Hi There!  G. Simonsen- I understand “Left To Tell” impressed you!  Me too. Consequently, efforts are underway to bring Immaculee to Salem.  What can we do for you?
http://www.truthreconciled.org has the details for  this event. I’d  be happy  to help you in any way if I can.

41p9czzpaul__sx160_1[my reply]

Wow! Thanks for the email. I am sorry I haven’t been able to return the call. I had just heard of the event in Salem. Quite frankly, this book changed my life and as general manager of the Christian Supply stores, my heart is use this platform I have been blessed with to both raise awareness and make a difference. I am not sure I could answer your question of what you can do for me as much as me asking, what can I do for you?


Since reading this book a little over a year ago, I have been partnering with my ten year old daughter to raise awareness of widows and orphans in Africa. Truth be told, my daughter and wife have been a huge impact in my life to raising my awareness to the plight of those without a voice. Matter of fact, my daughter has been raising funds and awareness via the internet. It has been amazing to be a part of. I hope, myself to go to Africa in the next year, and specifically Rwanda. Recently, I have been blessed to get to know a young man who was orphaned during the 94 genocide. I am not sure if you have heard his story, but his name is Enric Sifa. He is an amazing story ans now musician.


Anyway, I hope to attend the event on the 29th. If there at all is anything I can do for you for this event, or any future events, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I would be honored to help in any way!


turthreconciledHi Gunnar!  A couple of things…………..what about the book most provoked you?   And provoked you to what?
And 3rd where did you first hear of the book since it’s published by Hay House?  Christian booksellers are just beginning to pick it up.

It sounds like your “heart awareness” has been raised to a new level!!!  From the mouth of babes and wives!

I want to say thank you first for accepting the challenge to use your place in life to make a difference…..and passing it on.   That tells me your investment isn’t about self. 

I have not heard of Enric but he however probably knows of  the Itafari Foundation in Portland.   The executive director is my good friend, Vicky Trabosh who invites others to travel with her to Rwanda as she works in micro-finance with the Rwandans.   You can check it out online.

Our venue holds 1230.  At this time we have 300  more seats to fill.  Immaculee’s message challenges us to  forgiveness and to love well.  I have an internal burden to find those 300.  The feeling is equated to the 99 sheep parable!  My prayer has been that God draws those that need to hear.  If people are coming just to hear a story and their hearts aren’t flipped to reach for more, then what is that?  I’m not creating an entertainment opportunity. 

If you so choose, this is our area of need……..to make others aware of  this tremendous opportunity.  There isn’t alot of time and the Easter Season is near but we are confident.  The claims of Christ are real and His representation through forgiveness are His gift to bring wholeness to humanity.  Immaculee is the real thing.  One has the sense of standing with a contempletive, one who has experienced the true love of Christ.  So, on that note I appreciate you Gunnar and the heart of your family.
Alright, I hope this isn’t another late night for you.  thank you again for your offer.  let me know where we can go from here.

ps- don’t forget to answer my first 3 questions!!!!!!!

m_23d0a7c70ea270cc934641e1f527b679[my reply]

Thank you for taking your valued time to respond to my email in such a way. It is true that my life has not been the same.


In Philipians, Paul says in the first chapter that he wants us to understand what really matters. That strikes me as previous to this verse coming to my life, I had been led to a passage in chapter 58 of Isaiah that speaks of the type of fasting that God wants. It is found in verse 6-7. These verses have been penetrating me since November as I believe God has really been showing me that which really matters. It’s funny, I was aked to speak at a banquet last December and shared these verses. A week later, it was like God said… now let’s see what this looks like. For so long, it was all about me. These verses in Isaiah have become a prayer for me that God would engrave them on my heart as it speaks of the least of these, but also mentions those that work for you and relatives that hurt. Intense stuff.


With regards to your questions on the book…


I must admit that when I first started reading the book, my initial feelings were shock and then shame. In 1994, I was 24 years old and was working with youth and such. And, as this occurred, I knew NOTHING of this. I was so not engaged in the world around me. Quite frankly, it wasn’t until reading this book at the beginning of 2007 that I fully was aware of what happened.


I am grateful that there is a generation before us that is much more engaged. But honestly, I was ashamed. It was like somewhere inside, a switch flipped deep within that had been stirring through the work of both my wife and daughter, as directed by God that touched my soul. That with all I have been blessed with here in America, what really matters? How can I hear of such atrocities and not be moved to action? For the first time in my life, I truly felt a sense of purpose to make a difference in this world. I then began being convicted of how I needed to use the platform God had given me at Christian Supply for good and His glory by raising awareness to care for those impacted.I began to be convicted of the heart my daughter carries for the least of these in that I cannot let her down. We have a world to touch with His love. This is what God wants.


So, where do we go from here? First, I am so blessed to help support my daughters causes with a mission to mobilze, educate, fund, and inspire until every hand is held. That is the Friends of Kira mission.


(her website is www.friendsofkira.wordpress.com)


In this, I have become more educated in what is going on around the world. We have held fundraising/awareness events with local musicians, and hope to continue to do more. But, the most exciting thing for me here is that each time a new donation comes in… the thing that inspires me the most is the reaction my daughter gives… with excitement, she says… YES! And you know what, she will never see that money and will more than likely, not, this side of heaven, meet those that are impacted by the donation. It is so precious! I celebrate this with her and my wife. What a blessing! But, you know what? We must continue until EVERY hand is held.


Second, I have been so blessed in this season of life to be directed to people and organizations such as you, Africa New Life, and International Childrens Network. In this, I believe God has wired me both to be an encourager as well as a connector. How this relates to Christian Supply, is how can we connect our guests that walk into our stores with events and organizations such as these? How can we help raise awareness of our guests to the plight of our world with regards to the least of these? How can we then inspire our guests to take action and make a difference? These are ongoing conversations as I speak with record labels, book publishers, and organizations. How do we make the connect? What a blessing! Matter of fact, through this relationship, one of our staff members has decided to sponsor a child through Africa New Life. I am so excited!


Thirdly, I have also recently found myself in the midst of a lot of local musicians, writers, and authors. In this, what a blessing it is to challenge these mainly twenty-somthings to get involved. To ask the question as to what really matters. And to now see them want to rise up and be heard. How cool is that? It’s like this has become part of my DNA. And now, we have a group of local musicians and this traveling group from Rwanda saying, let’s have an event for Africa for us to unite and invite our friends. To mobilize, educate, fund, and inspire. Now… it looks like we will be working on this event for late July, or so here in the Portland area.


Where did I first hear of this book? About a year or so before I purchased the book, our CFO at the downtown office had mentioned that his wife had read it. Quite honestly, I think it was then a culmination of events that occurred over that year that led me to purchase it with a Barnes and Noble gift card I received at Christmas. A few days later, I would never be the same. It totally wrecked me.


With regard to Christian booksellers, I personally believe that we have dropped the ball on utilizing our storefronts to better educate our customers on such dire needs. And quite frankly, I believe a real wake up call was with Starbucks placing front and center that book of the child soldier. This really convicted me too. I thought, on one hand… how amazing it was that Starbucks was using their platform. But, on the other hand… how can we in the Christian bookseller world continue to do business as usual without using our platform to do the same? The beautiful thing is that this is an amazing opportunity to truly show the world God’s love in action and without words. This speaks volumes as well as the fact that both we and Starbucks can play our role together in making a difference.


Anyway… wow… that was intense. I am so grateful you asked me those questions. As far as the 300 tickets go… I would love to be one of them. Who can I make a check out to? Also, I will be in prayer for the remaining 299 tickets and will be sure to tell others of this incredible opportunity by way of conversations, my myspace page, and email. I will also be double checking what my wife and daughter are doing that evening as I would love for them to ateend too. Not sure if there was a overnighter with some of my daughters friends already planned. We’ll see.


What else can I do to help?


May God bless you and all those who cry out for shelter, clothing, a cup of clean water, a meal, safety, and freedom!