A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

FaithBITs will be: emailed on Friday mornings, archived on this page, available on our social media channels and printed and available at the Welcome Desk.

September 20, 2019


Chloe, Gretchen and friend

Music: A gift to be shared

Reflection by Chloe Thompson

Music has had a huge impact on my life; I’m involved with Holy Commotion here at church, I’m involved with the orchestra at my school, and I love to sing and play my guitar or ukulele just for fun.  God has given me the gift of music to help guide me through the hard times.

Gretchen Hansen and I brought our guitars along on the high school mission trip to Logan, West Virginia in July.  We intended to play our guitars just for our peers, however, we also played for two groups of people at two nursing homes in Logan, and that’s where I saw God.

While visiting a nursing home on a Tuesday afternoon we found out that one of the residents had a guitar and would like to join us in playing some songs.  We sat down with him and later found out that he was part of a band that would travel all over the southern United States when he was younger.  He then played songs with us like Can’t Help Falling in Love, by Elvis Presley, and copious Beatle’s songs.  He then finished off by playing Gretchen and I one of hundreds of songs that he had written.  I was almost moved to tears.  You could just tell that God gave him his incredible gift and you could see how happy it made him to use it once again. 

Chloe's quote

He’s one of the most incredible musicians I have ever met, and he reminded me so much of my grandpa.  After leaving the nursing home I remember stepping out to the parking lot and immediately calling my Dad and telling him about this man who looked exactly and acted exactly like his dad.  My grandpa is one of the biggest musical influences in my life.  He has perfect pitch and according to him, he can play every instrument, except the spoons, which I don’t totally believe because he has a great sense of rhythm.  He’s in a family band that would play in Lake Park, Minnesota with all his brothers which is a small town of only 800 people.  I remember as a child watching him play guitar in the shop and thinking whoa, I want to do that.  I want to be just like him which led me to play guitar.  He’s always been very supportive of my ability to play and even though he doesn’t play much anymore, he is still such a great influence on that part of my life. 

I’m eternally grateful to Immanuel for giving me this opportunity and I highly recommend a mission trip for anyone who would consider participating.  It is something you will never forget and something that will impact you forever, and you just might see God!

September 13, 2019


Immanuel Youth in Duluth

I could see God

Reflection by Grace Porter

This July, I was blessed to be able to lead the Middle School Mission Trip with Paul Erdmann; especially since I wasn’t expecting to be able to go on anymore mission trips after I graduated. Mission trips have been an integral part of my faith journey and they helped lead me to realize my calling to work in the church. This trip was no less extraordinary, except I got to experience it through the lens of a leader.

As a leader I got to see the students immerse themselves in work that they may not always have liked. But I could see God in them through the way they kept pushing themselves, and their peers, to persist, so that they could be proud of what they had done. I saw God in the Union Gospel Mission (UGM), which was a soup kitchen, food shelf, and transitional housing service combined. UGM gave people a way to get through the day, the week, and even a chance into better circumstances.

I could see God

I saw God in the relationships that the kids formed throughout the week, getting closer with students from our own church as well as kids from the other churches there that week. I also got the opportunity to learn and grow with the Youthworks leaders and the adults from the other churches; they all were incredibly supportive of me and my learning curve, and I felt so empowered by my faith and by our conversations. I even saw God in the beauty of Duluth; the double rainbow that we could see almost end to end from Enger Tower, and the golden sun setting as we played frisbee by Park Point Beach.

This trip gave me so many wonderful experiences to remember and to use in my future, and for that I am forever grateful.

September 6, 2019


The One-ness of God

The One-ness of God

Reflection by Janell Weum

Over and over again, as a composer pours herself into the music, parts of her flow into her work. The music is an expression of herself and it is through the music that she is heard in many levels.  Music creates a vision, a flow of thought and emotion that builds and ebbs….tension and release….dissonance and harmony.  Our ears allow us to participate in the experience as they yearn for the cadence to resolve once again to the root chord. Isn’t it interesting that the tonic chord, the root key of a song, is also called the ( I) chord?  Ex:  (I, IV, V7- one, four, five/seven). The One chord resolves the dissonance.  The One chord is the root and base of the song. It is here that our ears long to land for a sense of peace and completeness.

The One-ness of God

The One-ness of God, though complex and described as a unity of three, could be like a root chord.  Three notes played together to create the (I) chord.

God created and poured God’s self into all of creation. God created me.  We are an expression of a part of who God is.  We participate in God’s voice being heard. Our lives ebb and flow in its connectedness to our Creator.

When I am distant…I am not attuned to God’s movement in my life. When I am willing to hear God’s still small voice, I am being “tuned” to play in harmony with the Spirit.

As we each “sing God’s song” into the world, our “melodies” weave together much like instruments in an orchestra come together to create something much bigger.  God, our Creator, continues to compose God’s song of love through each and every one of us.

August 30, 2019


Mission Trip - Logan, WV - with YouthWorks

Mountain Mama

Reflection by Abby Bracke

As a chaperone on the high school mission trip this past June, I had the pleasure of listening to the John Denver classic, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” countless times in our 15-passenger van.  I always sang along with the teens and this always brought a smile to my face. This song became the theme for our trip. 

One of the lyrics in the song refers to a “mountain mama”.  While in West Virginia for the week, my small group had the opportunity to meet a woman named Ms. Priscella, whom I would eventually refer to as “Mountain Mama.”  Meeting her was not on the agenda for the week but rather an opportunity that presented itself…a God moment. 

My small group was assigned to work in a local elementary school, reading to children and helping the overworked custodian.  On our second day there, a local woman told me about another volunteer opportunity the following afternoon…the chance to help distribute food at a local food pantry.  Ms. Priscella owns and operates this food pantry that provides food to over 6000 people every month. Some of the food comes in via donation but any needed food items (i.e. eggs, milk, apples) that are not donated Ms. Priscella purchases using her husband’s social security check. 

Abby Bracke's quote

When our small group arrived at the food pantry the next day, I was in awe at what God was allowing our youth to witness.  Smiles on the faces of the mostly elderly people whose cars were loaded with food by our teens. Homeless men, whom Ms. Priscella allows to live in her campground, worked right alongside our youth.  Aisle after aisle of clothing available to anyone needing it. She told us her story of how she started the food pantry and why she continues to grow it larger each month. Ms. Priscella quickly proved herself to be the most passionate, selfless person I have ever met.  What an inspiration she was to the youth in our group…and myself! 

On our road trip home, every time the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” would come over the speakers, I would smile and think of this amazing woman I met in the mountains of West Virginia.  Meeting Ms. Priscella allowed me to realize that surely there are similarly amazing people in our own community doing similarly amazing work. I just need to find the “mountain mamas” here in Minnesota…or become one myself.

August 23, 2019


Mission Trip 2019

Sharing God’s Love on a Mission Trip

Reflection by Grace Held

This year I was able to have the opportunity to go on another mission trip where I could grow as a person and as a follower of Christ. This trip was my 5th mission trip so I knew what to expect but at the same time, I was going in clueless. Each trip is a new experience that I will cherish because of the memories I’ve been able to make during those times. 

I’ve always loved getting the chance to meet new people on these trips and being able to connect more with the people from Immanuel and that definitely happened on this trip. I got to make art with some 6th-grade girls and I met a lady who survived being launched 300 ft in a motorcycle accident. While working with the 6th graders I got pushed out of my comfort zone, because I’m used to being with preschoolers and high schoolers, so I had to think about how to interact with them, but I won’t ever forget the kids I met.

Grace's quote

I felt God’s presence most while I was working with the kids because it is the best feeling seeing them light up over something as small as someone like me spending time with them.

The connections you make with people while on a mission trip are endless. I loved getting to experience this with people I was already friends with, my cousin who joined me on this trip, and everybody I either met or grew closer to.

I love the impact we can have on someone through even something as simple as drawing with some girls, to something as big as building stairs for someone with a disability.  Because we were shown so much love from Christ we can love and serve others.

Archive of the current year

September 6, 2019: The One-ness of God by Janell Weum
August 30, 2019: Mountain Mama by Abby Bracke
August 23, 2019: Sharing God’s Love on a Mission Trip by Grace Held
August 16, 2019: Rest Stop God Moment by Dana Connett
August 9, 2019: God Calls the Right People to the Right Place by Kim Rathjen
August 2, 2019: Seeds of Faith Planted, Watered & Nurtured by Janell Weum
July 26, 2019:Transformed in Port Aransas by Bridget Zillmer
July 19, 2019: A Life-Changing Week by Chloe Thompson
July 12, 2019: Generations of Generosity by Pastor Angela
July 5, 2019: Step by Step You’ll Lead Me by Kelly Kautz
June 28, 2019: Riding to Help the Sick by Bill Middeke
June 21, 2019: Walking in Community by Kari Totall
June 14, 2019: Our High-Tech God by Deb Garvey
June 7, 2019, Community of Faith by Andy Vergeront
May 31, 2019, God Helps us Do Hard Things by Alisson Rasmussen
May 24, 2019, Gifts from the Heart by Martin Rathjen
May 19, Three Takeaways from Tanzania by Kim Rathjen
May 10, 2019, Wanna Play the Worry Game? by Janell Weum
May 4, #holyweekhumor by Pastor Angela
April 26, Running Has Become My Prayer Time by Clark Weyrauch
April 19, Blessed Are Those Who Mourn by Lisa Ross
April 12, The Faces of God by Bev Osekowsky
April 5, A Stranger Welcomed by Gary Thrasher
March 29, Transformed by Kelly Kautz
March 22, Trusting in God by Sophie Flom
March 15, Modern Day Burning Bushes by Kelly Meyer
March 8, Seek and You Will Find by Jerry Martin
March 1, Panoja by Pastor Angela
February 25, Even Those of Us with Few Talents by Ruth Lunde
February 15, Recipients of Compassion
February 8, A Solid Foundation by Jerry Martin
January 30, Snow (Transformational Seasons) by Josh Kautz
January 25, A Meaningful Way to spend Christmas Day by Terrie Falkenstein
January 18, Miracles Happen Every Day! by Mary Ellen Anderson
January 11, Take a Hike! by Dave Nieting
January 4, Camping with Grandkids by Karen Nelson

Archived FaithBITs from Previous Years


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