My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

Ebeneezer in Ms. G’s Classroom December 15, 2007

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Friend Spotlight,Ministry Spotlight — charredsmore @ 10:23 pm

My friend Melissa has a history with this little town.  Before returning to teach 5th grade, she has had quite the journey.  Melissa had spent two summers working with YouthWorks and the in between months doing an internship called GreaterWorks in this “hidden community”.  The Lord spoke to her powerfully while she was in Cairo working with the children…He told her that she would become a teacher and return to Cairo.  Now, there posed a bit of a problem, since Melissa did not have her teaching degree or certificate.  She had gone to school for Social Cultural Studies.  Hmmmm….what is a girl to do?  Go back to school of course!  So, that she did.  For two years this gal perservered through classes, exams, PSAT tests, lectures, curriculum writing and wallah, she is now a teacher at Bennet Elementary School!  I am amazed at the Lord’s provision and faithfulness in her life. 

This story was written by Melissa and Sara while reflecting on one AMAZING day! 


December 5, 2007. 

Bennett prayer.  Stacy prayed for specific things, for specific breakthrough to happen, that God would release things in the school and classroom.  Melissa and Stacy prayed that God’s power would be evident in the classroom. The morning at school was surprisingly decent, mood-wise and attitude-wise.   In the afternoon, when Sara came in, the atmosphere change.  Students began to get a little more rowdy, began to argue with each other, had a hard time working with each other in teams.  Basically, things weren’t going too well. Melissa takes kids to Gym.  Meanwhile in the classroom, Sara prays for the atmosphere to change, for God to move and switch things around, where there was loudness for there to be quiet, where there was chaos there to be order.  For peace.  For the Spirit to come. 

[Enter Holy Spirit…ha ha ha…Spirit was already there ;o)] . 

D and K were beginning to get at each other downstairs on their way back from Gym, they were told they couldn’t come back the next day.  Melissa determined from their attitude that silent reading wasn’t going to happen, so on the way back to the classroom she changed the lesson plan.  Melissa grabbed the Chanukah reading that Ms. Case had given her a copy of earlier that morning.  The class read through the reading.  K asked if the Jewish believed in God.  Melissa explained that they do believe in God but unlike Christians don’t believe in Jesus. Then D raised his hand and asked, “How can they believe in God if they don’t believe in Jesus?” 

Then Melissa explained that the Jews were waiting for someone to save them, but did not believe Jesus was that person. 

Then D raised his hand again and stated, “I don’t get it.” 

Melissa asked them, “Okay, who was Jesus, what did He do?”

D: He died on a cross.

M: Why did He die?

D +(several other kids in the class): For our sins.

C: for our sins….I go to church

M: The Jews believe that he was just another person dying, not dying for our sins for purpose of everlasting life. Do you understand? 

D: Not really.

M: Think about it.

K: Why did they whip Jesus, like in that movie Passion of the Christ, cause it was all gross and stuff? 

Melissa explained that back at that time they used to hang people and whip them because they had committed a crime.  They used to do it publicly, mockingly, to set an example to others to not do the same thing.   

D: (raising hand again) I still don’t understand how they believed in God and not in Jesus. 

Sara explains how the Jews were waiting for a King.  And how the Old Testament gave them clues to what a King would be like.  But they expected a King with riches and power, Jesus came humble and poor, so they didn’t recognize Him as a King. 

S begins to explain a movie she saw about Jesus.

S explains about another movie she saw about Jesus.  She said it was really sad when Jesus died.

V shares how Jesus died with nails in hand.  The class discussed how they were real nails in His hands.  Discussion bounced between kids and different things they remembered about movies about Jesus or church experience. 

 A shares about Tribe of Judah (ministry Two Rivers had for the children) and a time when they did a lesson about blood on the doorpost and how it was icky and she didn’t want to touch it. 

Melissa tells the students that the bell is about to ring, and they needed to do their jobs, but that she would love to continue this conversation as they did their jobs.   

D says to Melissa that this could be their community circle time. 


M: Yes! This is an awesome community circle time! Children clean. And conversation about God continued. 

Sara tells D he asks good questions.  He asks again why the Jews didn’t believe.  Sara tries to explain again about prophecy in the Old Testament and the pride of the priests, helping him see that Jesus was a threat to the power of the Jewish priests.    

K’s job was to clean off the board, then he wrote “I love Jesus” on the board. 

Then S went up to the board, erase “I”, Keenan got mad.  And she replaced it with “We all”

And K was satisfied.   During this entire time there was order and peace, the class was not out of control or loud at all.

Other students went to the board and began to writes praised to God, including “Jesus is da man”. 

Class ends. 

Students leave. 

Sara and Melissa do a happy dance, praise God, and pray. 

Amen Lord.  



…Continued… November 28, 2007

Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Travel — charredsmore @ 7:08 pm


1.  After Thanksgiving I had a nice visit with my sister.  We went to her apartment in Saint Paul and watched some movies while making jewelry.  I was able to connect with her roommate Sara who I had been a prayer partner for while she was in Alaska doing YW working with my good friend Amanda.  Random coincidence – NO “divine appointment” that my sister ends up being Sara’s roommate.  God’s provision for this season.  Thank you Lord.

2.  Went shopping on black Friday….even though I pretty much despise this day, somehow I was out there with the rest of them feeding our consumer hungry appetites.  Good things did come out of it.  I ran into my old friends Bethany and Robert (whom I worked with at Camp) at Burlington Coat Factory.  Funny how God will put you in the same place at the same time just so you can re-connect with people.  Bethany was also looking for a new coat and we were literally found ourselves facing each other as we looked at the same rack of coats.  I will have more time over the Christmas holiday to visit with them, but this was a special blessing.

3.  Going into Kohl’s department store at the Maplewood Mall I ran into Mike and Megan.  We worked together at YW and he still works there.  Mike actually spent his GreaterWorks year in Cairo, so I was able to update him on the happenings of this small town and share the goodness of God in this season.  They are thinking about coming to visit sometime this upcoming year.  Praise God.

4.  After the shopping extravaganza, I was dropped off at Jennifer’s house (Heather’s sister) and we drove to Cokato together.  A sweet time of fellowship with this woman.  I appreciate her honesty and growth that the Lord has produced as a result of life’s trials.  I am looking forward to seeing the Lord continually glorified in her life.

5.  At Heather’s place we were served as queens.  Corine and Greg have a way with hospitality, service, generosity, and cooking like no other couple I have met.  I appreciate the way you walk in and feel like you are in your own home.  I appreciate the way you can do such a wide array of activities in one night.  Dinner, discussion, computers, crafts, sewing, trying on prom dresses, and movie all in one night.  Corine loves crafts and has made herself a craft room out of Heather’s old bedroom.  It is interesting to see all the projects she has been working on.  She is my inspiration in starting to bead with the Savorski beads.  When we left the next morning it was like we had strolled into Hobby Lobby and everything was 100% off.  She sent us off with material for making skirts, beads, crafts for the kids, and DVDs to watch.  Thank you Corine and Greg for your warm hearts. 

6.  We got off to a later start, but still hit up our prayer stop along the way.  We asked the Lord to send revival to the hearts of those in prison as we layed our hands on the building.

7.  Finally we were on our way to Sioux Falls, SD for Joel and Kristin’s wedding.  We were running a bit late so we changed quickly in the car and at a gas station.  Good times.

8.  Were ushered down the isle to a front seat in the church to witness our brother get married.  When the three of us gals saw him bring his grandmother down the isle, tears started welling in our eyes.  This man has taught us much – we had spent a whole year together during our GreaterWorks experience in Minneapolis.  I am so glad that we were able to sneak them away for 10 minutes of rapid fire prayer before they left for their honeymoon. 

 – The Gackles and Topps really know how to get down!  The second the DJ switched on the music the dance floor was pakced!  We had a great time dancing through the night.  Of course, we were some of the last ones on the dance floor, as we couldn’t get enough. 

9.  Of course, we didn’t really know where we were going to stay for the night.  We just had the simple faith that God wouldn’t allow us to sleep in our car on a freezing cold night.  Heather and Stacy re-connected with an old college friend (Justin) who was in the wedding – Joel’s brother from another mother.  These guys are seriously twins.  Anyway, his parents had come for the wedding and got a large hotel room – a separate bedroom with a King sized bed.  Justin was gracious to give us his bedroom while he slept on the floor.  Thank you brother.  We had a great time fellowshipping with him and his parents before we left and were able to pray together.  I love how God is strategic in the Body of Christ making unique connections.

10.  We left SD in pursuit of KC.  This time we would be staying with my college friend Amy as we took time in the prayer room and going to the evening service.  We got there just in time for the evening church service after visiting a bit with Amy and her new puppy, Harriett.  Someone I frequently run into at IHOP is my friend Peggy whom I met two years ago when our team did the internship there.  Of course, coming out of the restroom, I nearly bumped right into her!  We decided we would pray for each other after the service in the prayer room.  This is usually how we interact with one another – through prayer.  I love it!  After the service Stace and I went to the prayer room to hook it up with our prayer appointment.  We ended up using a side room – actually the travail room for the nations.  What I thought would last for about an hour ended up being THREE hours.  It was amzing.  God’s Spirit was there to encourage, uplift, and bring specific words of promise to our heart.  Thank you Jesus!

11.  The next day was sweet as we all spent time with the Lord in the prayer room and coffee shop.  The time always goes by so quickly, but yes it was indeed special.

12.  On the way out of town we had been invited to visit some new friends, George and Nola.  I “randomly” met Nola as we were in line for the restroom one time at IHOP.  We ended up praying for each other and now are pen pals.  Sara and I were able to attend a Camp Meeting that their church hosted not far from us.  About 70 miles outside of KC sits a small town named Houstonia.  We found their home and had a wonderful time of visiting.  Nola had made yummy cookies and muffins for us.  Before leaving she wanted us to spend time blessing her prayer room.  Heather whipped out her guitar and we took time to worship the Lord God Almighty in song and prayer.  I look forward to them meeting the whole team!  There is a unique connection here.

13.  We rolled in to Cairo unpacking our goods and I reflected on the goodness of the Lord over these past five days.  Surprises, blessing, fellowship, provision, and an abundance of love.  Praise you Father for these travels..


The lights went out (written by Sara Rust) November 20, 2007

Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Ministry Stuff — charredsmore @ 4:20 am

It seemed foolish really, at first. Earlier this year, God laid it on my heart that our team should go to the outskirts of town to a gas station and lay our hands on the big neon sign you can see from highway, and pray that God would use it for His glory.

This sign has, for the last 4 + years, since I moved here, lit up the skies with the word “DIES”. It should read “DIESEL” but the last two letters blew out and so it just sits there, ironically and sadly proclaiming death over this little town. Seems silly, just a burnt out sign, but one that so many have noticed. I just had a thought that maybe like the “high places” of yore that the prophets and kings often took down in the Old Testament, something needed to be done about this sign, that it would no longer proclaim “Death” over Cairo. To many people, I reakon, including myself about 2 years ago, this would seem like an absurdity. Why would God call you to pray over a stupid sign, it doesn’t mean anything. But the Old Testament is full of people doing absurd things at the instruction of the Lord, so why not us? I bit the bullet, and our whole team went and prayed over the sign.


With great faith, i thought the lights would come up all of a sudden, or the sign would grow dim. But nothing happend. For months. Nothing happened. I began to feel a little bit like an idiot. Maybe this was all in my head, just a silly whim, just a fantastical hunch. Maybe God really doesn’t work this way anymore, maybe He’s really not the same as He always was and always will be. Ill just add this to the list of things I made up in my head, that God would actually at the sound of our prayers erase this proclamation of “Death” over Cairo.

So on Wednesday this week, I was heading to the gym, already in a state of spiritual frustration. Running through things in my life I still had to lay down to Him, grieving things He was asking me to give up for this time. Frustrated by how foolish my life looks to man, frustrated that I cared a flip what my life looked like to man. Desperate to see Him move, desperate to see answers to two years of crying out for a community I still don’t know how to love. Desperate and weeping. I drove by the sign, and cried out in my weakness, “And then there’s the sign – would you flipping do something about that sign, Lord?!! I know it’s silly, but I don’t think you want this sign to say “DIES” over Cairo anymore – so do something!!”

I go to the gym and get lost in swimming through my emotions.
I drive back into town in the evening, now dark and look over my shoulder as I exit the highway to see that big familiar sign.

But I don’t see it.

I can’t see it.

Because after 4 + years, the entire sign is now out.

Forgive my unbelief. I welcome the absudities of following You, Lord. It may look foolish to man, but this is life to me. This is reality to me. You are worthy of my foolishness.


Jess, you will be missed. November 14, 2007

Filed under: Friend Spotlight,Ministry Spotlight — charredsmore @ 8:20 am


Top 20 reasons why I am going to miss my beautiful roommie…

20. She is an amazing cook and is always trying out delicious recipes for all of us to taste test.

19. She is flexible and adaptable.

18. She has a servant heart.

17. She is stinkin’ hilarious!

16. She has a way of pulling truth and revelation from the Word of God and speaking it to others.

15. She is an input person and always has random facts to share.

14. She helps me stay on top of current events.

13. She challenges me.

12. In many ways we are opposites. As iron sharpens iron, this sister sharpens me.

11. She desires to grow in the Lord and follow Him.

10. She takes care of our cat Jewel.

9. Who else will act as my spell check in the office?

8. She enjoys going on hikes and bike rides with me.

7. Who else will sleep in the yard with me?

6. She keeps the 411 on friends who write blogs, and shares the info. with me.

5. She is honest. In love will share the truth with people. This is hard to find.

4. She is a great roommate!

3. She keeps me in check.

2. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, mind, soul and strength.

1. She is a wonderful friend and sister. No one will be able to replace her in this house or on this team.