Grandpa Leif told me a story today:

17 04 2012

Today I was talking with my Grandfather Leif and he was telling stories about his father Lewis, who immigrated to the US from Norway. It seems that he had moved here, in hopes of attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Unfortunately, his English wasn’t good enough for the school and he settled in Iowa.

Lewis had found salvation in Jesus through the Lutheran Revival in Norway. As he learned English, in the US, his passion for God grew.

In his thirties he had developed diabetes. He began to pray relentlessly these two requests: that God would call one of his two sons into pastoral ministry, and that God would heal him from diabetes and allow him to live a long life of serving through pastoral ministry.

There was a medical miracle and Lewis was healed of diabetes. He no longer needed medical care. He started his Christian work, travelling to tell people about Jesus. After a few years, he began to serve as a pastor and lived until the age of 87.

I remember being a 12 year old boy at Lewis’ funeral. Several people spoke kind words. We heard one person in particular describing the virtue of Lewis’ pastoral ministry. That moment was when I felt drawn to this life. That weekend I knew what I was born to do with my life. This is the reason that I’m in Baltimore today.

Lewis’ son Selmer served in the US Army for 25 years, retiring after WW2. Lewis’ son Leif (my grandfather) served as a pastor. He served people and lead churches across California, Washington, and Oregon.

It wasn’t until years after my Grandpa Leif had started his work in the pastoral ministry, that his father Lewis told him about that prayer. Leif didn’t know that Lewis had hoped “one of his sons” would serve in the pastoral ministry. Lewis didn’t hang that idea over his boys. It wasn’t the Malmin way. He prayed and waited to see what God would do. He continued to be a great father and follower of Jesus. Such is the way that my father Ken, lead me.

Lewis was proud to see his son, Leif, serve as a pastor. It was an answer to prayer. Leif still serves as a pastor today. Next month my Grandpa Leif turns 83.

Charlotte’s Birthday Dolphin Surprise: Video Post

11 08 2011

Charlotte gets to pet a dolphin on her 8th birthday at the Baltimore Aquarium.


Since our first trip to the aquarium Charlotte has wanted to pet the dolphin. With every dolphin show they bring up some one to have this experience. A year ago Charlotte was told that the youngest person they allowed was eight years old. She’s been waiting for this opportunity with excitement. When we arrived today the staff informed us that there had been a few changes to the dolphin show and now the age limit was ten. Rebecca talked her through the disappointment and helped her pray that God would provide another opportunity.

When we later went to the dolphin show Charlotte was told that she was today’s volunteer! She was thrilled!

She gets a little bit more of an experience that she expected. Almost every other kid we’ve seen do this only got to pet the dolphin. A couple were able to cue the dolphin to shake it’s head. Charlotte was able to do even more, but at a price. Enjoy the fun!

“There’s no defeat in Jesus” wrote my Grandma Leona…

29 05 2011

“There’s no defeat in Jesus” wrote my Grandma Leona during one of the most difficult seasons of her life. As a family we celebrated her life this past week, after her passing.

I am so very grateful for her prayer, over me & family, throughout my life! She saw so very clearly the church we are working to build in Baltimore. She is an amazing woman and full of grace!

Grandma Leona had a secret that changed my life. It was the kind of secret that’s out in the open. She knew the power of praying for someone else. She knew that prayer brings change. She knew that when you pray for someone, by name with specifics, God brings change. Not only does God bring change to the person you are praying for, but He also brings change to you.

This is a choice. It’s a discipline. It has changed my life. My marriage, our parenting, my friendships, and my church life are all much better as a result of praying for other people. Please give it a try.

Here’s a video of our memories with Grandma Leona:

What my daughter’s tooth taught me about church

1 03 2011

Unfortunately, our little girl recently had a bad experience with an oral surgeon stumped by one of her baby teeth.

Due to her age, an allergy to a medication, and an apparent lack of dental professionals with common sense in Baltimore City…we ended up driving 26 miles. You see the dentist recommended that a baby tooth be pulled. The oral surgeon who was recommended to us, he just had no common sense when it comes to kids. Poor little girl had a bad experience.

Thankfully we found an amazing Oral Surgeon with a Harvard education, spectacular staff, common sense, and a real compassion for kids: Jennifer Forshey.

Here’s what she understands that others did not, and how I think it applies to church. It’s a long story and I won’t make you suffer the details. Please consider this: I went through more than 130 oral surgeons to find the right one. Will the average person put that kind of effort into looking for your church? If they do, what will they find?

1. Anxiety

Our little girl had a bad experience and as a result she had a whole lot of anxiety. There are many ways this was addressed. The compassion felt from everyone involved made a big difference. This also meant that they had current technology so that our little girl could go to sleep without seeing a needle. This meant solutions designed with the patient in mind. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had bad experiences in church. I understand why people don’t want to try a new church or go back to an old one.

  • Can people feel that you care (because you actually do)?
  • Does your method of delivery take into consideration what they are feeling and thinking?
  • Do you use technology in a way to communicate that you want to make it easier for them?

2. Team

The staff was well trained, asked questions, and listened with compassion. I cannot say this enough. Many of the people who answered the phone in other Oral Surgeon offices were, well in a word terrible! When I explained, to one office, that our daughter had a bad experience with a male surgeon and I wanted her to see a FEMALE surgeon…they said no problem and scheduled us to see Ms.____. Yet when we showed up this morning for that appointment that particular female surgeon was on vacation for a week! Every person on a team matters!

  • Do people believe that each of your team members are there to help them?
  • Do your team members ask questions and listen?
  • Do your team members understand why you exist?
  • What have you done to help your team members connect the dots?

3. Process

Their process was stream lined to help you. Each staff member was compassionate and clearly leading you down the path to the solution we wanted! They asked us qualifying questions and asked for a commitment (“closed the sale”). The web site is clean and easy to use. They use it for you to fill out your initial forms, spending less time in the “waiting room”. It was much quicker than filling out a form in an office! You believed that you were actually being helped.

  • Does your process feel simple?
  • Does your process move people toward the goal?
  • Do you ask for commitment?
  • Do people believe that they are being served?

Please understand that I do not write this with the thought that we “have it all figured out”. Quite the opposite. We are working hard and building slow because we know that we have plenty to learn. We are asking hard questions and working our tails off to find the answers.

August 31 from our new Baltimore neighborhood: “Hampden”

31 08 2010

As summer draws to a close it’s 95 in Baltimore today!  Beautiful sunshine has been great, but we’ll be happy when the humidity breaks.

Charlotte started the second grade at her new school yesterday.  She was pretty nervous before the day started.  It’s a good school and we’re happy that she got enrolled on time.  There are two 2nd grade teachers.  We definitely prefer the one she’s with!  Thank you God for provision!  It’s about a block and a half walk.

We had an interesting experience walking Charlotte to school.  Both on the way there and on the way home – we saw young couples arguing, screaming at each other (at times).  Two different couples, each in their twenties.  People in need…in need of Jesus.  We’ve met one of the moms.  There are so many opportunities around us.

We’re enjoying a visit from Jennifer (Rebecca’s sister), Obie, and little Emily!  It’s great for our kids to feel the love!

Today Rebecca and I celebrate 14 years of marriage!  We are so very thankful for such a blessed life!  If you’re curious…we are celebrating with a dinner out at Woodberry Kitchen while Joseph and Anna Talaiver graciously spend time with our kids.  Today we are so grateful for each of you.  We are praying for a blessing on your home today!  “Serioulsly” as little Gideon says – head tilted down pointing at you.

Our neighborhood is listed as the “geographic center of Baltimore City” and this really struck me this morning.  During my prayer time, I was praying for the peace of Jesus Christ to come in the north/south/east/west.  The prayer carried a different weight while thinking about the prayer going up from the center of the city.

Baltimore Magazine said this about our neighborhood, “We really can’t think of a place we’d rather spend a Saturday afternoon than Hampden’s 36th Street.”  The funny thing is that you practically have to park in front of our house on Wellington to walk there!

We’ve been blessed with an awareness of your prayer support!  Thank you!  Please continue to pray!

Ben, Rebecca, Charlotte, Gideon Malmin




facebook group

Here’s a couple more quotes about our neighborhood:

“They don’t have anything like this in DC” – Michael O’Sullivan The Washington Post

“The mix of shops…is almost overwhelming.” – Baltimore Magazine

“Hampden has gone from working-class to artsy.” – Joshua Kurlantzick The New York Times

Hampden Merchants wrote this:

“Hampden originated in 1802 as a group of homes built for workers in the mills located in the Jones Falls Valley.  By the late 1800’s, Hampden, along with its neighbor Woodberry, produced 80% of the world’s cotton duck – a type of cotton product used for sails.  As demand for cotton duck increased, so did Hampden’s population – drawing immigrants from neighboring farming counties and from the  mines of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  By the turn of the 20th century, Hampden and Woodberry made up one of the country’s largest workforces and greatly aided the war efforts in World Wars I and II.  By the 1960’s and 1970’s, the economic engine of Hampden, the mills, died along with the demand for the cotton duck for which they were famous.”

“Over the past several decades, Hampden has reinvented itself as a thriving community of independent and locally owned businesses.  The mills have been repurposed as living spaces, offices, artists studios, restaurants, and more.  And the nieghborhood continues to grow as an eclectic mix of working class folks, artists and young professionals.”

“Located in the geographic center of Baltimore City, Hampden is a unique and popular neighborhood that is also noted for its numerous critically acclaimed and award winning shops, eateries and businesses.”

More pictures of our home to follow soon…it’s been tough with no internet access at home yet…soon people.

open doors

Mom’s Cookin’

9 05 2010

Mom’s Cookin’

Do you remember the smell?  Do you remember the taste of your Mom’s Cookin’?

Mother’s Day is a great reminder to be grateful.  It’s the perfect day to pamper and praise your mom and all moms.  I’m blessed with a great mom, a great mother-in-law, and a wonderful wife as the best mom our kids could hope for!

My Mom is a great cook!  My personal favorite is the chocolate chip cookies!  She does a Thanksgiving meal that could get a death threat from Martha Stewart and Julia.  She does wings that any sports bar would buy in bulk.  She does a spinach salad with strawberries that your favorite organic eatery will never equal.  She does a slow baked Chex Mix that is like a narcotic.  Wow!  I’m ready for a nap!

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get walking into your home to the smell of a good home cooked meal.  Don’t get me wrong: I like to cook and do the dishes more often than not.  My wife’s just better at it, and she’d bury me if I tried to completely take over.  People spend  way too much money trying to get back to the quality of Mom’s Cookin’.

What can we learn about God’s love from Mom’s Cookin’?

1.  Mom’s cooking showed love and it just might be a reflection of God’s love.

A.  By design: choosing what is best for you

B.  By choice: decision of the will

C.  By hard work: time and effort invested

D.  By grace and mercy even when we don’t deserve it

E.  Not a one-time event, but a lifetime of love

2.  God’s “agape” love: sacrificial love regardless of the worth of its object.

Romans 5:5-8  Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

3.  Christ example of choosing to serve us: Philippians 2:6-8

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

4.  Christ words about the agape love state of being: Matthew 5:3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5.  Paul’s description of a Christ like love in action: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8  Msg

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

6.  Questions we should all ask:

A.  Who do I love, with agape?

B.  How do I choose who I love, with agape?

C.  In what areas do I need more love, by agape?

7.  Reminders we should have:

A.  A great moms only get better as a Christ follower.

B.  A Christ follower loves via agape.

C.  We cannot love with agape without God help.

D.  We should daily ask for help with more agape.

E.  We need to think about who we should love, with agape?

F.  We need to plan how we love people, with agape?

G.  Agape is love with quality.  It’s not cheap.

“Christ didn’t die for us because we’re worth dying for, but because He is intrinsically love, and loves infinitely.”

C.S. Lewis

“Once ‘the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,’ we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purpose in other’s lives (Romans 5:5).  And Jesus has an interest in every individual person.”

-Oswald Chambers

My beautiful wife Rebecca the amazing mother of our children: