The Hjelle Jar

Occasional and brief updates about what is new with me. Once mass e-mails, they have now been archived here.

June 21, 2000

Hello, friends.

Finally, the announcement that I've been waiting to give for a long time. The new web site is up! Check out and to see all the improvements. If you have any suggestions, comments, errors found, etc., please let me know. I am going to bed now.

Your brother in Christ,
David Alan Hjelle

June 16, 2000

The brothers - for brothers they were, with the same father and same mother - looked around them with growing apprehension. This quest, this adventure, was beginning to be tiresome. They had searched high and low for the object of their search, and it had only come to this: a swamp. Acgleschlamp Swamp. The swamp from which no one ever returned without muddy feet - and these brothers were no exception. (They sure make poor protagonists, don't they?) And, as if to confound their travels even further, the fog had appeared. They looked in front of them and saw nothing but fog. Behind, nothing but fog. To either side, nothing but fog. Above, nothing but fog and the occasional circling vulture. Below, muddy feet that trudged slowly on, mile after mile, one moment engulfed in a thick, sticky goo that crawled its way up and into one's boot and your trousers and your body, another moment wrenched free with nothing but one's gritty determination.

Well, folks, that was today's literary selection. I hope you enjoyed it. This is David's typical e-mail update, in case you were wondering, so here goes.

I was hoping to be able to announce the grand opening of my newly revamped web site this time around. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to. I have finished the majority of theJESUSpage section, with a new look and new graphics, and am currently working on my personal page, The Hjelle Jar. (ha, ha, I know.) This was the part that was mostly in need of some work - I haven't updated it, really, since about two years ago. I hoping to be done within a couple more weeks. I'll be sure to let you know. :-)

So, what has happened here in Fergus Falls since I last wrote all of you (or at least most of you - sorry Uncle Dave) about 15 days ago? I've been worked quite a bit at Fleet Farm, of course, and have been helping out with the Salvation Army's "Summer in the Park" program, as well as starting trumpet lessons, working on the web page, spending time with friends and family as much as possible (AMAP), working on the database thing for the Agape Caring pregnancy center here in town, sleeping and eating occassionally, trying to read a fair amount here and there (I've slacked off a bit in that respect as of late), etc.

My friend Allison loaned me a book entitled The New Tolerance, by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler. If you get a chance at all this summer, read this book. It has really helped me understand some of my frustrations with dealing with those around me who are not Christians. In essence, it talks about how tolerance has become the number one virtue of today's American society; not the kind of tolerance that says "Love the sinner, hate the sin," but says, "Everyone can choose what is right for them. No one can say that any truth is absolute. That's great if this Jesus person works for you, but I'll find what I want to believe. And, don't forget, if you think that anything I do or say is wrong, than you are insulting me as a person and are not accepting me as you ought." I'd never realized how pervasive this was until I finished this book and remembered people's reaction to my faith at work. More often than not, it is a reaction (whether verbal or not) of "That's great! I'm glad you've found something that works for you. But, of course, that doesn't mean it's the only truth available." So, how on earth does one be an effective Christian witness in that kind of environment? McDowell recommended love. Like the kind of love that reaches out like crazy, self-sacrificial, going way out of your way to be kind to another or to help them out. In a day of no absolutes, the show of Christ's love - not ours - is the only way people might start to suspect that there is something truly real about this whole Christian thing. I guess I really need to remember that I can never convert anyone - but, perhaps, God would be willing to use me as He brings others to Himself.

The Salvation Army VBS thing is going very well. I usually can make it out there two or three days a week. The leader of the program is named Ashlee - she has just finished her first year of the Master's Commission program. (A Christian discipleship program, if you were wondering.) Basically, we have a lesson and several activities and free lunch to try and keep the kids occupied for two hours per park, and there are two parks. Overall, it runs from 10 to 2 every weekday. We've had anywhere from 3 to 42 kids show up. Sometimes there are enough volunteers, sometimes not. (The "not" option can get rather interesting.) Some of the kids have a pretty extensive church background, but many don't. Many, it seems, don't have a very good family, either - some, it seems, have free reign of their day to wander around town, as third or fourth graders. Some fear parents breaking up. One little girl, named Jo-Jo, just wanted to be held for like half and hour yesterday. I don't know what's up with her family. There is a lot to learn. Like, how do you discipline kids who aren't yours? How do you deal with personality differences? How do you tell them about Jesus so they really understand Christianity - not just God loves every one and will give us life forever, but the sacrifice He made and why He had to make that sacrifice? How can you love these kids as much as possible? It is a lot of fun to play with kids for four hours - tiring, maybe, but they have such an awesome sense of really having fun. A lot closer to the way God meant things to be than I think we get at very often.

There isn't much else to share on this end. I've found a college-age Bible study in town that I'm going to, sponsored by Community Bible Church here in town, and am hoping to start another with friends this Sunday.

Honestly, I'm starting to feel like this is God's groove for this summer - right where He wants me. Sometimes, it feels almost comfortable, but I'm realizing how hard it is to really let go of enough of me so that His love shines through. At home, at work, at the SA, etc.

I pray that all of you are doing well. Bob, I did get your e-mails, I'm praying, and I hope to respond soon. Roommates, Seth in particular, this is what I'm up to. God bless your coming weeks this summer. Live Jesus in everything you do.

Your brother in Christ,
David Alan Hjelle

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