By Paige K Slighter
Mike and Deb have a small ministry in Woodland Park, Colorado where they encourage individuals and couples to practice solitude retreats. Their personal search for ‘retreat’ has been a long and oftentimes frustrating journey. This has played a huge part in where they are now, wanting to help others with similar desires.
Their journey began in the early 90s, in a cabin near the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. They were taking some time away from the busyness of life to pray, listen to teaching and seek God. Mike said, “We expected to head back home with our two tablets engraved with the next steps for our life. Instead, we left with one word, ‘wait,’ and deep peace. The power of that time, sitting with the Father, had a slow dawning on us.” Through the next 20 plus years, the Lundeens found themselves desiring more time away with God. Mike said, “It’s been a constant growing and learning part of our lives that has only intensified with each experience.”
After their first cabin retreat, they took waiting seriously and embarked on a nine-month period of trusting in God. Deb was working and Mike was accepting part-time jobs, but most of their effort and attention was put into learning more about prayer. Since they were living in Minnesota at the time, Woodland played a huge role in their education. They participated on the prayer team and soaked up all the information and training they could. Mike said what it really boiled down to was “listening to the Father.”
As they leaned on God, new opportunities opened up for them to minister to others and join more prayer initiatives. In 2005, they felt God calling them to leave Minnesota and move to Colorado to come alongside a ministry as intercessors. They were in that role for over ten years before they moved on to give their own ministry, Outpost Parakaleo, more attention.
The inspiration behind the name Outpost Parakaleo came from Christian radio host and author Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. The Lundeen’s heard her give an illustration about how coming alongside someone in their faith experience is similar to charging a car battery. Mike summarized it like this: “When your car battery goes dead and you need someone to jump your car, they use jumper cables to give you the charge you need. Once that’s happened you disconnect the cables and proceed on your own.” That’s what the Lundeen’s strive to offer to others. Parakaleo simplified means “to come alongside.” Mike said, “For us, it centers on prayer and also understanding one’s identity in Christ and inner healing. It’s not a prescribed program or plan.”
For 15 years, Mike and Deb have been dreaming of building their own prayer cabins for people to retreat to. Their biggest challenge has been obtaining land to build on. Mike said, “When the land didn’t materialize, we felt God telling us to go ahead and build a cabin anyway.” So, as of March, their first cabin on wheels is nearly finished. It’s pretty similar to a tiny house, but they like to call it a “bothy.” They became familiar with this name when they were in Scotland visiting small, sparsely-provisioned cabins that provide shelter for those in need. Mike said, “We loved this imagery of a shelter in a time of need, so we named our cabin Tiny Bothy.”
Once Tiny Bothy is completed, they plan to take it to forest service campgrounds where people can camp for free. They also hope to take it on the road to other areas so more people can experience it. Mike said, “Our desire is that the Tiny Bothy will inspire other people to make available cabins, trailers or whatever space they have that would be good for personal retreats.”
The final obstacle for them is finding a truck to tow Tiny Bothy. They haven’t needed it yet, so they’re not worried about it. They believe God will provide in due time. Mike said, “He has provided and led us up to now and we know the rest is covered.”
We are inspired by Mike & Deb’s journey and their blossoming ministry facilitating Sabbath for those in need. It’s an honor to have played a small role in their story; we pray that their mission will be successful and God’s provision will continue to be abundant!