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The Mountaintop

Journal
September 2014 Colorado Springs, Colorado Vol. 1, No. 3
Serving the Front Range with news of hope and encouragement.
Ex-con returns to
Colorado prisons to
help guide others
Howie Close was the featured speaker at a
May prayer breakfast in Colorado Springs. He
sat next to the mayor and talked politics.
The irony of his surroundings made him
laugh.
I was a violent thug, he said of his past. I
was the guy that was locked up and never sup-
posed to get out.
Yet there was Close, talking to hundreds of
Christians, openly sharing his story of pain,
repentance and miraculous redemption.
I dont deserve to be standing here right
now, he told the crowd. But Christ saves.
Im a mistake
The Close family of Orlando, Florida didnt
want another child, so doctors implanted an in-
trauterine device (IUD) in the mothers womb.
Yet Close was still conceived a few months
later and eventually born with the contraceptive
device imbedded in his face.
Doctors told the young parents that their boy
would likely suffer physical and mental dis-
abilities as a result of the trauma. Close was
born Jan. 20, 1973. Two days later the Supreme
Court handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision
paving the way for legal abortions.
Deliver us from evil
Howie Close is a full-time pastor of prison ministries at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colo-
rado Springs. He credits God for delivering him from a life of evil to a life devoted fully to
Jesus Christ.
Prison Ministry/See page 2
L o c a l
P o s t a l C u s t o m e r
Had that decision been made a few months
earlier, Close suggested, I wouldnt be here
today.
When he was old enough to understand the
story of his birth, Close decided that he was a
mistake.
My parents called me a pleasant surprise,
he said. But I knew, if they had their way, I
wouldnt be here.
Lashing out
That feeling of being unwanted pushed Close
into a life of violence.
Because of how I felt about myself, I pun-
ished other people, he said. I enjoyed hurting
people.
By the time he was 7, Close was fghting
and seriously hurting others. A few years later,
someone suggested that Close learn martial arts.
They thought it would channel some of my
aggressive tendencies and teach me discipline,
he said. But my instructor was just teaching
me to be a very dangerous person and he
taught me well.
Coupled with his violent streak, Close also
challenged anyone who crossed his path and
enjoyed risky behavior. Over the course of his
childhood, he was twice struck by vehicles
while riding his bicycle, narrowly escaped
being run over by a train and fell more than fve
stories on two separate occasions.
I never did drugs or alcohol, he said.
Adrenaline was my drug of choice. Everything
I did was high risk.
And he was never afraid of dying, even
though he was close to such an ending on a
number of occasions.
There was always this feeling in the back
of my mind that I was going to be dead soon,
he recalled. I always felt that I would not live
to be an adult and I tried to help that process
along.
Colorado calls
Closes parents divorced when he was 14 and
his mother moved to Colorado, while Close
stayed in Florida. He quit school when he was
15 and started working.
In 1990, when he turned 17, Close decided to
visit his mom.
Trouble started brewing for me, and I need-
ed to escape, he said. I had no intention to
stay here permanently. I just came to visit for a
while and let things settle down.
Two months later, while Close, his brother
and a friend cruised through a Denver park
looking to pick a fght, his life changed in an
instant. The young men found a group of Japa-
nese exchange students celebrating a birthday
and beat them up.
It was a 90-second street fght, Close
claimed. It ended in cuts and bruises. No one
got seriously hurt.
Trouble was, Colorados new hate crime leg-
islation had been approved a few weeks prior.
The Close boys had previously associated with
Ku Klux Klan members and Skinheads, so they
were prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Was I a racist? Probably, yeah, Close admit-
ted. As much as any violent, 17-year-old kid
is a racist. We all had the tendency to fnd our
group and hate everyone else.
Faced with 41 felony counts, including at-
tempted murder, Close said he never expected
to spend much time behind bars.
I never thought this was too serious, he
said. Id done much worse things.
But after his brother received a 75-year sen-
tence, Close said he developed a sick feeling in
his stomach. A year later, after being tried as an
adult and convicted on 22 felony counts, Close
received the same 75-year prison sentence.
Keeping The Lord First
Join us for KTLFs Fall Sharathon, Legacy, September 9th through 11th.
Plus, bring in jars of peanut buter & jelly during Sharathon or anytme during the month of
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Listen to the services of First Presbyterian
Church of Colorado Springs every Saturday
at noon on KTPL Word88 @ 88.1FM &
88.3FM. You can also listen online each
Saturday by visitng KTPL.org and clicking
on the Listen Live banner.
KTLF LightPraise & KTPL Word88 are ministries of Power & Light Radio.
Donatons can be sent to: 1665 Briargate Blvd., Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
Give online at LightPraise.org. Or call 719.593.0600.
90.5
Darren Waltman, a former offender
who is mentored through the prison
ministry, said Close genuinely cares
about people and models a Christ-like
life. Its amazing what God has done
in his life. Hes being used by God. He
helps no matter what the needs are.
Ed Reddell, another ex-offender,
agreed. This man truly cares about
relationships. Hes a very humble
person, but hes not afraid to tell it like
it is. I appreciate his honesty. God has
blessed me by placing me together
with him.
Prison Ministry/From page 1
Prison Ministry/See page 2
Page 2 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Bible lesson
While he was held in solitary confnement at
the Denver jail, Close had his frst encounter
with God. Tucked behind the toilet in his cell
was a tattered Bible.
Out of sheer boredom, I started to read it,
he recalled. To this day, Close is not sure if he
was saved at that moment. At the very least, the
found Bible was the frst step in Closes path to
restoration and forgiveness.
The baby Christian in me said now that Im
saved, they could let me out, he said. But
there was a whole lot more that needed to be
done in me, and it needed to be done in prison
to prepare me for who I am right now.
Close ended up at Limon Correctional Facil-
ity to begin serving his sentence. Because he
didnt believe God was big enough to protect
him inside prison, Close returned to his violent
ways.
I put the Bible aside, he said, because I
knew I could take care of myself. News got
around quickly to leave this little white boy
alone.
Even as the violence and foul language con-
tinued, Close sensed the Holy Spirit was work-
ing in his heart. He prayed for God to forgive
him every night.
I was miserable because I knew I would get
up the next day and do it all over again, he
recalled. That misery was because I was living
contrary to who God wanted me to me.
Moving to Texas
In 1996, when Colorado prisons were over-
crowded, Close was among a number of in-
mates shipped to a county jail in San Antonio.
When he arrived at his new home, Close revert-
ed to his foul-mouthed and violent ways to let
his fellow inmates know who was boss.
It turned out his cellmate, Josh McKenzie,
was a Christian. When Close indicated that he
was a Christian too, McKenzie said, I cant
tell.
Those three words broke his heart, Close
admitted.
Thats what the Lord used to fnally get
ahold of me, he said. I decided enough was
enough. Ive been trying the best I can since
then to make sure people know who I belong to.
I want them to be able to tell that Jesus saved
me.
When he returned to Limon four months later,
Close told his non-Christian friends that he was
a changed man. They accepted his transforma-
tion and Close made good on his pledge to fully
follow Jesus.
Not that Im a perfect man, he said. Ive
made plenty of mistakes.
Close linked up with the chaplain at Limon
Jerry Briggs who helped mentor the convict
and hold him accountable.
We formed an awesome relationship, he
said. He taught me Greek and Hebrew. Me and
a few other guys grew up together just studying
the Bible. We absorbed everything we could.
Pen pal
Close met his wife, Susan, while serving his
sentence at Limon. The relationship started sim-
ply by exchanging letters. The couple eventual-
ly was married in 1999 by sending documents
through the mail.
Close never believed it would take 14 more
years before the couple would be together out-
side the prison walls.
It was pretty devastating. I thought God
would make right what was wrong, Close said
of his lengthy sentence. Court appeals and pleas
to the governors offce continually failed to get
the sentence shortened.
I look back and see this was Gods plan,
Close said. A lot of people dont agree with
that. They say that I made my choices, that God
didnt do that to me. But this was the Lords
plan for me. He knew what it would take to get
ahold of me.
After Close was transferred to the Colorado
Territorial Correctional Facility, he worked with
Chaplain Dan Matsche and his Good News Jail
and Prison Ministry, teaching classes and men-
toring other inmates.
It was always in my heart to train up lead-
ers, he said.
Close served more than 20 years of his sen-
tence before being let out on parole. It was
only a matter of months before he was asking
Colorado Department of Corrections offcials to
return to prison.
Prison ministry
While incarcerated, Close developed a pro-
gram to minister to inmates and provide af-
ter-care to those leaving the prison system.
Even though ex-offenders arent allowed to
volunteer in Colorado prisons, Close asked that
the strict rules be waived for him.
Id been out of prison about a month and
I had an ankle bracelet on, he said. I asked
them to let me do this. Its mind-blowing that
they said yes.
With approval in hand, Close worked with
Good News Jail and Prison Ministry to help
convicts coming out of prison. He has since
been hired full time to continue his prison min-
istry through Woodmen Valley Chapel.
Today, Close guides a team of prison ministry
volunteers who visit many of the states prisons
and disciple inmates. Other volunteers work in
the after-care part of the ministry, helping ex-
cons fnd housing, jobs, clothes and more. We
set them up in the best situation in which to
thrive if they choose to.
The program has helped more than 300 in-
mates and ex-offenders so far.
Woodmen Valley is becoming known for its
love of offenders, inside and outside of prison,
Close commented. You wouldnt believe how
rare that is in the Christian community.
Close points to the state recidivism rate of 50
percent as one measure of the church programs
success. He said only about 5 percent of the ex-
cons he works with end up back in prison.
Even so, Close said that fgure isnt the most
important outcome of a changed life.
The way we measure success is when people
stop calling us. They dont need us anymore,
he explained.
He also feels proud when the ex-offenders
he helps walk closely with God, even though
the program helps anyone regardless of their
religious affliation.
We may not say the name of Christ, but ev-
eryone know who were representing, he said.
We do mentoring from a uniquely Christian
perspective.
The path forward
Close admitted that hes not sure what the
future holds for him or the prison ministry.
If God allows it, I will spend the rest of my
life in prison, he said. My heart is there.
All my life, I knew something outside of me
had set my destiny. For many years I assumed
that destiny was that I could be dead at any
minute. But this is my true destiny. I was not
a mistake. This is who God intended for me to
be.
For more information about Closes ministry,
call 719-388-4918 or 719-205-5308, or email
him at Howie.Close@woodmenvalley.org.
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Howie Close (right), who directs a prison ministry at Woodmen Valley Chapel, talks with
two former offenders who he works with on a regular basis Ed Reddell (left) and Darren
Waltman (center). The two men said Close has been a true mentor to them.
Prison Ministry/From page 2
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 3
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Extending a free hand of healing
Small church offers
Gods prescription
for personal health
With the implementation of the Affordable
Care Act, most folks assume everyone in Colo-
rado Springs is now getting the health care they
need.
But patients continue to require the services
provided by Open Bible Medical Clinic, a free
clinic open every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. and
every fourth Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.
The problem is that you can give everyone
insurance or a card, but that doesnt mean we
have the capacity in our community to see
them, explained Jeff Martin, clinic executive
director and lead preaching pastor at Open Bi-
ble Baptist Church. Theres still a good portion
of our population that doesnt have access to
care. In our community, we believe thats some-
where between 15,000 to 20,000 people.
Martin admitted that patient numbers at the
clinic have decreased by about a third since
more people have enrolled in Medicaid since
Obamacare was implemented. But appoint-
ments to see a doctor at the free clinic continue
to roll in on a nightly basis.
We still have a health care access problem in
our community and were trying to help meet
that need, he said.
The clinic is housed in Open Bible Baptist
Churchs building at 824 S. Union Blvd. and
staffed by volunteer doctors, medical assistants,
receptionists and others. Appointments are
required and can be scheduled by calling 719-
4750972.
To qualify for free services, patients must
prove they fall below 200 percent of the federal
poverty guidelines. People on Medicaid must be
below 138 percent of the same poverty guide-
lines.
So were helping to serve that little gap,
Saraceni explained. Many of these people are
just not able to keep their heads above water.
A brief history
More than a decade ago, Martin and his wife,
Frieda, and other congregation members went
for a prayer walk in their neighborhood.
We told God we would do whatever he
showed us to do, Martin recalled. The answer
was surprising.
One of the recurring things we heard was
that people needed help with health care.
Martin fled the idea away, not knowing how
the small 100-member congregation would even
begin to address the topic. The church didnt
even have a doctor among its members, so God
would have to perform a miracle to get a clinic
off the ground.
When the church remodeled its facility,
Martin said it became clear to him the structure
could easily be set up as a free clinic. Exam
rooms and other areas were created to allow for
the clinic if God allowed it to happen.
We just felt like God was leading us to help
the community, he said.
Martin started communicating with the El
Paso County Health Department, the Commu-
nity Health Partnerships organization and many
others in an effort to secure backing for the
plan.
I talked to so many groups, but it wasnt
getting any traction, he recalled.
One day, after ending a 24-hour shift as a
frefghter, Martin went to the church to catch
up on some pastoral work.
I was doing a little grumbling to God, he
admitted. I told Him if this clinic was some-
thing He wanted me to do, let me know. If not, I
dont want to spin my wheels.
When Martin opened the churchs mailbox,
he found a $6,000 check for the yet-to-be-estab-
lished clinic.
It was from a group I hadnt even solicited,
he said. That was part of our affrmation to
move forward.
Some people suggested that Martin abandon
his idea, warning him that the church might get
sued if there was a problem down the road.
We decided to step out anyway, he said.
A short time later, more volunteers and ad-
ditional funding came in. The clinic started to
treat patients in 2005 and has averaged about
2,000 clients a year. Martin said the operation
could not have sustained itself if it were not for
other evangelical churches that have partnered
with Open Bible Baptist Church.
Many different denominations have come
together, he explained. Its the body of Christ
rallying behind this ministry and purpose.
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Rebecca Cochran (left), a medical assistant student from IntelliTec Medical Institute in
Colorado Springs, completed her internship at Open Bible Medical Clinic. She said it was a
great place for her to gain some on-the-job experience.
Open Bible/See page 5
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 5
A perfect setup
The Open Bible Medical Clinic has its own
separate entrance, handicapped-accessible ramp
and welcoming reception area. Clients who stop
by to see a doctor can also take advantage of a
small food pantry while they wait, according to
April Saraceni, volunteer coordinator.
The clinic has three, bright examination
rooms for doctors to see patients. There also is
a separate room for physical therapy, although
a physical therapist only schedules hours once a
month.
A behavioral therapist is available every Tues-
day for patients to talk with. Saraceni said pro-
viding mental health care is essential as many
of the clinics clients require such services.
The clinic also tries to serve its volunteers
well. Volunteers are offered a free meal before
each Tuesday or Thursday shift. Free child care
is provided for the children of volunteers on the
frst and third Tuesdays.
We try to make it easy for people to volun-
teer, Saraceni said.
Still, the clinic can always use more help.
Doctors, medical personnel and pharmacists are
some of the key positions being sought right
now.
Miriana and Bryan Taylor have been helping
at the clinic since last October. The husband
and wife, who both serve in the military, moved
here from New Mexico last year and were look-
ing for a volunteer opportunity they could share
together.
This is a perfect ft for us, Miriana said.
There is such a big need for it, because people
get turned away every place else they go.
For more information on volunteering, call
719-475-0972.
TLC (The Lord Cares) Pharmacy
In 2010, the clinic and its supporters recog-
nized another emerging need in the community.
Patients who were seen by doctors at the free
clinic were able to get prescriptions flled and
paid for. Patients who had been treated else-
where, however, could not be assisted by the
local ministry.
To address the problem, the TLC Pharmacy
was founded and set up shop in an offce build-
ing on Academy Boulevard. Four years ago, the
nonproft pharmacy purchased a former bank
building at 555 E. Costilla Street and moved in.
In an average year, about 8,000 to 9,000 pre-
scriptions are flled for some 500 clients, ages
18-64. In 2013 alone, more than $2 million in
prescription medications were dispensed by the
operation.
Frieda Martin, Jeffs wife, is the volunteer
pharmacy manager. Three part-time employees
and a bevy of volunteers keep the pharmacy
humming.
This is a ministry of our church, but we
have support from so many organizations and
individuals, she explained. As a ministry, we
try to pray with patients as they stop by. And
we try to encourage them to get involved in a
church in their neighborhoods. We want to not
only meet their medical needs but their spiritual
needs also.
We always include a prescription for salva-
tion as well, Jeff Martin added. Its a pre-
scription for life.
The pharmacy operation isnt free like the
clinic. Clients who use the pharmacy have to
pay a $15 annual fee, or $25/year for a fami-
ly. Those eligible to fll prescriptions at TLC
Pharmacy are served for no longer than one full
year.
The drugs dispensed at the facility come
from a variety of sources. Some drug compa-
nies donate medications to the nonproft, some
drugs are purchased by the operation, and some
medications are donated by nursing homes and
hospitals that would otherwise be forced to
dispose of them.
The pharmacy is open Mondays, Wednesdays
and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tues-
days from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Mortgage burning
Marcella Ruch, clinic and pharmacy board
member, is in the midst of a fund-raising cam-
paign to retire the debt on the pharmacy build-
ing. The nonproft has paid $50,000 a year for
four years and only about $100,000 remains on
the mortgage.
The organizations goal is to fnd enough
donors this fall to take advantage of a $6,000
discount if the debt is paid by the end of 2014.
Ruch has already scheduled a mortgage burn-
ing banquet for Nov. 14. To help reach the goal,
contact Ruch at 719-930-9747.
Open Bible/From page 4
TLC Pharmacy hopes to pay off its mortgage this fall. The nonproft organization has been
dispensing medication to low-income families there for about four years.
Volunteer pharmacist Cindy Lauffenburger
prepares a prescription behind the counter
of TLC (The Lord Cares) Pharmacy on East
Costilla Street.
Page 6 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
The Rock starts a cool ministry
Free ice cream treats
offered to youngsters
at city parks
A newly painted, lime-green truck is show-
ing up in Colorado Springs parks on Saturday
afternoons. Volunteers inside the former FedEx
delivery truck are handing out free ice cream
treats to anyone needing a tasty break.
Sponsored by the Rock Family Church (4005
Lee Vance View), the new ice cream ministry is
the brainchild of senior pastor Dean Hawk.
Ive had this idea for almost fve years, he
explained. I thought it would be cool to hit the
neighborhoods and parks and just give away
ice cream and tell kids about Jesus when the
opportunity arises.
When speaking at a conference for rural pas-
tors in northeast Colorado two years ago, Hawk
shared his ice cream idea with the crowd. After-
wards, a pastor told Hawk about someone who
was trying to give a delivery truck to a church.
Rock Family Church jumped at the opportunity.
Its been a slow process since then, Hawk
admitted. We didnt have all the funds we
needed. The truck needed new tires and some
engine repair.
Hawk said this spring the church decided
to get serious about the new ministry idea
and fnally made it happen. The congregation
gathered the necessary funding to paint the
truck, create colorful graphics for the exterior,
purchase a freezer and a generator, add service
windows on one side and remodel the interior
of the vehicle.
Launch day
A crew of volunteers headed out freezer
stocked with cold treats for the frst time
on Aug. 16. Hawk was dressed up as Otis the
Moose, one of the churchs mascots for its chil-
drens ministry. Another volunteer donned the
Rocky the Chipmunk outft. Ice cream servers
also joined the fun.
The groups initial goal was to drive through
local neighborhoods and hand out treats to kids
running toward the ice cream truck. Their plans
had to be altered almost immediately.
We had the ice cream music playing and we
were going up and down neighborhoods. We
found just one kid in all of our runs, he said.
Kids dont play outside any more. I think they
were inside playing some electronic games.
The volunteers decided to drive through local
parks instead, Hawk said. That strategy worked.
By the end of their frst three-hour shift, about
200 free ice cream treats were handed out to
young and old alike.
It says on the truck that kids eat free. But
we give to parents, adults, teenagers also, he
explained. Were just out to give people a free
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Pastor Dean Hawk shows off Rock Family Churchs newest ministry tool an ice cream truck that distributes free treats to people gath-
ered in Colorado Springs parks.
Ice Cream/See page 7
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 7
ice cream treat on us. Some people wanted to
give a donation, but we told them its already
paid for. It was fun.
An invitation
Along with the treats, ice cream truck vol-
unteers also invite youngsters to attend an
upcoming Rock Kids gathering (Rock Fami-
ly Churchs regular childrens ministry). But
Hawk said the evangelistic push isnt a hard
sell.
Were not going to cram it down anybodys
throat, he said. Ultimately, my bottom-line
goal is that we want to literally leave a good
taste in someones mouth about God and Jesus.
It might be someone who has never thought
about going to church, or someone who has
never thought about having a relationship with
God.
The simple act of handing out free ice cream
might encourage some people to start attending
church or at least ask questions.
Then wed have an opportunity to present
Jesus Christ to them, he said.
Saturday stops
The current plan for the Kids R People 2
ice cream ministry is to stop in local parks from
1-4 p.m. each Saturday. Regular stops will be
made in such locales as Memorial, Palmer and
Cottonwood parks. The crew will likely stop
in other parks as time and ice cream supplies
permit.
When the truck stops, two adults in mascot
costumes jump out of the back to greet kids and
families. The mascots certainly help attract kids
to the ice cream truck.
As word gets around about the new ministry,
Hawk said he expects to hand out between 300
and 500 cool treats each Saturday.
This is the heartbeat of what we want to do
as a church doing things to help, aid, bless,
give to our community, he explained. So
many times the church is seen as a place that
wants you to do something for them. I like to
change that mindset. We want to do something
for people.
More fun
As winter approaches, Hawk said the church
isnt planning to park the ministry truck in the
garage. Current plans call for the vehicle to be
converted into a hot chocolate and coffee shop.
When school is cancelled due to a snow storm,
Hawk said church volunteers will drive to the
local sledding hills and serve kids and families
who are taking advantage of the white stuff.
Rock Family Church also will continue with
its other outreach efforts, he said. The congre-
gation currently partners with Jackson Ele-
mentary on Colorado Springs Westside. They
collected 150 backpacks and stuffed them with
school supplies and gave them away to kids at a
recent open house. In October, church members
also adopt a student and buy clothing, coats
and shoes to get between 75 and 100 disadvan-
taged kids ready for winter.
The outreach plans dont stop there, however.
I have a list of creative ideas and outreaches
to bless our community, he said. There are a
bunch of things that we want to do.
Next on his list is having Rock Family
Churchs mascots Otis and Rocky visit
young patients at Memorial Hospital. He did
something similar as a youth pastor in Tulsa,
Oklahoma, and it was very popular with the
kids.
Weve tried to get the critters in to visit kids
at Memorial Hospital but weve not been given
permission yet, he said. We want to give col-
oring books and stuffed animals to the kids.
Ice Cream/From page 6
Volunteers from Rock Family Church dress up in mascot outfts to attract attention to the free ice cream ministry. The new ministry is an
effort by the local congregation to give back to the community and share the love of Christ.
Volunteers from Rock Family Church hand-
ed out free ice cream treats and an invita-
tion at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs
on the afternoon of Aug. 23. They stopped
at several parks during the beatiful summer
Saturday.
Volunteer effort,
fnancial backing of
churches help
construct new house
Nine Colorado Springs churches recently
partnered together to help build a new home
and a more stable future for one local family.
Dubbed the Apostles Build, the Pikes Peak
Habitat for Humanity project was one year in
the making. More than 70 people, including the
soon-to-be-homeowners Benjamin and Cicely
Wiggins and their four children, celebrated the
homes completion at an offcial dedication
ceremony Aug. 10.
Its been a long time coming. Im so over-
whelmed, Cicely told the crowd, tears welling
up in her eyes. Im thankful for everyone here
who has helped us. Its a dream come true.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the fam-
ily was presented with two gifts a hammer
representing the hard work that made the home
possible, and a Bible, for all the things the
hammer wont fx, said Habitat board member
Deanne Cain Fischlein.
An answer to prayer
The Wiggins family including Adreja
(12), Maliki (11), Inella (7) and Kuamie (1)
has been living out of suitcases and sharing a
three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with rela-
tives for the past two years. The family moved
to Colorado Springs from North Carolina in
2012, to be nearer to relatives and friends.
Cicely said God had previously spoken to her
that the family would eventually have a home
of their own, but that appeared unlikely given
the familys fnancial struggles.
After learning about the Habitat for Humanity
program from their church, the Wiggins family
applied. Their application initially was denied
because they required a larger home than the
local Habitat chapter typically builds.
The family eventually received approval for
a Habitat project on June 16, 2013. My hus-
band called me from work that day and asked
me if I was sitting down and told me we were
approved, Cicely said. It was such a blessing
for us.
Groundbreaking for construction was held
Aug. 11, 2013 and the work was completed
Aug. 10, 2014. The family will close on the
property Sept. 2 and move in immediately after-
wards.
We know that its Gods plan for us to be
here, Cicely said.
As part of the Habitat for Humanity com-
mitment, families must complete at least 450
hours of sweat equity in the construction of
their home. The Wiggins family completed their
sweat equity requirement in slightly more than
three months, yet continued to be part of the
team working on the project. The family even
spent time helping one of their new neighbors
construct their Habitat home.
Cicely admitted that the family was a bit over-
whelmed when they learned they would have to
be involved in building their own home.
You have a little bit of nervousness when
youre doing something so grand. You dont
want to make a mistake, she said. We didnt
have any experience building, but they held our
hands every step of the way. There were always
supervisors on site to help us and encourage us
to get in there and get our feet wet.
Building upon a frm foundation
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
The Wiggins family (front from left) Inella and Cicely, and (back) Adreja, Maliki, Benjamin
and Kuamie were all smiles at the Aug. 10 dedication of their new Pikes Peak Habitat for
Humanity home. The project was an Apostles Build, constructed with the help of nine local
Christian congregations.
Inella Wiggins (left) reads a thank you letter aloud to all those in attendance at the dedica-
tion ceremony. Her brother, Maliki (right), looks on.
Apostles Build/See page 9
Page 8 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Cicely said the family can hardly wait to get
moved and settled into their new life.
The building process has been possible
through lots of love and support and encourage-
ment, she noted. It takes a lot to go through
the whole process. It took a lot for us to wake
up on the weekends and build. But youre
showing your children that, with hard work and
effort, you can do anything.
Apostles Build
The Wiggins home is the fourth that Pikes
Peak Habitat for Humanity has completed with
the help of church partners. (In all, the Pikes
Peak Habitat chapter has helped construct 127
homes since its founding in 1986.)
Churches involved in an Apostles Build
commit $5,000 each toward the construction of
the home as well as volunteer laborers. Over the
past year, more than 100 volunteers have helped
complete the Wiggins house.
Catholic, protestant and evangelical church-
es alike have stepped up to participate in each
Apostles Build, said Andy Petersen, Pikes Peak
Habitat development director.
It gives congregations an opportunity to have
a missions project here in town, as opposed to
always feeling like they have to go somewhere
else, Petersen said. Its encouraging to see the
churches all come together to work on a home.
The goal is to sign up 12 churches so that
$60,000 is raised to cover half the cost of each
Habitat home. This years group of participat-
ing churches totaled nine congregations: The
Ascent Church, First Baptist Church, First
Congregational Church, Holy Apostles Catholic
Church, The Kingdom Church, St. Francis of
Assisi Catholic Church, St. Michaels Episco-
pal Church, St. Patricks Catholic Church and
Cragmor Christian Reformed Church.
With so many churches here in CS, you
would think there would be many that would
want to be involved, Petersen explained. But
with a lot of churches struggling due to the
economy, and because of the fres the past few
years, its been diffcult for some other congre-
gations to get involved.
To make sure the home was completed, dona-
tions from Ameriprise Financial and the Harry
A. and Mary K. Chapman Foundation were
secured to cover the necessary building costs.
Dedication
Todd Hilkemann, pastor at Cragmor Christian
Reformed Church, one of the Apostles Build
partners, opened the Aug. 10 dedication gather-
ing with a prayer.
He reminded everyone that unless the Lord
builds the house, the laborers labor in vain.
Hilkemann prayed for Gods continued bless-
ings on the Wiggins family, asking that God
would make them a blessing to their neighbors
and to this neighborhood.
Laurel Thorstensen, a Habitat volunteer, said
the Wiggins family has become great boosters
of the Habitat cause.
Were pleased as punch to have you as new
homeowners, she said. Know that we are
thrilled to death.
The Wiggins children showed off homemade
posters they made to thank everyone in the
room. Inella, 7, read a thank you letter to all
those who helped make the home a reality.
We are thankful, she said. I am happy to
have a new home.
Benjamin Wiggins said each of the kids now
will have their own room that they can decorate
and make their own. Thats quite a departure
from the cramped conditions they have been
living with for the past two years.
Its been an amazing process, he told the
crowd. It gives our kids the chance to have a
house to grow up in.
The ceremony ended with Adreja and Inella
cutting the blue ribbon on the front door of their
new home. After cheers from the assembled
crowd of volunteers, friends and family mem-
bers, cake and refreshments were served.
Woodmen Vistas
The Wiggins home is one of 37 Habitat homes
planned for the Woodmen Vistas housing devel-
opment near the Woodmen Road and Powers
Boulevard intersection. So far 29 houses have
been constructed in the subdivision.
Petersen said the local Habitat chapters goal
is to complete seven to 10 homes a year for
low-income families. The past couple years the
organization has averaged fve to six homes due
to the lagging economy.
Apart from helping build their own home,
families chosen for the program must make
mortgage payments to pay off the debt associ-
ated with the individual construction projects.
Loans are typically for 30 years and carry no
interest. The homeowners mortgage payments
go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is
used to build more affordable houses.
The goal of Habitat is to give low-income
families a chance to experience the pride, dig-
nity and self-suffciency of home ownership.
Families must apply and be accepted into the
program, and they must pledge their commit-
ment to repaying the mortgage on the home.
With the Wiggins home now completed,
Petersen said Habitat is beginning its search
for church partners for the next Apostles Build.
Groundbreaking on the next home is tentative-
ly slated for the spring of 2015. Churches and
ministries that would like to participate can call
Petersen at 719-475-7800, ext. 5.
Apostles Build/From page 8
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 9
More than 100 volunteers from nine Colorado Springs congregations contributed thou-
sands of hours to complete the new home for the Wiggins family. A good number of the
volunteers were on hand for the dedication ceremony inside the Woodmen Vista property.
Inella Wiggins (left) and Adreja Wiggins (right) had the honor of cutting the ribbon on the
familys new home in Woodmen Vistas. The family expects to move in right after Labor Day
weekend.
Page 10 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
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www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 11
By Julie Holmquist
When a sign at a mountain trailhead warns,
Dangerously Steep, its best to do an about-
face, especially if youre a
53-year-old woman who fond-
ly remembers that one year
when she was ft.
But no about-face occurred.
My husband and I simply
followed a large, chatty group
and their dogs past the sign
and down the trail, while the
man leading the group asked
us if we were OK with steep
trails. Jeff and I communicat-
ed with a glance: If they can
handle it, so can we. Unfortu-
nately, we ignored two facts:
1. In Colorado, steep means
something completely differ-
ent than in Wisconsin, our last place of resi-
dence.
2. The word dangerous means involving
possible injury, harm or death.
Fast forward 20 minutes: the group ahead
of us has disappeared and so has the trail. We
cant fnd any yellow trail markers on the trees.
Still, we forged ahead, even if the ahead had
vanished.
Our search for a path through the trees fol-
lowing the stream down the mountain led us to
another sign: Slippery When Wet. I didnt let
that sign stop me, either.
In an effort to fnd the
trail, I ended up sliding
down a wet, moss-cov-
ered slab of rock that
perched dangerously
over a stream. Did I
mention that the stream
was mostly vertical?
Please note the words
dangerously and vertical.
After sitting there in a
daze for a while, listen-
ing to the water rush
over all manner of rock
below me, I realized that
I needed to climb back
up that slippery slab. It was the only way out of
my predicament. I grabbed a tree root growing
from the side of the hill but failed to get a grip
on the rock with my wet, mucky tennis shoes.
Thats when I started to worry. My husband
stretched out his hand from above, but there
was no way I was going to grab it. If I did, my
legs would dangle and Id probably pull him off
the edge with me. I had no idea what to do. And
so I prayed.
Then it came to me. I took off my shoes, tied
the laces together and draped them around my
neck. Unlike the mud-covered soles of my Co-
lumbia Omni-Grips, my bare feet clung to the
rock beneath the slime. I made it easily to the
top, and we found the trail.
Most of us dont come up against slippery
slabs of rock every day, but we face so many
other trials in life times when we cant fnd
the trail markers, when we wander the wrong
way, ignore all the signs of danger or simply
dont know what to do.
As I was praying lately about a few slippery
areas in my own life, that rock I climbed came
to mind, as did Psalm 18. Not recalling the
content of that particular Psalm, I opened my
Bible and read, The Lord is my rock ... and
my deliverer ... he made my feet like the feet of
a deer and set me secure on the heights ... You
gave me a wide place for my steps and my feet
did not slip.
The Lord was reminding me that underneath
the moss and slime of life, the Rock is still
there. I simply need to cling to Him, like my
feet clung to the rock near the stream. And He
will even equip me with the strength to do so
(Psalm 18:32).
Navigating the slippery rocks of life
Te Mountaintop Journal is published once
a month and distributed free throughout the
Colorado Springs area.
Te Mountaintop Journal
~ John 21:25 ~
Mountaintop Journal
P.O. Box 25007
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
719-375-1822
Jef Holmquist, publisher/editor
Julie Holmquist, copy editor
Email:
mountaintopjournal@gmail.com
Website:
themountaintopjournal.com
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copies desired and the address for deliveries.
Welcome to our third issue of The Mountain-
top Journal.
Some of you are seeing our new publication
for the frst time. Others of you have received it
in the mail, picked it up at church or found it at
the public library over the past few months.
If youre a new reader, or someone who has
enjoyed this Colorado Springs-based newspaper
before, we hope you enjoy our September issue.
As with the two editions prior, we think this
months Mountaintop Journal includes a num-
ber of inspiring, encouraging and informational
stories. We hope you will agree.
As we head into the fall, Id like to send out
a plea to all who think our newspaper is some-
thing that should continue to cover the news of
the faith community. From this issue forward,
our prayer is that we sign up at least 100 new
subscribers each month so that we can begin
to cover the expenses involved with printing,
mailing and distributing 7,000 copies of a news-
paper throughout Colorado Springs.
Our vision for the newspaper continues to be
providing a communications vehicle that helps
unite the Christian community and encourages
all to think outside the box when it comes to
ministry, serving the needy or committing their
life to Jesus Christ.
We want to again thank those who have been
willing to share their stories with us. Its evident
to us that so much is happening in the name of
Christ along the Front Range, yet few people
are aware of these events, ministries and faith
stories because there is no other general-interest
outlet to communicate such messages.
We encourage you to take a look, and then
let us know what you think. And if God leads
you to support us, wed love to have you as a
regular subscriber. You can subscribe so that a
physical newspaper is mailed to your address,
or you can subscribe to our electronic edition
and read the monthly publication on your tablet
or computer. Either way, you wont miss out
on news that is important to Christians in the
Springs. Your support will help us continue for
months (or perhaps years) to come.
Subscribe today (print or e-edition)
Jeff Holmquist
Julie Holmquist
Page 12 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Business groups offer Christian support
Networking in
Christ has two
local chapters
For two business groups in Colorado Springs,
its no coincidence that the word king is part
of the word networKING. The members
Lord and Savior is there at every meeting.
Two local chapters of Networking in Christ
meet weekly in the community. Their aim is to
help fellow Christian business people succeed
fnancially, but most importantly to pray and
support the individual members.
Its networking that is centered around
Christ, said Chuck Ownbey, a NIC chapter
member since 2009. When I frst attended a
meeting, they started out in prayer. I decided
thats the kind of organization I wanted to be
involved in.
Ownbey, who is a self-employed business
consultant, said hes thankful for any extra busi-
ness he generates by being part of the group.
What he appreciates most, however, is the
weekly encouragement he receives from fellow
members.
Id much rather have people praying for my
business than for them to give me a referral, he
said.
Rob Porter, a health and wellness consultant
with Reliv International, joked that Jesus Christ
set the example of networking that the organiza-
tion follows today.
Jesus was the frst networker, he noted. He
started with 12 people and then looked what
happened.
Jim Dyer, an insurance broker in Woodland
Park and NIC member since 2009, said chapter
meetings arent much about drumming up new
business, although referrals happen.
Our focus is really on relationships and our
common faith, he noted. Its a good group.
A lot of friendships have developed because of
this chapter.
Being a chapter member has been both benef-
cial to Tim Rohlfngs fnancial planning busi-
ness and helpful as he operates as a Christian in
the secular marketplace.
Id recommend it to people, he said, espe-
cially for established business people who are
looking to grow and branch out.
While quite a few chapter members are in-
volved in the fnancial industry, Rohlfng said
diversity within the group is important.
We all beneft from having different types of
businesses involved, he added.
Many NIC members said that theyd joined
secular business networking groups in the past
and felt too much pressure to provide referrals
to others.
There tends to be an air of hype in those
groups that isnt quite real, said Wayne Pin-
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Plenty of informal networking and fellowship occurs before and after the scheduled meetings of the local Networking in Christ chapters.
Daniel Hagen (left), Rob Porter (center) and Don Whaley are members of Chapter 102, which meets at an IHOP Restaurant.
Networking/See page 13
Our focus is really on
relationships and our
common faith.
Jim Dyer
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 13
egar, a real estate agent with Nextage Pikes
Peak Properties. Here we can be real. Its more
intimate.
Greg Miranda, an insurance agent with Met
Life, said he often felt uncomfortable referring
his clients to business professionals in secular
networking groups because he didnt know how
his customers would be treated.
For me, to refer someone is an extension of
my reputation, he explained. I dont like to
make a referral until I trust them.
He doesnt have that problem with fellow
NIC members. Chapter members all share a
strong Christian foundation and are committed
to shining the light of Jesus to the world, Miran-
da said.
Jaque Peterson, a consultant with Exciting
Windows and an NIC member since 2007, said
the camaraderie among NIC chapter members is
what keeps her coming back.
I love meeting with other Christian business
people, she said, and knowing we can pray
for each other when we have struggles.
Weekly meetings
Networking in Christ Chapter 102 meets
Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the IHOP
Restaurant, 8065 N. Academy Blvd. The chap-
ter touts 14 current members and the groups
president is Wayne Pinegar, a real estate agent.
NIC Chapter 103 meets from 7:30 to 8:45
a.m. each Friday at the Open Door Cafe inside
Rocky Mountain Calvary Church, 4285 North
Academy Blvd. Attendance is usually between
10 to 12 members. Its president is Tim Rohlf-
ing. Most of our members dont belong to this
church, Dyer explained. We just meet here in
the coffee shop.
Prospective members to either chapter are re-
quired to apply and be approved. New members
are encouraged to commit to the four Ps of
Networking in Christ prayer requests, praise
reports, participation (attending every meeting
is encouraged) and prospects (passing along the
names of possible customers who are looking
for a particular business service or product).
Members also are encouraged to schedule
one-on-one meetings with others in the group
so everyone gets a chance to know each other
better.
Membership fees are $120 per year.. The cost
is well worth the investment, Rohlfng said.
The agenda
Each weeks meeting includes short busi-
ness introductions (or commercials) from each
person in attendance. Everyone shares about
themselves and their company.
Then one member per week is given extend-
ed time to present information about his or her
business, product or service. At the Aug. 20
meeting of Chapter 102, medicare consultant
Lee Messick talked about health care and the
need for patients to be proactive about their
individual care.
In addition to the weekly business talk, a
different chapter member is assigned the task
of presenting an inspirational devotional to the
group. During a recent meeting, Daniel Hagen,
a telecommunications consultant, talked about
the challenges everyone faces in life and our
tendency to forget that God is with us when
troubles arise.
Think about the promises and take your eyes
off the problem, he encouraged, borrowing a
phrase from a recent message hed heard.
The weekly devotional message is followed
by praise reports. Members talk about business
referrals that have led to new customers, or
share professional successes theyve experi-
enced during the previous week. The reports
often are accompanied by thank yous directed
to those who provided a lead or offered advice.
Members follow that by sharing prayer re-
quests, either related to their business or their
personal lives. A designated member then prays
aloud for the stated prayer requests and praise
reports.
Connecting
For more information about NIC or to become
a member, contact Chuck Ownbey at 719-640-
4602 or email chuck@chuckownbey.com.
Visit www.networkinginchrist.com for more
information.
Networking/From page 12
Chapter 103 member Shannon DiAmco (left) provides a short inspirational message on
kindness while fellow Networking in Christ members listen on.
Nancy Peterson with Enagic/Kangen Water informed Chapter 103 members about the
benefts of ionized water and its many health and household uses. Chapter members take
turns offering such presentations at the weekly gatherings.
Page 14 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Organizers hope to
reach out to the
younger generation
A Colorado Springs congregation is opening
its doors on Sunday nights for free community
concerts.
Dubbed The Crusade, the new event is held
at Calvary Chapel Eastside, 5070 Edison Ave.,
and open to the general public.
We have everything from hip-hop to hard
rock to all sorts of genres, said evangelism
pastor L.B. Lee. Its not your typical church
music, but they are all talking about a better life
and theyre talking about Jesus.
Right now the Crusade is offered on a month-
ly basis. Lee said it may grow to become a
twice-monthly or weekly gathering, if the num-
ber of volunteers involved allows.
Saturday Night Rocks
Pastor Lee has quite a history when it comes
to concerts that feature Christian music. He was
the promoter of a popular Christian evangelism
effort in Colorado Springs more than a decade
ago that featured local and national groups
playing to a packed house on Saturday nights.
The venue for Saturday Night Rocks was a
commercial building at Circle and Platte, and
weekly concerts were conducted for about six
years. Young people and even a few older music
lovers often planned their weekend schedules
around the free music.
Apart from the music, the Saturday Night
Rocks event always included a brief message
from Lee or a guest speaker. The gospel mes-
sage was at the heart of every message, and the
evening concluded with an invitation for people
to accept Christ as their Savior.
We saw a lot of lives changed, Lee said.
We saw all kinds of different people attend.
It was neat to see how their lives changed over
time.
Those years in the late 1990s and early 2000s
turned out to be the heyday of Christian music
in Colorado Springs, and groups clamored to
get a booking at the weekly gathering.
We started to have to turn bands away be-
cause so many wanted to come and play, Lee
said.
Eight years ago, however, the church that
hosted Saturday Night Rocks Springs Life
ended its lease for the space and the music
ministry lost its home. Saturday Night Rocks
organizers attempted to move to a new venue,
but things didnt work out.
Return engagement
When the music ministry folded, Lee devel-
oped some health issues and had to back away
from his normal pastoral duties. Bringing back
the Christian concert ministry has always been
in the back of his mind, however.
I got sick because I did too much, Lee
said. Now I realize I cant do everything. Ive
learned to stick with one thing and not try to
mix 10 other things with it. My one thing is
Mixing music with a message
Photos by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Nineveh Shore kicked off The Crusade concert ministry at Calvary Chapel Eastside. The Colorado Springs-based band members include
(left to right) Kirk Woolsey on guitar, lead singer Selena Boyts on bass, Greg Atkins on drums, Julia Dittmer as vocalist and Austin Stew-
art on guitar.
Music fans of all ages attended The Crusades frst concert to see what the new ministry
was about.
The Crusade/See page 15
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 15
leading people to Christ, and Ive always been
able to do that by partnering with music.
It took a while for momentum to build for the
new concert ministry, however.
We have just been waiting on Gods timing
for the right place and time to come along, he
said.
About nine months ago, Lee and a team of
like-minded music lovers decided to start The
Crusade at Calvary Chapel Eastside. Olivia
Dodson and Adrian Mota stepped up to take on
the role of co-music directors for the ministry.
It was a big step of faith for our congregation
to do something like this and reach out to the
community, Mota said.
Getting The Crusade off the ground was a
little more diffcult than the organizational team
frst imagined.
Lee tried to contact of some of the bands that
had previously performed at Saturday Night
Rocks, but was unsuccessful.
Honestly, there arent as many Christian
bands out there as there once was, he ex-
plained.
With some hard work and perseverance, Dod-
son and Mota tracked down numerous Colora-
do-based groups that are willing to perform for
free.
As they started fnding bands that were avail-
able to play, thats when we felt it was a green
light from God to get going, Lee said.
We went from having nobody to having to
squeeze bands in, Dodson added. Its a God
thing for sure.
Dodson even started sending emails to nation-
al Christian groups, on the off chance that some
of them would agree to appear for no pay.
You never know unless you ask, she said
with a laugh. I wasnt expecting a response
from the big headliner bands. Then all of a sud-
den I was getting emails back from Toby Mac,
Love and Death, and Group One Crew.
Shes not sure if any of them will ever be
a part of The Crusade, but Dodson said shes
learned a lot from the advice those groups have
provided.
Launch night
Nineveh Shore, a Colorado Springs-based
Christian rock band, kicked off The Crusade
ministry on July 27 with an hour-long concert
flled with a wide range of music styles.
During the bands break, Lee presented a mes-
sage and invitation to the crowd in attendance.
Several people prayed for salvation. The new
Christians were invited to a Saturday morning
gathering to help guide them in their walk with
Jesus. Another church volunteer, Doug Severe,
also follows up with each new Christian.
After the music was fnished for the night,
band members stuck around to interact with the
music fans.
I was happy with the way it turned out, Lee
said of the frst concert.
If you can just get young people to come in,
they may realize that there is something more
to life. Theyll see that when you meet Jesus
Christ, and you receive his Holy Spirit, that
makes life different.
Dodson said concerts are the perfect tool to
reach people her own age.
Music, Ive always found, has a unique way
of meeting people where they are, she said.
Mota said he can hardly wait to see how God
uses the concert ministry.
Im excited to see how this is going to im-
pact our community in a big way, Mota added.
The whole key is to plant the seed and see
what God does with it.
Upcoming shows
Two Sunday night shows are planned at
Calvary Chapel Eastside in the coming weeks.
G.L.I.F.E. will perform on Sept. 28, and Hollow
Eyed Saints will take the stage on Oct. 19.
The Crusade/From page 14
The leadership team behind The Crusade includes (left to right) Adrian Mota, L.B. Lee and Olivia Dodson. The trio is praying that God will
use the Sunday night concert ministry to reach the younger generation in Colorado Springs.
Page 16 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Duo helps young women shine
The Sonfowerz
transition to
one-day conferences
Two Colorado Springs sisters are reaching out
to girls with a new ministry designed to coun-
teract negative messages directed toward young
women.
Elissa Leander Tipps and Becca Leander
Nicholson, the singing duo also known as The
Sonfowerz, have been performing Christian
music together since they were teenagers.
Now, 15 years later, they have embarked on a
new path to use music and the gospel message
to strengthen the minds and hearts of girls.
In the beginning
When the girls family moved to Colorado
Springs from Texas in 1998, Elissa was 16 and
Becca was 14.
Inspired by their father, who was a musician
and songwriter, the girls started to hone their
own musical skills at home.
I picked up my dads guitar, probably be-
cause I didnt have any friends, Elissa recalled.
I had a lot of extra time on my hands.
It didnt take long and Elissa was writing her
own songs and singing along with her younger
sister, who showed an uncanny knack for learn-
ing how to play a wide range of instruments.
Becca is the musician extraordinaire. She
can run the show, Elissa said.
What started as an enjoyable diversion at
home eventually spilled over to church. The
girls youth pastor asked them if the duo would
perform an original praise song at youth group.
I was extremely shy, so it was the last thing
I wanted to do, Elissa said. But I sensed that
God was giving me something to share with
others, so eventually God gave me the boldness
I needed.
After singing at youth group, the sisters joined
up with three friends to form The Sonfowerz,
a fve-member girls band. If it were not for
encouragement from family, friends and their
youth pastor, Elissa said the group never would
have begun.
In 2007, the Leander sisters became a duo
again and have been traveling the nation per-
forming at various churches and events. The
other girls went to college or got married and
started having kids, Elissa said. Now were
a better travel size. Two people can travel a lot
more easily than fve.
In 2010, Elissa and Becca conducted a double
wedding ceremony and entered married life
together. Elissa married Chad Tipps, a guitar
player, and Becca married Bryan, who plays the
drums.
Our husbands have incredible musical abil-
ities, so we love bringing them on the road,
Elissa said.
Discography
During their 15-year music career, The Son-
Photo by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
Elissa Leander Tipps (left) and Becca Leander Nicholson are the singing duo known as The Sonfowerz. The sisters have enjoyed a 15-
year music career together and now have started a new ministry aimed at helping girls understand their true value and worth to God.
Pictured above, The Sonfowerz performed Aug. 22 at Reach Beyonds open house event in Colorado Springs.
The Crusade/See page 17
www.themountaintopjournal.com - September 2014 - Page 17
fowerz have released six albums: You Remain
(2003), Alive in You (2005), All Over the World
(2008), Beautiful Miracle (2009), By Faith
(2011) and Love Walked In (2013).
They have won two Gospel Music Associ-
ation honors for their music and have toured
throughout the U.S. and Great Britain.
For several years, The Sonfowerz were part
of You & Your Girl conferences sponsored by
LifeWay.
When we frst started the Sonfowerz, we had
no idea how it would grow and what it would
become today, Becca noted. And we had no
idea that we would keep doing this as long as
we have.
In the fall of 2013, The Sonfowerz set up a
successful Kickstarter campaign on the Internet
to help fund their newest album and a 30-day
devotional book for teen girls, titled Made To
Shine.
With those projects completed, Elissa and
Becca launched a Made To Shine conference
event in 2014 to tie their music with the book
to encourage and guide young women in their
walk with Jesus Christ.
Made To Shine
The frst conference, which is geared toward
girls and their mothers, was held at Calvary
Worship Center in Colorado Springs last Febru-
ary.
It was fantastic, Elissa said. At the time it
was supposed to start, the line was still out the
door. We didnt expect that kind of response.
We had about 300 girls and young ladies, ages
12 to 18, who came.
The Sonfowerz conducted a total of four
conferences throughout the U.S. in the spring,
and they have several Made To Shine events
planned this fall. Their next conference is Sept.
20 in southern Wisconsin.
Becca and Elissa sing and speak during each
day-long conference. Time is also set aside for
small group discussion and prayer during the
event.
The key message presented during each
conference is that societys negative messages
about beauty, life and love are misguided.
Our desire is to see girls awakened to who
they really are in Christ, Becca explained.
They need to have that foundation before they
can fnd out their purpose in life. So many teen-
agers feel theyre not good enough or they cant
do anything for God. That comes from a lack
understanding of their identity in Christ.
As we toured around, we saw the need for
a girls ministry, Elissa added. Girls need to
know they are loved. They need to know that
they can shine in their world, no matter the
circumstances they face no matter how dark
the world may be.
The ultimate goal is to help girls stop thinking
about themselves and start thinking about the
work of God.
Then your life isnt about you, she said.
Its about something bigger than yourself. Its
about living for Gods purpose.
Becca said shes amazed at the response from
girls who have attended the conference. Many
have accepted Jesus as their Savior. Others have
stepped beyond their comfort zone to love and
encourage girls who are struggling.
Weve even seen a couple of mother-daugh-
ter relationships that have been healed and
restored through the conference, Becca said.
Its really awesome to see the effectiveness of
it.
Moving forward
Becca and Elissa expect to continue with their
Made To Shine ministry, as long as it helps
young women tune out societys lies and tune
into Christs plan for their lives.
The Sonfowerz also will begin work on a
new album soon, Becca reported, with songs
focusing on issues of importance to girls.
Sometime in the next few months well start
writing and exploring that again, she said. A
lot of the songs weve been writing lately have
come through our Made To Shine ministry
the major topics being identity and our journey
of faith.
For more information on The Sonfowerz,
visit www.sonfowerz.com.
For additional information on the new minis-
try for girls, visit www.sonfowerz.com/made-
toshine.
The Crusade/From page 16
Submitted photo
Elissa Leander Tipps (left) and Becca Leander Nicholson have recorded six albums and
are beginning to work on their next one.
Photo by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
The Sonfowerz interact with fans during the recent open house at Reach Beyond. In the
background is Beccas husband, Bryan Nicholson.
Page 18 - September 2014 - www.themountaintopjournal.com
Coming Up
Aug. 30
Calvary United Methodist Church Neighborhood Fun Day, 4210 Austin
Bluffs Parkway, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sept. 4-6
Joyce Meyer Live, The World Arena, Colorado Springs. With Matt Red-
man and Christy Nockels.
Sept. 5-7
Briarfest to beneft St. Gabriels Church, Marian House, Special Olym-
pics and Wounded Warrior Project. 8755 Scarborough Drive. Carnival,
rides, live music and more. 5-11 p.m. Sept. 5; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 6; and
noon-6 p.m. Sept. 7.
Sept. 10
Woodmen Valley Chapel, Rockrimmon Gym, Sexual Abuse Prevention
Workshop, presented by Greg Love and Kimberlee Norris. 7:30 a.m. to
1:30 p.m. Cost is $15, which includes breakfast and lunch.
Sept. 10-12
Accelerate Pastors Conference, Rock Family Church, 4005 Lee Vance
View. First session begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday and concludes at 3 p.m.
Friday.
Sept. 12
Harvest Festival, First United Methodist Church of Fountain, 1003 North
Sante Fe, noon-5 p.m. Entertainment, games and free food. Call 719-382-
6247 for information.
Sept. 13
Shades of Gospel, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., First Church of the Nazarene, 4120 E.
Fountain Blvd. Enjoy a day of gospel choirs competing for prizes. Tick-
ets $10.
Car Care Clinic, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Rocky Mountain Calvary Church, 4285
N. Academy Blvd. By appointment only. For single parents, widows and
spouses of deployed military.
Sept. 14
Service in the park, Acacia Park, hosted by Colorado Springs Christian
Church. Goal is to collect 300 sleeping bags to give away to people who
are homeless.
Sept. 21
Rides For Rubbish ministry, First United Methodist Church, 420 N.
Nevada, 2:30 p.m. Volunteers work with clients of the Marian House
to collect trash in the downtown area. Free bus passes are presented to
clients who help out.
Sept. 22
Third Annual Feed My Starving Children Golf Beneft, noon start, The
Club at Flying Horse. Proceeds help feed starving children around the
world with the help of Feed My Starving Children. $150 per person;
$600 per foursome. For information or to register, contact Mike Broekhu-
is at 719-201-7285 or fmscgolf@cragmorcrc.org.
Sept. 23-25
New Life Conference, at New Life Church, 11025 Voyager Pkwy., geared
to help ministry leaders fnd the right rhythms in life and ministry. Regis-
ter by calling 866-313-0008.
Sept. 24
See You At The Pole campus prayer day. Held annually on the last
Wednesday of September. Held at schools and college campuses through-
out the region.
Sept. 25-27
Peacemaker Ministries Annual Conference, Hilton Antlers Hotel in Colo-
rado Springs. Training in confict coaching and mediation provided. Visit
www.peacemaker.net for more information or registration.
Sept. 26
Kara Tippetts, author of The Hardest Peace, speaks at a special event
offering peace in the midst of hard times. 7 p.m., Village Seven Presbyte-
rian Church, 4040 Nonchalant Circle South.
Sept. 27
Who am I becoming? womens gathering. Speaker is Linda Dillow,
author and speaker. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Gateway Churchs Stetson Hills
Campus, 5605 N. Markshuffel Rd.
Sept. 28
The Crusade concert gathering, Calvary Chapel Eastside, 5070 Edison
Ave. G.L.I.F.E. performs beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 4
Forgive & Live Workshop, with James Divine, 9 a.m.-noon, Living Hope
Church, 640 Manitou Blvd.
All-Day Womens Retreat, Glen Eyrie Castle, Colorado Springs. Author
and blogger Kara Tippetts will speak about fnding peace and grace in the
midst of all circumstances. Cost is $55, which includes lunch, dinner and
snacks.
Oct. 5
Colorado Springs ninth annual Crop Walk, beneftting Church World Ser-
vices efforts to feed the hungry worldwide. The 1 p.m. walk starts and
ends at Grace and St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 631 N. Tejon St.
Oct. 6-10
Victory World Outreach National Conference, 3150 S. Academy Blvd.
Call 719-392-1231 for information.
Oct. 24-25
Women of Faith, Denver Coliseum, Denver. Survival to Revival.
Nov. 21-22
Feed My Starving Children Mobilepack event, Freedom Financial Expo
Center. Goal is for 1,500 volunteers to pack 300,000 meals in two days.
Volunteer registration will open Sept. 29. For information, contact Mike
Broekhuis at FMSC-mobilepack@cragmorcrc.org.
Photo by Jeff Holmquist/Mountaintop Journal
The Church at Briargate hosted the Route 3:16 Auto Show & Biker
Ride-In Aug. 23. A good crowd stopped by to enjoy the cool cars,
information booths, bounce houses and other activities.
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Chapter 102
Meeting Location: IHOP Restaurant
8065 N. Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs
(Between Jamboree & Voyager)
Meeting time: Wednesdays from
7:30 am to 9:00 am
President: Wayne Pinegar
Cell: 719 460-4649
wayne@nextagepikespeak.com
Chapter 103
Location: Open Door Cafe
(Inside Rocky Mountain Calvary)
4285 North Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs
Meeting time: Fridays from
7:30 am to 8:45 am
President: Tim Rohlng
719 599-7431
timothy.b.rohlng@ampf.com