City Shoe Repair & More

We’ve been at our new location 1327 Union Ave, Sheboygan for one year. 920-918-7823.
 New hours. Mon, Thurs, Fri 9:30am-5:30pm; Tues 9:30am-4pm; Wed-closed; Sat winter hours 8am-12pm.
Parking and entrance are in the back.
Shoe Repair its More Than You Think.
City Shoe Repair & More is a full service shoe and boot repair from heel to toe we’ll save you dough. We hope to see you for all your repair and shoe care needs (waterproofing, laces, polish…). Now’s the time to winterize your boots.
We repair or replace zippers, elastic, Velcro, snaps, eyelets, buckles, buttons, purse straps, insoles and more.
In addition to repairing shoes and boots, we also repair purses, knife sheaths, leather chaps, belts, and baseball gloves. We can also sew on patches to leather motorcycle jackets. The “& More” is all the odds and ends that need repair or restoration. Like a dog chewed shoe or slipper.
City Shoe Repair carries Thorogood boots, made in Wisconsin. We have nine different styles in stock. Ten percent off in stock Thorogood boots in February. Other styles for men or women can be ordered and available usually in a few days.
Custom-made men’s dress shoes and custom-made men and women’s golf shoes, from Tauer & Johnson also available. Sizing by appointment.
City Shoe Repair also has over 70 gently used handbags, (COACH, sak, Etienne Aigner, Fossil, Tory, Nordstrom…), and a nice array of gently used high end men’s shoes, (Allen Edmonds, Johnson & Murphy, STACY Adams, Cole Haan, Dr. Martens…), and boots also woman’s, (KEEN, dansko, Dr. Martens…), reasonably priced.
Custom made cozy wool mittens different colors available.
And for the special man in your life we have all natural beard oil specially made in California.
Come visit us in our big beautiful new showroom.
City Shoe Repair & More is like shoe shopping in your own closet.
If The Shoe Fits, Repair It.

Miesfeld’s Meat Market

Miesfeld’s Meat Market is a family-owned and operated meat market located in Sheboygan. Our staff has more than 50 years of combined experience and is committed to providing our customers with quality products and services that meet and surpass their expectations.
Over the years we have earned an enviable reputation by offering only the finest quality of meat available in the United States. Each piece of food that passes through our doors is guaranteed to be restaurant quality and we receive fresh shipments daily from locations throughout the United States and worldwide. If you love to cook, then come into our store to learn more about how we can help you put delicious meals on your table.
Miesfeld’s Market Inc. has won the Chamber of Commerce Retailer of the Year award for 2013 and 2014. 4811 Venture Dr (HWY 42), Sheboygan. 920-565-6328.

Cain’s Bridal Wreath

We are a family-owned and operated flower shop serving the area for two decades. Since then, our vast pool of clients has entrusted us with their needs, from the exotic to the traditional; from the solemn to the celebratory. We use our creative skills and years of experience to arrange beautiful designs that perfectly match any occasion.
Our dedicated and friendly staff is trained to provide exceptional service to suit every customer’s taste and budget. We are constantly developing and updating our arrangement styles, and we’re more than happy to take requests for designs as well. Call today, and let us add that special touch to your event with a breathtaking floral arrangement of your choosing. 531 E Mill St, Plymouth. 920-892-2867.

Victorian Chocolate Shoppe

Experience Sheboygan’s Old Time chocolate and candy store offering over 80 varieties of homemade hand-dipped truffles and chocolates, perfect for any occasion. We also carry 22 kinds of delicious sugar-free chocolates. Gift boxes filled with goodies are made to order. Take a walk down memory lane with our wide selection of nostalgic candy. You haven’t visited Sheboygan unless you stop in for our famous chocolate dipped raspberries. There’s something for everyone. 519 S. 8th St, Sheboygan.

Bemis Bath Shoppe

Bemis Bath Shoppe located in downtown Sheboygan Falls, is a stunning two-story boutique that boasts nine inspirational lifestyle vignettes displaying hundreds of Bemis’ signature company toilet seats.
The Bemis Bath Shoppe also offers a variety of luxurious bath & body products, bath linens & accessories, cabinet & bath hardware, candles, gifts, clothing and more! 1 Store. 2 Floors. Endless Ideas. resonates with customers because they immediately see the infinite possibilities to enhance the look of their home or find beautiful gifts and personal items.
Bemis Manufacturing Co. and the Bemis Bath Shoppe are proud to be located in Sheboygan Falls. The Sheboygan County area is the bedrock for the company and the Bemis family is committed to manufacturing here for years to come.
To learn more about the history of Bemis Manufacturing Co., visitors can browse the second floor at the Bath Shoppe to enjoy historic company images and informational video. Store hours are Mon-Wed 9-5; Thurs-Fri 9-6; Sat 9-3.


When you hear Jazzercise you think legwarmers and leotards, right? Or a workout for your mom but not for you? We admit our workouts got so popular in the 80’s that we created a fitness revolution that people still associate with us today. It’s true that we were the original dance party workout. But today the leotards—and the 80’s—are long gone and our classes are way too hot for legwarmers. We’re still evolving and transforming people’s bodies and their lives. Why are we still here 45 years later? Because our program works! Jazzercise is a pulse-pounding, beat-pumping, body-blasting fitness program that gets you results…fast. It’s a high intensity dance party that fuses cardio, strength, Pilates, hip-hop, yoga and kickboxing. Burn up to 800 calories per hour in any of our 60-minute classes. Why do people stay? If you try our classes, odds are you’ll stay with our program for seven years. That’s our average and we’re proud of it. Why do people stay? Because we keep it fresh so you never plateau and never get bored. We have a variety of classes to challenge you—Interval HIIT, Fusion, Core, Strike, Strength and Dance Mixx. Kiel offers three classes weekly at City Hall on second floor. Class times are Mon & Thurs 6pm; Sat 8am. Attend once, twice or three times weekly. Check us out at or 920.775.9305.

Permanent Cosmetics by Heidi

Heidi Hess, LPN, Permanent Cosmetics Specialist
Licensed Tattooist has worked in the medical field since 1980 and has been performing permanent cosmetics since 2002. She is a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and has worked in a variety of medical specialties, including facial plastics. In addition to operating her permanent cosmetics business Heidi is also a hospice nurse.
Heidi’s initial experience with permanent cosmetics began in 1993 when she had the permanent eyeliner procedure done. She has since had her eyebrows and lip liner done as well. Heidi made the decision to pursue training in permanent cosmetics because she was so thrilled with the results other own permanent cosmetics and she realized that others would be too! Her nursing background has proven to be very beneficial in her work with permanent cosmetics. Permanent Cosmetic Make-Up, look your best 24 hours a day with no effort. Locations: A. Prive’ 815 Riverfront Dr, Sheboygan; GJ’s Salon-N-Spa1604 Washington St, Two Rivers; Bella Wellness & Aesthetics Center 105 Western Ave, Suite 3, Waupaca. 920-950-2250.

Bill’s Piggly Wiggly

Welcome to Bill’s Piggly Wiggly. Bill and Mary Schleh have been in the grocery business for over 44 years. They believe that customer service is something every shopper wants when they stop at a grocery store. So if you want “BIG” store savings with small town friendliness then Bill’s Piggly Wiggly is the place to shop.
Some of their signature items include homemade peanut squares (which customers come for miles around for) and homemade brownies in their bakery. They are the best.
Many of the deli salads and dips are homemade. We have a great line of homemade soups with a different soup everyday from taco, chicken enchilada, cheesy vegetable and chili, to just name a few.
In their spare time, Bill and Mary Schleh like to coach soccer and hang out with their grandkids.
The store features: • full-service floral with wedding consultation • bakery • deli • liquor • DVD & BluRay rentals • propane exchange • gluten free items throughout the frozen section • dry cleaning • RUG DOCTOR rentals • money orders • copies • faxes • lottery tickets • postal services • specialty meats • four foot gluten free section.
Open Mon-Fri 7am-9pm; Sat 7am-8pm; Sun 8am-7pm. 714 S Wisconsin Dr, Howards Grove. 920-565-4421.

Victorian Village

For the magical wedding of your dream.
If you picture a fairy tale wedding at a charming resort in a quaint lakeside village, this is the place to be.
This beautiful vintage resort feels like a casual country estate, with lovely landscaped grounds, a theatre that seats up to 300 people or choose a tent wedding on our lawn. With our Back Porch Bistro and everyone’s happy place—the Barefoot Tiki Bar. There are so many choices for ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner and remarkable photographic backgrounds that you will be delighted with everything that we have to offer. Golf, take a cocktail cruise or explore our authentic little downtown shops and galleries.
You and your guests will be amazed at the beauty and graciousness of Victorian Village Resort, we are happy to provide you with everything that you need and attend to every little detail of your special day. We have an array of pricing options for you and accommodations of hotel rooms and condos that will please everyone on your list.
See our Wedding Page: and contact our events coordinator today.

Molly’s Cobbler Shop

Molly’s Cobbler Shop has been serving Sheboygan and the surrounding community since 1904. We repair both men’s and ladies shoes. Dress shoes, work shoes, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots and more. We also repair leather bags, belts, replace eyelets, rivets, and Velcro.
You will also find a selection of shoe care products along with a large selection of laces. If new work shoes are what you need, we special order Thorogood work and uniform shoes, made here in Wisconsin. Visit to see the selection available.
You can also find a selection of men’s hats from traditional Pub Caps to Fedora’s, Bowlers and Pork Pies. We also carry a selection of Stormy® Kromers, manufactured in Ironwood, Michigan.
Open Tues-Fri from 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm. 1003 Michigan Ave, Sheboygan. 920-452-7838.

Enchanted Floral

Start a trend. Impress your single (or even your married) friends with the fact that you do not need to wait for anyone to send you flowers. Forget casual Fridays—start up Flower Fridays in which the whole office orders in flowers! Who needs a reason? Send yourself flowers just because you feel like it! “They just make me happy and I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t like being around flowers,” new business owner Mary Forstner stated. Enough tip toeing through the tulips. An art teacher by trade, Mary decided now is the time to believe in herself, and her dream. In October 2012, she opened Enchanted Florals of Elkhart Lake and started working on holiday floral, wedding and banquet orders and flowers for everyday gift giving. “I’m greatly I inspired by the local business and community of Elkhart Lake,” she added. Most of her previous work was based out of her home and through word of mouth.
This spring and summer months she plans to offer a variety of fresh blooms and daily specials. Mary has an open heart and an open door for customers looking to stop in and smell the roses. “I can spend several hours working on a project or arrangement and think nothing of the time,” she said. “I love what I’m doing and it’s not like work at all.” In essence, Mary sends a gift to herself each day. Now available, tuxedo rentals.

Nesemann’s Diamond Center

Nesemann’s Diamond Center was established is 1919 and has been in the town of Plymouth since 1957. We are a family owned and run business and we aim to please the customer. We have a full line of engagement rings that fit any budget and with a bench jeweler on hand customizing and designing rings becomes very easy. We also carry a large selection of gold/silver gemstone designs, watches, and giftware for any occasion.
In addition to the sale of fine jewelry, we provide repairs on all your jewelry needs in house. Not one single item repaired at Nesemann’s is sent off site, everything is done in house by Mike (owner) or Alex (son). Engraving and appraisals add to the list of services we provide for our customers.
Please allow Nesemann’s Diamond Center to fulfill all of your jewelry needs. “There’s always a Nesemann at Nesemann’s.”

Image By Design

Thinking of a new look, one of our seven-experienced stylists can help you choose a new style, color or ask about them about our GK Hair Straightening Treatment. Hair is not our only specialty. It’s time to freshen up those dry winter feet with a spa pedicure in one of the new spring colors from the New Orleans OPI collection. While you are at it, add a matching gel manicure. If you feel like you need a little sun, we have tanning bed and booth packages available.
Image by Design carries a wide variety of products from Loma, Paul Mitchell, Eufora, Chi, MENSDEPT, Nioxin and GK to help you maintain healthy, beautiful hair. Make sure you check us out on Facebook to catch our monthly specials. We also offer a variety of jewelry, scarves and purses to compliment that special outfit.
We look forward to hearing from you. Call today to schedule your appointment! We are available Mon thru Thurs 9am-8pm; Fri 8:30am-4pm; Sat 8am-1pm. Gift certificates are available in any amount!

Molly’s Cobbler Shop

Molly’s Cobbler Shop has been serving Sheboygan and the surrounding community since 1904. We repair both men’s and ladies shoes. Dress shoes, work shoes, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots and more. We also repair leather bags, belts, replace eyelets, rivets, and Velcro.
You will also find a selection of shoe care products along with a large selection of laces. If new work shoes are what you need, we special order Thorogood work and uniform shoes, made here in Wisconsin. Visit to see the selection available.
You can also find a selection of men’s hats from traditional Pub Caps to Fedora’s, Bowlers and Pork Pies. We also carry a selection of Stormy® Kromers, manufactured in Ironwood, Michigan.
Open Tues-Fri from 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm. 1003 Michigan Ave, Sheboygan. 920-452-7838.

Depke Shoe Store

Depke Shoe Store in Sheboygan Falls offers shoes for your whole family in all widths and sizes. We have a wide selection of quality brands for you to choose from. We measure your feet and are dedicated to fitting you properly. Depke Shoe Store has been in our family since 1966. We are proud to serve your footwear needs. We offer shoes from 4a - 6e, men, women and children’s shoes, work boots, dress shoes, doctor’s prescriptions filled, Jumping Jacks, Beekos, and Bogs, New Balance, Red Wing, SAS, Hush Puppies, Aravon, Ros Homerson, Spring Step, and Fly Flot Aetrex, Munro American, Alegria, P.W. Minor, Drew, Orthaheel, Dr. Weil, Minnetonka, Dunham, Old Friend, Clinic, Trotters, Comfort-Rite and Smartwool. Arch support products we carry Lynco, Power Step and Spenco.
Whether it’s for casual or formal events, we have the perfect shoes for you. 105 Pine St, Sheboygan Falls. 920-467-4181. Mon-Thurs 9am-5:30pm; Fri 9am-7pm; Sat 9am-noon.

Seranya Studios Art Boutique

Seranya Studios Art Boutique located at 307 E. Mill St in one of the most beautiful and historically significant buildings of downtown Plymouth, Seranya Studios Art Boutique is a unique treasure. We offer a fantastic selection of fine art and fine craft by local artists and makers. Visit Seranya Studios to experience a visual symphony of beautiful colors, textures and forms. You’ll find exquisite, one-of-a-kind items with an unmatched depth of variety and selection, including jewelry, home décor, garden art, finely crafted wood items, fine art paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor, fashion accessories and wearable art, gourd art, fine metal sculpture, greeting cards, luscious handmade natural soaps, lotions, lip balms and salves, art journals, books by local authors, doll clothes, hand carvings, painted antique saws, painted home furnishings, hand woven baskets, and much more.
Seranya Studios also offers art parties, classes and workshops in many forms of art. Just ask and we’ll put something together just for you if you don’t see what you’d like on our current class offerings schedule. We are also honored to be partnering with Pourvino Wine Bar offering Art & Vino art and wine parties at Pourvino.
Easy parking in back off Stafford Street with a rear entrance makes us easy to get to. Of course we have a front entrance off Mill Street too. We are open seven days a week for your shopping convenience. Mon-Thurs 10am-5:30pm; Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 10am-4pm; Sun noon-4pm. See our ad in this issue for a sneak peek at all the beautiful things you’ll find. 920-893-9000

​Dreams Unlimited Music Store & Studio

Dreams Unlimited Music Store and Studio was founded in the spring of 1994 by Martin and Shirley McDole. The main focus for Marty and Shirley was to spread their love of music through music education, but they soon found that there was a strong need in the local area for musical products as well.
Ever since that time, Dreams Unlimited Music has been focused on both music education and music retail. Dreams Unlimited is a full line music store as well as a music-teaching studio that enables students to learn any and all instruments to include voice.
Dreams Unlimited Music is happy to ship any product that we have at your request. It’s just that simple. We will ship any product that you may need as soon as humanly possible. Contact us and let us know your needs, we will quote you a price and get your product on the way. 215 E Mill St, Plymouth.

Klips & Tips

Do you want to be pampered? Klips & Tips is a full service salon that has something for every member of the family. We have been in business for 3 1/2 years in our location at 435 East Mill Street, Plymouth.
Our staff will assist you in scheduling your appointments and help to make your visit a memorable one.
We offer a wide range of services, which are all hair and nail services including pedicures and acrylic or gel nails, waxing and ear candling, as well as ear piercing and many other services. If you want to feel like you are on vacation, come in for a day of pampering or enjoy our tanning bed that now has new bulbs and feel like you are in the tropics.
Our products are top notch. We use Joico color and perms that are made to work with each other. Klips & Tips now also is proud to carry an ORGANIC line, which is LOMA. The first ingredient is Aloe Vera. Both Joico and LOMA will make your hair very manageable and feel and look it’s best. Mon-Thurs 9am-7pm; Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 8am-noon. Please call us or go ONLINE to book your appointment. 920-627-4247

Allechant Boutique

Allechant Boutique has been having a great time helping our customers purchase Alex and Ani Bangle Bracelets for themselves and others. We enjoy hearing stories about their special person’s life or something in their own life that inspires them to purchase one of the bracelets. Best of all the Alex and Ani bracelets are made in the USA out of recycled materials and many of them are Charity By Design meaning that a percentage of their sales go to some very wonderful charities. Besides these great bracelets we carry a ton of other jewelry, purses and trendy clothing to keep you looking up to date fabulous. We do Boutique Bashes for the winter months. Nothing like a glass of wine and some retail therapy to take away the chill of winter. If you are interested in a no pressure fun shopping party that includes yummy food, door prizes and some fashion advice give us a call and we will tell you all about them or stop by. Birthdays, bridal showers, office parties, just because or any reason you can think of, a Boutique Bash is a great way to have a fun evening with no cleaning or planning on your part. Where Fantastic People and Stylish Clothing and Accessories Meet! 920-893-9888. 217 East Mill St, Plymouth.

Bringing Light into places of despair

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Rachel Mathes sings for the children of the Congo during a 2013 visit.
By Mike Mathes

In a world filled with darkness, a young Kiel native has answered the call to be a beacon of light.
Rachel Mathes graduated from Kiel High School in 2007, like many of her classmates, with an eye on college, and a profession beyond.
What started out to be a pathway into the graphic design profession and an avocation for fastpitch softball was only the first step on a faith journey that would lead her around the globe. The travels would be marked by an effort to bring hope and comfort to some of the world's poorest and most needy people.
Yet to turn 25, Mathes has made five worldwide mission trips, and serves currently in an inner city outreach center in Milwaukee. Her objective is simple. She feels called to bring the light of Christ to others who need that ray of hope.
Mathes' first mission trip came during her sophomore year at Concordia University of Wisconsin, where she was immersed in softball, pitching in relief for the Falcons while studying graphic design.
She felt God's call, and it wasn't an easy one to accept.
Softball would have to be put aside to make her first journey to India. Mathes discussed her plans with her coach, then came home to inform her family of her decision. Instead of pursuing her role on the college softball team, she was now a member of the Jesus team, heading for a faraway land.
"Jesus put the desire in my heart to go to India, before I even understood my relationship with him as my Lord and Savior," Mathes said.

Working through Bethania Kids
Making the decision to join the India mission team was only the first step. A simple matter of raising the money to support the journey-a tidy sum of $2,500 had to be raised by her and every other member of the India team-was the next hurdle.
Fundraising events and support from friends, family and fellow believers helped achieve the necessary financial goal. As is often the case, the mission teams received financial support from others, but more important is the prayer support for their effort.
The mission team traveled as a group based out of St. John's Lutheran Church in West Bend. That congregation had supported Bethania Kids in Southern India with prior mission ventures.
Through the Bethania presence, the traveling messengers would ground themselves in a relatively established presence in India. Christianity is a significantly minority religion in the country. But, the Bethania Kids homes are results of Christian efforts to help the disadvantaged-young boys and girls who might not otherwise be supported in Indian culture.
The young mission traveler recalled the exhaustion of the long flight halfway across the globe. Exhaustion would soon be replaced by the desire to interact with the children they had traveled to see. As a team member Mathes helped organize songs, skits and told stories about Jesus in her relatively low key role.
"We had 19 people on our team that first mission trip, and that was a huge team. I would never take that many again," she said.
The group visited children's homes starting out in Chennai and moving on to Kodaikannal. Mathes remembers getting off the bus to lines of children ushering them into their buildings screaming and shouting with joy.
"We were there to serve them, and they were blessing us so richly-literally treating us like royalty. I couldn't help but thinking, 'I am no one, why are you so excited to see me.'"
What she learned in the background and the safety net of the large group would pave the way for her next role-team leader. That would come on her third trip to India, where she had to take responsibility for planning and carrying out the entire team effort.

Learn to just love them
Mathes said one of the earliest and easiest things to comprehend is that the people on mission are simply there to share God's love for those they visit. "It's amazing how they just love you-they just need you to be there to reinforce their faith," she said. Sometimes it mean playing games, laughing together, drawing silly pictures or stumbling through language obstacles. For Mathes, the added gift of playing the guitar and singing helped her connect even more with the young people.
"It didn't take long to notice each of the children. Their clothes were heavily worn. Many were not wearing shoes. Yet they were still so happy," she said.
"You are amazed that they can be this happy while you can only imagine what they have gone through in their lives."
Visits involved singing, dancing and skits with translators. The guests would perform, and the children would share bits of their culture in return. Together, they ventured into the universal language of prayer.
"We prayed with and over each child. We spread out blessing them," Mathes noted, indicating the process that would be repeated at each location.
Of course, one of the intentions of the trip was also to bring supplies directly to the homes-items like blankets, vitamins, water purification systems, sweatshirts and other necessities were hauled along, making sure the good would actually reach their intended destinations.

Religious challenges
Serving as a Christian mission person in a distant land brings its set of challenges. In India, for example, Christianity is accepted as a minority religion in the south, where some freedom to choose religions exists.
Some parts of the country practice a hybrid theology, combining Catholicism with tenets of Hinduism, offering mixed blessings to the Christian faith.
Moving north, however, Christian beliefs are not part of the culture, and are frowned upon.
For the mission team, it's all about trying to find the right time to portray the message of Christianity. The travelers felt at ease witnessing to people in the market while surrounded by Indian friends and translators. However, on a second trip to India, Mathes and fellow team members encountered a driver who became offended when the group played some of their worship music on a CD. "He got pretty mad at us and came close to pulling the car over and leaving us out in the middle of nowhere," she said.

Mission misconceptions
Mathes said she learned early among her four trips to India that Americans, in particular, often have the wrong idea about the role of mission teams. Too often, they see themselves as fixers.
"We think we are there trying to help them, to give them something or to do something for them. Worse yet, we think we have to tell them how to live and whatever comes along with that," she said. "You can't go in somewhere-a place where you have no idea of what's happening-and decide what's best for someone else. You have to build the relationship. You have no clue of what's happening before you have been there," she said.
"If a person can realize the value of just being there and just loving one other person in a way that they are seen as the presence of the Lord, that's what really speaks to my heart," she said.

Listening for the Voice
Following her year as team leader, Mathes heard the call to return to India yet a fourth time. This time would be different. Instead of joining up with a team, Mathes and a roomate, Marcy Kelto, were called to make the trip on their own. Traveling to familiar Bethania settings and being called to venture into the non-believing north of India, this trip would be different.
Imagine being conflicted by hearing the call, yet being in a position where finances would be a huge issue. "I had graduated from Concordia and was making minimum wage as a day care facilitator at a Lutheran church. I lived in Grafton, then moved to Milwaukee. Big parts of my car had broken down two months earlier, sapping my savings. If I took this trip, I would be basically homeless upon my return to the Milwaukee area. I had no money to pay for my trip," she said.
"We had some people together praying for the trip. All I could remember was thinking how I needed $3,000 by the end of the week in order to make this journey," she said.
By 10 p.m. the group finished praying and was ready to depart, when someone noticed an envelope left at the entrance. In crayon, Rachel's name was scribbled on the envelope.
To her surprise, when she opened it, the envelope contained an anonymous cashier's check for $3,000-the exact amount needed to cover the journey. Her friend Marcy received a refund check from a grant in the mail the next day, and it was obvious Jesus had answered their prayers.
It was on this fourth journey, Mathes said, that she began to understand fully why God calls disciples to the nations. "It's not to make us feel good or say things about the cool places we have been. It's to demonstrate God's love for them," she said.
It can mean showing acceptance for disabled children in a culture where they are outcasts. It can mean helping women find their faith and sense of self-worth in a society where they have been abused or rejected. "We get to laugh, sing, talk and share with them. We get to pray together. We get to dream with God about their possibilities," she said. "We get to tell kids without earthly fathers that they still have a Father who cares for them.
"It's amazing to see the difference even one person can make and delivering God's message of love to the people," Mathes noted.

In a dark place
On her fourth trip, the mission called for Mathes and Kelto to journey to the north, to a place where a Christian mission was just taking a toehold in the midst of a strong Hindu tradition.
The American visitors felt the voice of God calling them to visit a major Hindu temple and pray. While that may not seem like a daunting task on surface, it was a place where Christians weren't allowed. As they explained their request to visit this place to a local Christian pastor, he silenced them.They were in a restaurant, fearing others would hear of their plans.
Later at the hotel, he advised, "Don't do this, it's really unsafe. But, if you want, I will try to get you there."
Take them he did in his car, despite Marcy feeling ill the whole trip.
They were able to get past the first checkpoint into the shrine but were halted as they passed the second guard, who charged the car yelling furiously. Apparently the pastor had the name of Jesus written on the windshield of his car. A second, younger man came over, explaining that the province practices freedom of religion, so it was okay to pass, provided the name was covered up with newsprint.
Together the duo prayer walked around the shrine, noting the solemn looks on the faces of those who came to wait their turn to enter the temple. "We didn't preach or start a riot," Rachel said. "We didn't see three thousand converts. We only did what God asked us to do and prayed for this place."
Adults and children alike at the shrine bore solemn looks on their faces, almost as if they were about to die.
Yet, while the two women walked they encountered one young girl who couldn't stop looking at them. "She was beaming. She could not take her eyes off us. She was seeing something different than everyone else on that mountain," Mathes noted.

Diverted to Africa
Mathes was locked in the throes of planning her fifth trip to India and a return to the children she loved working with. But things changed dramatically.
"I had plans and had sent in my deposit to go, but God stopped me. The ministry planning the trip was shutting things down, and I could not go alone," she said.
Attending a Burn 24-7 event, Mathes said a friend communicated that Rachel would be going to Africa, not India-something learned in prayer.
After prayerful consideration, and some scurrying to circumnavigate last minute deadlines, Africa was the destination indeed.
"I didn't have much time to decide, but prayer helped us understand we were being called to go to the Congo," she said.
That's Congo, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a central African nation torn by warring rebel factions, and decimated by disease, famine and abject poverty. No place on earth has a higher incidence of rape or sexual violence. The DRC is not the sort of place a woman would seek on her travel agenda.
In recent wars, genocide was practiced as Rwandese and Congolese battled for control of the country and its limited resources.
"I was well aware of the dangers," Mathes said. "We had visited with some of the ministry people connected with the trip and we were well aware we might be going into the bush."
After a lot of praying, Mathes and those she would be journeying with were buoyed by their faith. They had to trust that God would protect and keep them safe as they were venturing on this important mission to support Christians in the backcountry of one of the world's darkest places.
"All of us on the team felt at peace with the mission because we were going to see the friends who had been called to ministry in this place," she said.
Loving, gracious people
Halfway around the globe, in the midst of this strife, Mathes and her fellow travelers took stock in the hearts of the people they encountered.
"The people in the Congo are the most loving and gracious people I have ever met. They were hospitable and wanted to take us in. And, this was in places where the country was so war torn that their natural love and hospitality has been beaten down. It's sad to see that people so willing to give are being stolen from and abused," she said.
It was in this place where the mission team struggled to find words and answers.
"Where is God?"
"That's a common question for the Congolese to ask. They tell us, 'You come and talk about God and we believe in Jesus. It's so hard to keep believing when we don't see him bringing peace,'" Mathes noted.
She admitted feeling uneasy-having never experienced the level of pain and the trauma associated with the plight of the Congolese.
In the end, it's most important that the visitors leave the message of hope that God still cares about these people. "We are there to let them know that someone came to care about them, to care about the hurting in their nation and to care about the injustices. Our presence brings the Light to their darkness," she said.

Extended worship
While in the bush, Mathes and others with her conducted a "burn" or extended worship time, with guitar, praise singing and prayer leading the way. Working with a ministry that had been active in the Congo, the team reached out to local pastors to bring them together for worship and prayer.
"It was amazing to worship with the Congolese. They worship like no one I have seen. We danced and sang praise to the Lord all night long," she said.
"We taught them how to be intimate with God during worship and worked with 30 pastors in the process," she said.
During the midst of the burn, completely exhausted at 3 a.m., it was Mathes' turn to lead worship for two hours. She remembers the joy-filled 12X16 room jammed with 40 people-mostly pastors. The group soon wore itself out and some stretched out to sleep on the floor. One of the Congolese played the drum while two others from the American mission team remained awake. "We just keep singing out the goodness and hope of Jesus," she said.
One of the pastors, whom she thought was sleeping, had remained awake to tearfully greet her at 5:30 a.m. on the way back to the house she was staying.
"He started to cry," she said. "He told me, 'You all mean so much to me and to God that I wanted to give of myself to bless you.'"
Mathes said the pastor told her he was moved to see her awake at 4 and 5 a.m. singing God's goodness over his country.
"One of the pastors that was reluctant to do anything of this sort said they would do this on a regular basis, and he would organize it-he was that moved by God's presence," she noted.
To her it was evidence that mission work isn't about changing people.
It's about serving as God's presence in their midst.
"The seeds you plant are the seeds that will grow," she said. "It's incredible to know that something changed in their hearts. They wanted to continue what God started while we were there."

Experiencing freedom
On her journeys, Mathes has seen the changes that can occur among believers of the faith.
In India, a country where women are very oppressed, especially in poorer areas of the country, she felt her presence made a great statement. "The mere fact that we were women in these countries demonstrated to the women there that we are valuable as people. We got to speak that value and self-worth into women's lives," she noted.
She recalls meeting an Indian woman on her first visit. As she was leaving the village, the woman asked the mission traveler to pray for her. Later, Mathes found out the woman was being abused by her husband, who didn't like the fact that she had turned to Christianity.
On her last trip there, the woman came up to Mathes and spoke to her in English, explaining the she had been freed from the abusive relationship.
"It's scary to go to some of these places as a woman, but to see how we impacted so many of the women we encountered makes it all worth it," she said.

Meeting life in the pit
Mathes, who serves back home in Wisconsin as director of worship and creative services for Adullam Outreach Center on Milwaukee's northwest side, acknowledges that her life is far from normal.
She lives and works in a community where she is a minority, surrounded by all the challenges that poverty, unemployment and mistrust foster. Yet, she knows, it's the life she is called to in her relationship with God.
People live in fear of racial mistrust and divisions because walls need to be broken down.
The hardest part of that "inner-city" ministry is getting to break down the walls that exist in the cultural divide. "I want to get to know the people-their needs, their dreams, what moves and shapes them. But we continually run into walls. The racial divisions are a two-way street. It's difficult to help others, or become their friend when they push us away," she said.
Much of that comes from cultural differences, but also fear.
"Many of the people in the neighborhood are fearful that we may hurt them as others have in the past," she said. "Because we are different we get a lot of suspicious looks. Others may think we are cops or spies, instead of someone truly reaching out to help."
So, the focus for Mathes boils down to her job within the ministry-creating an atmosphere through worship and prayer where people can feel safe, not judged nor rejected.
"We want them to experience the radical freedom through Jesus to feel loved and cared for," she said.
"I often ask myself why would God send a white girl who doesn't know anything about the people here, who never grew up in Milwaukee, who was raised next to a cornfield and throw her into the middle of this chaos. But, a huge part of why I am here is the same reason I have traveled to other dark places-If I can even bring hope to one person, to see one child loved, to see one life transformed-then I have fulfilled my purpose," she said.
"It's a circle. When one person is touched by God, it doesn't stop with that person. It touches another and another, and so on.....," Mathes added.
"My lifestyle is not normal. That's the best part about it. I get the opportunity to see lives change, not because of who I am, but because of how good God is," she said.
"Jesus wants to meet people in their despair, in the crap and in the pit of life," she said.
"That's why I am called to go to the darkest war zones and places without much of a future. Even in my own country, in a place where I can speak the language there's a different pit to attend to," she said.
"As long as someone needs the hope and needs to know that Jesus is good, that's where I'll be."