Wednesday, March 23, 2011

facebook HiH stories

 I took these stories & testimonials off the Hand in Hand facebook group page.

Von Wagner - I have some wonderful memories at Hand in Hand.
Their concerts were a Godsend for a young man of 21 who had just given his heart to God and fresh out of a secular rock band.
What a wonderful alternative to worldly music.
I took my girlfriend there several times and she liked it as well. She later became my wife.
We have wonderful memories together as a young couple just starting off in their walk with God and going to these great christian concerts at Hand in Hand.
Too bad the building is gone now but the memories will live on.
Some of the bands I saw there were,
Won By One, Glory Road, Trilogy, Randy Thompson and of course Bernies band.
Thank you.

Jim Bomkamp - Wow, what a blessing to see you all and to read through Bernie's 30th Anniversary page! Truly, Hand in Hand and ODF had a huge impact in my spiritual life and journey, especially Bill and Bernie. After coming to Christ in Jan. of 73' and being rescued from a life of sin and the hippie lifestyle, in all of its various forms, I moved to Phoenix in 75' to go to Grand Canyon Co. to study the Bible. I immediately gravitated towards the Hand in Hand concerts after beginning school.

In 78', I began to attend ODF and was asked to join Promise w/ Lee Chestnut, as a lead guitar player. We were more of a rock oriented group than previously had played at Hand in Hand, I believe. Bernie Rolfe wrote the music for us and directed us, and we were together a year and a half or so I believe.

6 months later, I was asked to play guitar in Trilogy, a jazz rock group directed by Bernie who wrote for us. The three years together was a huge musical challenge for me but also a great blessing.

Jacob Saul - Barb, D'Ann and I think of you and Steve often. Thank you for this site and a way to connect. I attended Hand In Hand in the audience as I am not a musician, at all. Tom Allen says I helped him write the first HiH discipleship booklet and I remember doing a little. I became more involved when Open Door started in order to disciple and provide a local body for many who were coming to Jesus through the ministry. I laid down a lot of carpet squares. D'Ann and I were part of the coffee house ministry of Arizona Bible Camp and worked with the New Beginning at several of those.
Again, thanks. 

P.S. Jacob Saul is a nom de plume I'm trying to promote through Facebook. I'm Jim Pruitt.

David Michael Lees - My Hand In Hand (HIH) story: The band New Jerusalem was losing John Brown as one of their guitar players. I auditioned and joined the band as his replacement. Band members included Gary Wilson, Dan Erlich, Jerry Esh, Stu Golladay, Jesse Goldstein. I also performed at HIH as Dave Lees, Dave Lees and Friends and in the band Threshold (Stu Golladay-Sherry Covington-Dave Baker-Larry Lee). Through HIH I became involved with ODF where I was in a discipleship group with Bill Thrall. I moved to Denver to attend Bible college and met my wife, Marsha. Upon graduation, we returned to Phx and ODF/HIH. My return was, unfortunately, simultaneous with the demise of HIH. Bernie Rolfe and I briefly formed a band together that rehearsed, but never actually performed. The economy in Phx was very tough at the time and jobs were scarce. Marsha and I eventually moved back to Denver where gainful employment awaited. That was in 1983.

And just so you know, Jim Bomkamp is coming all the way from Green Bay,Wisconsin to the Reunion. And David Lees is coming from Dover, Delaware! How awesome is that!
You can still register to come to the Reunion through this weekend.
COME ON!! Register HERE!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jim & Bonnie Krupa

Thanks for the note, the thoughts, and the invite. Bonnie and I are doing well as we transition into another chapter of our lives. Recently we both left full-time ministry to pursue teaching and/or administration in a charter or public school. 
Bonnie is pursuing a leadership position with Green Dot Charter schools in Los Angeles. At this time, this looks like our most promising possibility. Green Dot has a track record of producing great schools in the worst areas of L.A. She will finish her masters in school leadership at the University of Nevada in May. She has a great heart to see inner city kids receive a quality education. She is also working at 2 part-time jobs---teaching at Excel Christian School (one of the 2 schools she founded) and doing the books for a local archeology company.
I have 4 part-time jobs and have finished getting all of my music teaching credentials up to date. I am a music professor at Western Nevada College; I teach private lessons and do some studio work in our home; I sub at local schools; and I am the keyboardist/guitarist for a church in Fernley, NV. In January, I was offered a 15 week contract to be a ship pianist with Holland America but turned it down. I am applying for music teaching positions at junior colleges, charter schools, and public schools. Feel free to let others know that Bonnie and I are considering all options and would appreciate any connections or leads that the old gang might have.
We miss the great people associated with Hand in Hand and send our best, but our schedules won’t allow us to get away at this time.

This is a family picture taken in December of 2009. 
Jared (our oldest son) owns one of the largest civil engineering companies in Reno. That's his wife, Heather, and their 2 daughters, Kyla (with the tilted head) and Makenna.
Jalen, our middle child in the front with the dog, is the audio/video director for the stage show of The Price is Right. He is strongly considering the military.
Marissa, our youngest, is the brunette in the back row. She has a degree in International Business from Pepperdine University. She works as a consultant for Cognisant, the largest consulting firm in the entertainment industry. Currently, she is working with Warner Brothers and rides her horse every chance she gets. 
We are extremely proud to have such great kids and grandkids. They place a very high value on us staying close and getting together often.
Keep being a great people!
Jim and Bonnie 
(775) 427-7715 
2277 Soda Lake Road
Fallon, NV 89406 
Samples of my music can be heard (and seen) at
          Jim's email- 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hand in Hand soloist

Rand Mozingo

Dave Argentati

Wayne Danley

Dave Lees


Randy Thompson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The rest of the story

If you haven't read Kirk's story, then do so before you read this post. And then you will want to come back and read the rest of the story.

I can't even begin to tell you how Kirk's story touched my heart. I cried through the whole story. And I couldn't wait to post the story on the blog and contact the Reunion Team, so they would be sure to read it right away. Somehow I knew we were going to find the missing pieces to Kirk's story. And did we ever!

Joyce Allen immediately emailed me the rest of the story... and gave me permission to post her email.
Thanks, Linda, for creating this blog!   Your faithfulness to create this form of communication gave opportunity for this story to be told and for us to receive the blessing of additional chapters to an uncompleted story.  We actually spent quite a bit of time during that season with both Kirk and Jim.  Tom actually helped Jim get a job where he was working at the time with Allyson Podratz Janos's father, bailed him out of jail after he tried to rip off the place and he even lived with Tom and I for a season in our home in Mesa.

I have spent sooo many years wondering what became of both Kirk and Jim.  Did the impact of that short time make a difference?  Where are they now?  How do you begin to look?  I have prayed for them as they came to mind through the years. I hugely regret not keeping in touch, but this was long before email and cell phones and the availability that we now have for maintaining a long distance relationship.

The trip that Kirk mentions is one that he accompanied The New Beginning on, to the Four Corners.  We often refer to that trip in our reminiscing because there are so many "funny" stories attached, but this is a dimension that makes that weekend even more precious.  I remember hoping that as he traveled with us that he would truly see the reality of the Christian life lived out amongst people that truly loved one another and had a passion for what we were called to be about and that it would captivate his heart. His life story up to that point was obviously quite different than all of ours, so I wasn't quite sure how he would view us.  Yet the TRUTH is still true no matter what direction you approach it from. The answer to all of our needs is found in one Source.  I prayed that that would shine through and nullify the difference.

To hear the "rest of the story", to see God's faithfulness to pursue and protect his journey, to know that we played some small part in God's purposes is beyond humbling.  This came at just the right moment for me.  I have emailed him and look forward to reconnecting!

If this were the only story resulting from years of hauling equipment, endless hours on the road traveling to every nook and cranny in Arizona... it was more than worth it! 

We all have played parts and continue to in this amazing journey.  We could have never even envisioned ALL the reasons that God had for the reunion.  God planting the seed in Nancy's heart to HAVE a reunion... and you, Linda, blogging the stories... God had far greater designs than just a get together of old friends and a time to reminisce over music.
WOW! Thank you Joyce!
How cool is that!  Tom & Joyce now know the rest of the story... and Kirk can now reconnect with them and "express my gratitude to those who reached out to me in my darkest hour".

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a mess! (in a good way) I mean seriously, what are the chances of this happening without the internet... without the reunion... and without the blog as a result of the reunion. Wow!

Ok, speaking of the Hand in Hand Reunion ~ be sure and register HERE. 
We have several attendees coming from all parts of the country. And I know they would love to see all you locals there! Come on, it's going to be so fun!
And help us out by spreading the word!!
And please keep those stories coming ~

linda t

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kirk Stevens


Re-Discovering Hand in Hand
I stumbled upon the Hand in Hand Memories page recently; some 36 years after the Hand in Hand ministry profoundly changed my life. I had just cleaned out some closets and given away numerous household items to Healing Minds a ministry for the mentally challenged. Among the items was a collection of record albums including a cherished copy of, “People Who Walk in Light”, with the fantastic cover showing the glowing, light-formed cross. In a weak moment, with the thinking that “I don’t own a turntable and am not likely in this day and age to ever buy one so why would I want to keep any of these old records”, I tossed them all into the heap for donation to someone who might better benefit from them.

A few days later, I began to regret that I gave away such a nostalgic item as that 1974 vintage album. I decided to do a search for the album and...Wow… I found it online at Christ Wings and was able to download it and add it to my collection of 8200 digitized albums. Then, as I happily played those tunes from that album, I proceeded to use the wonder of the internet, doing a search for “Hand in Hand Phoenix”, and was amazed to find the Hand in Hand memories page. The whole time I had been lamenting giving away that album, I just kept hearing that wonderful female singer’s (don’t recall her name, Joyce?) soul touching words, “People Who Walk In Light, Don’t Have to Be Afraid…. And if The Dark Deceive You, The Devil Won’t Release You”. After all these years I could still recall some of the words, and vividly recalled how deeply this and other songs of Hand in Hand had moved me, and led me to find the Lord back in 1974.

My Story
Having read the stories shared on the memories page I felt moved to share my story as someone who was touched by the Hand In Hand ministry. I especially liked Bernie’s story about his encounter with the bikers while he was putting up a flyer at Circle K. I could really relate to that story, though not a biker, at the time I was living with bikers, had hair down to my shoulders, and was in total rebellion. It was just such a flyer at a Circle K that led me to the Hand in Hand ministry just in time to save my life.

Travails of a Lost Soul
When I came to Hand in Hand Ministry, I was about as lost as one soul can be. I was only 22 years old. I had a failing marriage and had left my wife and two year old little girl in Michigan. I travelled all the way to Phoenix to start life anew. I had joined up with a friend, Jim, and we packed our things in my GMC Jimmy with his 750 Honda in tow on a trailer behind us. The first thing that happened was I fell asleep at the wheel, went into a ditch and half totaled my friend’s motorcycle. Then, on the way to Phoenix we stopped in Albuquerque to spend time with a friend of Jim’s. Well, we stayed too long, partied too much, and ended up spending most of the money we had saved for the trip. When we finally landed in Phoenix, we were broke with no money for gas or food. We had no means of support, no way to get money and nowhere to stay, so we camped out in the desert outside Phoenix.

Some time later, we were at a Circle K and happened to meet a guy named John who incredibly invited us to stay with him and his friends at his house in Phoenix. The only problem was his friends were bikers who made their living stealing bikes and parting them out to sell for money. In 1974, the country was in a deep recession with an oil crisis, and there were no jobs to be had. I tried for months to get a job, but the only thing I could find were sales on commission types of jobs. I had brief stints selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners and Water King water purifiers. But these never ended up paying any real money, and I found myself struggling to even have food to eat.

Life living with thieves was chaotic to say the least. I remember times when days went by where the only thing to eat was corn nuts…washed down with cheap beer that others had bought. Living in this house was a guy named Dennis and his girlfriend along with her young child.  One day he threw them out on the street. She was in tears with nowhere to go. I felt compassion for her (and had some feeling for her) so I offered to help her. I did so at the anger of the residents of the house, with the result being that I was ostracized and banned from there forever. I had also previously had a fight with my friend Jim over a girl, and he had moved away from the house. Anyway, I packed up her things and took her to an apartment where I spent the last of my money getting her settled in, and began planning to start a life with her.  Well, within a couple days she decided she did not want a relationship with me and asked me to leave. I was devastated. I had begun to have deep feelings for her and for her plight, but now she was coldly rejecting me. Worse was that I now was without a place to live, penniless, and without a friend in the world. I had nowhere to go. I had no one who cared about me. I was empty, bitter, and lonely.

I drove out to the desert, parked my car and got out wondering what to do next. I looked up at the stars and wondered what does it all mean. I said out loud, “If there really is a God, I need for you to show me. I need you to touch my life and tell me what to do”. Well, I immediately felt a warmth and a reassurance that there was someone who cared who was looking over me. Of course I did not know what it meant. And in a crude way, I think I was actually inviting Jesus into my heart right then and there. I was at rock bottom. And in those times it becomes easy to look beyond yourself and open yourself to God. In that moment, Jesus touched me.

Hand in Hand Reaches Out
Enter again, Circle K. The next morning I went there to get a drink and what did I find?

Free Hand in Hand Concert!
2616 East Fairmount in Phoenix
8 PM Saturday nights!

Well, it was Saturday! With nowhere to go and no idea what came next, the only thing I could do was go to the concert. That first encounter with Hand In Hand was incredible. The music was so full of life and love and it just washed over me. Suddenly things were beginning to make sense. There seemed to be a purpose to life. I was not alone anymore. Someone really cared about me and His name was Jesus!

At the end of the concert I said the prayer and accepted Jesus into my life. I now had a plan for my life… whatever God wanted to do with it was fine with me. All my fears and doubts were washed away with the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. I want you to know how that ministry literally saved me. It came just at the right time for someone who was really at the end of his rope in the pits of despair, full of tears and fears. That ministry brought me from the bottom of a dark pit to the light of God. Oh how those words were comforting… People Who Walk in Light…Don’t Have to be Afraid…. Cause Jesus Will Be There Right by Your Side. God bless those people who were there to reach out to me at that time of my deepest need.

All these events were so long ago, yet I remember some of them as if they were yesterday. At the same time much of what transpired back then is just a blur beyond reach of my failing memory cells. I don’t recall who it was that took me in. I can’t remember their names. But a generous couple from the ministry offered to let me stay with them in their home. I had nowhere else to go, and these people took in a long-haired, lost stranger and showed him the love of God. I remember having long conversations full of questions with a kind young man who helped me understand all the things a newborn in Christ yearns to know. (Looking at the photos on Bernie’s site I think it was Wayne). I remember travelling with these folks who took me in up to do a concert at an Indian reservation in the four corners area. What an outreach, to reach out to poor and isolated Indians! If anyone in your circle can remember a concert to Indians at four corners in late 1974, and can remember this stranger who they took in and took along… it would be so great to pass along my deepest gratitude for their generosity way back then, when it was so needed.

A Healed Life
These people also helped me deal with my issues of having abandoned my family in Michigan. I ended up facing those issues and going back to Michigan where I reconciled with my wife. They helped me realize that was the right thing to do. I did not stay with them long, but the time with them was so important. After I got back with my wife, we had another child. Her name is Cheryl and she is a blessing to me and to her three kids and husband. She may not have ever been born into this world without the effects of the Hand in Hand ministry on my life.

It was not easy going back home. I still had no job or money, and my car had been repossessed.  I had to hitchhike all the way back to Michigan. But, incredibly, on the last leg of the journey I was picked up by a van full of Christians who happily shared their joy of Jesus. They shared about a church they were excited about called, “Deeper Life”, that was just a few miles from where my wife lived. They drove me right to the doorstep of my wife. That church became a beacon of my life for many years. It was a charismatic church full of the love of God, vibrant with lively music reminiscent of Hand in Hand’s music outreach. Our church life together helped strengthen our fractured relationship so that my wife and I successfully reconciled and went on to be blessed with Cheryl. Not only that, but in that church I met an old childhood friend, and we became business partners. Wow does God work in glorious ways!

It’s been many years since all this transpired. I spent more than ten years with my total focus on delving into the Bible and attempting to derive the most I could from what it all means. Many trials later, God is still most important in my life. Having been set on the path by the Hand in Hand ministry way back in 1974, I have never waivered in my faith in God. My understandings about Him have matured, and what I find most important, Is that God is Love. Love is the most powerful thing anywhere. I even wrote a book summarizing my discoveries about the meanings of God’s love and His purposes.

Praise be to God for the Hand in Hand ministry, and for all that they did for so many lost souls. My personal heartfelt thanks to all those of HIH who touched my life in 1974.

My name is Kirk Stevens, and my friend’s name was Jim Whitmore. If anyone can remember helping these lost souls in 1974, it would be wonderful to express my gratitude to those who reached out to me in my darkest hour. I now live in the mountains near Denver, Colorado. My email is Thanks for reading my story.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nancy Hann

Thinking about the upcoming reunion and running into so many wonderful old friends on Facebook has started me thinking about “the old days”.  And the more I think about them, the more amazed I am with how God directs our steps even when we aren’t the most cooperative. How in the world does a hippy teenager from a VERY small town in northern Ohio end up living in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona, and singing in a Christian folk band.  How crazy is that!

Since it’s hard to know where to begin, I’ll jump right into 1973.  It was June, after my freshman year of high school.  At the delicate age of 15 I was doing drugs, drinking like a sailor and clearly on the path toward a boat load of trouble.  Somehow amidst all the wild parties and general delinquency Jesus found me, forgave me and set me on a new path and I am SO THANKFUL that he did specifically at that point in my life.

Soon after I met Jesus, He led me to connect with a couple of guys who were well known in our little town as “Jesus Freaks”.  They were a few years older than me in age and faith.  They took me under their wing and were like precious big brothers to me in so many ways.  For one magical summer an older woman in our area allowed us to convert her garage into a welcoming hang out space with yard sale sofas, and brightly painted yellow walls.  It was the perfect place to relax and have Bible Studies, ask questions, find answers, share with our friends and neighbors and just enjoy each other’s company.  We spent pretty much all day every day there, learning and growing in our walk with God.  We conducted baptisms in the lake behind the house, served communion, and performed foot washings.  It was our own little New Testament home church.

Little did I know that soon something would happen that would rock my idyllic little world!

At the end of that delightful summer my mother unexpectedly announced that she would be leaving my father and filing for divorce.  She was moving to Arizona and my dad was staying in Ohio.  Since I was 15 at the time, they gave me the option to choose where I wanted to live.  It was an easy decision for me.  Vermilion was the place I was born, the only place I had ever known and I had NO plans to leave there EVER.  This was where my dearest friends were.  I was comfortable at school and could find my way around town blindfolded.  I also knew that my dad probably wouldn’t be too occupied with parenting because he wasn’t very involved in my life anyway.  He lived in our house and brought home the paycheck.  That was pretty much the extent of it.  My parents had always allowed us kids a lot of freedom (too much probably), so I wasn’t worried about supervising myself.  My dad would be there if I needed something and I had my new “family” of Christian brothers to help me through the uncertain times.  (First miracle: imagine what kind of trouble I would have encountered when my mom was gone if I was still following my path of partying.)

So for that whole sophomore year (at 15 years old) I basically parented myself.  Fortunately, my friend, Gene drove me to and from school every day in his red Volkswagon Beetle convertible.  Our friend, Scott was always there too.  You see those two guys had been best friends for a very long time and I was privileged to be adopted into their circle.  We all went to church together, went on driving adventures together, ate together, and just did pretty much every minute of our waking hours together.  I knew I was more than safe with them. 

One of the adventures that we went on together was a 2-hour drive to Akron, Ohio to visit a couple of Gene and Scott’s friends; Craig and Janet Yoe.  Craig was a wild man.  He was a creative artist who (among other things) compiled and distributed a free Christian newspaper entitled “Jesus Loves You”.  It was edgy and funny and helped to spread the gospel to those who would read it.

Later in that year I met a new friend at church named Ernie.  He was sweet, funny, smart and something about him drew me in.  It wasn’t long before we started dating seriously (well as serious as a 15 year old can be). 

It was right about then that God let me know that He might have OTHER plans for me... 

In April of 1974, just days before my parent’s divorce was to be final, my dad drove over 2000 miles from Vermilion to Phoenix to reconcile with my mom.  That was a good thing, right?  Sure.  I was glad that they would be together again.  HOWEVER, I soon learned that one of the conditions that my mom set before she would agree to reunite with my dad was that they (and of course all of us) would move to Arizona!  My mom was tired of the snow and cold and mud in this Ohio small town and she wanted to move to the desert. So, in order to save their marriage, my dad agreed to an early retirement and a 2000-mile move.  I wasn’t consulted in the decision.

What in the world was happening!  I had just met Jesus, met my dearest friends in all the earth AND met the love of my life. Now I was going to be ripped away from everything I knew and loved. Yanked from the gorgeous beauty of the rural countryside and sparkling lakes in Ohio and off to the desolate, scorching, dry, wilderness of Arizona where I knew no one but my few family members.  Someone HAD to be making a mistake!

Now remember that I had only been a believer for less than a year and although I was learning plenty about my walk with God, this is what I talked myself into believing to be true.  It was obvious to me that since my parents weren’t believers and not trusting God with their decisions, that God wasn’t going to force them to follow His “original” plan.  He allowed them to make a huge mistake that would also impact my life. My hope was that when I graduated from high school and no longer had to live with my parents that God would help me put all the pieces of my life together again so I could go back to Ohio to follow the path that was originally intended for me.   Needless to say, I went kicking and screaming to Arizona and was counting the days until I could go home.

Because of my inaccurate assumption about my situation and since I only needed to be in Arizona until I graduated from high school in 2 years, I decided that I wouldn’t bother making any friends there.  I wouldn’t get connected to anything or anyone.  I would just “do my time” and after graduation I’d get outta Dodge.   I would continue to develop my relationship with my boyfriend, Ernie in Ohio via letters and long distance phone calls and we’d resume our dream a little later (remember this was before anyone had ever heard of Skype, the Internet or email).

And even though I was a bit frustrated with God for allowing this to happen, I didn’t really blame Him. It was still important for me to continue to strengthen my relationship with Him, so I found a church that was the same denomination as I attended in Ohio.  Sadly though, most of the teenagers in the youth group had grown up in the church and weren’t very passionate about their faith.  They were nice enough kids, but it just seemed like they were going through the motions. I realized that I wanted something more.  I wanted to be with people who cared about their relationship with God on a daily basis and showed it on the outside.  Plus, based on some of the choices I was making after my arrival in Arizona, I knew that I NEEDED to be around well grounded Christians who could help me to stay on course and headed in the right direction.  So, I started my search for a place where I could feel connected and nourished. 

Apryl and Nancy attended Central High School together
I visited a few churches and kept my eyes and ears open for something that would meet my needs, but I wasn’t sure what it would be.  Then, quite miraculously, I received a copy of a “Jesus Loves You” newspaper in the mail from my friend Craig in Ohio.  It was so nice to hear from home.  Amazingly, as I was flipping through the pages, I realized that there was something special in this newspaper.  This particular paper just “happened” to have a listing for a gathering place for young people in Phoenix, Arizona called “Hand in Hand”

Now, how a newspaper from Akron, Ohio would get a listing for a music ministry in Phoenix, Arizona before the internet era, I will never know.  Let’s just call it a “God thing” or better yet “divine intervention”.  Needless to say, I was excited to make plans to check out this place on a Saturday night.

That next Saturday, when I walked through the door, I instantly felt at home.  I loved the casual but energetic atmosphere, with dozens of high school and college age kids packed in like sardines, sitting cross-legged on the floor during the concerts. I was also very impressed with the original Christian music that was played there. Soon I fell in love with the passion of the people that I met.  Many of them were new believers who were discovering the truth of God, just like me.  As the weeks and months went on I totally forgot about my pledge to avoid new relationships.  I had found a home that was full of life and the love of God.

At the end of every concert the good news of Jesus was shared, and an invitation to accept Christ was given.  Then yellow and green comment cards were handed out throughout the crowd.  It was there that a new believer could respond so that the staff could contact them to provide one-on-one follow up.  It was also there that someone (like me) could say that they wanted to be more involved and volunteer to help in some way (which I did).   What a privilege to help in the office and to be able to do one-on-one follow up with new believers.

Later I was joining my new found friends in large groups at CoCo’s, or Sambo’s or Bob’s Big Boy for coffee after the concerts.  It was such a great time to get to know each other.  We would nearly fill the place and often hung around so long that we were kicked out at closing time. 

It was with many of the people I met at Hand in Hand that I was able to build deep and lasting relationships, some continuing over the last three and a half decades.  During those early years, we asked hard questions, learned about discipleship and ministry, shared stories about personal pain, discovered grace, and challenged each other to find ways to serve God where we were.  Friendships deepened, new relationships blossomed, and there were bumps in the road as well; all shapes and sizes of people came through those doors. But mostly God walked with us as we learned to embark on this magnificent journey with Him.

In 1975 one of my dear friends was a quiet musician who was the leader of the newly formed band, Glory Road.  His name was Terry Hann.   He didn’t have a car at the time and lived somewhat close to me, so there were various occasions when I would give him a ride home.  It was then that we had a chance to get to know each other.  On many evenings, we’d spend hours just sitting in the car talking.  Because he was so quiet, I remember thinking of questions to ask him that he couldn’t answer with just a yes or no. 
Even though I didn’t think he’d want to be in a relationship with me because I talked too much, in the fall of that year we had our first official date.  In the months following, God continued to mature us in our relationship and weave our hearts together.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sometime in 1976, I had the privilege of being asked by Bernie Rolfe to sing in one of the new bands he was forming.  My guess is that he had heard me sing with passion and gusto on a Sunday night during our church worship time.  I loved to sing! Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for me) he didn’t know how little training or knowledge I had about singing.  I didn’t know the difference between a musical key and a car key and I had no idea how to sing in one key through a whole song.  You see, I did most of my singing in the car a cappella, with no music to keep me on track.  When I got to a point in the melody where the notes were a little too high for my range, I would just change keys without even realizing it.  It sounded fine to me.  Plus I had no idea how to find the harmony in a song.  So needless to say, it was a fun, but challenging time for all of us.

Our band was called Shira, which means “song” in Hebrew.  There were 7 of us.  Lee Chesnut played guitar and sang tenor, his sister, Sharon Chesnut sang as well.  John McDonald was our drummer and sang bass.  Jay Haugen played guitar and sang too.  Apryl Mott brought a gorgeous soprano voice to the group and I was also a vocalist. Last but not least, Dan Malmgren played bass and banjo.  We were a folk group and Bernie wrote songs for us with rich vocal harmonies that were so much fun to sing.  Three male and three female voices with just enough of the instruments to keep things going.  I loved it!

We had the honor of singing together until the end of 1978.

It’s such a blessing to look back at that slice of the 70’s that drastically impacted the rest of my life and to thank God for bringing me 2000 miles from home to a place called Hand in Hand.  For me it was a miraculous time where my faith grew and many deep and extraordinary relationships were born.

Thanks for joining me in my reminiscing.  I’d love to hear your story too.  Whether it’s lengthy or concise, joyful or heartbreaking, I’d love to get to know you better.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

bands in black 'n white




The New Beginning

New Jerusalem Band

Glory Road

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

memorable moments

I am hoping that by posting these memorable moments, 
 you will be inspired to write your story or share a memory from the Hand in Hand years.
Please send your story to ~
(be sure to clic each pic for a better look)