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Countless Scripture passages encourage us to tell others about what the Lord has done for us (in Ps 71, Ps 78, Ps 105, Ps 145, Isaiah 12, and 1 Chron 16 to name just a few).  We have felt called by the Lord to help FCC gather faith stories and publish them so we can all be inspired to look for "God's fingerprints" everywhere.   Some-times these stories are miraculous, sometimes they are very ordinary, but they all remind us of the Lord's compassion and truth.                                     

                                                                                – Pete & Kari Stade

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"Jury Duty"

by Kelly Morrell

 

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” -- Esther 4:14

 

     As I sat in the jury box, I silently asked, “Lord, what are you up to?” I’ve been called for jury duty several times over the years, but always released for a variety of reasons. On this day, when I discovered that “John” was the defendant, I was 100% certain I would not have to miss any work in following through on my civic duty. I knew the defendant personally – and not in a good way.

     My company, Concrete Products of New London, was looking to fill a critical machine operator position. I’d found John by paying a substantial fee to a “headhunter” firm, covered his relocation expenses, and hired him. Unfortunately, his resume had greatly overstated his skills. We still needed help and the finder’s fee was nonrefundable, so we kept John on to train as a machine operator. He never really grasped the workings of the machine, but another member of his team was so mechanically inclined that he made up for John’s shortcomings until one Friday night in late winter. John made a major mistake, causing a fire that spread through the plant, causing over a quarter of a million dollars in damage. This was the last straw for us, and John was dismissed.

     Two weeks later John, still unemployed, sat in his backyard at a bonfire finishing his second case of beer while holding a 22-caliber handgun and threatening suicide. His wife, in extreme panic, called the police department. Officers approached from both sides of the house with their guns drawn. John was extremely drunk, sitting in a camping chair with his back to the house. As the officers addressed John, telling him to drop the gun and put his hands up, he tried to turn and get out of the chair - but he hadn’t dropped the gun yet. Both officers shot multiple times and hit him three times. One bullet penetrated his hip, where it remains today.

     When I arrived at the courthouse, John had been brought up on two counts of second-degree assault against a policeman and one count of threats of violence. All the prospective jury members were questioned by both prosecuting and defending attorneys, and a few were dismissed for different reasons, but even after they questioned me, I remained. The judge finally asked if there was anything that any juror should disclose about prior knowledge or relationships that might affect a decision in this case. As I couldn’t believe I was still a prospect, I stood up and told the court that I was the employer who had dismissed John two weeks before the incident. I can only imagine what each side – and John - was thinking about me sitting on the jury. Despite this, no one objected and I was selected for the jury. At this point, it seemed clear to me that God had caused this and I wondered what His purpose was.

     After hearing the case, the jury was instructed by the judge and sent to a room for deliberation. Despite my clear relationship with the defendant, I was nominated as the foreman of the jury. I would describe this jury as the “wild, wild west.” It seemed that everyone had vastly different perspectives which influenced how they interpreted what they had heard in the trial. A large percentage of the jurors felt strongly that if you have a gun when cops are on the scene, you are going to jail, period. This majority was led by a huge guy with an engineering background. His size alone generated respect in the room.

     I shared my perspective that although I had personal reasons to support the prosecution, John was in dire straits, drunk off his rocker, and didn’t intend to harm anyone but himself on that day. We deliberated back and forth all day and it seemed we might be a hung jury. Eventually, one well-spoken, strong-willed gal spoke up in support of John. It was the start of positive momentum for his cause. As time ticked away, I realized that if we didn’t reach a consensus within the next hour, we’d be coming back tomorrow.

     At 4:10 p.m., the engineer decided he could support acquitting John of the assault charges. With his decision, the other jurors who supported the “guilty on all charges” verdict conceded as well.

John was acquitted of the serious “second-degree assault against a policeman” charges, which could have included years of jail time. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail for “threats of violence,” but his hospital stay was included as time served. He walks today with a cane and brace.

 

Thank You, God, for working in sometimes mysterious ways. Thank You for using

us to accomplish Your works of mercy. Help us to see Your hand in all things.      -- Amen.

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Interstate Incident"

by Barb Swanson

 

“Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

 

Many years ago, my husband, Tim, and I were traveling on I-94 West in Minneapolis driving at full speed.  Our car was in the farthest left lane next to a concrete median barrier. There were two other lanes to the right of us filled with traffic.

 

As we came around a bend in the highway, terror filled us as we saw, only seconds ahead, an immense roll of carpet, taller than the hood of our car and stretched entirely across our lane! It completely blocked the road directly in front of us. The traffic was heavy and fast; there were vehicles behind us and to the right of us, so there was nowhere to go and no time to even slow down. Gripped by the realization of the impact about to occur, I whispered aloud, “Jesus, help.”

 

Immediately, a huge semi-truck barreled up on our right, passing us at high speed. As it moved ahead, the left front of the truck knocked the carpet roll, sending it into a 90-degree spin out of our way – as if a gate had opened for us to pass through. In the blink of an eye, a whispered impossible prayer was on God’s radar before it was even thought or uttered. Thank you, Lord! Wow!

 

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your miraculous acts of salvation, both for eternity

and in our everyday lives. Help us to glorify and praise Your Name always. 

-- Amen.

 

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"The Holy Spirit is Real"

by Annette Thompson

 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world

cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. -- John 14:16-17

 

Before we moved here, my husband and I were attending a Full Gospel fellowship. One night at a ladies’ event, a special speaker began to share her real-life account of abduction, torture, and captivity. Ten days after her terrible ordeal began, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit each began to minister to her in their own unique way and gave her a very specific set of tasks. After hearing the dramatic story of how the Holy Spirit helped this woman to escape, my life was forever changed. I had heard about the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit my whole life as I went to church and Sunday school and studied the Bible, but hearing this story made the Holy Spirit very real to me. I’m so grateful for that lesson. In the challenges and trials I was to face for the next 30 years, I really needed the Holy Spirit in my life to direct and comfort and walk beside me day by day.

 

At one point, there was a period of unrest and surely a time of grieving the Holy Spirit at that church. Many Sundays I couldn’t even bring myself to go because it made me so sad. One particular Sunday, when I was at my lowest physically and spiritually, I decided to just go so someone could pray for me and I could feel better.

 

For the first and only time, that pastor instructed us to all join hands across the aisles and pray for the person on our right. “Really, Lord? I came here today so needy and you want me to pray for someone else?” Well, I obeyed instructions. Less than ten seconds after I sat down, the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. The person on my left had also been praying for me! My next prayer was for forgiveness. I learned that the Holy Spirit is real and that blessings come when I consider others more important than myself.

 

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for comforting us, guiding us and teaching us. -- Amen.

 

 

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"Bully on the Bus"

by Chris Pappenfus

 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

 

One afternoon in fourth grade, at the back of the bus on the way home from school, I was entertaining my circle of friends with my usual quick-witted and sarcastic comments – compensation for my lack of physical or athletic prowess. My target was a brooding hulk of a fifth grader by the name of Robby.  As I casually remarked on Robby’s general lack of hygiene and desperate social depravity, I wasn’t worried about retribution, counting on my ring of able-bodied fourth graders plus the no-nonsense driver keeping a watchful eye in the big rearview mirror. The laughter I was soliciting from my peers at Robby’s expense was well worth the risk.

 

In my euphoria, I failed to realize that Robby hadn’t gotten off the bus at his usual stop. I was a bit shocked to see him still in his seat as I got off. Robby rose up behind me like a grizzly bear and followed me down the center aisle. As I turned to exit the bus, I cast a nervous glance back to my friends standing wide-eyed in the back of the bus and began plotting a desperate run to safety. But Robby had a firm grip on my backpack and I realized that the law of the jungle was about to kick in: only the strong will survive!

As Robby dragged me behind my neighbor’s fence, my idle threats and pleas for mercy seemed to fall on deaf ears. Robby didn’t say a word; he simply threw me to the ground and let his fists and feet do the talking. After a brief but painful pummeling he wrapped his arm around my neck in a chokehold and finally spoke: “If I see you on the bus again tomorrow, I’ll assume you want me to beat you to a pulp.” With that, he lumbered back up the street towards his house. I wiped the tears from my face and took stock of my injuries, wondering how I was going to explain this to my mom and if she would be willing to place me under police protection.

 

That evening I recounted the incident to my dad, already starting to embellish the story for maximum effect. But he didn’t respond as I expected. Having observed me over the past few years, he asked directly: “What did you say that made Robby so angry?” As I confessed my part in the altercation, he listened with compassion and my resentment began to soften. My dad then explained some things about Robby’s home life that I hadn’t known. I started to imagine what it was like for Robby to endure my ugly comments. Suddenly new emotions flooded me: shame and regret. 

 

I knew I had to apologize to Robby. I knew I was going to endure a litany of questions and probably some teasing from my friends, and I also knew that if I ever rode that bus again I was a dead man! My father calmed my anxiety by offering to meet me at the bus stop.

 

After a long and awkward day at school, avoiding both my usual joking with my friends and the fifth-grade hallway, I hung back until the very last minute before boarding Bus 12. Robby stared at me as I bolted past him on my way to the back of the bus. I was uncharacteristically quiet on that bus ride and my friends seemed content to hold a kind of silent vigil in what might be my final hour. As we neared Robby’s stop, I hoped against hope that he would get off; maybe he’d had a change of heart, or maybe he’d injured himself punching me. No such luck.

 

Seeing Dad waiting for me at my stop, I felt a mixture of relief and embarrassment that I needed my daddy to fight my battles for me. As Robby stepped off the bus behind me, he noticed my dad standing in our neighbor's yard and I could sense him starting to plan his own hasty retreat up the street. Dad called, “Robby, I need to talk to you for a minute.” 

 

I waited off to the side as my father calmly confronted my enemy. I didn’t hear what he said but his tone was gentle, yet firm. Robby stared at his feet, occasionally nodding or shaking his head and only once gesturing in my direction. Finally, my dad turned and called me to join them. I approached with a sense of confidence now that my dad had put this bully in his place. As I drew near, my dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Chris, what would you like to say to Robby?” 

 

I thought to myself, “Why am I the one who has to apologize first? He was the one throwing punches. He was the one who couldn’t take a joke. He was the one who resorted to violence!” Yet, in that space, under the protective arm of my father, I found I could accept my sinful behavior and apologize for the hurtful things I had said. 

 

Robby continued to stare at his feet but added, “And I’m sorry I beat you up.” 

 

We stood there in silence for a while before my dad spoke again. “Robby, I don’t want you to beat Chris up ever again. Chris, I don’t ever want to hear of you bullying Robby or anyone else on the bus again. Am I clear?” 

 

Robby was quick to answer, “Yes, sir.” 

 

“Yes,” I added.

 

Dad kept his hand on my shoulder as we walked back to our house. We talked about other things, light-hearted and delightful things. Dad never mentioned my “bus bullying” again. And though I didn’t become friends with Robby, neither he nor I ever bullied each other again.

 

Thank You, heavenly Father, that You gently and firmly convict us of our sins and give us the grace to repent.

Thank You that You have fought the battle for us and in Your strong arms we experience mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

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Follow His Lead

by Dan Sands

“Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory. Let your hand be with me,

and keep me from the evil one.” And God granted his request.  -- 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 

Growing up, I was intrigued by people who went into the mission field but never thought it was a calling of mine. I’m very much a homebody and wasn’t interested in traveling.

 

In late 2004, our youth pastor offered a trip to Ecuador for youth and adults. I immediately felt prompted to go and leaned over to my wife and said, “I think I need to do this.” My wife was shocked to hear me say this but wasn’t inclined to argue. Following God’s prompting, I became a part of the church's 2005 Ecuador trip. Through this trip, my passion for Ecuador began.

 

Since then, I’ve been to Ecuador eight times. Over 100 different people from our church have come along and we have seen lives changed -- not only those of the Ecuadorians but also those who went on these trips. I saw God at work countless times during those years.

 

The strange thing about all of this is that God chose me and gave me the passion to continue my relationship with the people in Ecuador. I feel that I was the least likely and the least qualified to lead trips to Ecuador, but God had different plans. I’m so thankful that I listened to God’s prompting and not my own brain. I continue to have a heart for Ecuador and encourage people to go where they feel God is leading them. Trusting God changes our lives.

 

Thank You, Almighty God, for calling us to do more than we ask or think. Help us to follow Your promptings. Amen.

 

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My Earthly Angel

by Tammy Moll

 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. -- Isaiah 65:24

 

Several years ago, my younger brother passed away without warning. He did not prepare for this part of life, so it was up to me and three other siblings to bury him. Alan and I contributed a fourth of the cost and he was cremated and laid to rest in West Virginia.

 

The tombstone was not taken care of at that time, so after two years of waiting for my older siblings, Alan and I decided that it was time to mark the spot on this planet that held my brother’s remains. I ordered a simple flat stone to be shipped to the church attached to the cemetery. The church treasurer in West Virginia, Lauren, planned to receive the stone and have it laid. Unfortunately, due to a mix-up in the order, it came to our home in Minnesota instead. The tombstone had already cost more than I planned, and now I would have to pay more than $100 to ship it to the church. After I called and explained to Lauren why the stone was delayed, she volunteered to ask the church to cover the cost of having it installed. They said yes, and paid for the stone to be laid at the gravesite.

 

About a year later, I was in the throes of panic over a troubling issue. The phone rang one day, while I was begging God for help, and it was Lauren. At first, I was worried something had happened to my brother’s stone. But no, she felt a leading from Christ to contact me. He had arranged it so she could pray for and with me. As we talked and prayed, I knew God was watching over me, which helped my soul become settled. I knew He would take care of my problems. 

 

Thank you, Lord, for sending your earthly angels to help care for us when we need your loving and strong arms. -- Amen

 

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A Prayer for Healing

by Alan Moll

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

 

     On Feb., 5, 2024, Tammy and I were on vacation at Wisconsin Dells, joined by my son Andrew and his family. All of us were having a wonderful time at the water parks. Our grandchildren spent hours each day in the water, living like fish. However, our enjoyment was marred by several of us having a stubborn cough. My daughter-in-law, Bethany, had it the worst. She had been coughing for several weeks and had recently gotten better. But now she was coughing constantly, making it difficult to have joy or get any sleep. She was ready to go to the doctor.

     The next morning, I was surprised to receive a text from a church member. This person was starting the new year with a prayer calendar – seeking out prayer needs to further the work of God’s Kingdom. She asked how she could pray for me. I told her about the coughing and asked her to pray for everyone’s health. I then informed Bethany that someone was praying for her. That in itself was a step of faith. It would be easier not to mention it, to avoid any disappointment. I was reminded of Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

      That evening at supper, Bethany exclaimed, "The prayer worked – I’m no longer a coughing maniac! " And she was right. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard her cough.

       What a joy and blessing – God’s love and grace at work, our church family supporting each other in our daily needs and my immediate family experiencing God’s healing power. In addition, I was humbled by my lack of faith. I will spend more time noticing how God answers prayer.

 

Thank You, heavenly Father, for saying yes to Your people’s prayers. Amen.

 

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Angels Watching Over

by Barb Buer

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” Psalm 91:11

     In 1995, my husband, Mike, our two young children, and I took a road trip from Atwater, Minn., to Kent, Wash., to visit my mom. We decided to drive through the night the first night so the kids could sleep. We’d stay in a hotel the second night and have a shorter drive on the final day. We left home at 9:00 on Sunday night. 

     On Monday, we were all exhausted. At about 4:00 in the afternoon, an hour from our Montana hotel, all four of us fell asleep. Mike, who was driving, had the van on cruise control. It veered off the freeway and hit an approach in the ditch. This woke us all up -- in midair! As the van sailed through the air, Mike heard his father’s voice say, “Step on it!” His dad had yelled that same instruction to him years before on very icy roads, while Mike was at the wheel and had to take the ditch to avoid hitting another car. On that occasion, he had driven right out of the ditch.

     Mike followed those same orders when the van hit the ground. He accelerated instead of braking and kept the wheels straight. We landed hard but did not flip. He drove about 75 yards before coming to a stop on the shoulder of the freeway. The kids said they were okay and no one had screamed or cried. We were all in shock, but grateful to be in one piece. 

     Mike and I got out of the van to assess the damage. The car-top carrier was gone, and the impact of hitting the ground so hard bent the body of the van. As a result, the sliding back door wouldn’t completely close and latch.

     Almost immediately, out of nowhere, two guys in a pickup truck appeared with our car-top carrier. They said they had watched it fly off the van and picked it up to return it to us. They kindly asked us if we needed any help or if anyone was hurt. We said we were okay and that the van was drivable. We thanked them and they drove on ahead.

     Right after they left, a young woman stopped and jumped out of her car. She said she’d watched the whole thing and just wanted to make sure we were okay. She was very sweet and concerned about us. We thanked her for stopping and told her we were going to go straight to our hotel and hoped to get a good night’s sleep. I remember turning to Mike on our way to the hotel and saying, “I feel like I’ve seen her before.”

     Every time we reflect on that experience, we are humbled and grateful to God for his protection that day. As for the individuals who stopped to help, and the voice in Mike’s head -- we wonder if they were "Good Samaritans" - or possibly guardian angels!

 

Father, thank You for Your guidance and protection all the days of our lives -- Amen.

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A Precious One Rescued from Wandering

by Carolie Carlson

“Jesus Christ) gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”   Galatians 1:4

 

     Last spring, Myron and I were sad to euthanize our 13-year-old Yorkiepoo, Bella. We rescued her 10 years ago. A few weeks later, another rescue dog arrived on the scene. Myron was excited as the dog’s foster mom handed this pathetic-looking creature to me in a parking lot in Worthington. However, I thought this ill-groomed dog was the most unkempt I had ever seen! Even so, Myron convinced me we should give him a chance.

We agreed that we would keep the “Rocco” name of this 2-year-old Yorkiepoo, and decided to give him the middle name “Tony” to thank the gentleman who helped us navigate Petfinders online.

     For many months, Rocco had been running wild at great peril to himself in the small town where he was rescued. As we researched our new canine’s names, we learned “Rocco” means “rest,” and “Tony” means “precious one.”

By now this energetic puppy has won both of our hearts! He loves to cuddle and he loves to play. When it’s too cold to fetch outdoors, our nights see balls flying indoors! Our home is littered with little squeaky balls and stuffed toys he loves to shake.

     His name, “Rocco Tony”, speaks to Myron and me spiritually. It says “Rest from your wandering oh precious ones.” We have found Jesus Christ to be "The Rest" in the face of our wandering. Just as we rescued Rocco and gave him rest from his wandering -- Jesus Christ came to rescue us from our sin-prone nature and the punishment of eternal lostness.

Each one of us is called “Precious One” by the Lord. How grateful we can be that God provided rescue from our wanderings and declares us precious through this Jesus.

 

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for rescuing us and making us precious in Your sight. - Amen

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He Leadeth Me 

by Kari Stadem   04.04.24

"Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears shall hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”    Isaiah 30:21

 

Last summer, my husband Pete and I both felt that our time of visiting different congregations had to come to an end. We had enjoyed almost a year of attending a service at almost every church in Willmar, but we believe we are meant to live out our belonging to the Body of Christ by committing our time, talents, and treasures to one local congregation. We wanted to get involved with a congregation where we could feel that we were pulling in the same direction, and also that we could be useful in that pulling. But where?

 

On July 2, we were in a pew at First Covenant Church as Pastor Chris preached on Deuteronomy 7, where God commands the Israelites to wipe out the other people groups. We were impressed that he didn’t shy away from this difficult passage. In the middle of the sermon, Pastor Chris said something to this effect: “We don’t have a record of God’s faithfulness in the lives of our congregation members -- I would love it if someone would come to me and say, 'Pastor, I will collect these stories and write them down.'” Pete leaned over and put his hand on my knee. We did this - five years ago! Pete and I worked together to collect 137 stories (from 40 different relatives) about his dad’s home farm place. We edited them, put them in a devotional format, and published a book. We know how to help people identify stories of God’s faithfulness, how to make them interesting, how to connect Scripture, and how to edit them for clarity and good English.

 

We made an appointment with Pastor Chris the next morning and told him the above story. He said, “This fills me with hope and joy. I didn’t have that part of the sermon planned. In my notes, I left a blank spot and trusted the Holy Spirit to help me say what He wanted me to say. And this morning, a prayer warrior texted me, affirming the message and wondering what the Lord was going to do with it.” Pastor Chris answered our questions about the congregation, and we went home to pray. Since then, we have become regular attendees at FCC and have been grateful for the staff, the leadership, and the members -- who have welcomed us and encouraged us in our mission of collecting faith stories to inspire other believers and the next generation to trust in the wisdom and goodness of the Lord..

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your leading in our lives. Help us to do Your work in Your way. Amen.

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Where Two or Three are Gathered

by Carol Solbrack   03.27.24

 “. . . and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 

     Recently, I noticed the quilted wall hanging on my sewing room wall. The scripture verse on it is “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am with them." (Matthew 18:20) It brought me back to the worst week of my life in January 2000.

On January 2, 2000, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. As I was preparing to go to the Emergency Room for a colonoscopy, my mother phoned and said her heart was racing. We picked her up and all entered Rice Hospital. Mother turned out just fine; my report was not good, and surgery was needed.

     Four days later, my daughter called and we found out our 2-month-old grandson was spitting up blood. The day after that, our other daughter, Cindy, called. Her father-in-law, Grandpa Doug, had suddenly died of a massive heart attack.

Meanwhile, my surgery was scheduled for January 8.

     Our family had done much praying during those days. On that Monday morning our family, along with Pastor Dan Johnson, were gathered in my room. Everyone prayed for successful surgery, healing, and comfort. We felt the Lord's presence and the truth of the scripture there that morning. Jesus was very real.

     Cindy said at one point, “I know God is in control, but I do not understand where His control is taking us.” We all mourned the loss of Doug but knew he was with the Lord, and we would reunite again one day. The University of Minnesota diagnosed baby Wesley with acid reflux, and he is now a healthy young man. My surgery was successful and I am cancer-free.

     I made that wall quilt years before I experienced that troubled week. God’s word was true then, and it is true today.

 

Dear Jesus, thank you that you are with us always.

Help us remember your presence and gather in your name. Amen.

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Not a Coincidence

by Mike Buer   03.17.24

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside

your Father’s care. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29, 31

 

In April of 2001, I had my most memorable physical at ACMC. I’d been putting it off, but finally made the call, and my family physician suggested I have my PSA checked as a part of my lab tests. He explained that even though I was a little younger than the recommended age, it would be wise because of my medical history - my dad had passed away from prostate cancer.

The results of my PSA were not good; I needed a biopsy. Within a few days I met with a urologist at the clinic and he took many samples. Supposedly he numbed me, but it was very uncomfortable and I nearly passed out. A few days later we met again with the urologist and he told us that the biopsy showed that I had prostate cancer. Also, my Gleason numbers, which indicate the aggressiveness of the cancer, were high. I was shocked! I didn’t have any of the symptoms he’d asked me about. He admitted that he’d never had a patient with prostate cancer as young as me. He recommended surgery as soon as possible, but understood if I wanted to get a second opinion.

As I shared all this with my siblings, my sister Cindy said, “if you want a second opinion, we have a good friend from our church who is a urologist. I think the world of him. I can get you his number. His name is Dr. Beahrs.” When I talked to my sister Debbie, a surgical nurse at St. Paul Children’s Hospital, she mentioned her great respect for one of the urologists there. “I don’t personally know him, but I have worked with him in surgery. He is a highly skilled surgeon and has an incredible calming influence in the operating room. He is a Christian. His name is Dr. Randall Beahrs.” I thought, “This is not a coincidence!”

We met and consulted with Dr Beahrs and immediately felt a real peace, asking him to be my surgeon. On April 19, fifteen days after my biopsy, as I was being prepped for surgery, Dr Beahrs came into the room where Barb and several siblings were gathered. Everyone joined hands around my bed as Dr. Beahrs prayed. We knew that God had orchestrated this whole event!

My surgery and recovery went well. My cousins David and Steve and my brother-in-law Paul planted my corn that spring, but I was able to plant my soybeans. Two years after my surgery, my PSA started climbing. Dr. Beahrs put me on Lupron, a hormone therapy drug that stops the production of the testosterone which feeds prostate cancer. It worked famously for me! I’ve been on Lupron for 21 years and it has kept my PSA down.

After Dr. Beahrs retired, my new urologist, Dr. Polcari, couldn’t believe I had been on Lupron for so long! He explained that it’s rarely effective for more than ten years because the prostate cancer cells figure out how to reproduce without testosterone by that time. Lupron also has a side effect of causing osteoporosis, so he took me off it, but unfortunately my PSA started climbing. He suggested a PET scan with a dye that can find and light up prostate cancer cells. Those cells can be targeted with radiation and hopefully destroyed! I completed seven five-day weeks of radiation in the Spring of 2023. The protocol after radiation is two years of Lupron. So, the journey continues. And God is faithful and so good.

 

Thank You, Lord, that You notice and provide for every detail of our lives.

Help us to rest and trust in Your guidance in every situation. Amen.

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Punishment or Grace?

by Marlene Hovland  3.10.24 

… a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17

 

     In 1956 at our country school, I was a curious five-year-old. I’d been in the girls’ toilet at one end of the woodshed many times but wondered if the one on the boys’ end of the shed was different. A boy a couple of years older noted my curiosity and told me, “Have a look. Nobody’s in there.” But, to my dismay, there was a boy using the toilet! I felt betrayed by that boy and scared of the consequences. I knew I wasn’t supposed to peek in there.

     News spread quickly on the playground and soon our stern teacher, Mrs Carlin, knew what I’d done, too. She tried to swat me as I was getting books from my under-desk cubby, but I scooted sideways. She missed and didn’t try again. I was anxious the rest of the day, dreading punishment from my parents when they found out.

     After I walked the mile home with my siblings, I hid inside the almost empty corn crib, hoping to avoid a spanking from Dad. As suppertime approached, I reluctantly decided to face the consequences and went to the house. My parents gently scolded me, “Girls don’t go in boys’ toilets.” But there was no spanking from Dad.

     As I’ve pondered this incident, I see that my father saw my remorse. Like our Heavenly Father, who recognizes a humble and repentant spirit, Dad also was quick to forgive.

 

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for your mercy and forgiveness.  Grant us that contrite heart which You love to see.  Amen.

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