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In Evansville, IN, People of Praise members have turned vacant lots into an urban farm that produces thousands of pounds of vegetables each year for their neighborhood.

More in Video
This is Praise Harvest
Our Work Video
May 30

This is Praise Harvest

In Evansville, IN, People of Praise members have turned vacant lots into an urban farm that produces thousands of pounds of vegetables each year for their neighborhood.

March through the Valley #10: Dinkytown

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Nick Holovaty: Praise God! Our last sharing comes from Jen Torma. Jen was one of the first members of the Dinkytown campus division, and now she’s the women’s leader there.

Jen Torma: I’m going to try to summarize my life in three minutes or less! I spent my childhood in the Muncie branch and have a lot of memories there. Every Monday night my family would have three single brothers and sisters over. That was just a part of the culture of our family. We would celebrate Lord’s Days together with other families, and we’d vacation in northern Michigan with Pete and Beth Walters and their family, and so I had a really rich childhood.

I’m the oldest of five, and when I was in eighth grade my family moved to South Bend. I went to Trinity and then went on to study chemistry at Saint Mary's College. It was during college that I decided to join the People of Praise. I tried out college life for about a semester and just realized that I could be a good Christian girl by myself, but there had to be more. I saw the more in our life together in the People of Praise, so I wanted to join that.

So, when I was in college, the big question for me was, “What do I do after college?” I was thinking, basically, of being a doctor or a nurse. At that time Medicare had put a pretty significant cap on spending for physical therapy, so jobs were scarce. My line of thinking was, Well, I know there will always be doctors and there will always be nurses, so I’m going to choose one of those. I’m interested in both.

So the summer before my senior year of college I did some research for a foot and ankle surgeon in the Indianapolis branch, Dave Porter. One day during that summer, I got to shadow Genevieve DeCelles, now Genevieve Barrett. She’s a physical therapist and she was working for his clinic. I really loved what I saw her doing, so I thought maybe I should put that onto the options list. So I headed into my senior year and I decided to apply to one physical therapy school and one medical school. What I was really hoping for was that I would get into one and not the other, so that the decision would be really easy. That’s kind of a reflection of what my relationship with the Lord was like at the time. His good, faithful daughter would do anything that he wanted, but I wanted him to tell me, send neon signs. That’s not what happened. I ended up getting into both schools the same month. As I experienced that, I was realizing that the Lord wanted to know how I wanted to build his kingdom.

So, I went ahead and pursued physical therapy school, and I did that in Indianapolis. I lived in the Indianapolis branch during most of that time, lived in household with a family there, and as I was nearing the end of physical therapy school I was again faced with decision-making time. What did I want to do?

At the time, Allendale was about two years old and Dinkytown was just getting off the ground. I visited both places, and by April of my last semester I had gotten to a point where I really thought I could be happy and useful for the Lord in either spot, so both locations had particular draws.

So three weeks before I finished physical therapy school I came back from a clinical I was doing in South Bend. I was in Indianapolis and I had gotten to town a little before the rest of my physical therapy class, so I was kind of looking at free Friday and Saturday evenings, and I really liked to do things with people on those evenings. I particularly loved the Lord’s Day, so I thought, What am I going to do this evening? So I invited two high-school-age women over and we made pizza together and celebrated the Lord’s Day together. Then, as I kept thinking and praying in the days that followed, I realized that my heart had been moved to living and working with college-age women. So I called Genevieve up and asked her where to buy a parka!

Since moving here to Minnesota, my desire to live with college-age women has been blessed a hundredfold. I’ve lived with at least 35 women, and weekly I get to celebrate the Lord’s Day with them and hear about what the Lord has been doing during the week. So currently I’m learning about French diction, public health, pediatric nursing, the Google Art Project, pottery, the WolframAlpha search engine—all these things, because of how we share life and what we’re studying in our household in the campus division.

I’ve also experienced really being able to be a part of our brothers’ and sisters’ lives who have moved on from Dinkytown. One example of this is, recently I was in Allendale for Marie Elise Barrett’s baptism, and at one point we were standing around celebrating the day and thanking the Lord for that, and as I looked around the room I saw Laura Brummer, Colleen Murray and Genevieve Barrett--all sisters I’ve lived with in Dinkytown--and Chris Vieck was there, who was a huge help in getting Dinkytown off the ground, and Ellen Reed, who is a missionary in Evansville now (she taught me calculus at Trinity), so I am just so grateful to the Lord for these relationships and for what he is doing with all of us.


  1. Anne Brewer says:

    Wow! The Lord continues to pour out His riches on all of us!

  2. Mary Durand says:

    Amen to all of that! Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  3. John DeLee says:


    I love hearing your inspiring life and mission to date.
    God bless you and all around you and your wonderful family.

    John DeLee

  4. Gloria Murphy says:

    Thanks for sharing your involvement with the women in Dinkytown. I have heard it before but what always touches me is your invitation to invite those two lucky gals to celebrate Lord's Day with you. That was such a generous deed and of course the Lord used that to open your heart to share even more. Thank you, Jen.

  5. Cheryl Schmitt says:

    Jen (Jenny!), are you the same little girl that went with me to Dayton to see Christy at UD? You have grown to be a wonderful young woman and we have soooooooo many good memories with you and your family.
    Keep on with the Lord and the tract you are on. He will never leave you. God bless you.

    Cheryl Schmitt
    (You probably still think of me as "Mrs. Schmitt!

  6. Terry Bomkamp says:

    I'm proud to know and be a part of Jen's life, especially our great memories together in Muncie, God is great!

  7. Carmen Fraga says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jen and how you came to Dinkeytown. These decisions in the Lord are not without fruit as you point out so well! Alleluia!

  8. Ray Gonzalez says:

    What a great story! My only complaint is that you didn't do it all here in Indy. We miss you!! As you continue to pray about where the Lord is leading you keep Indy in mind. After all we are the crossroads of America!!

    God bless you sister. Come visit!

    In Christ - Ray G.

  9. Ray Hickey says:

    Great story Jen, now that you have a parka come and visit us in Saskatoon, we always love having visitors (and just in case you're wondering you won't need it in the summer).

    Thanks for sharing it's lovely to hear how our Father works in different lives.

  10. Nancy Grams says:

    Dear Jen,

    What a blessing and an inspiration you have been to so many young people along the way in Dinkytown, including our youngest daughter, Mary Martha. Thank you for your generosity and joy spilling over and into our second generation!

    Nancy Grams

  11. Megan Sgroi says:

    Thank you Jen! Your story is very encouraging for me. I love you, dear sister.

  12. Nancy Bolka says:

    My dear beloved Jen, I was there the day you were born and now can experience your faithfulness to our Father over all these years.You serve Him with sooo much joy and passion that it calls me on to love deeper like you.I continue to pray for you and all your efforts in Dinkytown. Your favorite Aunt Nancy:)

  13. Ann says:

    what a blessing you are to all of our sisters, thank you for being so open to what the Spirit wants to do and his leading
    Praise our Father

  14. Peter Hammer says:

    So now it is time for your video crew to go on a road trip and bring us stories of what the Lord is doing in POP across the branches! What an awesome way to share our life together. Thanks to everyone who made these stories shine and for each of you who serve the Lord and share what he is doing!

  15. Joan Meeks says:

    Jen, How the years roll by. We first met your Dad when he visited POP in South Bend and he stayed with us. He was torn as to what direction he should take as a single man with an interest in a woman from Muncie. God has His hand on you, it is an exciting life. We are now in Florida, visiting all the prayer groups and still encouraging those who are following the Holy Spirit. What a life He has chosen for all of us. God Bless!

  16. Bruce Wansart says:

    Jen, I like the way,you carried your family tradition,of Lord's Day suppers, with you through your many relationships.

    I see where being in a household has many advantages.One plus, is sharing career development. Spiritual developement, goes hand and hand with the former. Thus discerment is made clearer on what to do in lifes many situations.

  17. Tom Duddy (Sr) says:

    I really liked Jen's story. I like being reminded that the Lord likes to know what we want to do in Him. Also, after 30 years of doing Lord's Day's, the story prompted me to reconsider how to make them more life giving by inviting a wider group of people.

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