A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Becoming A Pastor Part 1- A Decision and A Book

I have been in the process of trying to become a substitute teacher in my city. There is a shortage of substitutes due to COVID. To teach Adult ESL a person only needs the college degree, but to teach K-12 a person needs teacher certification. I have taught ESL for adults for over 20 years.

During a phone conversation with someone at the State Department of Education, I said, “I should have gotten certified to teach.” She replied, “Why didn’t you?”

My reply was, “Well I was studying to become a pastor. A funny thing happened on my way to becoming a pastor.”

I shared that with the librarian at the school where I teach Family Literacy She encouraged me to write about it in my blog, so here goes. This will be at least two parts.

A Funny Thing Happened on my Way to Becoming a Pastor Part 1- The Decision and a Book

In the late 1980s, God began to do a work in my life to draw me to him. I was an Office Furniture Rep for a top 50 dealership in the U.S. actually located in my home city. He began bringing people into the store that were Christians, in ministry etc. Through that series of “chance” encounters, Jesus brought me back to himself and I rededicated my life to Jesus in July 1989.

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God became so real in my life and my pray times were so deep. I would lose track of time in the prayer room at my church. In that prayer room, God changed me on the inside to where my desires in life matched his. In 1990, I visited a bible college in Minneapolis with my pastor. The decision was made that I should indeed go to that school to study to become a pastor.

In 1990, I also read a book- Tortured for Christ by Rev, Wurmbrand. He was a pastor in Romania during the brutal communist dictatorship of Ceausescu. Rev, Wurmbrand was imprisoned for his faith but was allowed to leave the country. He eventually came to the U.S. and started the ministry Voice of the Martyrs.

When I read that book, an overwhelming thought struck deep within me, “I must go to Romania.” I just simply knew God wanted me to go to Romania for some reason.

In 1991, I left my home city, my career as a sales rep, and moved to Minneapolis to study to become a pastor. But a funny thing happened on my way to becoming a pastor. More on that in Part 2.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What Does Jesus Want Me to Do During This Turmoil?

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior 1st Timothy 2:1-4

Paul wrote these words in his first letter to Timothy. That letter was written at a time Christians were persecuted in severe ways probably around the time Nero was Emperor of Rome. Christians were fed to lions, burned alive, and crucified. Paul called for Christians to pray for the leaders who were doing such things.

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In light of what happened yesterday in Washington D.C., and in light of last year, now more than ever is a time for Christians to pray.

My blog is not about politics. But I will say that whether I agree with any leader or not, I am still called to pray for them.

I am called to represent Jesus in this terribly fallen world. It is the highest calling anyone can have. Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 5:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Jesus is still on his throne in heaven. Nothing can change that and he calls Christians to represent him in this fallen world to be his ambassadors. The world needs Christians to show Christ’s love in the midst of this pandemic and chaos.

That is my goal for this coming year to be an ambassador for Jesus in this fallen world.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Last Day of Break-Back to Class Tuesday

This is my last day of winter break. It was nice to have several no alarm clock days, but I must admit I am looking forward to being in class again. I have not seen anyone in person since the day before break except cashiers and the one morning a friend took me to the eye specialist.

What did I accomplish? I rested A LOT, interacted with fellow bloggers, watched some movies online and most importantly spent some time with Jesus. In other words, I enjoyed the break 🙂

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But it is time to be in class again and see my students whether they are in class or in Zoom. It is also time to see my fellow teachers even if it is just waving at a window to their classroom.

My dream for this semester would be for the vaccine to work against this pandemic so that after Spring Break in March, we can all be in the classroom back to “normal.” Even if we could do so at the end of the semester. It would be wonderful to celebrate with a party in class with the moms bringing food to share like we did in previous years.

The pandemic is not over yet, so please keep praying for teachers and students and keep being kind to the teachers remembering they have no control over decisions.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Journey Together in Blogging/Ideas for My Blog in 2021

I saw this quote and felt it expresses my sentiment about my interactions within the blogging community so well.

It is a huge blessing for me to see other bloggers grow in their following and in their writing. I love sharing the journey with other bloggers and try to help them in their journey.

Whether it is creating tags and tagging other bloggers, reblogging posts, leaving encouraging comments, sharing links to other blogs in my posts, or sharing blogging tips, it blesses me to be a small part of helping other bloggers grow.

Thank you to those who are on this blogging journey with me 🙂

Recently I tried something new which is sharing posts about John in the bible on Tuesdays. Last year I shared a short term series of Let Their Voices Be Heard. Blogging tip for today- Don’t be shy to try something new.

While praying, one thing I feel led to do starting next Wednesday is a series focused on wellness. Not as a health adviser because I am not a medical professional. It will be spiritually focused sharing my experience on various aspects of mental health, chronic illness, relationships etc. We will see how it goes. The first post next Wednesday will be about Chosen Family.

This year I plan to finally make my blog one with a private domain. When I do, I might explore a different theme for the blog but am not sure about that.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Going from 2020 to 2021

Count me among the cynical when it comes to the holiday of New Years. In previous New Year’s Eve celebrations that I have attended, when the clock hit midnight and everyone else would go crazy, I would have one thought. This changes nothing. The problems and bills I had on December 30 will still be there January 1.

But this time seems different to me. So permit me to share a few reflections.

1st- 2020 set the bar VERY low what with the pandemic, lockdowns, social and political strife, remote learning and all.

So with the bar set so low, any improvement on those issues will make 2021 a spectacular year by comparison. 2021 does not need to do much to improve upon 2020.

HOWEVER

2nd- In the midst of all of the turmoil of 2020, God came through for me in so many different ways. He provided for me through my brothers and sisters in Jesus whether it was money, food, etc.

Personally for me 2020 was no match for Jesus in my life. I guess I could say that Jesus set the bar high as far as what I can look to him for.

Here’s the thing

No bar is too high for Jesus to go over and exceed what we hope for. 🙂

A song that meant a lot to me earlier in the year was rescue by Lauren Daigle. While I was listening to the song back in March one day, I prayed to Jesus and said- “I need you to rescue me again.” And boy did he ever!!! It makes me think of Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

I am sharing the song again today and also a post by a brother in Jesus who shared his experience with getting vaccinated for COVID. He is Pastor Chuck I met through blogger chat.

Pastor Chuck’s vaccination

A Glimpse into the Week of A Teacher During COVID

Currently I teach for two different jobs. I teach Family Literacy in the mornings for our local public schools. It is a class of moms learning English at the school where they children attend. I also teach U.S. citizenship classes for a local center.

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My week began Monday with a series of meetings in Zoom. I had an In Service, an Instructors meeting, a Staff Meeting, and a meeting to discuss the new U.S. Citizenship class and what that will entail. Six hours later it was time to plan for the next day. Six hours in Zoom. One note about Zooming from home is that I can wear a dress shirt and sweat pants because only my head and neck are visible. 🙂

Because of what was discussed in the meetings for my morning class, I scrapped my lesson plan for technology the week and made a new one to include what we discussed. That is the nature of teaching during COVID. It is a fluid situation.

Each day I drive to the school for my morning class. I actually feel safe from COVID there because of the protocols we follow. After spending the morning there, it is time to drive home and teach in Zoom. I am thinking about getting a recliner to sit in while I teach in Zoom, but wonder if it would be so comfortable I would fall asleep while teaching.

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Each Wednesday morning, I introduce a tech tool for my students that we will practice in subsequent classes. One week that was using quizzes I made using Google Forms. I try to lower their stress by using humor when we practice new tech stuff. For the quizzes, we did class quizzes first with questions like- Do you want the teacher to cook in your kitchen. Answers to choose from- Yes, it would be funny, No, I don’t want the fire department to come.

I try to make a week long overall lesson plan and go over it with my assistant for my morning class, but each morning before class it has to be modified due to so many different reasons.

As fluid as the situation is teaching during COVID, there is something that has not changed and has become even more important for me. My day starts with spending time in prayer while listening to worship music and drinking coffee. That is how I invite Jesus into my day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Touch The Hem of His Garment by William McDowell ft Trinity Anderson

A woman plagued with a health problem for years saw Jesus walking by. She thought to herself if she could just touch the hem of the garment of Jesus, she could be healed. She touched the hem of his garment and was healed.

Jesus walks by us every day. We can reach out to him. If we are feeling isolated, depressed, hopeless, all we need to do is barely reach out to him. He wants us to be with him.

I love this song with the focus on reaching out to touch the hem of his garment. We can do so in prayer. Even the faintest prayer will get his attention. Even if all we can do is say his name. He invites us to do so.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thankful for The Moms I Teach

Yesterday was a fun example of why I am so thankful to teach a class of moms who want to learn English.

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I tend to use humor when I teach to not only make the class fun but also to reduce the stress for students. For example, on cold days I ask if they will have a picnic. When they say no, I ask why. They tell me it is cold and I act surprised.

When the students begin to joke with me, I know we have established a teacher/student relationship that they feel safe with and they feel part of the group.

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Yesterday at the end of class, the students were looking at jewelry someone had donated. As they looked at it, they would say things like- for teacher, and then hold it up. One item they held up was an earring for pierced ears. I put my hand over my ear and said ouch. They were having fun and enjoyed teasing the teacher.

It has always been my conviction as someone who teaches refugees and immigrants that I am there to meet the needs of my students but I do not look to them to meet my needs. However, I have to admit that this during this strange year of COVID, seeing them in the mornings certainly makes the day worthwhile.

I am thankful for the moms I teach. They are in my prayers each morning as I spend time with Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Her HUGE Baby Step in Class

Huge baby step may seem contradictory but as you read, you will understand why I chose the title.

One of the moms in my morning class is a woman from Sudan. She came to the USA with her husband and children as refugees to a small city about an hour and a half drive from my city. Her oldest son moved to my city for work shortly after they came here.

Her husband died about two years ago, so my student moved to my city with her younger children to be with her oldest son. She began my class shortly after she came to my city.

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The above picture is not her but illustrates depression. We think she has clinical depression, but getting a diagnosis and treatment for someone with low verbal skills in English is not easy. She was despondent when she began my class and looked down a lot. She speaks so softly that it is difficult to hear her as she wears a mask in class. When I speak to her or someone else speaks to her, she will look up only to look down again afterward.

She had no computer skills when she started my class. Last school year, she was completely dependent on my assistant to help her with her Chromebook in class. When the class had to go remote using Zoom in April and May this year, we lost her.

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This year she brings her Chromebook every day. All of the students have a Chromebook checked out to them. But she has been dependent on my assistant to help her. Then yesterday it happened.

When I assigned breakout rooms in Zoom, she clicked on join by herself. When I closed the breakout rooms in Zoom, she clicked on leave breakout room by herself. Both times I quickly acknowledged what she had done by saying her name, giving her a thumbs up and clapping for her. It was a small step for anyone else, but for her it was a HUGE baby step.

Jesus knows her name. Please pray for this woman who is a widow with a son in 1st grade who is autistic, a daughter in middle school, and a few older children.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.