Blog

Woodbury Community Team Pancake Breakfast

This morning, the Woodbury Community Team put on a pancake breakfast to raise funds for their upcoming trip to Sunbeam. This fundraiser was a free will offering and allowed you to eat as many pancakes as you wanted! Along with the breakfast, the team set up tables with more information on Sunbeam along with the country of Jamaica. The eating tables also had pictures on them from past trips. This is just one of the fundraisers the team is putting on to gather funds for their trip.

When talking to team leader and chairperson Kristy Beissler, she said this fundraiser was a great opportunity for her team to work together. She continued on by saying that “it is great to raise money but to have several opportunities to come together as a team before we depart is priceless!”

A couple hundred dollars was raised this morning from the breakfast. Kristy said that the money raised today will be going to pay for a pizza meal for the boys during one of their days on the trip.

The next fundraiser will be a garage sale with all proceeds going to Sunbeam. Contact us for more information on how you could help out with donations.

Weren’t able to make it to the breakfast this morning? Donations are always welcomed on our website or by mail. Checks can be made out to “Sunbeam Association for Mission”. Our address is:

Sunbeam Association for Mission
PO Box 286
New London, MN 56273

Thank you Woodbury Community Team for your ongoing support to Sunbeam!

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Sunbeam Family Spotlight: Pooh & Marla

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Who better to start out our first volunteer spotlight then the two that have been at it since the beginning, Pooh and Marla Walker! These two have done so much more than transporting teams, they have grown to find a family in team members and Sunbeam staff.

It all started back in the late 1989’s, early 1990’s. Pooh was already in the transportation business, when one of his friends approached him about an opportunity. This friend of Pooh’s lived close to the original founder of Sunbeam, Paster Cedric Lue. It was then that Paster Lue approached Pooh’s friend looking for someone that would be willing to transport teams. Pooh gladly excepted this opportunity, and after his first time transporting a team, Pastor Lue asked Pooh if he would like to be the designated driver for teams. As Marla said, “the rest is history.”

At the time Pooh started transporting teams, Marla had just given birth to her youngest child and started accompanying Pooh transporting teams in 2002. At the time Pooh started transporting teams, Sunbeam was not at its current location. It was actually just down the road from the current location in Spring Village. Marla stated that one of the first teams that was transported by them was St. Cloud in Minnesota.

Marla talks kindly about her reflection of her journey with Sunbeam and transporting teams. From meeting many people, to gaining a new family, along with seeing people grow up throughout the years. “Over the many years we have met and become friends with a lot of persons, some of whom had stopped coming like our dear friend Fred who recently passed away. We have met some who were kids and grown up before our eyes, have gotten married and have kids of their own like Mel Harmon and Tracy Jeremiahson. It’s been a wonderful journey and the friendships we’ve made have been our greatest reward.”

When Marla was diagnosed with breast cancer, she truly felt the love and dedication of team members that helped her through her battle. “I understand what love feels like when the teams, without hesitation offered help when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015 and the treatments which followed.”

Marla concludes her final thoughts on her experience with teams and Sunbeam into simply “we have so much to be thankful for. It’s a great feeling when you just love what you do and we really love the teams and the boys of Sunbeam.”

Also, we cannot forget about their wonderful grandson Mark Anthony who always has a smile on his face! You can truly see the love that both Pooh and Marla have for him in their eyes.

We are so thankful and grateful for such caring and generous people like Pooh and Marla. They are a vital part in the overall operation of Sunbeam, and we could not be more thankful for them.

Please feel free to share your favorite memories with Pooh and Marla and thank them for their ongoing service and commitment to Sunbeam!

Coming Soon: Volunteer/Team Member Spotlight

With an unbelievable positive response from our first two SAM Board spotlights, we thought we would also start a volunteer/group/team/team member spotlight. We all know Sunbeam wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for all of YOU! If you would like to shine a “spotlight” on someone you feel has had a positive impact on Sunbeam or would like to share more about your personal journey with Sunbeam, let us know!

Let us know how long you have been involved with Sunbeam. What called you to Sunbeam. What YOU hope to do for the future of Sunbeam. What are some special stories or fun memories you have had at Sunbeam. Share with us anything you would like!

We are all one family, so what’s better than to learn more about the special people that have been part of Sunbeam!

Email information and any pictures to share to Maureen at sunbeammission@gmail.com

SAM Board Spotlight: Mel Harmon

With an unbelievable response to our first spotlight story, we continue on with our Team Coordinator Mel Harmon!

Mel Harmon has been part of Sunbeam off and on since the very beginning. She is currently the Team Coordinator and helps maintain the communication between Sunbeam and those here in the U.S. Mel is a vital part of the overall operation of Sunbeam.

Mel first came to discover Sunbeam back in January of 1997. She was part of a mission team with her home church back then Peace Lutheran of New London, MN. She felt such a strong pull to Sunbeam that she returned with her mother, Executive Director Sherry Bigalke in November of 1997. It was their church Peace Lutheran that introduced them both to Sunbeam.

Mel had no idea that this simple mission trip would lead her to her to where she is today. Mel comments “I went to Sunbeam once thinking it was a neat experience,- never expecting to continue to be involved 20 years later.  Praise God for this opportunity.”

When asked why Mel continues her work for Sunbeam with the SAM Board, she stated “I am on the Board because of God’s call to serve and my love for the Sunbeam family.” Mel also comments on what she hopes to continue to bring to the SAM Board: “My hope by serving on the board is to always follow God’s desires- this ministry isn’t about what I want.  Rather, God needs to lead the way.”

Just like her mother, she has endless memories of Sunbeam over her many years. When asked to pick just a few, Mel says “Oh I have countless memories throughout my 20 years of traveling to Sunbeam; sitting outside on the picnic table at night to watch the stars with the boys, playing hours of basketball each evening, washing dishes for what seemed like hours in the hot kitchen, giving the boys bedtime hugs, watching the boys grow and change.”

In conclusion, Mel adds “I would like to add that because of Sunbeam, I have created a family in Jamaica, but also a family across the states by meeting and working with the most servant-heart, faithful team members.  I am beyond blessed.”

We are all beyond blessed to have Mel part of the Sunbeam mission. We are so appreciative of her constant work and dedication!

SAM Board Spotlight: Sherry Bigalke

Sunbeam’s overall operation wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful board members both here in the U.S. and those in Jamaica. Keep an eye out for a spotlight of each member and learn more about their constant commitment and dedication to Sunbeam.

We start our first spotlight is with none other than Sunbeam Executive Director Sherry Bigalke! Sherry has been part of Sunbeam since its inception in 2000. She first came to know Sunbeam back in November of 1997 when she went on her first trip with her daughter, Team Coordinator Mel Harmon. It was on this trip that Sherry had a vision of a bright future for Sunbeam and the boys there. It was also during this trip that she felt God’s call to become a coordinator of mission teams even before there was an official organization. In 2000, Sherry was approached with others about purchasing and operating Sunbeam. Today, Sherry says the reason she continues to be part of Sunbeam and the board is “God’s calling and my desire to help make Sunbeam be a safe, loving, caring, Christian home for boys.”

Sherry first started her journey with Sunbeam though her home church back then, Peace Lutheran of New London MN, but still continues with her current home church of Faith Lutheran in Little Falls MN.

When asked, What do you hope to achieve in being part of the SAM Board? Sherry commented simply, “educate and share God’s plan for Sunbeam.”

Sherry cannot sum up all her favorite memories of Sunbeam but some that stick out are  reading in the dorms to the boys at bedtime, staying up playing cards with the older boys, popping popcorn, sharing stories and sharing many times of laughter and tears.

We thank Sherry for her continue commitment to Sunbeam and we are truly honored to have her!

The Sunbeam Family

Sunbeam Celebration Live Auction item- "Family" | Sunbeam Boy's Home
Sunbeam Celebration Live Auction item- “Family”

Over the many years of operation, Sunbeam has changed the lives of many people from the boys, staff, team members and volunteers.

It is now time that we want to hear from YOU! If you are a past boy, past or present team member or volunteer, we want to hear how Sunbeam has changed or influenced you. Share with us your favorite memory or story from your own personal experience with Sunbeam. There are so many people out there that have been touched from being apart of Sunbeam so we want to make our website along with our social medias a place for people to connect.

Feel free to share how long you have been part of the Sunbeam mission, how many trips you have made, ways you would love to help or any story pertaining to Sunbeam! Feel free to comment on the website or the Facebook post!

Thank you to everyone that has been part of Sunbeam in some way. We truly appreciate all you do!

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