Ministerial Spouses Association
My Favorite Things
Linnea Torkelsen, Ministerial Spouse leader of the North Pacific Union Conference
It's been 50 years since I first saw The Sound of Music as a teenager. The Austrian scenery was spectacular, the actors, I thought, were wonderful, but it was the music that stuck in my head. I find myself humming, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. . ." as I am cleaning out my office for the last time-retirement is here.
In sorting through files, I'm finding reminders of experiences and special people and miracles that have touched my life during the last two decades of working at Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) as the Alumni and Development Director. A letter from an alumnus: This letter explained that she had been a farm girl coming to this rural Adventist boarding school. She was so hungry for a real chicken dinner that she stole one from the school flock, cooked it, and ate it, and she'd felt bad for decades. She sent a donation to "pay for it."
I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to write her a thank you note and to remind her that forgiveness is a gift of God that we all need.
Notes on a phone call: I hoped this alumnus might become a donor to help renovate the old Power House on campus into a center for student spiritual life. After answering questions, I asked him to give a substantial gift. I will not soon forget his response. "You're not asking for enough. You need to think bigger!" He sent way more than I had hoped for!
As a new fundraiser, I learned that our God is not limited by our timid minds, AND He delights in providing for our needs beyond what we ask or think.
The graduation program from 1997: What a wonderful story! I had learned of two elderly alumni, and they were sisters, who had not been able to participate in a graduation. They both had chickenpox on the day of their eighth grade graduation, and their Academy Commencement was cancelled because a classmate was killed in a car accident on the last day of school. The administration just mailed the diplomas to them.
When our seniors heard the story, they invited the sisters, now close to 80, to graduate with them at UCA. After the senior class marched in, the president and vice president-both handsome young men-walked back out and proudly escorted the two ladies, dressed in caps and gowns, up the aisle to their own march of "Pomp & Circumstance." The audience responded with a standing ovation! What delight that class generated by their spirit of unselfish generosity.
I learned that old disappointments and hurts can be healed-even decades later, with a little bit of love and creativity. I have had the opportunity to be on the front lines of Adventist education, to watch the Lord's hand on His campus. This has been a ministry I would have never imagined could be mine. I am going to miss it terribly! The school may be $12 million dollars better off, but I think I got the best end of the deal. "I simply remember my favorite things... and then I don't feel, so bad!"