In 2009-2010, I began getting all kinds of requests to do special music and speak in both Filmore and Houston Counties. I was so booked up that I only got to my home church once or twice each month. I began to wonder if I should be responding to every call or not. Now I know for sure the time I spent traveling in those days was laying the groundwork for the thriving Grace Place Inc. Rushford Ministry that celebrated its 7th Anniversary in April. Remember that HOT summer they were repaving the highway 43 from the interstate to Rushford, stopping long lines of vehicles to take you through a single lane? I was looking at the Winona Daily News one day that summer and noticed that there was a picture of a flagman with a stop sign and a parked car waiting. "That looks like my car," I thought. Just a minute. That's my license plate number! With another look, I saw myself behind the wheel. It was me once again heading south on the road from Winona to Rushford.
Over the past months, I have been on the road again sharing our new Rushford story video with churches in SE Minnesota and encouraging local congregations to donate items to our Gifts of Grace program. I have been revisiting churches sharing the good news about what God has done in Rushford.
Trinity Lutheran/First Presbyterian was one of the first congregations I spoke at in Filmore County and recently I was invited back. God astounded me when I saw that one of the scripture readings for the day was from Acts 8:26-40, the story of how the Angel spoke to Phillip and said, "Go south to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." I immediately thought to myself, how did the angel speak to Phillip? Did he yell, did he blow trumpets, did he whisper in his ear or did he tap him on the shoulder? I could put my own name in this story: And the angel of the Lord said to Carla, "Get up and go south from Winona to Rushford." So that's what I did and look what happened.
The circle of grace is expanding as I visit old friends and new sharing how God is helping hundreds of families in SE Minnesota through the ministry of Grace Place Inc. I am encouraging everyone to unite in a common cause to provide the support many young families are needing today. According to an article called Seeds of Violence or Seeds of Promise in the Star Tribune on March 1, 1996, "The best time to begin turning kids toward a peaceful behavior is the moment they are born." We at Grace Place Inc. would agree, one of our core values states that life is a gift from God to be nurtured and respected.