Note: Pastor Randy retired on May 7, 2017.
I grew up in North Dakota. Julie, my wife, and I were high school sweethearts. In the fall of 1971, just before we started our school year at Jamestown College, we were married. We graduated from Jamestown College in 1974. Julie now had her BSN degree and I had my degree in Business Administration. We moved to Mankato, MN that fall, Julie working at Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital and I worked for the food service at Mankato State University. The University was well known for hosting, housing and feeding the Minnesota Vikings Pre-season Camp, which is still being done today.
We moved to Marshall, MN. in 1976. Julie worked at the local Hospital and I became the Director of Food Service at Southwest State University.Our daughter, Erin, was born just before Christmas in 1977 and our son, Adam, in May of 1980. We moved to Dell Rapids, SD. in the fall of 1980. Julie worked for the Dell Rapids Community Hospital and I worked for Reinhart Foods. In 1987 I went to work for the Dell Rapids Community Hospital Maintenance Dept.
It was in 1991 that Jesus came into my life and led me down His path after I had spent 20 years worshipping alcohol. What a difference He made in my life. It would be like comparing my daily walk of life on a grey cloudy day before Jesus came into my life; to a sunny day filled with birds singing their tune after Jesus filled my soul with his presence. Like Jesus tells us in the book of John, chapter 8 vs. 12, “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In the fall of 1993, I started Seminary, and five years later I graduated with two Master’s degrees, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from North American Baptist Seminary, now known as Sioux Falls Seminary. I served First Baptist Church of Dell Rapids for about four years. In August of 2001, Julie and I left our two young adult children, who were attending local colleges, and moved to Marion, Iowa.
Our kids are now both married and Julie and I have been blessed with four wonderful grandchildren, Erin and Jeff have Davis and Adam and Morgan have three children, Cade, Madi, and Landree.
Reaching out to those in need is my passion in ministry, and our church family and I strive to live by the teachings of Matthew 25:31-46. Visiting shut-ins and folks who find themselves in the hospital are also very important to me. The children of the church are also a very important resource we must all reach out to help grow spiritually. I have been involved with city-wide organizations since 2007. I sat on the Board of Directors of CrossRoads Mission. CrossRoads helps those who find themselves homeless or in poor financial standing, according to Matthew 25:31-46. The Mission was helping around 1200 people per month about 5 years ago.
We at First Baptist saw a need for a mission in Marion and so after much prayer and God working in the hearts and souls of our members, we opened up 29th St. Mission in our church. By December of 2010, we were helping about 200 people with food per month as well as 109 with clothing items. By the end of 2015, we have been averaging over 1,000 people per month for the past 4 months!
God has blessed us in so many ways. How often do we even realize and give thanks for a blessing we just received? I think we take God for granted way too much. Helping others out in their time of need helps to keep us grounded and aware of how blessed we are. Praise God!!!!!!