I grew up in North Dakota and enjoyed the wide open prairies and blue skies. Yes, and also the crisp cold winters in Grand Forks, North Dakota where I went to the University of North Dakota for four years, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. My husband, Lew is also a native of North Dakota. He also attended and graduated from UND, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. During our first year of marriage, we lived just a few blocks off campus in a small upstairs apartment in a private home. We loved those hockey games!
My grandmother was inspirational in my early life laying a foundation for my faith journey. I saw her as a strong devout woman, and often she would remind me of the words from a hymn she loved,
O Take My Hand Dear Father and Lead Thou Me
Through the years I have often been reminded of these words, and they have given me strength & comfort.
Our life took many turns as Lew and I pursued our careers and added a few more interests along the way. As I look back on those years, I feel I can say our family was “nomadic.” Often it seemed as if the Lord opened doors we hadn’t even given any thought to, but it lit a spark in our hearts.
We spent from 1966-1977 in Cameroun, Africa, with the ELCA Global Missions and 1984-1986 in Senegal, West Africa. These were important years in my faith journey which is ongoing and never really ends.
It was necessary to end our work in Africa to take care of family obligations in the States. We were thankful job opportunities as a nurse, continuing in international development work, and advocacy for those in need were available. We could use our experience in those areas where we felt we wanted to be. It took us to many new communities in the States, and we met many people who were living out their faith being the hands of Christ.
A favorite bible passage for me is Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Eight years ago, when we retired, it was time to find someplace to “settle down.” We chose Buffalo as it is close to Minneapolis where we have a son and a daughter. Our other son lives in Dallas, Texas, only a two-hour flight from Minneapolis. We also needed to choose a church, and after visiting Zion several times we could see there were many outreach programs and ways retired people could become involved in the life of the congregation and community. At Zion I have been involved with women’s ministry, altar guild, white elephant during Harvest of Hands, serving for funerals, and most recently the Blessing Closet.
It has been exciting to see how the Blessing Closet ministry of giving new and used clothes to people who need them has grown. The increase in the number of people who come to shop, and in the number of communities served is an indication of how great that need is. I am thankful that Zion has opened its doors to help move this ministry forward. It sometimes reminds me of the “energizer bunny” as there is no end to the donations that keep coming in so that the shoppers always have an overabundance to chose from and are able to find what they need.
Being involved in the life of Zion through these different ministries has been special because it has given me the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the people, develop friendships, and be part of a church where people are living out their faith in many different ways.