Category Archives: Local Information

My Time at the ReStore

I haven’t posted anything for a while because I’ve been busy with my internship at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Mankato. It just ended last week, so finally I’m prepared to share everything I learned there.

Not familiar with the ReStore? That’s okay. Few people are. The ReStore is basically a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. So in Mankato, all of the profits we made go toward building homes in South Central Minnesota (after paying bills of course). The store sells gently used and new home improvement materials such as tile, doors, windows, paint, carpet, light fixtures, plumbing supplies, hardware supplies and even more. Everything sold in the store was donated by companies or private citizens. Basically, it’s a really good cause and you can find great stuff for dirt cheap because they mark down the prices by about 50%. While I was there we got in numerous shipments that were just overstock of perfectly brand new items from name brand home improvement stores.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Habitat for Humanity ReStore and affiliate in Mankato, Minn.

I did a couple of very different things at my time there. First off, I worked in the store helping customers, running the cash register, stocking and organizing. This was part of my daily routine. On top of that, I did the weekly update for the store. The update was emailed out to people who requested it each week, and it included the sales for the week along with new items in the store. Because what’s in stock in the store is completely dependent on what people donate, items are constantly changing. The store might look completely different by the end of the day than it did when I walked in that morning. I also created a survey for our donors to better understand what brought them to the store and how to get them to come back. My survey was ultimately made available for all of the ReStores in the country to use. Another small project I did was revamping the store’s Facebook page. When I got there is was a regular friend page, and after I was done it was a fan page in timeline format with tabs for people to get more information on donating, shopping and volunteering at the store. Some company came in and offered to do the same thing to our page for a few hundred dollars a tab, but I said I could save us a ton of money by figuring it out on my own, so I did.

The biggest project I had at the ReStore was planning a donation pickup in a smaller surrounding town. I had to do this completely on my own. I figured out the time, the place, created the flyers, handed out the flyers, contacted local businesses about it, wrote and sent out a news release for it, then actually went to it and took the donations and put them in the truck for us to take back to the store– I did it all. It was the first time the store tried its hand at a project like this, and it went pretty well. We didn’t lose any money on it, and that was the major goal. The best part of the project was figuring out what worked and what didn’t so we could make it better in the future, and the store has plans to continue doing it in other communities.

All in all it was one of the best internship opportunities I could have asked for. I learned a TON about marketing and branding, which was very exciting coming from a journalism background. I met a lot of great people and didn’t just run coffee and sort files– I actually worked! Now I’m happy to tell people anything they’d like to know about the ReStore and its cause.

So now that graduation is over, the next step is job searching in Los Angeles!


New Creation church plans to build prayer house

Potter’s House of Prayer in North Mankato will welcome all Christian denominations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

New Creation World Outreach Church is working to build a place for continual worship that they call the Potter’s House of Prayer.

“It’s not going to be church as people understand it,” said Terrelle Wilson, youth pastor at New Creation in North Mankato, MN.

The Potter’s House is open to people of all Christian denominations. Its main function is to be a place where people feel welcome to pray 24 hours a day. Wilson said it will be very different from an average daily service because there won’t be any preaching. Instead, it will be a place where people can just encounter and interact with the Lord individually.

One goal of the project is not just to build a building, Wilson said, but to build a culture. He said the culture of prayer and worship they create will eventually fill the structure itself.


Wilson said New Creation decided to build a house of prayer around 2005. The leadership of the church was in crisis, and he said that situation showed the church there was a need for more prayer in the community. That’s when they stopped thinking about only daily services and started considering a different connection to God.

“The Potter’s House of Prayer is the big step into that reality of a priority and a core value shifting from man-centered religion to a Christ-centered relationship,” Wilson said.

Community urgency

According to Wilson, communities need houses of prayer for three main reasons:

  • The church is broken
  • The world is broken
  • There is a worth in Jesus that people aren’t realizing

“We’ve departed from any type of orientation of truth to our adaptation to our culture and what people want,” Wilson said.

He said right now the church is a joke, and people need a wakeup call in what it means to be Christian. The Potter’s House will help people who have lost track of their priorities and are struggling with economic and financial failures.


The goal for funding the project is to not go into extreme debt. Wilson said the project is supported primarily by donations. So far they have raised $306,678 and hope to raise up to $3 million overall.

The proposed building design for the Potter’s House of Prayer in North Mankato, MN.

The idea for the project has greatly evolved. Initial plans called for a 6,000 square-foot building, while current plans look closer to 22,000 square feet.

So far the church has purchased a nearby building to help teams learn how to operate a 24 hours a day house of prayer. The vision, he said, is that people will realize the need for this and will volunteer to be part of a team. Wilson said there will be scheduled trained teams of musicians and people leading prayer at all times, with audience members coming and going freely. He has already been working with one team for almost a year, but they will begin official training in January 2012.

Lynette Saucier, graphic designer and worship leader at New Creation, is helping to design the building and to train teams on different worship dynamics and techniques. She said they will be using prophetic music, which is more open to guidance from the Lord. It’s a style that takes a lot of learning and practice, she said, but she has high hopes for when the house opens.

“I think it’s a great avenue for [young people] to get connected with other people who are seeking the same things, and to be encouraged that there is more to life than just drinking and partying and hooking up with random people,” Saucier said. “There’s actually a purpose for why we’re here.”

Long term the church would like to model itself after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, which has multiple focuses, including 24 hour a day, 7 days a week prayer and educational facilities that draw people from across the nation. They hope to continue forward with this process after the Potter’s House is completed.

Project by Elena Shufelt and Thuy Huynh

In Mankato? Hungry for a great burger?

I’ve compiled a map of the best burger joints in the Mankato, Minn. area. If you’re looking for variety, great toppings or just a good price, look no further. I’ve got you covered.