Potomac District Council
potomac connection for wim
In This Issue
Men Wouldn't Vote for You, Jesus
'Into a Broken World'
A Christmas Memory - by Linda Webb
Her Father Owns the Railroads... by Ruth Pabon
The Greatest Gift - by Rachel Deavers
Christmas Memories - by Victoria Gillispie
Connecting with Your Funny Bone
Connecting with your Family
Connecting with Yourself
A Christmas Creed
A Poem - I'm Spending Christmas with Jesus...
Final Comments
Upcoming Women's Events

Join Our Mailing List!
by Johnese Burtram
johnese burtram

We Have Touched...the Savior

"That which was from the beginning...our hands have touched..."

I John 1:1 (NIV)


O come, O come Emmanuel ...

Emmanuel, God with us. I am trying to wrap my mind around the "with"ness of God. What does that mean?

Among the myriad nuances of the word, I am drawn to the realization that He is touchable.

This tangible presence captured the Apostle John, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched..." (I John 1:1)  

A touchable Savior! I am so moved by that idea.  Not an outstanding leader exhibiting stellar attributes that make Him a cut above the rest, but a man touched by my weakness, full of grace and truth. This is Emmanuel; a Savior I can touch.

For a leader of the Jews, Jesus touches his intellect and philosophic curiosity as they meet under cover of darkness lest Nicodemus be seen in the compromising company of the renegade Rabbi from Nazareth. He touches the scarlet women at Jacob's Well in Sychar.  Reaching beyond social and religious taboos, He touches her water vessel, and in doing so takes to Himself the uncleanness attributed to her by Jewish custom.


His touch extends to those unclean because of sickness.  Leprosy makes one untouchable.  The contagious germs ostracize victims from any human touch except their own kind.  But, Jesus touches them.

...and those rowdy children. He invites them to come to Him and soundly rebukes those who would turn them away.   He is mobbed by small wiggling bodies, grasping hands and the shrill cacophony of childish voices as He takes them in His arms and blesses each one.

As Mary washes His feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, He does not recoil from her touch.  He memorializes her devotion for all of Christian history as the preparation for His burial as she pours out her dowry of expensive perfume.

He embodies the servant's touch as He kneels before each guest at Passover to wash their feet.

And for Thomas, struggling with doubt and confusion, who can not believe unless he touches the Savior's wounds, Jesus invites, "Put your finger here....Reach out your hand and put it into my side."  Come on Thomas, "Stop doubting and believe.  (John 20:27)

In the messiness of my life, I need the touchable Savior.  A Savior I can touch; a Savior who touches me.  

So, to you, my sisters, floundering in this broken world, let this truth soak into your spirits and then flow out to bring healing all around you. He is Emmanuel, God with us.


From the Burtram Hor dourves Collection:


Saucy Sausages

1 lb smoked sausage (little smokies, wieners, kielbasa, etc.)

1 jar ham glaze


Slice sausage into small pieces if needed. Pour ham glaze over sausages. Nuke, bake, or crock pot until bubbly.



Easy Cheese Fondue
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup

1 clove garlic

1 cup shredded swiss cheese (or whatever kind you like)


Combine and heat in fondue pot until bubbly. Serve with bread chunks, smoked sausage, veggies.

Connecting with the Sistah's
Men Wouldn't Vote for You, Jesus

 by Laura Bilton Qualls


In this year of our elections,
Campaign trails and man's selections,
Voting booths and poll collections;
 Men wouldn't vote for You.

Your birth was not announced to masses,
Shepherds, kings, not middle classes,
Angels sing, but no press passes;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

When your childhood days were waning,
Carpentry? No lawyer's training?
Not preparing for your reigning;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

To turn plain water into wine,
Was for the bridal party fine,
But pious heads shake in decline;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

Your friends proved You unwise selector,
Fishermen? A tax collector?
One was even a defector;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

You didn't curse the Roman fool,
Cease unemployment, help the school;
"Pay your taxes" was your rule;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

You healed and lifted those who fell,
Yet You told many not to tell!
Your Memoirs' book would never sell;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

And just when You would be made King,
We look, and to a cross you cling,
Willing now to take death's sting;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

Three days later You arose,
Defeated Your Satanic foes;
Only the believer knows
Men wouldn't vote for You.

Again You could have had a throne,
The Risen King You would be known;
Away You went, left men alone;
Men wouldn't vote for You.

My life's a wreck, my soul is cold,
I yearn to hear your story told;
I need a Savior's hand to hold
I'll cast my vote for You

Laura Qualls is the wife of Executive Presbyter, Jerry Qualls. They pastor Glad Tidings Church, Norfolk, VA. Laura is a frequent contributor to WIM Potomac Connction.

'Into a Broken World' - a water color painting by Nancy Arsenovic
Into a Broken World

Baklava Cups
Makes 15

1 box (2.1 0z) frozen mini fillo shells
2/3 cup chopped Pistachio Lovers Mix (Planters) can use a single kind of nut or other nut blend
1/4 cup honey mixed with 1 tsp water
Or (1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon juice to honey instead of water)*  I do this

1. Heat oven to 350.  Have a rimmed baking sheet ready.

2.  Fill shells with nuts.  Bake about 8 minutes until shells are lightly browned.

3.  Remove from oven and spoon in honey mixture.  Serve warm or at room temperature

The recipe says that to make a slightly different taste, add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon in honey...I don't do that.   Material is a bit pricey, but sooooo easy and edible.

Nancy Aresnovic is a retired missionary living at Potomac Park Camp with her husband Bobi.  Nancy and Bobi have two married daughters, Tina and Suzi.

A Christmas Memory

by Linda Webb

diamondOn December 24, 1972 I went with my family to Bedford Valley Assembly of God to see their church Christmas program. At the time I was dating Pastor Mitchell Webb's son Don. We were invited to the parsonage after the church festivities for a time of fellowship and refreshments.  Don's mom, Pauline decided she didn't have enough cookies for all the guests she had so she sent Don and I to a little store just down the road to get more.  What I didn't know, but everyone else did, was Don was going to ask me to marry him and my engagement ring was my Christmas gift from him. 

Cookies in hand, we were driving back to the house when Don pulled over in front of some deserted cabins which, at one time, were operated as a motel.  A woman had been murdered there, so they closed it down.   Of course, I'm not sure why we are stopping at such a "romantic" place, but he told me he wanted to give me my Christmas gift with just the two of us before we went back to the house.  He reached into the glove box and pulled out a small package and then proceeded to propose. 

Of course I said "yes" and everyone was waiting at the door to see the ring on my finger.  I don't think we ever did eat the cookies! 


Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 stalks of celery (chopped)
8 oz. pkg. of softened cream cheese
1 ½ cups cooked chicken (chopped)
½ cup buffalo sauce
½ cup bleu cheese dressing

Combine together & microwave 5 minutes or until hot.  Serve with tostido chips or pita chips or crackers.

linda webb

Linda Webb, Director of Potomac District Women's Ministries, is also the wife of Pastor Don Webb at Hedgesville Assembly of God, Hedgesville, WV.

Her Father Owns the Railroads: A Christmas Memory 1987

railroadby Ruth Pabon

I was working and living in upstate New York.  It was a few days before Christmas and snow was everywhere.

I got a ride from my friend to the train station. I was headed to New York City for the weekend, an hour away.  Only a few people waited in the cold. As the sun went down, it started to get colder.

A mother and daughter struggled to get out of their car with packages and luggage. A small child hit his sister and ran around a pole with his mother chasing him.

The train was late. 

Several buses pull up and unload. A sea of West Point students in their white and tailored uniforms join the gathering crowd at the station.   

The students totally surrounded us. The rest of us fade into a sea of white uniforms.    I believe at that moment we all shared similar thoughts.  "Lord, will there be enough room on the train for all of us?"

At first I got anxious as I wanted to meet my friends in New York for dinner.  I knew there was one more train coming in a few hours, but I really didn't want to wait.    

The rails started to rattle and all of us looked toward the approaching train.  There is complete silence except for the familiar whistle blow.

To our surprise, instead of the usual six to eight cars, this train had only two cars.  The train stopped and everyone could see it was already filled with people.

The conductor remained on the steps and yelled out, "Sorry, this is the last train out tonight and there is no more room for anyone."

A big sigh let loose from the crowd.

He started to close the door, but turned around and looked in my direction.  "Well, there is room for one person and it is for that girl with the black beret on." 

I had a black beret on, but I still looked behind me.  It was like a scene out of a movie. And without saying a word I made my way through the crowd. 

Someone yelled out "why her?"

The conductor extended his hand as I made my way up the stairs.  He then said to the crowd, "This lady's father owns the railroads."

Of course people shouted out "Sure" or "We don't believe that."

I looked directly into the conductor's eyes and said, "How did you know my father owns the railroads?"

He looked perplexed as he was only playing around with that one liner.

"My father God does own the railroads and everything else in the world."

He smiled at me and I squeezed into the last seat.  My heart was full of Christmas peace.  I made my dinner date in NYC and of course, like usual, I had a story to tell.


ruth pabon
Ruth @ a NYC restaurant


Ruth holds Assemblies of God credentials and works as a Resident Chaplain at a local hospital. She also is an adjunct professor at Bethel College. She loves being used as a inspirational speaker, altar worker, and involved in local missions She is married to Rev. Abraham Pabon and they have a 19 year old son who attends Bethel College.

The Greatest Gift

by Rachel Deavers

I grew up in a non-Christian home. Occasionally, we went to church on Christmas Eve because my mother said we had to go, but back then, the BIG EVENT was Christmas morning for our family. My sister and I would wake up really early to pounce on my parents' bed to wake them up. My mother would go downstairs first to "make sure Santa had already arrived."  (She was really just turning on the Christmas tree lights so it would be all pretty when we came downstairs.)  Then, the tearing and ripping of paper would begin! 


I remember two Christmas gifts which still make me smile to this day. One year, I wanted to go to a New Kids on the Block concert very badly. My mother said I was not allowed to go, and I wouldn't talk to her for weeks because all of my teen friends were going and I was going to be left out. Just when I thought all the Christmas gifts were open that morning, my mom found one more for me under the tree. I opened it and found an envelope at the bottom of the box with one concert ticket inside!  On another Christmas, my sister looked out the window to see a beautiful white horse with a big, red bow tied around him!  What joy, excitement, and happiness - I thought these were the BEST gifts I would ever receive!


Ten years later, my previous joy, excitement, and happiness didn't compare to my first Christmas as a Christian. Christmas meant more to me that year; it means more to me now. I realize the best gifts never came from "Santa"; they were never wrapped up under the tree. The best gift is the gift of Jesus, who one day will be riding a big, white horse like my sister received that year. But until then can we rejoice in the gift of suffering as we wait?  


Suffering, a gift? Our lives are transformed by the struggles we encounter. We are closer to Jesus in those moments as he uses suffering to draw us near. This Christmas, I think about the persecuted Christians all over the world who truly understand the joy of the Christmas season. They don't worry about mailing all of their Christmas cards or shopping all day to find the perfect gift for that special someone, because they already recognize the BEST gift of all. They are blessed just to worship together without being caught by authorities. Let us try this holiday season not to worry about what we don't have or won't be able to afford. Let us rejoice in the best gift of all and remember that we have already received more than so many of our brothers and sisters around the world! 


Merry Christmas.

Quick Christmas Cookies
(a trick from Paula Deen)


Buy the ready-made sugar cookie dough from the grocery store and your favorite flat cookie (Oreo's, Thin Mints, etc.). Cut the sugar cookie dough and place on a greased cookie sheet. Lay your favorite flat cookie on top and cover with another slice of the sugar cookie dough. Follow the baking instructions on the sugar cookie dough package and when you remove them from the oven you'll have a stuffed sugar cookie with a surprise inside!  Enjoy!


rachel deavers

Rachel Deavers is the youth pastor at Marlowe Assembly of God in Falling Waters, West Virginia She is also a full-time World History I and Government teacher at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Virginia.  Rachel formerly worked at the Potomac District Office in the youth department.  She and her husband, Nathan, currently reside in Winchester, Virginia.

Christmas Memories

by Victoria Gillispie

When my husband was on staff at First A/G in Elkton, MD, with Pastor C.T. Chegwin,  I had the privilege of serving alongside Marlene Chegwin, our pastor's wife.

Christmas partyMarlene was a woman who LOVED Christmas. I watched and took some lessons from her.  Every year she warmly welcomed the church board and staff into her and Pastor's beautifully decorated home where she prepared a meal that was always divine.  After the meal, came kind words from Pastor Chegwin and a gift for each one of us. It made us feel special.  Marlene wrote personal notes to the wives that inspired and challenged each one of us.

When I became the first lady at my church 16 years ago, I adopted Marlene's Christmas tradition.  My husband and I invite our church board and their families into our home one Friday evening in December. I serve them a full coarse meal, and, as I learned from experience, I make sure to take a moment to greet each one.

After the meal, my husband gives words of appreciation and encouragement and then we have a gift for each one.  I get to pick the gifts for the wives and women on the board.  I like to give a motivation or inspirational book and personalize them with a special note from my heart to them.

Marlene was my dear friend, and spiritual "Mom" who went home to be with the Lord five years ago.  I miss her so much each day but I keep her legacy alive and memories of our times together close to my heart.

Here is a simple recipe she gave me that I call:


"Mrs. C's Treats"

Graham crackers, (plain ones)
1 stick of butter
1 stick of margarine
½ c sugar
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans

Spread crackers out on a cookie sheet.  Boil butter, margarine, and sugar for 2 min. on med. Heat until foamy. Pour over graham crackers.  Sprinkle nuts over top of that.  Bake @ 350 for 10 min.  Let cool 2-3 min. then take pizza cutter and cut into small rectangles.  This will become a favorite and everyone will want the recipe.  (Warning: you can't stop with just one!!! lol)


Victoria Gillispie

Victoria Gillispie is married to Brian, pastor at Life Church in Broadway, Virginia.  Among her accomplishments, she earned her Masters degree in 2010.

Connecting with Your Funny Bone

Take some time this Christmas to share funny family stories from past Christmases. Real life stories are the funniest and the best.

The Day After Christmas

red wagonThe pastor was looking over the crèche the day after Christmas when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing. He went outside and saw a little boy pulling a new red wagon. In the wagon was Jesus.

We walked up to the boy and said, "Hi, there. Where did you get the baby Jesus?"

The boy answered honestly, "In the church."

"Why did you take him?" the pastor asked.

"Well," said the boy, "I prayed to the Lord Jesus and asked him for a wagon for Christmas. I told Him that if He gave me one, I'd take Him for a ride in it."


God's not deaf, but...

As it was coming up to Christmas a young boy is praying upstairs while his mother sits by him and his dad and grandma are downstairs. He prays "Lord I pray for a train set, a remote control car, and A NEW BICYCLE!!! "You don't have to shout dear", says the mother "God's not deaf." "I know" said the little boy, "but grandma is."


baby santaQ: If Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus had a child, what would he be called?
A: A subordinate claus.


A man who buys his football tickets four months in advance and waits until December 24 to do his Christmas shopping.


Connecting with Your Family

The kids are home all day for the Christmas break. Let them do some cooking.
Fun Food for Kids

 Connect with Your Young Adult this Christmas

by Bill and Pam Farrel
Crosswalk.com Contributors

As kids head to college or marry and begin families of their own, sometimes the holidays can become a source of stress or tension for the family. We have avoided much of the typical tyranny of this transition with a few simple principles...  click link to read more.   http://www.crosswalk.com/11642509/

 Downscaling Christmas

by Kimberly D. Malkogainnis

If you're addicted to a holiday high that ends with you in the dumps, try these ideas.

Start close to home
Get on your knees with your family, and covenant with God to simplify your life. Determine to glorify and worship your external Lord rather than the holiday myth of overworking yourself into exhaustion for a "perfect" Christmas season....  click link to read more. 

The Ageless Christmas Project

 by Debbie Jansen

A fun and easy way to bring lasting giggly joy to someone who feels alone.

When I was a young adult, every Christmas included a time to "share joy" with the residents of our local nursing homes. I was startled one year, though, when I overheard a resident talking with a friend....  click link to read more.

Prayer that Works: No Toy for Ryan?

By Jim Judge

A 4-year-old's impossible to deliver Christmas wish.

ne holiday season years ago, our family was working at a mission hospital in Kenya. On the other side of Africa, in Gabon, our good friends Bill and Mary Beauvais and their three children were working as full-time missionaries....  click link to read more. 

Connecting with Yourself
Eat Healthy this Christmas  :)


Think About It

A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes... and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer Home Page

Christmas without Christ is a mess.

More light than we can learn,
More wealth than we can treasure,
More love than we can earn,
More peace than we can measure,
Because one Child is born.
Christopher Fry

It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the most profound unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. God became man;... the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child... The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation.
James I (J. I.) Packer

Brief Online Interview



A Christmas Creed

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.

Walter Russell Bowie

To honor all those who have gone to be with the Lord
this year in our District
from Laura Qualls
I'm Spending Christmas with Jesus Christ This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees

     Around the world below

With tiny lights like heaven's stars

     Reflecting on the snow.


The sight is so spectacular

     Please wipe away that tear

For I am spending Christmas

     With Jesus Christ this year.


I hear the many Christmas songs

     That people hold so dear

Those  sounds of music can't compare

     With the Christmas choir up here.


I have no words to tell you

     The joy their voices being

It is beyond description

     To hear as angels sing.


I know how much you miss me

     I see inside your heart

We're not that far apart this year

     With Jesus in your heart.


I can't tell you of the splendor

                                                                     Or the peace here in this place

Can you just imagine Christmas

     With our Savior, face-to-face?


He will light your spirit

                                                                     As I tell him of your love

Please pray one for another

                                                                     As you lift your eyes above.


So let your hearts be joyful

                                                                      And do not have a fear

For I am spending Christmas

                                                                     With Jesus Christ this year!

-          Anonymous

Final Comments

Joy to the world,

The Lord is come.

Let earth receive her King.

(traditional carol)


Have a joy filled Christmas. Emmanuel has come.

 Johnese Burtram

You are loved,