From The Promise Land To The Promised Land

Is an auto biography, written by Thomas Van Leer, recording the hardships of a young boy growing up in the early 1930's in a segregated South. It spans nearly eighty years revealing the dangers of his first love; Romantic relationships between black and white children were frowned upon during the thirties and forties, resulting often in severe consequences. Further, you shall see a first hand account of World War 2 through the eyes of a fourteen year old American soldier who by deception joined the United States Air force. In it you shall see the corruption of a boy who grows to be a man and by the grace of God becomes a productive and respected member of society. (Carolyn Sachs Kleinberger, Illustrator)

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I'm Just Say'n

....."The author of "I'm Just Say'n" has clearly captured the essence of what is good, bad, and in some cases, what s evil in our society.  By using biblical scriptures, Van Leer uses clear references to articulate the differences and in some instances, the similarities of each chapter.  I found the book to be very engaging, very informative, and very thought provoking and I highly recommend this book for future reading."

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Book #3, Coming Soon

While you wait in anticipation for the next Blessing, take a gander at Book #1, The Biography of Thomas Van Leer, friend of the late Senator Paul Wellstone, the story of a young boy who joined the United States Army Air Force at the age of 14, a story that begin in Africa and became slaves, and as freed men, purchase land in the western part of Tennessee, 39 miles from Clarksville, TN, built fifty homes, a church and a one room school house, The Nesbitt School, it remains as a tribute to the founders of Promise Land, and is celebrated the first Sunday in June each year, the school was built around 1880's, the little village became a self-sustaining operation, with churches, stores and most importantly the one room school house started by John Nesbitt, a veteran who received a pension for his service and wounds while serving in the Union Army.  The school is on the National Tourist Registry.

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Reverend Thomas H. Van Leer

Reverend Thomas Van Leer has been serving as chaplain for the Minnesota Timberwolves since 1995. In that time, he’s seen everything from franchise triumph to hardship – notably, the tragic passing of Wolves shooting guard Malik Sealy.

Van Leer was encouraged to become the team’s chaplain by former Wolves forward Sam Mitchell. Mitchell and Van Leer met during a game at the Target Center, and Mitchell told Van Leer that the team needed a more mature chaplain.

“So I said, send me a letter, and I’ll come,” Van Leer said to Mitchell.

Shortly after their encounter, Van Leer became the team’s chaplain, and his spiritual guidance proved to be a much-needed asset to the team following the death of Malik Sealy.

Sealy was killed in a car accident on May 20, 2000 by a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way down Highway 100 in St. Louis Park. Sealy was driving home from teammate and best friend Kevin Garnett’s birthday celebration. Sealy’s number has since been retired, and the number 2 jersey hangs on a banner from the Target Center rafters.

“It was a hard time, a very hard time,” Van Leer said. “I don’t think the team had gone through any losses.”

Van Leer was honored as part of the Timberwolves observance of Black History Month, in which one leader is honored at each home game. A minister for more than 50 years, Van Leer has served on numerous civic and religious boards in the Twin Cities. He has authored his autobiography titled, “From Promise Land to the Promise Land!” and has a new book coming out soon, “I’m Just Say’n,” to provide wisdom from his personal experience and many years of ministry service.

Van Leer is currently employed as a recruiter for Summit Academy OIC and is an associate minister of Progressive Baptist Church of St. Paul.

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