In March, 1983, we published the first issue of a Christian newspaper called the Heartland News. I wrote three articles in that premier issue: one on the origin of sin, one on repentance and one on being born again. I’ve given a lot of sermons since that time, but I guess in reality I’m still preaching the same message today, “You must be born again!”
Susan started a column in that paper called “Jerusalem Housewife,” about her home, her kids and how the Lord is the One who gives her strength and purpose for living. Like I say, in some ways, not a lot has changed. Her heart is still in her home, caring for her husband, loving her children, and trusting her God.
Later in 1983, we established a local church in Twin Valley, Minnesota, I left my job at the Twin Valley Times newspaper and we went into ministry full time, pastoring the church, publishing the Heartland News and traveling about preaching the Good News. It was out of that church that we took our first mission trip, which was to the nation of Haiti with Terry and Cary Nelson of Light Ministries. There, I preached my first open air service and saw a crowd of people come to Jesus. What a thrill! I also remember calling Haiti, which is the poorest nation in western hemisphere, a “hell hole.” The conditions were horrible. I can still vividly remember ministering in the City of Soleil, Port-au-Prince, among the cardboard shacks and open sewers, with unimaginable poverty and despair.
Since that time, we pastored five other churches, and traveled to many other states and countries. It was in China that I first encountered people in remote villages who had never heard the name of Jesus. In one village there, our team slept on the floor of a house in a room filled with bags of rice. Rats ran over our feet throughout the night.
In 2005, I felt led of the Lord to leave pastoral work and launch out full time into evangelism and missions. Reaching out to the lost and preaching the Gospel has always been my passion. Both as a pastor and in my travels, I have been privileged to pray with many people to receive Christ as Savior and to encourage many in their walk with God. I value all those experiences and the people who have been a part of our lives over the years. Along the way, there has always been someone who encouraged us, blessed us, and helped us to go forward. I remember in the church in Twin Valley, Olive Pederson adopted us. She baked homemade buns, gave us rutabaga soup and baby-sat our children. It seems that everywhere we went, God has given us someone like Olive.
My heart continues to beat for those who are lost and without hope all around us. Please pray with us that we will be able to reach many people in our nation and around the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.