Editorial - Last Edition

by Johnese Burtram

This is the final edition of Element Connection, “Seasons.” I love Ruth and Denise’s perspectives on their seasons. I think you will enjoy sharing what they have to say.

My season has changed, and this is my last edition as editor of Element Connection. It has been a delightful ten-year journey of sharing your stories with your ministry sisters in Potomac Ministry Network. I have loved hearing your stories and sharing them.


by Denise Oullette

It came as a bit of a shock when I realized I was old enough to draw my Social Security check. I had entered the season of retirement and didn’t even realize it. To me, retirement meant slow down my daily pace. Maybe do some traveling, work on those craft projects I never could find the time to do. Yeah, right!

The Walk to Chaplaincy

by Ruth Pabon

Something about how I felt when I visited a person at the hospital would slowly reel me into the life of hospital chaplaincy.

I would pass the small hospital chapel and stop to pray for those people I was visiting.  I found solace in the plain simple room with one stained glass frame of praying hands.  Watching the chaplains come and go, I told myself, “one day I will be working here as a chaplain.”  I had no idea what that entailed, but after all the ministry I had done, in a way, it would be a relief.

Blooms in the Desert

by Christi Trimbur

I have spent most of my adult life in the desert, living in a desolate wasteland surrounded by sand and Muslims. In that barren place I have found beauty. I have seen the Lord bring forth the pinkest of flowers out of the driest of earth and shed the light of Truth in the darkness of Islam. Few things compare to the beauty of seeing the Lord perform the miraculous in the desert—the shear impossibility of it, breathtaking and faith-filling.

Over two years ago, we returned to the US to take a stateside assignment. Although we believed in the eternal importance of this particular assignment, the real reason we came home was to adopt a child. The barrenness surrounding us in the desert infiltrated our home and our lives when we discovered we could not have biological children. Our only hope for expanding our family of two would be through adoption.


by Lauretta Payne

I grew up in the 50’s & 60’s, in a loving home with both parents, in the little town of Chatham, Virginia.  Economically, I guess we were considered poor, but we were rich in faith. Raised Pentecostal Holiness, I accepted Jesus as my Savior around 14 years old. I was taught to live so that no matter how many rocks were turned over, no dirt would be found.  I’ve seen powerful demonstrations of the power of God, miraculous, divine healings as both a recipient and a witness.

Don't Waste Your Pain

by Roberta Bonnici

A recent film release, “I Can Only Imagine,” tells the story of one young man’s painful past of verbal and physical abuse, and how that pain became a gateway of blessing to the world. 

One wonders why God gave us the capacity to feel emotional pain. It lurks in the recesses of the mind, disrupting relationships and personal achievement. It poisons memories and lingers far beyond whatever caused it. It stabs the heart. Does emotional pain serve any good purpose? Yes—if we allow God to transform it.

Aaah Spring

by Johnese Burtram

Aaah, spring… Late February teased us with warm temperatures and the definite expectation of spring. But March 2018 blew in with a mighty roar of the lion that shook the atmosphere. Even as we picked up singles and downed branches in our yards and endured the inconvenience of power outages, we continued to nurture hope for change.

New Seasons, New Day

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”  Lamentations 3:22-24

by Brittany Jones

I love this bright spot in the book filled with lamentation regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. These words almost jump off the page as a reminder that, amid the chaos and brokenness of life, His compassions never fail. These verses have echoed loudly in my ear for many years as I have endured a great amount of pain and heartache. But, because of the Fathers love, none of these things can consume us.   

Between Places and Seasons

by Carrie Burns PhD

During a long Jerusalem lunch with a dear Jewish friend who devotes her life to Jesus, I learned about a concept she had been exploring called Liminal Space.  I had never heard of it, so after lunch I Googled it to discover that there is a lot out there on this interlude of time between seasons in life.

Advent Blessing

by Johnese Burtram

The Christmas songs, dramas, poems, and devotionals bombard our attention with the blessings of Advent. God’s promise to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham dawned in the fullness of time…she gave birth to her first-born son, wrapped him in clothes, and placed him in a manger…a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. The story, poignant and sweet, also unfolds in harsh and terrible horror when we look beneath the tinseled surface.

Blessing Defined

by Johnese Burtram

Jesus speaks blessing that sometimes catches us off guard. The Kingdom approach to living; the blessing Jesus would speak into our lives comes from His blessings found in the Sermon on the Mount, manifesto of the Kingdom of God, gold standard for godly living. Matthew 5:3 - 9

Mommy, Bless Me

by Maria Donnelly

Blessing my sons at bedtime in one of my favorite memories. We would read Bible stories, say our prayers—prayer for everyone we could remember—and then tuck the children into their beds. “Mommy, bless me?” My middle son, James, would ask while tucking him into the top bunk. He shut his eyes as I laid my hands on his head.

A Thousand or More Favors

by Ruth Pabon

Thousands or more times I have felt the favor of the Lord working in my life. First, my father abandoned his wife and four young children.  A neighbor came over and invited us to church. At four years old, I heard the Sunday school teacher say, “God is your father.” Something in my soul ignited with hope and so the process of becoming a child of God began.