Summer at Sunbeam

This summer will be a very busy one at Sunbeam. With a total of 5 teams heading down, time will be spent with the boys, doing work projects, and helping out around the home. Please keep all the teams in your thoughts and prayers for a safe journey and a faith-filled week at Sunbeam with the boys and staff. The following teams will be heading down this summer, with the first team arriving in just 2 weeks!

Ezekiel Lutheran – River Falls: June 14-21

Woodbury Community Team: June 23-30

Christ the King – Indiana: July 6-15

Washington State Team: July 19-27

Iowa Team: July 29-August 5

Please also keep SAM board member Maureen McCarthy in your prayers as she volunteers 6 weeks of her time helping out around Sunbeam.

Sunbeam is always in need of donations. With so many teams going down this summer, this would be a perfect time to get your donations to Sunbeam. Contact Team Coordinator Mel Harmon at to get your donations down to Sunbeam to help out the boys. Flip flops, shorts, hygiene products and snacks are always a need at Sunbeam. For a more detailed list of donations needed, click here!

We thank everyone, especially teams for their continued support of Sunbeam. We couldn’t do it without all of YOU! Check back for updates to the Team Travel Schedule for teams heading to Sunbeam soon!

Spring 2017 Newsletter is here!

Our NEW Spring 2017 Newsletter is here! Read about the latest happenings around Sunbeam. In the newsletter you can read about the boys, hear from our Chairperson Kristy Beissler, Executive Director Sherry Bigalke, and Team Coordinator Mel Harmon. Also read about the rising of our social medias and hear updates from teams that have been at Sunbeam recently. Most importantly, you can read how YOU can help out Sunbeam and how to donate!

We thank you all for your continued support of Sunbeam!

Click Here to see the latest Spring 2017 Newsletter

SAM Board Spotlight: Kristy Beissler

Next up on our SAM Board spotlight, we have none other than our amazing chairperson herself, Kristy Beissler! Kristy not only has a loving heart for Sunbeam, she is also a very strong woman with a bright vision for Sunbeam.

Each board member were given questions about their Sunbeam story. Below are Kristy’s thoughtful responses.

1. How long have you been part of the SAM Board and what position do you hold?

I have been a member of the SAM board for three years.  This past year I was elected to the position of Chairman.

2. How long and when did you start becoming part of Sunbeam?

Mel Harmon and I became friends thru church and when she went back to work, I had the pleasure of taking care of her kiddos.  She always found ways to weave her Sunbeam stories into conversations.  As a family we began to support Sunbeam thru donations and finally, we decided it was time to go.  My oldest daughter, Abbey and I went on our first trip in 2012 with follow up trips in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with one or both of our oldest girls.  The summer of 2016 was the year my husband, David and son, Aaron got to go along.  This summer will be the year our youngest daughter Amelia will go.  Sunbeam is a place we all love and now, with all of us having had the Sunbeam experience, is a common thread that ties us to a larger Sunbeam family.

3. Reason why you are on the Board?

Why am I on the board?   I do not wonder why…God of course!  He calls us to live out His life purpose for His kingdom.  Those of us on the board come from all different walks of life and different seasons of life, but the tie that binds us together is a love for Sunbeam, for the boys and staff that are Sunbeam.  God asks us to “go” and He desires us to trust Him.  That looks different for everyone, but we feel unequipped and fearful.  Whether that is saying “yes” to going to Sunbeam or saying “yes” to a position on the SAM board, putting our trust, hope and faith that God will equip us with just what we need…and if it is God’s will, there will be fruit.

4. What do you hope to achieve in being part of the SAM Board?

As a SAM board member, my main goal is to share the Sunbeam story.  To let people know about this little place in Gutter’s corner where God is at work…in the boys, staff, community and teams that visit it, as well as people who continually pray for Sunbeam.  I also desire for us to work well with the staff at Sunbeam as well as our JAM board members in Jamaica.  God’s work is always a team effort and we are so thankful for our Sunbeam staff and JAM board.

5. Favorite memory about Sunbeam?

I love to look out at the backyard at Sunbeam…team members, staff, boys all coming together and sharing time in activities, sports, work projects or crafts and feeling God’s hand in all the details big and small.  I do it every trip and it just amazes me at God’s goodness.

We thank Kristy for her continued love and support to the Sunbeam mission. We are so lucky to have you as our chairperson! Thank you!

Sunbeam Family Spotlight: Pooh & Marla

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!

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!

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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