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Pastor Jordan Now a Chaplain in the North Dakota National Guard

For the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to serve in the North Dakota National Guard, the majority of that time as a Combat Engineer. As a Combat Engineer, our mission was pretty straight forward—mobility, counter mobility and survivability. In the midst of all of that, I became a pastor and began to serve in other areas beyond just that mission set and leadership. I developed deep relationships with the men I served with and many times that opened the door to be able to share and live out my faith among them. I have done weddings, baptisms, and one-on-ones for soldiers.

Several years ago, I started the process to step into a military chaplaincy after a conversation with a good friend. It was a hard process that I felt called to. I first went through the process in 2017 and was denied. Again in 2019 I started the process and was denied.

In 2019 I was also in danger of being medically discharged from the military due to my Ulcerative Colitis medication. In fighting that battle and ultimately being found fit for duty, I knew that God was up to something. Everything had fallen into place with my service. I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to try once again. But I was also content that, whatever the outcome, I could continue to serve the Lord and our nation in service.

In late 2020, after a phone call from that same friend who encouraged me all those years before, I contacted a National Guard Recruiter for Chaplains to start the process all over again. It has been a whirlwind experience going through the process a third time. But something seemed different. I had a different sense of peace about it. I kept coming back to Romans 5:3–4, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” It was a long waiting game to find out the result.

Through that waiting, God was moving. All the way through my military service, it has been evident that God was working things together in a way that I only had glimpses of. To be honest I wasn’t optimistic, but things had been aligned in such a way that the Lord was clearly telling me to walk through the process. As time moved forward things got clearer. The hope and desire was not for me but to see how God could overcome obstacles and that faithfulness and endurance mattered.

As we finished our annual training in August, I got a phone call asking if I could report to Bismarck on short notice to go through a final military board where I was interviewed by other officers. On September 18, 2021, surrounded by my family and unit, I was sworn in and promoted to First Lieutenant as a Chaplain.

My role may have changed in the military, but my ministry continues to be to the men and women who serve. I want to use my story as an encouragement to you that God is on the move. Even when we don’t see it or when it feels like what we have been working or hoping for isn’t happening, God is doing something. Maybe it’s what we thought it would be, maybe it’s different. The truth remains the same, suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. That hope does not disappoint because it’s all about Jesus.

North Heights family, keep your eyes on Jesus!

I am so thankful for your prayers and support. Know that when I am away for military service it is an extension of your ministry here. Thank you for your continued support.

Pastor Jordan

Celebrating 20 Years of God-Honoring Dance

In May 2021, Celebrate! Dance Academy reached two decades of ministry and held commemorative recitals where over 1,700 people attended and celebrated their 20th Anniversary on the Arden Hills Plaza.

plaza

Here's the Celebrate! Dance story about how it began and how God has been on the move through this ministry.

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How it all began

During the Spring of 2000, Tracy Pearce, a God-revering and accomplished dance teacher, had attended a recital. Among the performances were Kindergarten-age girls dancing to a Britney Spears song. They were dressed up just like Britney Spears: wearing blonde wigs, dark stage make-up, and midriff-baring costumes.

“The dance technique and performance quality were excellent,” says Tracy. “My heart was grieved.”

These Britney Spears imitators were just Kindergarten-aged girls! “Why can’t they be five?” Tracy thought.

On the long drive home from the recital, Tracy’s mind raced with ideas. She sensed God planting a vision in her heart for a technically excellent, artistically based, God-honoring dance studio within the walls of North Heights.

When the vision and ideas took shape, Tracy spent every waking hour of Memorial Day weekend, 2000, crafting a ministry proposal. Then she met with the North Heights Church Council and shared the Celebrate! Dance Academy vision. Tracy's proposal described the “Who” this ministry would serve. The “What” its purpose and guiding principles would be. The “Why” this ministry should exist. The “How” it can be age-appropriate, relevant, affordable, and sustainable to the people it serves and to North Heights.

After much prayer and consideration by the North Heights Church Council, Celebrate! Dance Academy was founded. In July 2001, the first Studio was designed and built. By the beginning of the school year the dance academy was filled with 120 students and 22 classes with one director/teacher.

Where it is today

Over the course of the last 20 years, over 1,500 dancers have learned how to praise God with dancing (Zephaniah 3:17), including four second-generation dancers.

“God rooted and built up Celebrate! in Him and has established it in the faith,” says Tracy. “My heart is abounding in thanksgiving and gratitude as I witness God’s harvest (Colossians 2:7).”

Today, Celebrate! Dance Academy has two co-directors, Sarah Pieper and Mary Smith who began dancing under Tracy’s direction at Celebrate! as 9 and 11 year olds, as well as two office staff, Carrie Josephson and Hannah Johnson, and nine teachers. This team has grown Celebrate! to four studios, 88 classes, and 379 dancers.

With diverse and complementary talents, Celebrate! Dance Academy leaders and teachers are providing more technically adept and advanced dance classes than ever before. The artistry infused into classes and performances has never been more focused, purposeful, and creative. Most importantly, these God-seeking, obedient, and nurturing women are leading children, teens, and young adults in God-honoring ways through dance.

“I believe that our ministry has been a centerpiece of God’s work in restoring the arts to Himself,” says Tracy. “And instrumental in leading God’s people into a greater understanding of how He loves, delights, and rejoices over us.”

Thanks to a multitude

Tracy is grateful to everyone who has touched Celebrate! Dance Academy over the last 20 years. There have been multitudes of people, prayers, support, wisdom, talent, enrollment, and sacrifice that have helped the Celebrate! Dance Academy overcome challenges and struggles to flourish and become the blessing it is today.

“Thank you to church leaders, mentors, directors, teachers, teaching assistants, dancers, parents, grandparents, audiences, donors, volunteers, the extended North Heights and regional community” says Tracy. “Thank you for being an irreplaceable part of our story and our family.”

For more information, visit: Celebrate! Dance Academy

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Arden Hills Campus

1700 West Highway 96
Arden Hills, MN

55112

Roseville Campus

2701 North Rice Street
Roseville, MN

55113

(651) 797-7800