Volunteer Spotlight – Jenny’s Story

I’ve been living in Chaska for about 10 years.  In September 2011 my full-time position was terminated after 9 years of service.  I was engaged to be married in January 2012 and we were soon going to be a blended family with five teenage children.  My fiancé’s company wasn’t doing well and he was looking for different employment too.  Even though I was a little shaken on how we were going to make it, I believed God must have a plan.

We were at Blessed Bee Thrift Store when we first were told about Love INC.  I called the phone number they gave me, and was greeted warmly. Rather than being judged, I was shown compassion.  It was such a relief and an answer to prayer!  With our soon to be new “big” family, we needed a twin bed for one of our sons so he wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor. What a joy knowing Love INC had a twin bed, complete with mattress & box spring, and bedding!  We were also able to donate a chest of drawers, dresser with mirror, and night stand to Love INC when they delivered the twin bed.  It was so fun to see the Love INC truck drive up to our townhouse. We were really excited!  All the people in the neighborhood saw the truck and wanted to know what they were about.  I think they ended up picking up a few furniture donations from a couple of neighbors.

We were visiting both the food shelves in town.  It was so amazing to get food each month, as we had money to cover our bills but not enough for groceries & gas. We also received various household & personal care items from several of the churches that host the Love INC gap ministries!  What a blessing! My twins even received birthday gifts from St. Hubert’s Birthday Shelf.  I wasn’t expecting that, and it really lifted our spirits; we just didn’t have money to spend on birthdays at the time.

After our wedding, my husband got a new job, but I wasn’t having as good of success. I did interview and was hired at a couple of different places but it didn’t work out. Both companies were going through different reorganizations. My unemployment had run out and even though I was sending out resumes, I just wasn’t getting hired.  Again, I was a little shaken, however I still had hope that God would provide. We prayed and kept believing that God would make a way where there didn’t seem to be one.  In August I received a courtesy call from a Love INC volunteer that meant so much; it came just when my hope was starting to fade!  They told me about Love INC’s school backpack program at Discovery Methodist Church.  Wow – another answer to prayer!  My daughter received everything she needed for her sophomore year at Chaska High School.

I had always wanted to give back to Love INC for all they’ve done for me, so when they asked if I wanted to volunteer to help at the Clearinghouse and encourage people over the phone, I said yes!  What an amazing privilege to be a recipient AND a volunteer for Love INC. God does answer prayer! Finally I was hired part-time for an international Christian organization. Then recently I started full time work for another company. To God be the glory! After a really tough time, things are now looking much brighter for our family. We will continue to support Love INC and let people know what a great organization this is! Thank you for all you do.

–Jenny Hallstrom

National Day of Prayer

Join us on May 2nd at Valley Evangelical Free Church in Chaska for an hour anytime between 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. for a Journey through stations based on the Lord’s Prayer.  Families are welcome and nursery will be provided.

Sponsored by Love INC and the churches of Eastern Carver County.

For more information, please call (952)-448-2508.

A Privilege to Serve

bobroepkeGreetings on behalf of the Board of Directors of Love In the Name of Christ of Eastern Carver County.  Each of us considers it a privilege and an honor to serve our community and our churches in this way.  We greatly appreciate the many of you who have supported this ministry either by volunteering, making financial or product donations, or just telling people about Love INC.  Please explore our new website, www.loveincecc.org, and take some time to learn more about the services provided by the churches that make up Love INC.  The Board consists of 13 members representing the partner churches.  It meets monthly to plan and oversee the work of Love INC of Eastern Carver County.  We also work to raise financial resources to cover ministry expenses and set plans that will provide support to continued growth and expansion of the work.

The work of Love INC is bringing the member churches together to offer ministries that meet needs identified by those who call seeking assistance.  Love INC seeks to mobilize members of the churches to meet our neighbors’ needs in practical and manageable ways. Beginning in 2007 with just 8 partner churches, now 24 of the 30 churches of Eastern Carver County are official partners with Love INC, and several others join in on specific projects.   This is a collaborative effort that is special to watch and see the difference being made for those in need.

Whether you attend of one of our partner churches or not, you are welcome to join this movement of Christians in our community who volunteer their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  The members of our churches and the pastors of our community are getting to know one another and are working together.  We also are seeing more and more church engagement in community efforts and community discussions, and that is a good thing!

It’s been great to see unity in Christ develop as members of the churches in eastern Carver County are getting acquainted, and in some cases growing very close in relationship with one another.  It represents exciting times now, and even more exciting times ahead, as we as Christians are growing in our capacity to bring help and hope to individuals and families. We are humbly learning from one another, and are enjoying fellowship across denominations.  We are discovering how great an impact can be made when we work together, seek God’s help through prayer, encourage one another in our faith, and seek practical ways to put our faith into action right here in our community.

We hope you find value in the website and we hope you engage in some way.  Whether you are in need of help, living in abundance, or somewhere in between—we invite you to consider engaging to love others in the name of Christ.  We are all in this together. It is the spirit of community and the invitation of Christ himself.

God’s Blessing to Each of You!

Bob Roepke – Chair, Love INC Board of Directors

Clearinghouse Volunteer Spotlight – Beth

BethBowerman2 (3)My name is Beth. I live in Eden Prairie and attend Waterbrooke Fellowship and Westwood Community Church.  I first heard of Love INC at a meeting at Westwood Church.  Doug, the Director, and Mary, the Clearinghouse Coordinator, presented a great overview of the ministry and asked us to volunteer in any capacity that we felt called to.  At first, while working a full time job, I was helping at Love INC calling clients who spoke only Spanish so we could learn about them and understand their needs.  When I started working part time, my good friend Beth asked me to come work the phones at the Clearinghouse with her every Wednesday afternoon.  Now, since she first asked me to volunteer, I answer phones every Wednesday afternoon.

We have a great time matching resources from our churches’ Gap Ministries to those in need, praying for people, and on occasion we’ve even delivered essential supplies to those in need.  Beth and I sometimes sing silly songs and tell jokes; we just really enjoy being there with the Love INC staff and anyone else who stops by to help out that day.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to do.  We just like to lighten the mood on Wednesdays with our senseless humor and lovely voices.  It is not hard to want to come to Love INC. We always start with prayer, and this always helps start the afternoon out right.  Then the phones start ringing and we hear stories of people who need a hand up out of their current situation and some also ask for prayer.  Often times I have talked with many who speak only Spanish and I encourage them with the good news of Christ’s love in their language.

One of my favorite stories is that of a woman who called for help from one of the sober houses in Chaska.  She had lost custody of her daughter and was in need of guidance and some help from Love INC.  Just the week before her Aunt had taken her to church and she had heard about having a relationship with Christ at this church.  praying with those who have nowhere else to turn is truly a blessing!I asked her if she knew if she was going to heaven.  She said “No”, but that she would like to be assured of this.  I shared with her my testimony of how I came to know Christ in a personal way, and then I asked if she wanted to pray to put her faith in Christ as her Lord and Savior.  She said that would be wonderful.  She said she knew that the Lord had brought her to this ministry to hear such a message.  She prayed with me this prayer: “God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, forgive me of all of my sins (at this point she paused and asked Him to reveal her sins to her and silently asked Christ to forgive her of them).  Then she asked the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to come into her heart and life to be her Lord and Savior.  Finally she prayed with me that she would be strengthened by seeking out and being in fellowship with a body of believers and that she would each day choose to love Him, to read the Bible and to go to church on Sunday.  She thanked me and also said she would like to meet with a Pastor.  This is just one of the many blessings of working at Love INC.  To be able to pray with and encourage those in the community who have nowhere else to turn, is truly a blessing.

Love INC is an organization that gathers together to not only support, pray, and uplift those in the community, but also to pray for each other.  There are times we come in with burdens for family, friends, health issues, etc. When we circle around the lunch table, we pray for each other and also for those in the community who need Christ’s love.  So not only are we reaching out to others, but we are also ministered to on a weekly basis.

I am thankful for all the churches in Eastern Carver County that come together to love, pray and support those in need.  I am thankful for Doug, Mary, Diane and all those who hold this ministry together with prayer and great leadership.

What better way to bless and be blessed than to serve others though our “Love in the Name of Christ!”

Share the Love

February is the month of Love4373811197

As we look back at all of the “Love” shared in 2012, we have been so blessed to be able to help the less fortunate of Eastern Carver County.  In 2012 we have helped meet family needs over 5,900 times.

Our Gap Ministries and volunteers helped the families with items ranging from the Diaper Ministry to The Sonshine Ministry.  Just to show a few, we made 29 bunk beds last year, helped 431 families with cleaning supplies, 428 families received laundry and dish soap and Food to Fight Hunger distributed food to 285 families at Christmas and Easter.  The Linen Closet provided 236 families with blankets, sheets, towels, washcloths and pillows.  On one of our deliveries, a boy who received a pillow was so thrilled to have a “real” pillow that was his OWN.  He had never had one before.  That is how we help Share the Love.

With that being said, we could not have done it without all the volunteers from our partner churches serving so willingly.  They completed over 6,600 individual acts of service giving a total of over 8,300 hours of their time.  We are grateful to have so many volunteers willing to share their time and talent at Love in the Name of Christ.  Thank you!!!

Christ calls us to be his hands and feet.  To see Jesus in everyone we meet.  Our hope for 2013 is that we join together to continue helping our neighbors in need.  How do you Share the Love?

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10

Help Your Neighbor — with Toilet Paper!

This month’s Ministry SpotlightToilet Paper falls on the Personal Care With Love Ministry.  Why is this ministry so important?  Maybe because everyone needs toilet paper! With over 25 families a month receiving a 4 pack or 6 pack of toilet paper that adds up to around 150 rolls of toilet paper per month.  That’s a lot of toilet paper!

Helping our  neighbors “keep it clean” is important — but PCWL does so much more than that!

What Does Personal Care With Love Ministry Do?

The mission of PCWL is to show compassion and love by providing personal care items to families when they are struggling with making ends meet or new to the neighborhood.  Love INC partner churches work together to supply the family with those items we all need and use regularly, such as soap, shampoo, razors, deodorant, and yes, toilet paper..

Behind the scenes, there is a team of volunteers that pull together the items from neighbors and congregations. Bethel Fellowship Church leads this ministry, with support from East Union Lutheran, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, and others from time to time. Volunteers also deliver these personal care items to the families with a smile and a prayer.

How Can You Help?

We are always in need of personal care items, a list of which can be found on the PCWL Ministry Page. For more up-to-date needs, please contact the Love INC Office or check out our item donation list.

If you would like to volunteer to help share some personal care with a neighbor in need, please fill out our volunteer form or call us at the Love INC Office for more information.




Another Church Joins Love INC

061Love INC of Eastern Carver County is a partnership of local churches working together to help families and individuals in need in our community. When Love INC was started here about six years ago, there were eight churches that came together to provide help for today and hope for tomorrow. Over the course of these six years, we have experienced amazing and steady growth. Today, we are excited to welcome our 24th partner church to our Love INC network!  On December 6th, Pastor Matt Bersagel, of Crown of Glory Lutheran Church, stopped in with the official Partner Church Agreement and a big smile on his face, to make Crown of Glory our newest official church partner.

Partner churches are critical to helping Love INC accomplish its mission of “mobilizing churches to transform lives and our community in the name of Christ.” Yet, it’s not onerous or difficult to become a partner church. Its simply a matter of making an effort to participate in the Love INC ministry. There are just seven basic commitments that are made:

1. Support the Apostle’s Creed, traditional statement of faith of the Christian Church.

2. Pray for Love INC.

3. Encourage unity in Christ by working in partnership with other churches in the community.

4. Recruit a Church Ministry Coordinator who will serve as the liaison between the church and Love INC.

5. Assess the gifts, talents, and skills of people within the church to find those who could help people in need in the community.

6. Promote Love INC service opportunities in various groups within the church.

7. Give financial support that is proportionate to the size and means of the church.

So, congratulations and a big welcome to Crown of Glory Lutheran Church for their new partnership with Love INC of Eastern Carver County. We are glad you are here.

Love Is Building Caring Relationships: Dawaun’s Story

Dawaun JohnsonDawaun Johnson is a man who has faced many challenges in his life. “I’m originally from Chicago. I grew up with a big family, 5 brothers and 2 sisters. We went through a lot growing up, there wasn’t enough for everyone. In January 2011 I moved to Minnesota with $800 in my pocket and no job or car. I was able to find a job in Chaska but had no place to live, so I went to a motel in Chaska. I didn’t have a car, so I biked 5 miles to and from work each day, praying to God to watch over me and protect me. It wasn’t easy to ask for help. Where I come from you don’t ask for help, but knew I needed someone or some organization to help me.”

Dawaun’s life began taking a turn for the better when he reached out to local agencies including Love INC. “PROP and the housing authority helped me out with part of my deposit. The day the Love INC truck pulled up, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t wait for the presents to arrive.”

Ginger Mulcrone, a volunteer with our FurniShare ministry said, “When we delivered the bunk bed to Dawaun’s house and assembled it in the bedroom, we saw the excitement on Dawaun’s face, just watching him think about how excited his boys would be to have a bunk bed.” Connie Schibilla, another Love INC volunteer said,Furnishare van “We put the couch against the wall, hooked up the TV and put some lamps on tables. We even added a plant next to the window. When we were finished, Dawaun sat down and said, ‘This is great, this is home.’”

Besides FurniShare providing the furniture, The Linen Closet ministry of Love INC gave Dawaun sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Love INC’s Bike Shop gave a bike to his son and the Personal Care and Kitchen Essentials also pitched in.

John Thomas recalls, “I had a great time with Dawaun that day. We laughed together, moved furniture together. I was able to kid around with him quite a bit – he has a great sense of humor. Dawaun said, “Once everything was said and done, John asked to say a prayer for me.”

“Kneeling in prayer with Dawaun, praying for his children, his health and work, and for his life to start to stabilize a bit. Just to be at one with him in prayer, lifting up his name to Jesus, asking him to provide all these things that he so desperately needs, not just furniture—was a tremendous moment that I will never forget.”

Dawaun continues, “Love INC really helped me along my path of becoming who I am today. Being able to accomplish what I have today, I would have not been able to without Love INC. I’ve seen God’s presence through these people. They didn’t have to help me, they didn’t know me, they didn’t owe me anything. They did it through their faith. I wish there were more people around like that. All I can say is Glory to God—to feel the love that comes from them and the helping hand from people I didn’t even know!”

Volunteering from the Heart

Enjoy this interview with Julie Timm, Loads of Love Coordinator at Westbrook Community Church.

What exactly do you do as a volunteer with Love INC?Julie Timm, Loads of Love Coordinator

Julie: At Westbrook Church, we have taken on the laundry and dish soap GAP ministry “Loads of Love”. We provide laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dish detergent and dish soap to families in need from our community. We get to help an average of 8-10 families each week, so it takes a LOT of donations to sustain this ministry. I also coordinate the volunteer drivers that are willing to deliver to families during the week. That’s an easy way for people to jump in and be the hands and feet of Christ, without requiring a huge commitment.

Why did you decide to get involved with this ministry?

Julie: Well, there was a time in my life when I was on the receiving end. In my early 20’s, I hadn’t been to church in about 6 years and didn’t really have any intentions of returning. Then my husband suddenly passed away and I found myself a single mother of a two year old, with no money and not a lot of resources. I was feeling really desperate and lost. The church I had grown up in heard about
my situation and jumped in to help. They provided some basic needs for me and my son that would not have been met otherwise. They also took time to pray with me and for me, and told me that they would continue to do so. It took me several years to return to church after that, but the seed was planted. I could never let go of the fact that they just stepped in and helped me with NO expectations. I knew it was more than charity – I knew there was a bigger purpose. It gave me hope and deepened my faith in God. And even now, 20 years later, I see it as a defining factor of why my faith is so strong. That’s really the reason I chose to volunteer for Love INC. I think if we, as a church family, can be a part of that to somebody – it can make a big impact.

What kind of a difference do you think you are making?

Julie: When volunteers deliver the items, there is an opportunity to talk and pray with the recipients. Because there are several churches dropping off at the same house and praying with them, it shows that their community cares about them and their circumstances. And because we are doing it In the Name of Christ, it shows them that God really does love them and will provide for them in their time of need. I think we have a really unique opportunity with this ministry to meet people where they are and we just never know how God will use it in their lives. In fact, the mission of Love INC is to mobilize the church to transform lives and our community in the name of Christ. What can be better than that?

A Note from Executive Director Doug Peterson

Doug Peterson, Executive DIrector of Love INCLove In the Name of Christ is joyfully celebrating our 5th anniversary of serving the communities and the churches of Eastern Carver County. God’s hand of blessing has been very evident: pastors have become partners, churches have been given a direct means of helping those in need in our community, church members have been stretched and grown as they have put their faith to the test, and area businesses have stepped up to provide encouragement to the churches and volunteers through their financial support.

We are building a stronger community, yet there is much work to be done. Please join us in the following commitments as we ask God to transform us and our community:

  • We will encourage caring relationships to be built which have the potential to transform lives.
  • We will emphasize developmental compassion which is person-centered, not need-centered.
  • We will mobilize members of  partner churches to connect with those in need in our community.
  • We will serve those in need by giving a hand-up, not just a hand-out.
  • We will encourage transformation through developing life skills that help people move toward self-sufficiency.
  • We will pray for people, pointing them towards Christ’s unlimited resources and transforming power.

May God richly bless all of us as we look toward a new year of love in Christ’s name!