New WordPress Theme, Facebook Page, and Personal Site


In this post, I’d like to briefly share some information about this site’s new theme, a new Facebook page for this site, and a personal website.

New WordPress Theme (Motif)

A few days ago I switched to a different WordPress theme for this site. Previously I was using the “Under the Influence” theme. I didn’t know until I was browsing alternate themes that “Under the Influence” was retired in 2012 and was no longer being updated. I’m now using the “Motif” theme, which is fully responsive (for optimized viewing on computers, tablets, and smartphones).

I welcome any feedback you have on the new theme, including the site’s appearance, how the pages load, and anything else you might observe (or find to be a challenge). The background picture, by the way, is the same one found at the top of a post I wrote last September featuring St. Paul, Minnesota’s downtown skyway.

Downtown St. Paul 02 - Copy

You’ll probably notice several additions to the sidebar, and a couple of changes as well, including the search widget at the top. The previous header image is no longer in the header position, but it can be seen at the top of our About page. My wife created it about a year ago, and I think she did a great job:

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New Facebook Page for Pursuing Truth

One of the additions in the sidebar is a new Facebook page for this site. It was also created just the other day and I haven’t yet announced it on my personal Facebook page or anywhere else. If “liking” Facebook posts, comments, and pages is one of your hobbies or addictions (just kidding), do feel free to “like” the new page:

https://www.facebook.com/KloposmasmPursuingTruth

Personal Website

(2016 Update: The site I described below was discontinued, and http://www.adammaarschalk.com is now the URL for this site instead of http://www.kloposmasm.com.)

My wife’s skills are also on display at a personal website I created last fall. The home page was “under construction” for several months, mainly because I didn’t know what I was doing. This site, Pursuing Truth, is hosted on WordPress.com, but my personal site, www.adammaarschalk.com, is hosted on WordPress.org. WordPress.org has a much different setup, with certain options (e.g. plugins) not available on WordPress.com.

Most of the design work was done by my wife, and she also created the neat photo slideshow on the home page. I know I’m biased, but I do think she could have a good future ahead of her in web design.

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Thank you, as always, for visiting and participating here, and I hope you find the content to be a blessing, educational, and of value.

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Our First Wedding Anniversary (August 4, 2013)


Last Sunday, August 4th, my wife, Jasmine, and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. I’m deeply grateful for Jasmine. Life has brought its share of challenges over the last year, including a business/ministry venture that didn’t work out (I plan to share more about that in an upcoming post), massive financial loss, and a great deal of injustice. Yet I praise God that our marriage, and our love for one another, has stood strong. We’re counting other blessings too.

July 2013

July 2013

In this post I’d like to share a number of photos, starting with our wedding day (August 4, 2012) and concluding with pictures taken on our anniversary a week ago. I hope you enjoy them.

Jasmine and I are both originally from Canton, Ohio, and that’s where we first met about 13 years ago. Although we currently live in St. Paul, Minnesota, we decided to get married just outside of Canton at a place (Camp Trinity) where we both served as camp counselors in the past. The weather cooperated well (it was 93 degrees and sunny), and we were able to have a nice outdoor wedding. Jasmine, by the way, made her dress and my outfit by hand!

Outdoor wedding

Outdoor wedding

 

Singing a duet

Singing a duet

 

Reciting Vows

Reciting our vows

 

Kiss the Bride

Kiss the bride

 

Just married

Just married

 

Newly married

Newly married

 

The wedding party was made up, on the guys’ side, of my four younger brothers and two friends, one from elementary school and one from high school. Jasmine’s two sisters, a cousin, and two friends made up the ladies’ side. We kept things low-budget for everyone, as the guys were able to wear any black pants, shoes, and socks that they already had, plus a $12 button-down shirt from Kohl’s (two of them already had it). The ladies bought matching sun dresses for $17 each, with the goal being that they could keep them and wear them for other occasions too.

Full Wedding party

The wedding party

 

The guys

The guys

 

The ladies

The ladies

 

With siblings, parents, grandparents

With siblings, parents, grandparents

 

The Wedding party

The Wedding party

 

Reception hall

Reception hall

 

Gratefully, we were able to keep the reception meal low-budget as well (We held the reception on the same campgrounds in their assembly hall). For $704, our 175 guests enjoyed chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, macaroni & cheese, cole slaw, and biscuits from KFC. Other facilities we looked at not only would have charged us at least 8-10 times as much as we paid to use the camp facility, but they also would have required us to use their catering services, which were quoted 7-12 times higher than KFC’s costs. We also served sorbet instead of a wedding cake, which was fitting for such a hot day.

Tattoo rings

We got tattoo rings before the wedding.

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On August 21st, less than two weeks from now, Jasmine and I will be moving to Bowling Green, Ohio, about 20 miles south of Toledo. Lord willing, Jasmine will take one year to finish a degree she started at Bowling Green State University. After that, we believe we will be in Columbus, Ohio. Both cities will have us 2.5 hours or less from where our families live, and also feature a lower cost of living and more tolerable winters.

We’ve enjoyed our time living in downtown St. Paul ever since we got married. One of the things we like about downtown is its placement just above the Mississippi River (we live one block away from the river). For our anniversary last week, after enjoying a buffet brunch with live jazz performances (Jasmine’s favorite kind of music), we boarded a 90-minute Padelford boat cruise on the Mississippi River.  Here are some pictures from that experience:

At the brunch buffet

At the brunch buffet

 

At the brunch buffet

At the brunch buffet

 

Boarding the boat

Boarding the boat

 

Top level of boat

Top level of boat

 

View of the River

View of the River

 

View of downtown

View of downtown

 

Straight ahead view

Straight ahead view

 

Smith Avenue High Bridge

Smith Avenue High Bridge

 

Downtown in the background

Downtown in the background

St. Paul Cultural Village


In a previous post I briefly mentioned a project that my wife, Jasmine, and I have been overseeing for much of the past year: the setting up of a multicultural marketplace and community gathering center that we’re calling St. Paul Cultural Village. This vision came out of our volunteer work with International Village, a nearby storefront ministry and resource center that is impacting the lives of Somali, Bhutanese, and Karen refugees. We saw the need for people in these communities to be given platforms where they can make a living, and display and maintain their culture. Some had previously run small businesses in their countries of origin (Somalia, Bhutan, and Myanmar), but had lost nearly everything when civil war and other tragic circumstances caused them to become refugees.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted much at this site over the last six months or so is that I’ve been very busy working on this project, while also holding down two jobs. There have been a few joyous occasions during this journey, but overall it’s been a very difficult and even painful one. It’s only by the grace of God that we’ve been able to persevere and keep pushing forward with this project in the face of many barriers, disappointments, being lied to and taken advantage of, delays (from more than one source), and local government red tape. Yet we do believe that God has called us to see this place take shape and carry on for His glory, and we’re holding on as long as we can for a real breakthrough. We’d appreciate your prayers.

I’d like to share a video from a gathering at our location 10 days ago, along with some pictures that will give a glimpse into what is taking shape at St. Paul Cultural Village. A number of us gathered together on Valentine’s Day, and we were a nice mix of Karen refugees, Bhutanese refugees, and Americans. After the Bhutanese had left, Bwet, a Karen brother from Myanmar, played his guitar and led us in the song, “Where You Go I’ll Go,” by Kim Walker (Jesus Culture):

YouTube link to the video above: Hanging out at St. Paul Cultural Village

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For the last couple weeks, we’ve been opening our doors every Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Members of the public are free to bring in their laptops or other devices, and access the internet for free (we have plenty of outlets available). We also have Keurig-brewed coffee (and tea or apple cider) available on a “donations are welcome, but not required” basis. Some have also taken the opportunity during this time to walk through our building and see what’s happening and what’s available.

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The space shown in the pictures above is also available to rent for meetings, parties, discussion groups, seminars, and more. We also have 12 market stalls available for small business owners. This opportunity was initially created for people in the refugee communities, but we have found that only a few individuals are ready, and this opportunity is now open to anyone. Here are a few pictures of our market stalls (taken about a month ago):

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As shown here, our neighborhood is very diverse. Out of about 20,000 people surrounding our location, 34% are Asian, 30% are Caucasian, 19% are African-American or African, and 11% are Hispanic. To learn more about some of the refugee communities in this part of Minnesota, please see the videos on these pages: Karen refugees, Somali refugees, and Bhutanese refugees.

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www.stpaulculturalvillage.com

My wife, Jasmine, and I (August 2012)

My wife, Jasmine, and I (August 2012)

Getting Personal & Meet My Fiancee


A couple of readers have encouraged me to get more personal from time to time in my posts. So, by request, I’ll do that briefly in this post.

I grew up in Canton, Ohio, home of the Football Hall of Fame. I’m the oldest of five boys. Here’s a picture of all of us, along with my parents (I’m in the blue shirt and white shorts next to my mom), in 2005:

After high school, I spent three years earning an Associates Degree at a college in Dallas, Texas. I then lived in Malaysia for nearly six years (2001-2007), teaching English in two different language centers for most of that time. I love the people there, the food, the culture, the incredible hospitality, and the weather (hot and humid). When possible, I loved spending time in the villages, and I got involved in a couple of different Village Homestay programs, to the point of helping coordinate with groups of westerners who were open to staying in village homes. With God’s help, I became (and remain) fluent in the Malay language. Here I am with my first host family in a village in late 2001 (and the same family again in 2004):

Since late summer 2007 I’ve been living in Minneapolis. In addition to working and completing course work through Northwestern College (off and on, admittedly), I got involved for a while in tutoring Somalians in English through a program called SALT (Somali Adult Literacy Training). [There are more Somalians, Hmong, Liberians, and Oromos (from Ethiopia) in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/Saint Paul) than anywhere else in the United States.] At this time, I’m beginning to volunteer again with a group of people who are reaching out especially to refugees in Saint Paul (a significant number of Somalian Muslims live across the street from a Drop-in Center that opened up there in November 2011).

From the 4th quarter of 2010 through the 3rd quarter of 2011 I experienced the toughest ordeal of my life, something I would never wish on anyone. God knows the details, as do some family members and friends. I alluded to this briefly in one post back in April. Some recovery is behind me, and some is yet ahead, especially financially. Yet I’m grateful to God for the deliverance that He brought about, and the grace that He showed me throughout that time.

Among my hobbies and interests are sports, writing, international foods and culture, and traveling (it’s been too long since I’ve done that, aside from driving to and from Ohio a couple times a year).

Last but not least, I’m now (since mid-November) engaged to be married to Jasmine, a girl who is beautiful on the inside and the outside. She’s a true blessing and a gift from God. We are from the same hometown in Ohio, and actually met for the first time about 11 years ago. Perhaps she and/or I will share more on this blog about how God brought us together in a relationship last year, at a time when both of us were facing some tough circumstances. For now, here are a couple of recent pictures of the two of us:

Jasmine is now an author on this blog, and plans to contribute some posts beginning in the very near future, with topics ranging from spiritual to lifestyle.

When this blog began in August 2009, four of us from a home-based Bible study group (Dave, Rod, Mike, and I) contributed to a series on the book of Revelation. Mike is not likely to post anything else in the future, Rod may or may not, and Dave will probably post from time to time (here’s his most recent post regarding his prosthetic leg, titled “Running With Hope“). Presently, there are three other guys in the Bible study group: Aby (from India), Pat, and Brian. None of these three are into blogging. One other friend, Mark, who lives near Oakland, California, has been designated as an author on this blog, though his future posts remain only in the planning stage.

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

Adam

Blog Update and Navigation Information


This same information was just added to the “About” page, but I wanted to include it here in its own post as well.

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January 2010 Update:

Our Bible study group has experienced a small amount of turnover since this blog was created in August 2009. Paul is no longer with us, although he remains a friend. We are now joined by Aby, a brother of Indian descent whose family comes from the state of Kerala, and another brother, Patrick. That makes six of us at this present time. The name of this blog is based on the last names of our group as it existed six months ago. However, it will remain the same, regardless of turnover and new faces.

We are nearly finished with our study of the book of Revelation. As we move on to study other books of the Bible and/or topical studies, we may or may not continue to post these studies on this site. However, several series of posts are in the planning stage and should be posted in the near future. The next series to go up, very soon (Lord willing), will be titled “The Ongoing Legacy of the Lakeland Revival.” It will be an in-depth look at the alleged revival under Todd Bentley which took place in the summer of 2008, based on a 9-page documented letter I wrote to my pastor at the time. It will also cover related events which have taken place since then, leading up to a new “outpouring” which began on January 5, 2010 at MorningStar Ministries in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Other series which can be expected include the following: 

[1] An Analysis of the Modern System of Tithing
[2] The New Covenant Believer’s Relationship to Mosaic Law
[3] The “Christian Zionist” Movement.

In terms of organization, the easiest way (at least for the foreseeable future) to locate various series will be through the pages shown left-to-right in the top bar. Current Page titles are: [1] Home [2] About [3] 70 AD Term Paper [4] Revelation [5] Fighter Verses [6] Adam’s Corner [7] Dave’s Corner [8] Mike’s Corner [9] Rod’s Corner. When a new series is added, a new page will be created, and all posts belonging to that series will be listed in order there.

For example, this is already the case for the series “70 AD Term Paper.” All 20 posts belonging to that series are listed under that page name, and are in consecutive order for easy referencing. These same posts can be found under the category “Partial-Preterism” (on the right side panel), but locating them there is less helpful because they will be shown in reverse order over a very lengthy span. The same idea is true for the series titled “Revelation” (our Bible studies on the book of Revelation). All of our chapter-by-chapter studies (and a few other related posts) can be found in reverse order by clicking the category named “Revelation,” but it is more helpful to see them listed in their proper order under the Page to which they belong (in this case, “Revelation”).

Expect the next new Page to be titled “Todd Bentley.” All posts on the 2008 Lakeland Revival and the new outpouring at MorningStar Ministries will appear there in chronological order, so that all related information can easily be found in one location. Documentation will include not only links to various online articles, but also an abundance of video files (not links, in many cases, because video links too often disappear).

Adam
January 24, 2010

P.S. Check out the video Dave uploaded earlier tonight under “Dave’s Corner.” He is featured in this video, and I believe you’ll find it inspiring.

Initial Post


Dave, Mike, Paul, and Rod,

This is our new blog site. The name of the site is made up of the first two letters of each of our last names:

kl = Kluender
op = Opferkew
os = Osborn
ma = Maarschalk
sm = Smith

For those who are not a part of our home-based Bible Study group here in Minneapolis, who might come across this initial post (or any other post), we are a group of guys who live in the Twin Cities area. We currently range in age from 31-50, and we meet regularly to build one another up in our faith in Jesus Christ. We wanted to have a place to share and store some of our thoughts on [1] topics that may come up as part of our regular study time, and [2] other topics of interest. Down the road, we’ll probably be interacting with each other on certain topics, but you are welcome to leave concise and responsible comments as well. We will be happy to interact with anyone who does not attend our study group, as long as discussions remain civil.

Blessings,
Adam