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Meet the New Board Members

Posted on 1 April, 2021 at 13:20 Comments comments (13)



Get to know our new board member CJ Holl

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would ou like to see cast as you?

Tom Hanks – Is there anyone he can’t play?

Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and what you like to do.

I am the City Administrator for the City of Wells. Bridgette, my wife, is a teacher at USC (Spanish) and we have two teenage daughters, Lily and Daisy. In my free time, I have a 1964 Galaxie convertible for cruising and like to do competition BBQ.

Do you have a favorite quote or movie line?

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” -Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), Talladega Nights

Favorite travel spot?

Our best vacation was to Fiji. Lately, we have been doing a lot of summer camping with kids.

How do you define success?

Making a positive impact on others.

What are you most excited about right now?

The positive direction that Wells is moving in – much is moving forward!

If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

Teddy Roosevelt

If you were to write a self-help book, what topic would it be?

Starting a business from an idea to startup.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid

Why did you decide to serve as a board member for the Better Way-Five Sisters Project?

I appreciate every opportunity to give back to my community.

Get to know our new board member Kim Jacobson

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would ou like to see cast as you?

If I am honest, I probably wouldn’t choose Hollywood to make a movie of my life. I would lean towards Hallmark or PureFlix and it would be Pricilla Shirer.

Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and what you like to do.

I live on a farm in rural Bricelyn with my husband Steve of 36 years and our dog and way too many farm cats

I have a certification in Children/ Youth and Family ministry, and I am currently in a “pause” period in my life after 20 years of ministry until my next assignment.

I feel that when the Lord calls you into ministry, you never retire; He just gives you new assignments. He has given me a new one and I am anxiously waiting for His leading on when it will begin.

We have 4 grandchildren, JadaLynn is 11, Elliott and Lilly are 4 and Alexander is 2. We absolutely LOVE being Mimi and Papa!!

We love to camp and go to auctions and rummages sales to find treasures.

Do you have a favorite quote or movie line?

“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion” Steel Magnolias

Favorite travel spot?

Whitewater State Park. We have been going there about 25 years. When I was doing youth ministry, we took kids for 5 days in June. Over the years the group grew from 2 to 42!! I would often hear people say “you’re crazy” when they found out how many I was taking camping. My response was, “Yes, I am. I am crazy about these kids!!

The park was a great opportunity to connect unplugged. To “BE STILL .. and Know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10 Face to face communication, board games, bikes, swimming, hiking, and stories by the campfire. Every afternoon we had a mandatory quiet time of 45 minutes. I would read a devotion and play a worship song and then send them off to “BE STILL.” No talking … no napping… no listening to music. Newbies thought it was awful at first… but grew to love it!! On Thursday nights when we would share our favorite time of the week as well as where we felt God. Many of them would say “quiet time” was their favorite. Their lives are so scheduled this was always a great opportunity for them to be kids.

How do you define success?

The world may think or say otherwise but I feel that success can’t be found in any degree, job title or bank account. Here are some of what I deem a success.

· Teaching my children and others about the love of Christ.

· Establishing relationships built on trust

· A commitment to my marriage

· Making people feel loved, welcomed, valued, accepted and affirmed

· Discerning what God wants and acting upon it

· Making time for valued friendships

· Living a life of integrity

· Extending Grace

· Serving others

· Giving of your time, talents and resources

· Listening to people and not standing in judgment

· Recognizing my giftings and not letting them go to waste

· A new recipe or project off Pinterest

What are you most excited about right now?

Being a Mimi is definitely a highlight of my life. Another generation to share Jesus with!! They bring me so much JOY!! I am also anxious to begin my new assignment from the Lord.

If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

Jesus’ mother

If you were to write a self-help book, what topic would it be?

How to prevent burnout in ministry. Self-care is something I’ve never been really good at.

Ministry is hard work, and its heart work. It’s an investment into their lives…

their joy, and their pain. It’s also not 9-5 nor is it left at the office. Self-care is vitally important if you’re caring for others and absolutely be at the top of the list!

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

“Love the ones you’re with.” If you are gathered with friends or family, put your phone down! PLUG into them! My youth group knew this one well.

Why did you decide to serve as a board member for the Better Way-Five Sisters Project?

I have believed in and supported the idea of the Five Sisters Project when the birth pangs first began.

Tracy shared many years ago with me about her assignment from the Lord. I have been amazed at her commitment to, listening for, waiting on, and discerning when the ministry would be born! HELP. HEALING. HOPE. Is being offered to women in crisis and it’s beautiful to witness.

That is SUCCESS!!

Get to know our new board member Kim Jacobson

Get to know our new board member Monica Romano

Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and what you like to do.

I have six kids and have been living in Wells since 1998. The highlight of my family's week is going to church on Sundays together. We also love to go camping and have family game nights.

Do you have a favorite quote or movie line?

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Favorite travel spot?

Every year for the past seven years, my family goes camping at Camp Dells in Waterville and enjoys the trails, fishing, petting zoo, and water park.

How do you define success?

I define success if I have taught my children to be kind and compassionate, serve the Lord, build character, and if they are people of honor when whose handshake means more than signature on a piece of paper.

What are you most excited about right now?

I am very excited to see what is happening in our community. I am excited to see the church provide a light in the darkness of the world right now. I want to welcome people to church and I want to see the church filled with people who need some light.

If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

Jesus or Peter. I would love to ask Peter about his experience walking on water.

If you were to write a self-help book, what topic would it be?

Forgive for You, Your Freedom, and Your Peace. Everyday when I wake up, I choose to walk in forgiveness and the freedom that forgivness gives. That apology might never come and you will live in that darkness unless you choose the freedom forgiveness and humility can give.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

Every morning I say, "Jesus I chose this day to walk in your love, to see you as my example, to be a blessing, walk in your freedom, and to remember your promises."

Every night I say to my children, "You are blessed, you have a crown upon your head, and you are His." If they are having a rough day I tell them to keep their chin up to straighten that crown. It is always there because He placed that upon your head.

I call each of my children blessed everyday because they were His before they were mine.

Why did you decide to serve as a board member for the Better Way-Five Sisters Project?

God calls us to serve and having been here in Wells for many years it was time to give back to the community. God called me to give back here. I heard him telling us that now is the time, more than ever before, we need to serve and show God's love. Now is the time for His children to stand firm and take care of others and show who He really is. God told me that it was time to use my past to help bring healing to others. If I can help others with my life, it is time.

A Question of Position

Posted on 9 July, 2020 at 11:35 Comments comments (2)

Looking at scripture this week sparked some serious thought. Ready to think deeply and consider something that could change everything for you?


The story is from Numbers 16-18. It is about the rebellion of Korach. Korach stages an organized protest on behalf of the rest of the group who feels slighted by the elevated position of Moses and the high priests. Korach and the rest of those who had chosen to join him in the rebellion were swallowed up by the earth. It would appear the story is about the consequences of taking a position of opposition against a person chosen by the Lord, particularly one in leadership. This is an important lesson and true but I think there is something else to consider which seems to be extremely relevant for this time.


A couple of years ago in the early days of the Five Sisters Project, I succumbed to the temptation of “taking inventory”. I reviewed and evaluated what other organizations and ministries were “gettting” and I decided what I thought was fair or unfair. The Lord brought me up short with a living and active Word about my thought life. Who did I think I was to compare myself to anyone else? He reminded me of the 10th commandment, “Thou shalt not covet”. I thought this commandment was simply about being selfish and desiring what others had. He wanted me to know this command was critical because He is God and He is sovereign in His choices. Whether I had or did not have was not a coincidence, a lack of my striving sufficiently, or someone else’s good luck. He is all-knowing, loving God and He does what He will to accomplish what He intends. My covetousness was an in your face confrontation with the God of the universe about His decisions for what was best for me and others.


The problem is we “do not know what we do not know”. We need to trust the One who knows it all. All, everything, top to bottom, inside and out. ALL.


It occurred to me today that many of the issues we are facing in the current climate come down to these questions: What is fair? and Who is in charge?

Some things I did not get to choose. I did not choose to be in the family or country I was born into, the color of skin I have, or my station in life. Every day, I make personal choices. These impact me and my family. As a leader of a ministry, I also make choices for others. I am human and some of my choices have been good and others have not. One of the best and most important choices I have made is to follow Jesus. His example on how to be a human being on this planet is exemplary and I am a better person because of it but this is not why I surrendered my life to Him.


There is a God, three in one. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is sovereign and He is good. This means He always makes good choices. The Word says He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I have seen the benefit that comes from being under the protection of the decision to follow Him. But being under the umbrella of His grace does not give me the right to question His decisions. There is a wrestling that comes with that. I do not understand all of His ways and it is hard for me to understand the reasons for the horrible things that happen. I am not mindlessly submitting myself to a power-hungry leader. I have, however, ceased to resist the boundaries that He has set up for my protection. This includes understanding there are higher purposes for the things that I experience like unfairness, hardship, loss, and pain. In order to benefit from His wisdom, I must submit to the understanding that He is working all things out to the good of those (not just me) who love Him (Romans 8:28).


As humans, we want to know things. What’s next? Where are we going? What will it look like when we get there? We look to other sources for answers like horoscopes and palm reading (which the Lord expressly forbids). We like anything that gives us a prediction or a glimpse of the future so we have a leg up on life. We don’t do very well at trusting. The Israelites didn’t, the world doesn’t and as believers, we still don’t. But the Lord asks us to understand that the things we can’t explain, don’t understand, and are out of our control He can still turn into something good. It requires faith. Even when life seems unfair, He is still on the throne.


What do you think about the decisions Korach made and how that applies to you in your life? In the issues that we are currently facing? How would life be different if we could submit to Him and trust Him in everything?


This life is brief and one day we will be face to face with Him. We will have to account for our actions and our thoughts. Personally, I do not want to have to explain why I resented His decisions for the way my life would go or why I decided to operate outside of His will. It seems the lower I go, the greater I seem to understand and gain favor. I mean if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. My position is servant and my mission is to hear him say, “Well done.”

-Tracy Muhlenbeck


Building Something Beautiful

Posted on 26 November, 2019 at 13:00 Comments comments (2)

Today, we “Raise a Hallelujah”! To be on the other side of an event like the “Building Something Beautiful” fundraiser with Jason Gray is an amazing and wonderful thing. We are all confident that the orchestration of this event was truly the Lord’s and both appointed and anointed.


As with many of the things we do, we learned on the fly about things we had never done before. We faced challenges, lost sleep, fought a social media battle with Facebook, cooperated with one another, met new people, were blessed with generosity, and pulled off an event in just three short weeks that some experienced “event planners” said was “absolutely nuts”. Well, that is the kind of God we serve. When He leads us, He provides for us. And when He says we can, even when we think we cannot, we can accomplish great things for the Kingdom.


Having said that, we made a relatively small amount of money on the fundraiser. I’m tempted to be discouraged by that but am told that is actually often the result. One of my friends who runs a nonprofit actually calls them “Friendraisers” instead of fundraisers. With that much effort, we wanted to think a financial blessing would be the outcome. And I supposed that sometimes happens. But I believe the fruit of this event has more to do with the relationships we developed, both personally and for our ministry.


I’d like to share another fruit of this event. When Jason and I met backstage, we discussed our vision for the evening. My priority was that Holy Spirit would have permission (not that He needs it) to do whatever He would do. So I invited Jason to allow the Holy Spirit to direct his plans for the evening. He cautioned me that many people come to a concert with the expectation that their favorite songs will be played and that they might be disappointed if that is not what happens. I assured Jason that I would be ok with whatever the outcome if He would do what He was led to do. Almost all of the feedback I have received indicated this very thing happened. I was told that folks came expecting the usual concert experience and were surprised, in a wonderful way. People said their hearts were touched. Some said they had been struggling and they were so encouraged. Some were impressed that Jason shared his struggles and how gentle and tender he was. They felt like they were engaged in a living room conversation with him.


I call that a success. And I’m ok with wherever the tally lands financially if there is fruit for the Kingdom of God. No, actually, I’m not just ok with that, I’m ecstatic. My entire goal at the Five Sisters Project is to point people to the Lord. And I think we hit that mark.


That is something worth shouts of praise. We have a list of things we could be asking for this week, but as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I think we are going to sit right here and be thankful. What a wonderful place to be!


A testimony shared

Posted on 30 May, 2019 at 16:45 Comments comments (258)

I am from insecurity and violence, from inappropriate sexuality and unexpected outbursts.  I am from brokenness and rebellion, from acting out and desperation for love.  I am from renewal and restoration, to victory and everlasting love.  I am a survivor, a warrior, a protector.  I am a believer in someone bigger than myself that makes it possible for me to be better and more loving in a way I could never be on my own. --  Anonymous

Web Site Update

Posted on 19 March, 2019 at 19:40 Comments comments (1)

Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

I suggest there are many other things that are certain, not the least of which is that the Lord is God, always was, always will be.

There are other things that are certain.  Like change.

I hate to admit it because I like to think of myself as flexible, but I really don't like change.  I mean, I think I'm the reason they came up with the term comfort zone.  It always seems like just when I get comfortable, things change.  And that isn't good when the place you are comfortable seems like a good place to be.

In order for us to get sanctified, though, the Lord is always allowing things in our life to make us uncomfortable.  We grow in discomfort.  We either get better or worse but we cannot stay the same and be a follower of Christ.  Until we are transformed into His image, we need to keep changing.

Some of the changes here at the Five Sisters Project have included people.  People that got excited about what they saw God was doing here and wanted to come and be a part of it.  They were amazing people and brought amazing gifts and talents to our ministry but circumstances change, priorities change and people move on.  I hate that.  It isn't comfortable but it is just a part of how this thing works.  And apparently, it's a part of what God is doing with me to tranform me into His image. And that is a good thing.

As I reviewed this web site, I realized I hadn't kept up with some of those changes.  So I looked over that and corrected it.  It's good to see what God is doing and it's comforting in some way to see that some things haven't changed.

For example, on the original site, I had included a short explanation of how I ended up doing this thing called ministry.  It was rewarding to see that rings as true today as it did at the beginning.

I decided to include that here:

"When the Lord snatched me away from the clutches of the enemy in my mid-thirties, I never imagined I'd end up working in full-time ministry.


Now, it's my life's work to be able to talk about Him and the power He has to transform a broken, busted up life and make it new.




It never ceases to amaze me that the Lord can take all of the careers, hobbies, and passions of my life and use them for all the different things that I do in my work at the Five Sisters Project. I'm always laughing about some skill that I'm using that I never thought I'd ever need in life. And He's even giving me some new equipment, too.




If you feel discouraged about the direction you think the world is going or you think people cannot change, come over and share a cup of coffee with me and I'll tell you about how I know first hand that He is still a God who Redeems, Restores and Renews the heart and He is still in charge."

I consider myself blessed to be able to come along on this journey with the Lord as He does what He seems to be doing here. I hope you will be one of the ones who gets excited about it and comes along, too.

God Bless You!

Pray for change!

Posted on 14 April, 2018 at 19:45 Comments comments (2)

Today's AHA moment. Reading Matthew Henry's commentary as I study 1 & 2 Kings. As you may know, generationally wicked kings ruled. Ad nauseam. Gets old reading how wicked they are in the sight of the Lord and makes you feel a bit hopeless about our future based on the generational leadership. AND THEN, God raises up one who loves Him, Hezekiah. And he tears down all the places of idol worship! Do not lose hope and think that the decline means it is perpetual. GOD IS ABLE to raise up one who loves Him and brings course correction. Pray for the leaders of our country. This was not an easy task for Hezekiah. Opposition was fierce and attack by the enemy was brutal. Come on Lord. We are committed to you and trust your promises to us are true. No matter what it looks like in the world.


Posted on 20 February, 2018 at 13:00 Comments comments (3)

I've just returned from a two week Mission Trip to the town of Pignon, Haiti.

Why on earth, you might ask, would I take a two week break from ministry at the Five Sisters Project to go to a third world country - a place President Trump recently called a "S__t Hole"?

In Haiti, life is a daily struggle to survive.  Dropping in with some food, some clothing, some soccer balls.  Well, that is just plain easy.  It feels good to me.  It blesses others.  It makes a temporary moment of brightness in a dark and difficult life.  And it leaves a mark on me of renewed appreciation for the simple things like electricity, indoor plumbing, hot water, convenient food.  We take so very much for granted.

The work at the Five Sisters Project is different than that.  Yes, there are times we just get to be a blessing in a difficult time.  Drop by with some much needed "stuff".  And that is important.  Because needs do need to be met.   But we have to be in it for the long haul.  We are working toward solutions and not just bandaids.  Ministry in your own community is hard.  It requires tenacity.  Creative solutions.  Trial and error.  Constant cheerleading.  And clinging to Jesus.  To tell you the truth, none of us has it in us to stick to it for the long haul.  We need the love of Jesus.

Evidence in my life proves that He is at the center of the solution to every problem - big and small.  The world does not agree.  The world says if we think hard enough, work hard enough, give up enough,  it can be better.  None of this is true.  We cannot do this on our own strength.

So I'm back on duty at the Five Sisters Project.  And I'm waiting on the Lord of the Universe to give His perfect plans in His perfect timing.  I'd love you to join me.


Press Release

Posted on 10 January, 2017 at 10:20 Comments comments (7)

Contact: Tracy Muhlenbeck FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Phone: 507-380-3365

E-mail: [email protected]






In an effort to raise public awareness of the nightmares of human trafficking, the Five Sisters Project of Wells, Minnesota, will be hosting a showing of the award winning documentary film, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls,” on Thursday evening, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flame Theater in Wells. Admission to the movie is free, but due to the nature of the film’s content, attendance is not recommended for those under the age of 18. A discussion of the film will take place afterward, featuring representatives from the Five Sisters Project and Juli Fast, Regional Navigator from the Southwest Crisis Center.


From the very first scene, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” ushers audiences into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands across the world experience daily, including many in southern Minnesota. But “Nefarious” is also a film that galvanizes hope through the triumphant testimonies from survivors of trafficking. The film also provides case studies that yield practical strategies to abolish human trafficking and expose the shadows surrounding the sex industry.


Tracy Muhlenbeck, founder of the Five Sisters Project, hopes that by showing the film, awareness of the horrors of trafficking will increase – and reveal how close to home the practice is occurring.


“January is designated as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” said Muhlenbeck. “It would be hard to miss the recent news stories about arrests in our area of those who are soliciting these services, which make this an important topic for us to address.”


Muhlenbeck also looks to shine a light of truth behind the practice of human trafficking.


“Prostitution is not a career choice. Traffickers are excellent manipulators and use deceit, charm and experience to target their victims. The subject of commercial sex trafficking is widely misunderstood. We are most concerned about what makes our youth vulnerable to getting involved in this industry and bringing awareness to thoughts, attitudes and behaviors which perpetuate the demand.”

The mission of the Five Sisters Project is to offer help, healing and hope to women in crisis and according to Muhlenbeck, that mission includes providing education and promoting community awareness for critical women’s issues. Those who are engaged with the fight to abolish human trafficking are heralding “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” as a phenomenal achievement, and by sponsoring this film event, Five Sisters Project looks to bring awareness of this important topic to the community at large.

For more information about this free event or to schedule an interview, contact Tracy Muhlenbeck at the Five Sisters Project by phone at 507-380-3365 or by email at [email protected]

Donate button

Posted on 13 September, 2016 at 13:20 Comments comments (2)

After a snag in the set up caused the donate button to give an error message, we are now completely set up to receive donations online through PayPal.  If you would like to support our project, this is an easy and safe way to donate directly towards the ministry.  God Bless You!

Five Sisters Open House

Posted on 18 August, 2016 at 0:30 Comments comments (2)

Great success at our Open House event.  Traffic was steady and we met a great number of wonderful people interested in what we are working on. Stop by and see our progress.  Good things are happening.