Linking Women in Leadership
Empowering ministry women to fulfill their essential and unique purpose.
2016 Element Retreat
Mark Your Calendar!
April 15-16
Details coming soon.
2016 Days of Prayer
January 5 - Potomac Park
January 7 - Mechanicsville Christian Center

Connect with others in the Potomac Ministry Network as we prayer for network churches and ministries and events.


Subscribe to Virtual Prayer Circles so you can receive updates directly to your email.


Johnese Burtram, editor

As the Father has sent me into the world, so am I sending you. - Jesus

In past issues of The Connection we have followed the theme of God moments and windprints (the evidence of the Spirit's activity in our lives.) We pray with sincere petition that God would use us to bless others, that he would cause our lives to make a difference, that he would allow us to speak life and hope into this dark world, that his love would shine through our lives. However, I think we notice God's hand in our personal situations more often than we recognize his hand moving through us to affect those around us. I find it remarkable when someone says to me, "I remember when you said ..." "I remember when you did ... for me." "If it hadn't been for you ..." And, I rather imagine you share my sense of surprise when this happens to you.

I am praying that in this season, as you meditate on Immanuel, the Spirit of God will awaken in you, not only a sense of his activity in your life, but a recognition of your good (God) deeds in the lives of those you encounter daily. After all, Jesus has sent you into the world - his voice, his touch, purveyors of his love.

For God so loved the world that he gave ... his one and only son ... and a host of Christ followers who represent Jesus with skin on.

Thank you to the contributors to this Christmas edition of The Connection. We are blessed by your Immanuel stories and by your Christmas reflections.

Rich Christmas blessings to all of you.
Immanuel by the Hands of Charlie
Denise Ouellette
too much Too much! The pressure of going to college at night, working three part time jobs, and being a single parent was just too much. Overwhelmed, I sat down, sobbing, at the table and sobbed. I can't cry now, I said to myself as I looked into my 7 year old's face. Must be strong for her, I thought as I stood, drying my tears. "It's okay, honey, mommy just had a bad day," I tried to reassure her though the violent trembling of my hands and the strain on my face was not convincing her.   Keep reading...

Denise Ouellette Denise Ouelette, a licensed Potomac Ministry Network minister of the Assembly of God, is a frequent contributor to The ELEMENT Connection (formerly WIM Connection.) She and her husband of over 28 years have 5 daughters and 8 grandchildren. She serves as Missions director for her church, Lighthouse Worship Center in Gloucester, Virginia. She runs her own bookkeeping business and writes plays and skits most of which are produced at her church.

She is on the Board of Directors of two non-profit African mission organizations: Africa Harvest Mission and Friends of TOUCH
Angels in Abilene
Ruth Pabon
Angels in Abilene
In college, two friends and I traveled to Abilene, Texas to sing at a weekend retreat. With very little financial resources, we relied on a friend who we thought could help us. She assured us she would find a room at the college she attended. 
Keep reading...

Ruth Pabon

Ruth Pabon, an ordained minister, works full time as a chaplain with the elderly in Newport News, Virginia. One of her responsibilities is to help families in end of life issues. She writes monthly devotionals, is on the pastoral care and customer service committees with the health system she works with. She is also an instructor with the Potomac School of Ministry. She loves to share on missions, relationships, love, and life.   Her husband of 27 years is a part-time pastor to the Spanish congregation at Williamsburg Assembly of God. They have one adult son who now lives in New York City. Favorite saying, "I see miracles every day".
Cynthia Shepherd

Emmanuel has a new meaning to me this year. 

I have always chosen to write Emmanuel.  Emmanuel is my favorite name and also my favorite choice word.  God is with us wherever and whenever.  Emmanuel is my healer, my King
. He means everything to me. 
I cannot wait to share my wonderful healing testimony. To Emmanuel be the glory! 
Keep reading... 
Cynthia Shepherd
Merry Christmas and blessings for a 2016 New Year from Cynthia Shepherd.  2015 has been a year of newness and celebration in our Lord.  Each day is a gift from Him.  We need to enjoy the people God has placed in our lives.  I am in the process of writing a book, taking classes through Global University, ministering to the homeless of Phoenix, mentoring women and serve on a healing room team and prayer intercession teams.  I am also a Science teacher at a public high school in Phoenix.  My thanks for the prayers of intercessors and the ministry support I have received through the years.
In All Things Both Great and Small
Ann Sallie

Have you ever wondered what it is like on Christmas morning for our missionaries who are away from family and friends in a faraway land? Come have a seat with me on my front porch swing and I will pass on a glimpse of a young missionary couple in Leuven, Belgium, long ago, with their young son on Christmas Eve.   Keep reading...
Ann Sallie
Ann is the wife of Dr. Jack Sallie, ordained minister in the Potomac District. Dr. Sallie is a retired minister. He and Ann pastored several churches in the district including Trinity Assembly of God (Midlothian, MD), Warwick Assembly of God (Hampton, VA), and Rockville Assembly of God (Rockville, MD). Ann is a Professor of English as a Second Language at Montgomery College (a college that has students from over 170 countries) in Rockville, MD. Jack and Ann have two children and seven grandchildren
Christ with Skin On
Vickie Tingwald the Father has sent me, "I am sending you." (John 20:21) 
My experience of Jesus with skin on could not be any fresher than this very morning! My devotion was taken from John, Chapter 4, where Jesus met the Samaritan women at the well and also healed the Official's son. The devotion focused on verse 50, "the man took Jesus at his word and departed." After the devotion I wrote in my journal:  Keep reading...    


Vickie Tingwald and her husband Gary have pastored churches in Iowa, Missouri, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Gaithersburg, MD. They now serve as US Missionaries in prisons and jails with the Assemblies of God. Gary was the senior chaplain to 23 facilities in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia before his diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease) which took his ability to speak. Gary and Vickie stay involved by keeping connected to missions in their local church. Their family has a project this year to build a church in Haiti in honor of Gary and Vickie's mission work there. (Contact Melissa Tingwald- Alvarez at to contribute to this project.) They also are willing to share anywhere God provides a way.
Where's Baby Jesus?
Henna Hands Sarah Sparrow

The mood in our house was tense that day. Though my mother's marriage was failing and it had been a hard year, she was trying her best to provide a magical Christmas for me and my older sister, Amanda. She had spent all day decorating, but as she neared the end of her boxes of decorations. she made a startling discovery- a piece of our little plastic nativity scene was missing. It wasn't just a stray sheep or a wise man, either. We were missing Baby Jesus. "We can't have a nativity without a Baby Jesus," she exclaimed.
  Keep reading...

Sarah serves with her husband, in a sensitive country in the Arab World. She enjoys good books and coffee, and spending time with her two amazing kids.
Rediscover the Wonder of Christmas in Bethlehem
Nativity Angela Donadio

The season of gift giving is upon us, folks. Americans will spend more than 450 billion dollars on purchases that accompany the Christmas season. We'll go to great lengths to find that "perfect" gift: take laps around the mall, scroll through the monstrosity of Amazon, and, alas, pick up the last-minute Starbucks gift card when our creative juices stop flowing. We smother our precious cargo with styrofoam peanuts and ship packages across the country to friends and family. We lovingly wrap must-have electronics and the latest eye-shadow palette to place under our tree. We'll exchange cheesy white elephant gifts at office parties and deliver sugar cookies slathered with frosting and red sprinkles to our neighbors. We'll donate to the local toy drives, drop our change in charity buckets manned by bell-ringing Santas, and offer crayon masterpieces to our kids' teachers. Gifts, gifts, gifts, and more gifts.
  Keep reading...

Angela Donadio Angela Donadio, ordained Assemblies of God minister, Mom to Gabrielle and Christian, has been the Worship Pastor at River of Life Worship Center in Fredericksburg, VA , where her husband Dale is Lead Pastor, for 17 years. In addition she now travels as a worship leader/artist, speaker, and advocate for missions projects in Africa.

Angela loves speaking from the word and sharing her personal testimony of God's faithfulness through 2 life-threatening health conditions. She has ministered in many churches and conferences across the US, Canada, Mexico and Africa.
Christmas Story
Christ is Born Share the scriptural record of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem...

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:30 - 35
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.   Keep Reading  
Christmas couple
5 Thoughtful Gifts Your Spouse Will Love
Arlene Pellicane

Neckties and flannel pajamas have their place, but maybe you're looking for something more creative for your spouse this year. What can you give your husband or wife that will communicate your love without breaking the bank? 
If you feel stuck in a rut, don't worry! Remember it doesn't require a huge wad of cash to make a big impression. It just takes a little thought. Here are some ideas to tickle your creative bone for that special somebody on your list... 
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home
Jennie Puleo

"We're not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they're our superiors. We wouldn't dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point"
(2 Corinthians 10:12, The Message.) 
Have you ever looked around your home and felt as though what you had just wasn't enough? Or not good enough? Maybe you wish you had a different sofa or chair. Maybe you'd like to change the color scheme completely. Or maybe you're embarrassed by the humble furnishings that you've accumulated through donations or yard sales, and the hodgepodge of mismatched items gives your home a yard sale-esque feel. Unless you live in a college dorm, this probably isn't the look you were going for, but somehow ended up with....  
Merry (Secular, Consumeristic) Christmas!
Is it too late to redeem December 25?
Dr. Juli Slattery
Merry Christmas

can't decide whether I'm looking forward to Christmas or dreading it. The parties, excitement, decorations, music, and family gatherings are all fun, but is that really what Christmas is about?

I ask my boys, "Hey, guys, what's the true meaning of Christmas?" They know how to give me the Sunday school answer. But for them and for me and for most of us, we do little more than nod to the baby in the manger....

A more honest answer would be the one my son gave me when he was four: "Christmas is when Santa Claus asked Jesus into his heart." The sacred and secular are irrevocably intertwined. As Christians, we try to invite baby Jesus to the party, hoping he is honored in the midst of it all ...
Spiritual Formation
Christmas - the Only Gift Everyone Really Needs
Dr. John Barnett
Christmas gift
Christmas is all about gifts; gift giving, gift buying, and gift receiving make up so much of these weeks of the year. Many are looking for the most "wanted" gifts; so much so that often these gifts are sold out and become even more sought after...
But the real Christmas was the very first one, when God confronted the world with the only gift everyone really needs... 
Think About It
Christmas Reflections
Baby Jesus

The Supreme Mystery
J.I. Packer 
The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man- that the second person of the Godhead became the 'second man' (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human...

It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. 'The Word became flesh' (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; 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.

And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.

-J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973), 53.
The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.
- C. S. Lewis -

He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute. 
- Augustine -

Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man - His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God - when we present our bodies a living sacrifice.
- Vance Havner -

PEACE IS . . . 
~ gazing at the stars with the knowledge that you know their Creator.
~ closing your eyes in sleep without fear of tomorrow.
~ the stillness in your heart when trouble swirls around you.
~ a quiet mind in a raging world.  
- Unknown -
You are to Name Him Yeshua
Star of David

"Yeshua" was what His Hebrew mother called Him.

Timid young girl of Natzeret, 
covered by Ruach Ha'Kodesh  
God's Holy Spirit.

To bear the seed of His promise,
the Word made flesh.

Tiny infant born in humility, 
into a line of a people, oppressed,
to rescue all peoples from self-inflicted shackles.

Not with pomp and circumstance,
but quietly into the arms of sweet Miryam.

The only light that first Christmas night
was the star the Father Himself eastward shone

A light in the darkness,
announcing the birth of the "Light of the World".

"Yeshua" was what she was to name Him.
It means "Adonai saves".

Children of Abraham! Descendants of Ishmael! Offspring of Adam!
Look up! Hear the shofar's call! 
The Prince of Peace is in your midst!

Yeshua! Yeshua! Yeshua!
Adonai saves! Adonai saves! Adonai saves!

His love is deep.
His forgiveness complete.


-Tracy Fulfuord -
December 2015

Tracy Fulfuord  
Tracy Fulford, a graduate of The University of Valley Forge, recently served as the missions pastor at River of Life Worship Center in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Tracy and her husband, Jeff, are currently involved with the refugee community in their area as well as pursuing the completion of ten year adoption journey in China. 
Tis the Season for Singing

In her book He Started the Whole World Singing, Gloria Gaither reflects on the chasm between God and mankind. "God sent his prophets and teachers to tell us what he wanted us to know about him. And they tried. And we got part of it. We got the part about God's justice, and his law... We got the part about when we do bad things, we somehow have to pay, but the part that God really wanted us to know - the part that says, "I really love you!" - we weren't getting that. God seemed so far away.

But before Time began, God had a plan. He said, "I know what I'll do. I'll send my love right down there where they are, where they can see it and touch it and know it, and I'll send it as a little tiny, vulnerable baby so they'll have to touch it, and they'll have to hold it close."

So God did just that. He sent his love - right where we are. 

Taken from He Started the Whole World Singing, Gloria Gaither, p. 5
C 2004, Warner Faith, New York, NY
That Most Blessed of Nights
Cross and Manger

"O my husband, it's been a long trip,"
The voice was soft and almost pleading.
"It won't be long now, my Dear"
Joseph glanced tenderly up at his wife.
She sat atop a shabby-looking donkey
Her outer garments pulled tightly about her body.

The City of David - Bethlehem - House of Bread
What a suitable beginning for the Bread of Life
Neither of these two weary travelers
Really understood the full weight of these events
They simply trusted the God who had spoken
"You shall call His name, Jesus."

It seemed so unreal to them both
That the ancient Words would be fulfilled
In their insignificant lives.
Joseph and Mary - two incredibly ordinary people.
I'm sure that Heaven filled with laughter
As the angels pondered the irony of such wisdom.

As they entered the city, darkness was descending
Fires and lights flickered throughout the streets
And the tired donkey stumbled over the stones
"Lodging, please?" was the repeated appeal
The answer always the same, "No room."
No room - then or now - for Heaven's Son.

Finally - a small, dark stable on the town's edge
No furnishings except straw and rough mangers
And yet, on that most blessed of all nights
God's eternal plan began to unfold
Looking like an ordinary child - but oh my
The Creator of the universe arrived.

The star blazed brilliantly filling the sky with light
The Light of the world had come at last.
"Behold!" shouted the heavenly messenger
"Come see what Jehovah has done"
The shepherds quivered and trembled
As songs of praise and adoration rang out.

Running joyfully to Bethlehem
The first visitors to see the newborn King
Untidy, lowly workers of the fields
But hearts aglow with the wonderful message
No gifts except themselves 
Exactly what God still desires.

Wise men from afar
Believing the prophecies they had found
Came bearing precious gifts
And rejoiced in what they found
How sad, the wise and rich of Jerusalem
Missed the events of that most blessed night.

Behold! - Emmanuel! - God IS with us!
That's the glorious story of that most blessed of nights.
Not only millennia ago - but now, today, tonight
God sent His only Begotten Son - for you, for me
That we might have everlasting life!
What gift will you bring to Heaven's King?  Yourself?

 - Jim Blubaugh -
November 2014

Journey from Heartache to Hope
Heartache to Hope by Liz Danielsen

When God Himself is building the house, the labor of the builders is hopeful and productive.  So it is with the embracing and life-giving labor of the Spiritual Care Support Ministry and its new book Journey From Heartache To Hope - True Stories of God's Miraculous Healing Power.   Masterfully applying the metaphor of a great tree lovingly planted and nurtured by God Himself, living testimony after testimony of God's present and manifest grace, love, and peace is given by sojourning pilgrims just like you and me.  Through these unique and appealing reflections of life we hear God's voice speaking into us and our situations and circumstances.  From abiding roots nurtured by the Master to grow deep, to healthy growth and the bearing of fruit; through cycles of stress, loss, and renewal we find we are able to discover the provision and purpose God has for our lives:  to know Him and the eternal life with Him.  The result is the deepest desire to stand up and tall, breathing in the sunshine with our arms open wide in joyful experience of abundant life as God has meant it to be.  

Liz Danielsen
Reverend Liz Danielsen, Chaplain, Executive Director, President and CEO, of Spiritual Care Support Ministries in Warrenton, VA which she founded in 2004. She is an ordained minister and completed her pastoral education with an emphasis on hospital and hospice ministry, and obtained her certification as a Bereavement Facilitator as well as her Death and Grief Certification. She has served as a Chaplain at Newton Memorial Hospital and The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice in New Jersey, as well as The Hospice of the Rapidan and Culpeper Regional Hospital in Culpeper, Virginia. Liz has been married for 47 years to Arvid Danielsen. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren
Christmas - a Time for Joy and Laughter
 The Three Wise Women
You do know what would have happen if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of men, don't you? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts!

Christmas Dinner Prayer for the Christmas Meal
Lee, a seven-year-old boy, was asked to say thanks for the Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. Lee began his prayer, thanking God for his Mommy, Daddy, brothers, sister, Grandma, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food.

He gave thanks for the turkey, the stuffing, the Christmas pudding, even the cranberry sauce. Then Lee paused, and everyone waited ... and waited.  After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the Brussels sprouts, won't he know that I'm lying?"

Christmas One-Liners

Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.

Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree in your living room eating candy and snacks out of your socks?

Out of the Mouths - Amusing Christmas Story

Rudolf Daniel aged 4, returned from Sunday school with a new perspective on the Christmas story. He had learned all about the wise men from the east who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Daniel was so excited he just had to tell his parents, 'I learned in Sunday School today all about the very first Christmas. There wasn't a Santa Claus way back then, so these three blokes on camels had to deliver all the toys.  And Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with his nose so bright wasn't there yet, so they had to have this big light in the sky to find their way around'.
Looking Forward
Holy Habits

Johnese Burtram The theme for Winter 2016 is holy habits. In Classic Devotions, (Harper, San Francisco, 1993, p. 331), Editor Richard Foster remarks on early churchman, John Chrysostom's (345 - 407), writings regarding the problem of becoming dead to sin. " calling us to 'holy habits' that in time will take over our lives and bring death to sin." In his book The Life You Always Wanted, John Ortberg describes spiritual disciplines as practice or training in order to make believers strong and equipped. As spiritual disciplines - holy habits - become a part of us, we are conformed to the image of Jesus. What holy habits have you found that bring you closer to God and serve to keep your life focused and effective? Share your stories with us.

Submissions are due February 1, 2016. Articles should be 300-500 words. We are always looking for humor, poetry, book reviews, etc.  
Also looking for suggestions of supporting articles and other materials you find to enrich our e-zine. Please forward your suggestions
You are loved,

Shine the light; defeat the dark
Home  /  Blog  /  Contact