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Sole 2 Soul - A Journey to NW MN in NE ND PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2008 06:26

Sole 2 Soul - NW Minnesota Synod (ELCA) Junior High Youth Gathering -

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of Jesus" Romans 10:15


It was 84 degrees in Arizona when Chad (my nephew) and I boarded the plane to journey north to be with the kids and the adults who love them in Minnesota/North Dakota.  When we deplaned in Fargo it was 14 degrees! A 70 degree temperature swing was only the beginning of the surprises that awaited us.


Greg 'Hobbit' Anderson



We were warmly greeted and escorted throughout the weekend by a...Hobbitt.  O.K. - it really was Pastor Greg Anderson but he does do a mean 'Hobbitt' rap routine.  And people think our brains are fried by the heat in ArizonaLaughing I'll bet, under that costume, there are beautiful feet.




It is truly one of the joys of this work to which I have been called, to be with people over the years and watch as they mature and grow into the roles into which they have been called.  Erin Anderson invited me (on behalf of the LYO Board) to be the keynote speaker at this event.  Erin is a man I have known for years and have had the delight to watch him grow into a Erin - an Eyewitness - to the Gospelstrong, committed, mature Christian man.  He now serves as assistant to the Bishop of the NW Minnesota Synod and is involved in a many different facets of synodical ministry.  Passionate, creative, guitar-playing, cute guy with beautiful feet.


There were old friends to see and share a moment of 'catching-up'.  Friends like, Jay and his joyful smile, playing disc jockey at the dance and being a leader in youth ministry.  Still in the same small town, coaching sports and raising his own family and continuing as Youth Ministry Director in his parish.  His gym shoes not withstanding, he's gotta have beautiful feet.


New friends also came into my life.  Linnae, the Assistant to the Assistant to the Bishop...in other words Erin's right hand and often his brain.  She seemed to walk up and down the halls of the Aleris Center making sure that everyting was getting done.  She is one of those women with the strength to take it on and the cool to keep everyone and everything on an even keel.  This weekend however, her  strength was manifest in another way.  A tragedy had struck her family and the resulting heavy heart was an especially difficult extra burden to carry.  But carry-on is what she did!  With grace, clarity of faith, and a strong sense of purpose, her beautiful feet kept on walking.


And then the big gift - those wonderful young people!!!  So many of them took the time to speak with me between sessions and share a bit of their own stories.  It is delightful to get to laugh and talk with them.  And go figure - the one-legged woman (me) met a strong young man with one arm.  His name is Taylor and he plays football and looks forward to new technology for his hi-tech prosthetic!  He is one cool guy with beautiful feet.


I confess that I never actually saw any of their feet.  But I know they are beautiful because in meeting them, speaking with them, and getting to watch them in action I saw the good news of Jesus being carried by so many different people in so many unique ways.  That's the way it is - people see Jesus in each of us.  We bring the good news when we share our 'soul' and put our 'soles' to work.


I have awful feet.  Well, that's not precisely true.  I have one foot that looks perfect.  It is made of molded plastic and is artificial.  It is not real.  The other one however is very real and shows the painful signs of the wear and tear it has experienced.  Together they carry me - enable me to travel - and allow me to bring the good news of Jesus.  In that light I will say I have beautiful feet.


Chad (who also has beautiful feet) and I had a great time in the northland.  We met great people, ate the same burger over and over, sold some Gimpy by Grace t-shirts (want one - contact me and I'll work it out to get one to you), and shared the very good news of Jesus Christ to an awesome gathering.


Two years ago, I wasn't so sure that I would ever be able to travel again.  The pain in my leg was unbearable and the impending amputation seemed to be a hill to high to climb.  Yet, by the grace of God, there we were.  Life is so Good and God is Great!  I can hardly wait to put these feet back out on the road.  Till next time....


Still Gimpy by Grace...and...Well in the Lord,



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Mary Gilthvedt  - Pastor   |64.235.93.xxx |2008-12-16 09:07:47
Paula: A group of about 22 youth and adults heard you and visited with you at
the Youth Gathering. When I asked them in confirmation class and at other
occasions about the gathering, they couldn't stop talking about you. Both youth
and adults were bubbling over with excitement about your story and personal
contact with them. In all my years as a pastor (21), I've not encountered young
people and adults so excited about the youth gathering. Thank you for sharing
your faith journey with others. The Lord continue to speak through you as your
share the good news. Blessed Advent and Christmas! Pastor Mary Gilthvedt,
Grygla, MN
Kassandra Mosher   |64.235.94.xxx |2008-12-28 22:13:27
Dear Paula,

My name is Kassandra and I am from Grygla, Minnesota, and
was at the Sole 2 Soul gathering in November and thought that you and Chad were
amazing. I hope that you liked our frozen waste land that we call home and I
hope that you got home safely.
When I got home from the gathering I went
up to my mom and dad and gave them a big hug like you said and then told them
all you and Gimpy by Grace. My friends and I still talk about Chad and you, and
other people that weren't there all asked about it and said they wish they came
to our church so they could have heard your wonderful stories. Also
whenever one of my friends is down I think of you and say "Get Up, Buck Up,
And Keep Going"
Most of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful
impact you've had on my life.

Sincerly yours, Kassandra [/size]
Alex LaPitz  - Sole 2 Soul     |216.189.133.xxx |2009-01-03 21:09:55
I just wanted to thank you for coming out and speaking to us. You helped
me alot. I had had a arthroscopic surgery 3 months befor coming to this
gathering and had just found out 2 days befor this that I would have to have
another surgery. I was relaly sad/down. I had been since about January of last
year because I had broke my ankel and wasn't able to skate. (I am a competitive
skater so skating is most of my life.) When I heard you talk I though I know
what she is saying. I have had my crutches kicked out from under me before. Why
should I be complaining about not being able to skate for a year when she is
going through this. When I brought the picture home of my group and you (In the
first pic I am sort of ducking in front of you. I am the girl with the brown
hair.) She got so excited because I actually looked happy. This was a big
suprise to me becuase I thought I was covering up my sadness pretty good. but I
max peterson  - Ada, MN   |74.127.130.xxx |2009-01-18 17:43:49
hey paula its the ada crew just wondering why we arent on the ewbsite like you
said "i'll put you guys on the website" just joking but we all miss you
here in ada

thanks, Max Peterson

P.s how bout those cardinals? lol
Kelsey Mahler(NWMN conference   |66.228.224.xxx |2009-02-03 14:39:49
HEY PAULA! I'm so excited that you got this up! That made my day even though
I saw this about a month ago....haha either way I'm glad you had a good
weekend and hope to see you again sometime in the near future
chelsey haugen  - Awesome   |64.235.93.xxx |2009-02-16 21:22:39
I hadan awesome time at sole 2 soul! Paula you r amazing and so so funny!
Be With You Always! And to eyewitness you r really awesome y
mom got jealous when i told her u where playing there
Emily Ferden  - Great!   |64.235.67.xxx |2009-02-19 15:31:27
Paula, I had an awesome time there! Your story touched me and I've shared it
with others at school. It's so awesome to listen to you speak and to hear how
hard your life was but you got through it. God Bless you!!
Tommy Rockis  - NWMN LYO Board   |64.77.219.xxx |2009-03-07 13:36:24
Hey Paula! Sorry i couldn't get to you any earlier, i've been extremely busy and
my computer shut down on me. But now that I've finally seen this it makes me
happy!! I'm glad that you had a good time and that you were able to make it! You
know that we're all thankful that you could come! You touched the hearts of many
youth and nothing can ever compare to that. You truly are an amazing speaker and
an amazing person. I loved talking to you in the little down time that we had,
and we appreciate very much the joy that you brought with you! We will never
forget your story and most importantly we will never forget you! Oh! I bought
two of your shirts and for a reason! I held a drawing at the Oak Crest Senior
Housing residence here in Roseau, MN, and gave the shirt to one of the
residents! It was on Christmas Eve, and she told me that she wore it on Cristmas
and it brightened the whole family's day! I just want to say thank you for al...
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 17:30