what we are blessed, I’ll try to start from the least to the most:

    We are breathing, we are alive….
    “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became living being”-Genesis 2:7
    -I try to remember this when I get up every morning before I do my morning prayer/devotional time. Many of us remember this after a close death experience. I went to one of Chi-Alpha’s Friday night fellowship, and the speaker shared about her close death experience twice and encouraged us to revalue our life to see if what we do matters in 50 years from now (eg. upgrading my car’s interior look). As I’m watching the news on “Hurricane Isabel”, I remember the July 4th Summer Storm in Morris, MN. The people in this town should be thankful that no one died from this storm’s destructible winds as you see pictures of the damage in this website.

    Some of us are able to walk
    -I work at a group home for developmentally disabled adults, which I’ve learned to appreciate by abilities and not disabilities mentally and physically. Also, in the summer of 2002, I had a knee accident from softball where I had to use crutches for 3 weeks before starting to get healed (ask me this story)….
    ”He (Jesus) said to the paralytic, I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home”-Mark 2:10-11

    It was my second time to experience this (skiing accident in the winter of 1996), which was another wake-up call to seek God! It was a reminder of how I should not take for granted my ability to walk and also be careful next time in any streneous physical activity.

    Some of us are able to do practical daily living activities: write, brush are teeth, able to go to the bathroom, etc…
    I witness this everytime I work at the group home for 8 developmentally disabled adults. I’ve been working here for 4+ years and going. Each of these adults have various disabilities, but each one also is blessed with many unique abilities (singing, dancing, laughing, etc…).

    Maslows Hierachy

    Diagram

    Some of us have something to eat (food) When I look at my pictures when I was younger, I was very skinny and thin. I remember my classmates would tease me by calling me “skinny bones” or “chicken legs”. What they didn’t know was that my family really didn’t have much when I was growing-up. I had first generation parents that immigrated from the Philippines, a developing country-not third-world!

    Some of us have shoes (clothes)

  • Children Fund
  • I had the t.v. on while I was writing this (9/20/03) , which the commercial had this young girl walking barefoot in this rocky, muddy, polutted-street of the village she lives in.

    Some of us have a roof over our heads (shelter) Residents of the U.S.A. don’t have to look to far to see this blessing. Just go drive along the streets of many of our big cities and we see homeless people walking around. Just this past week in the news, one of the headline news was this poor man getting kicked out of cave located in a national park, which was his home.

    ”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?..But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”-Matthew 6:25-34

    Some of us have electricity

    I quickly remember our nation’s most recent (1 million are currently out of electricity after “Hurricane Isabel”-9.20.03) big-scale “black-out”, which was last months (August 20th of 2003) East Coast power outage. I was in St. Paul visiting family when I was watching CNN live of people walking out of downtown New York as the subways stopped due to the power outage. Thank God that this unexpected scenario didn’t get worse than it could’ve been (eg. terrorist attacking like “shooting sitting ducks” as many New Yorkers reflected 9/11 when they were interviewed on camera). “Good things can come of out of bad things”-I remember watching one report of a lady trapped in an elevator in Detroit, MI. There was nothing she could do, except “pray to the Lord”, which this African-American woman mentioned when she was interviewed after family was worrying for 24 hours.
    Personally, I’ve had many experiences with black outs right at home, both in Morris and St. Paul. It seem it was the best times to stop what we were doing and just bond with the people we were with at the time. This goes the same with any storms or “mother nature” events.

    Some of us have clean drinkable water and a water treatment system

    I had a chance or opportunity to experience a place with no clean drinkable water (Morris is an exception-j/k-water here is filled with lead) and be thankful or contented to live in the “good o’ U.S.A.”. It was in Mexico 2001 for a short-term mission trip with folks from UMM’s IVCF and my local church. We had to buy bottle water in Wal Mart in Nogales, AZ before going across the border during the hot 100 F degree arid-dry season in the non-water treatment system of this town we were in-Mascarenas, Sonora-Mexico (more stories on website). In the Philippines, I visited my relatives in the rural-province area of Isabella, where I had to pump water into a bucket in order to take a shower (more on website….).

    Some of us have a brother, sister, mother, father, family, relatives, friends, etc..

    Miscellaneous

    -cleft palette
    -medical technology availability
    -Terris fight, gets fed with a tube due to her "vegetable state"

    I’m here (10/19/03)to write a continuation of being “bless”, which I can go on forever. I just had to write after previewing this movie I watched this afternoon-“China Cry”.

    [Bible verse(s) on grumble/complain: Moses leading the Israelites out of the wilderness]

    Yes, we can complain or grumble on about living in America, but we would be more contented and great-full if we get a glance from an outsider’s perspective if we step out of this country. I’ve had this chance several times in my life so far after going to the Philippines a couple of times and Mexico one time. I’m no expert compare to others, so I’ll just share some other infamous people’s experiences from some recent movies:

    [Sung Neng Lee, Chinese woman survivor during start of "Cultural Revolution", in "China Cry"]

    Blessed Nation

    Yes, there is no perfect government, nation, etc… We have to remember, that we don’t live in a perfect world. We do have problems in the United States, but it’s a lot smaller compared to other nations (e.g. communists, dictatorships, famines, etc…). “God Bless America”…which He has! The only perfect place will be eternity-Kingdom of God. Where Jesus is King

    As I watch several of the cable network news, I get irritated with the political (Democrat, Republican, Green Party-Socialist, Independence, etc…) disputes that occur all the time. When people ask me what political party I'm with, I just tell them neither. Yes, there are some issues of particular parties I side with that I have strong feelings for. I can’t just choose one party over another because each party has one or more issue that I support. There is no perfect political party, so instead of using much of my energy to fight for one issue or the other. Instead I use prayer to have God’s will and choice be done amongst the authoritative figure to be put in office over a city, state, nation, etc… I put all my energy in God’s party, which is building His Kingdom through the mission He gave all believers-Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Yes, we should pray for our nation (e.g. 2 Chronicles 7:14) into repentance of our sins-especially after 9/11, but we need to also pray for “all nations” too-especially the 10/40 Window nations!…

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,…”-Matthew 6:9-13

    We may be citizens of this nation through our drivers license, social security number, visas, or some form of material identity; however, we already have citizenship in Heaven with our heart identity….

    I'm thankful for my Salvation in Christ!

    “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.”-Philippians 3:17-20

    …as our name is written in the Book of Life (Revelations 21:27) through our salvation in Jesus Christ through our personal relationship.

    Till that day, we can bring a taste of His Kingdom to earth through our lifestyle: words and actions. We can get tempted to try to “be like the world” by trying to copy one another….

    "So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead [1] us, such as all the other nations have." 6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD . 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."-1 Sammuel 8

    *Note: Jesus came to earth as our King and Savior, but too was rejected by his people

    For example, these religions that we are opening our door of our hearts to can be somewhat dangerous. Some are turning their back to our one God and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, there are many stories about the Israelites falling from their faith and worshipping other gods or idols of other nations. The biggest similar story I could think of is the time when the Hebrews started building that the “Golden Calf” (Exodus). Many people today still do the same in different levels (e.g. Satanism, cults, false gods, or even idols in the form of “man” through figures in t.v. land, sports, hollywood, etc..).

    Now, look at this quote from a scene that got my attention while previewing another movie while writing this whole topic on “blessed nation”.

    Movie: “Chariots of Fire” (reviews

    Scene: “Eric Liddel (main character) and his brother Sandy Walking With an Older Wise Man”
    Older Wise Man: “Sandy, Kingdom of God is not a democracy, the Lord never seeks re-election, there is no discussion, no deliberation, no referendum on what road to take, there is one right one wrong, one absolute ruler”
    Sandy: “a dictator”
    Older Wise Man:“But a loving dictator”
    Sandy: “So much the matter of freedom of choice”
    Eric Liddel: “You got choice Sandy, no one forces you to follow”

    Yes, we do have a choice to follow Christ, Allah, Bhudda, or whatever idol, cult, religion, or even “man” out there. However, who is the source of “love” that you go to when you are distraught, tired, weak, or need forgiveness for whatever “bad thing” you did.

    Blessed Weathter

    “Fire” It’s October 28, 2003-I just watched the horrific fires going on in Southern California, where 13 people have been killed and 10,000 + homes destroyed as of 3pm this afternoon CDT. It’s windy, snowy with a mixture of rain in Morris, Minnesota as I’m writing this comfortable in my warm house and alive! I feel bless after witnessing the destruction going on in that part of the U.S. Not just today, but everyday because no matter what circumstance any of us are in; we gotta be thankful of what we have instead of what we don’t have.

    Links:

  • "The Fire", encouraging story of a mother bird saving her baby chicks in a forest fire
  • Idaho Forest: A Miracle at Work, 1910 Fire story
  • Memorable Forest Fires, book of 200 stories from forest service retirees
  • Storm Tangents, stories updated daily from heart of the fire
  • ”Wind”

    Summer Storm 03’, on July 4th in Morris, Minnesota

    ”Rain

    "by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and"-Acts 14

    Thanksgiving

    Today (Monday, August 14th 2006) I'm writing to share a "praise report" about recent weather we've had these past 2 days in Stevens County. Ironically, we had the Stevens County Fair this past weekend and rain fell the last 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) after a long drought! There has been rain to the north, south, east, and west of our area throughout this summer-we finally got ours! Praise God-Halleluah! It's an answer to many prayers and the message last Sunday at my local church is to persevere in prayer! I've been collecting rain water (e.g toilet and watering plants) from my roof ducts/gutters to conserve and collect for future dry weather.

    Count Your Blessings before going to Bed!

    I have this daily ritual where I have a book (pocket calender) where I record at least one "thing" I'm thankful to God for before going to bed. Try it...it actually helps to take your focus on your daily problems/issues/challenges you faced.

    I remember growing up as a little kid, I would count as far as I can to tire myself in order to fall asleep whenever I have trouble sleeping. I had a harder time to sleep back then because I just didn't know how to handle the daily problems/issues/challenges. This changed after coming to a personal relationship with God through his Heavenly Son-Jesus Christ!

    I decided to write this section of this site this evening (Monday, November 27th of 2006) after hearing a cool song from the movie, "White Christmas"...

    Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) Lyrics
    -from Bing Crosby (biography from Wikipedia)
    *actually grew-up with listening to his songs and watching his movies through my dad

    "When I'm worried and I can't sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep And I fall asleep counting my blessings When my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all And I fall asleep counting my blessings
    I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds If you're worried and you can't sleep Just count your blessings instead of sheep And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings
    I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds If you're worried and you can't sleep Just count your blessings instead of sheep And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings


    I can keep going on many other blessings, which I’ll try to add more in the future whatever God puts in my heart to add as I: watch the negative/positive news, read the paper, hear on radio, or just talk to people around me. I pray and hope that this touches you-the reader-that you’ll be thankfull everyday in prayer to our Provider-Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    Please feel free to contact me with any prayer requests, needs, praise reports/testimonies, or anything that you would like me to add to this website.

    May You Be Blessed

    TESTIMONIES

  • Gods Vision, many guestbook testimonies
  • *Special E-mail Forward*

    To: YOU
    Date: TODAY
    From: THE BOSS
    Subject: YOURSELF
    Reference: LIFE

    I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box.

    All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.

    Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

    If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

    Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.

    Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

    Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

    Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

    Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

    Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful.. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

    Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

    Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you, you may have touched their life in ways you will never know!

    101 Ways Your Church Can Change the World
    "Sometimes those of us in the church tend to do the same things over and over again because they've worked in the past. The author of this book served as a church leader and pastor for over 40 years and was always looking for new ideas for reaching out to the community and world to make a difference. It's true that what works in one community may not work in another; what excites some people may not inspire others. This Ebook is provided hoping it will spark new, fun and effective ways for your church to reach out to a hurting world."

    Thank you for visiting GoodnewsUMM! Please feel free to e-mail me (Sal) at goodnews_usa@yahoo.com on any comments, suggestions (e.g. any new websites),complaints, or anytype of feedback to improve this website.


    Return to Goodnews UMM’s Sal’s Personal Testimony Website

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    Thank you for visiting GoodnewsUMM! Please feel free to e-mail me (Sal) at goodnews_usa@yahoo.com on any comments, suggestions (e.g. any new websites),complaints, or anytype of feedback to improve this website.


    Return to Goodnews UMM Ministry Homepage

    Thank you for visiting my page at Angelfire. Please come back and visit again!