May
13
2012
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Miss Omanson

Linda Omanson might seem very ordinary if you were to meet her in person. She’s good at making it seem that way—as if she were a very ordinary person doing ordinary things. But that’s just part of her persona, part of what makes her so remarkable.

Miss Omanson, born in 1943, grew up on a farm in Osceola, IL. Osceola never was what you’d call a thriving metropolis—not quite two dozen houses, a Baptist church, and a volunteer fire station. Except for a few grass fires, the old fire truck mostly collected dust.

The church was too small to support a pastor, so he split his time between Osceola and nearby Buda. During Sunday school at one church, Rev. Shobe would be preaching his sermon at the other. (more…)

Written by in: Family & Friends,Personal |
Mar
05
2011
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Great sermon: “I act the miracle”

I listened to a very helpful sermon this morning while exercising. Maybe it will help you too.

Mar
19
2009
5

My Grandpa

roof1Pulling into the barnyard on a recent visit, my parents found my Grandpa up on his roof. He was up there with a bucket of tar, fixing a leak. Never one to ask for help when he could do it himself, he had leaned out a second story window and affixed a hook to the roof, tied a rope onto it, and then tied a ladder to the rope. Somehow he also worked a small stool into the engineering and when all was said and done everything was tied down so he couldn’t fall very far even if he lost his balance and slipped. That’s my Grandpa!

I think I could start an entire blog dedicated to my Grandpa Omanson and his farm and probably never run out of stories to post.

At 91, he’s not the feeble old man you might expect of someone his age. He lives in Osceola, IL–a wide spot on the road about 50 miles north of Peoria. I don’t know if the road has a name or not. I suppose it does, though I wasn’t able to find his house on my GPS when I visited last. Grandpa, like the others in Osceola, just calls it “the hard road.” “Hard,” of course, because it is paved, unlike many of the roads around there. He doesn’t have an address, either. If you want to send him a letter, you send it to Roland Omanson, Rural Route #1, and it just gets to him. I guess there, the postal carriers know where everyone lives.

Though 6 more digits have been prefixed since he was a boy, the last 4 digits of his phone number are still the original numbers of the party-line his family shared with their neighbors. Party lines, as you may recall, were shared by several households who picked up only when they heard their distinctive ring (or when they wanted to be nosy!)

Osceola, home to perhaps 10 or 12 houses and maybe two dozen people, has a cemetery and a fire truck and that’s about it. There’s a stone marker where the Baptist church used to be, but the church has been gone for several decades. A couple of guys have wood shops, but the main economic activity of the greater Osceola area is farming. (more…)

Written by in: Family & Friends,Personal |
Mar
10
2009
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The Difference a Smile Makes

So I was in a Burger King a couple of days ago, grabbing a quick bite between meetings, thinking about how very unimpressive the place was and how I’d probably never come back. The employees generally acted like they didn’t care a thing about the customer, did their work slowly, and did only the bare minimum as far as I could tell.

The place was empty except for me and a senior citizen couple on the other side of the dining room, and the drive through was slow, so they should have had time to tidy up. However, about 6 feet from my table, right in the aisle, a large drink formed a slowly-expanding pool filling the grout lines and generally drowning the tile floor.

Alack and alas, I sat there for almost the whole meal before someone slinked out from the kitchen with a mop and made a half-hearted attempt to soak it up.

As I was leaving, sipping on the little bit of water that remained in my cup, I was startled by a different employee–one I hadn’t seen before. Apparently she had just started her shift. She was of foreign nationality–I know not what–maybe Vietnamese, and English was obviously not her first language. But, as I rose to leave, drink and trash in hand, she walked toward me and pointed to my cup, then made a drinking pantomime. “More?” This was said with a large smile, which I couldn’t help but return.

And just like that, my whole Burger King experience changed. Yes, they still had unimpressive service, and the dining room wasn’t all that clean. But some nice person just offered to get me a refill, and did so with a pleasant smile, and somehow Burger King was a better place for a moment. I declined, but thanked her, and went on my way. And reflected on the difference a smile makes.

Written by in: Business,Personal |
Mar
02
2009
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Getting ready for Musical Mission Team 2009

Tim and I are excited about traveling with BJU’s Musical Mission Team in Europe this summer. We served with the team last summer, and the ministry was so exciting that we decided to go back again. As a musician, I love using music to proclaim the truth of God’s word.

The team leaves for Europe on May 27, but the preparation started a long time ago. There are so many details, and I’m not even involved in most of the decisions! We meet each Tuesday and Thursday night to rehearse our music. On Wednesday evenings we travel to local churches for deputation meetings. We sing a few songs, report on last year’s ministry, and ask the people to pray for this coming year. It’s neat to see team unity grow as we spend time in the rehearsals and meetings.

This past Sunday we sang at a church in Atlanta. It was the first time that we got to sing more than one or two songs, and I think it was a big step in team unity. The pre-service prayer meetings really help, too. And I’m sure the traditional post-service trips to Sonic don’t hurt!

This mission team really needs your prayer. We can sing our hearts out, but God is the one who touches people’s souls. It’s the Gospel that saves. So please pray for us. Pray for the details, our health and safety, and that we’ll be able to raise the money that we need. But most of all pray that God will be glorified. Pray that we will be bold to give the Gospel. Pray that people will be saved as a result of our ministry.

In addition to praying, check out the official team website. Watch the video about the team’s history here or here or below. There’s also an MMT Facebook group. If you want to keep up with our activities, be sure to sign up for the team newsletter (at the bottom of the homepage).

Feb
09
2009
1

Musical Mission Team Video

Here is a video introduction to the Musical Mission Team that Ashley and I put together a few weeks ago.

Sep
29
2008
1

Europe: In Review

We started off well in the communication department–posting pictures, sending updates via e-mail and blogs. But as the summer progressed it seemed like we had less and less time to post updates, and the second half of our time in Europe goes pretty much unmentioned on these pages.

So, here’s a stab at recapping the whole 9 1/2 weeks in just a few paragraphs:
(more…)

Written by in: Ministry & Religion,MMT,Personal |
May
18
2008
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Germany 1 (Ashley)

After several days in Ebnat-Kappel, we went to the nearby town of Buttikon. Most of the team stayed at the church, but Tim and I stayed with the Quiring family. We had services on Tuesday and Wednesday night. On Wednesday, the pastor took us to see a Protestant church and a lake in the mountains. We had about an hour at the lake, and some of us tried to hike up into the mountains to see a waterfall (we didn’t make it). Some of the others who stayed by the lake saw a small avalanche on one of the surrounding mountains.

(more…)

May
14
2008
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Switzerland (Tim)

Hi from Switzerland. I don’t have much time to introduce this post, but her are excerpts from my journal for the past few days.

(more…)

Written by in: Ministry & Religion,Personal |
May
10
2008
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Switzerland (Ashley)

So here I am, sitting on a little wooden bench by a stream, just yards away from the 450-year-old house that we’ve been staying in for the past few days. I’m wearing short sleeves but I can see snow on the mountains nearby. I can hear my laptop keys clicking, the stream trickling over the rocks, and the cowbells ringing on the mountains. This is a combination of old and new that I have never experienced before. (more…)

Dec
03
2007
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Whooping Cough

Most of my readers probably already know about the outbreak of pertussis (more commonly known as "whooping cough") on the campus of BJU. At last count something like 40 students have it and nearly 100 are in isolation waiting for test results. On Friday (11/30) the administration announced that as a precaution they would end the semester a week early. 

Instead of a full week of classes this week, we'll have class just Monday and Tuesday and Finals will begin on Wednesday — just 5 days after the announcement. Needless to say things are kind of crazy around here. They've done an outstanding job of managing the situation and communicating with the faculty, staff, and student body, but even so, you can only imagine what it's like on campus, especially at Barge (campus hospital) and UMA (medical offices across the street which are related to BJU). 

As of this posting, the latest news is here.

So far, we're both healthy, though we did both get the vaccine and antibiotics because we both have been exposed to it. We're virtually certain that neither of us have it, but even if we do, after 5 days on the antibiotic we'll not be contagious. And, theoretically, that should prevent us from really getting it ourselves, too.

If you've stuck with me this far be sure to read my next post for my suggestions on how to adapt final exams. 

(more…)

Written by in: Academics,Personal |
Nov
30
2007
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Europe!

Musical Mission Team 2008

Musical Mission Team 2008

We’ll be ministering in Europe for nine weeks this summer with BJU’s Musical Mission Team. The exact itinerary is still uncertain, but we’ll be in Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and possibly a few other countries.

The team consists of about 30 members, including the choir, pianist, brass players, and 4 faculty sponsors.
We’ll give nearly 100 concerts, each one including a gospel message. Many of the choral numbers (all sacred) will be given in the local language, and the messages will be presented with the help of an interpreter.
You might be wondering about the value of sending 30 people to sing their way through Europe. Unlike the in U.S., over there a foreign choir (especially an American choir) draws a crowd. In many cases, our team is part of the largest evangelistic outreach a church will have in a given year.
Please pray for us regularly. Although prayer is in many ways a mystery, we believe that God acts in concert with the prayers of His people. Here are some specific things for which you can pray:
  • For us and the rest of the team as we prepare, both physically and spiritually
  • For those to whom we will minister, that God will prepare their hearts for the ready receipt of the Gospel
  • For transportation details yet-to-be-worked-out. As you might imagine, it is a logistical challenge to move 30 people through Europe as inexpensively as possible
  • For the churches who are preparing for our visits and inviting unsaved folks to come hear us
  • For financial provision for all involved

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