Our Savior Lutheran, Minot’s Mission Trip to Mexico!

From February 25th through March 4th, a group of 16 members from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot, ND traveled down to Juarez, Mexico for a mission trip. Together with Ysleta Lutheran Mission out of El Paso, TX, they built two homes for families in great need!

High school student, Ashley Davis, shares this about her experience, “This trip tested me; it tested my patience, trust, and level 1 Spanish skills. It also overwhelmed me.

Mark Haugen said this at the first meeting: there’s so much hurt in the world- so much hurt in Juárez and in Kilometer 30- and you can either do a little, or you can do nothing. And I want to do a little. For me, that looked like making bracelets, hanging laundry, and chasing kids. It also looked like spreading tar, hammering nails, and carrying sheetrock. It can look like so many different things, but there’s one thing I know for certain: I want to keep doing what I can. I want to keep doing a little.”

A little becomes A LOT when Jesus is in it! Though sponsored by Our Savior Lutheran Church, this yearly mission trip is open to anyone in the district.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/our-savior-lutheran-minots-mission-trip-to-mexico/

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

By Rev. Dr. Matt. Richard
Zion,Gwinner, ND

New book exposes twelve false christs of modern culture
In our world, there is no shortage of false christs. Like the Elvises who roam the streets of Vegas, these counterfeit christs look and sound like Jesus, but they couldn’t be further from the real deal.

In Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? 12 False Christs, author Matthew Richard exposes these false christs for what they are . . . mere impostors. Richard reveals to readers who the real Jesus of the Bible is, but also reveals to us twelve false christs who are embraced, loved, promoted, and revered, even by well-meaning Christians.

“My hope is that readers will connect with the different stories in this book, but will do so in a way that they can see how people’s false theology and bad presuppositions lead to taking up false christs,” says Richard. “In other words, this book attempts to combine the art of story and the discipline of theology, so that the reader can see flesh-and-blood examples of how easy false theology can lead someone into idolatry.”

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? exposes the following false christs: The Mascot, The Option among Many, The Good Teacher, The Therapist, The Giver of Bling, The National Patriot, The Social Justice Warrior, The Moral Example, The New Moses, The Mystical Friend, The Feminized, The Teddy Bear. Beyond merely exposing these false christs, Richard provides a framework for responding to them.

“I believe this topic is of utmost importance,” says Richard, “for if we misunderstand the person and work of Jesus Christ, we will misunderstand Christianity. Everything hinges on Jesus-forgiveness, life, and salvation.”

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? will be available for purchase in June. For more information on the author or to request a review copy, please contact Lindsey Martie, Public Relations, by phone at 314-268-1303 or by email at Lindsey.Martie@cph.org.

Check the following link for more information and reviews regarding Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Click HERE!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/will-the-real-jesus-please-stand-up/

He’s in heaven!

To read more about Bill’s cancer journey, visit Bill’s Caring Bridge (click here)

It has pleased almighty God in his good and wise providence to call the soul of our brother in Christ and District Business Manager, Bill Sharpe, to himself in heaven in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bill was to begin his radiation treatment April 7th at 12 PM. But God called him home before all this (4-6-17)and spared his life a difficult road. Now we must follow in his way trusting in the same promises that have been delivered to us in the gospel. We commend his soul to God and so too ourselves as we now live in the promises of God every day of our lives.


Bill’s Celebration of Life Arrangements

Sunday, April 9 Brief Prayer Service at 6:00 pm with visitation from 5:00-6:00 pm

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church
2601 23rd Ave. SW
Fargo, ND

Celebration of Life Service

Monday, April 10 at 11:00 am
Immanuel Lutheran Church
1258 Broadway N
Fargo, ND

Memorials may be sent to:

Project 24 Christ Care for Children Kenya

133 S Kirkwood Rd.
St. Louis MO, 63122

Alms at Immanuel Church

1258 N Broadway N
Fargo, ND 58102

Centre Inc.

3501 Westrac Dr.
Fargo, ND 58103

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/hes-in-heaven/

Teaching the Faith: Confirmation

Do your students enter your con­firmation room with the same look they have entering the dentist’s of­fice? Do you ever feel like your lessons are like last week’s leftovers … a little stale? Do you ever wonder how much is really sinking in their little heads?

If so, I do not have all the answers. However, here are few which I have found to work.

Consider offering confirmation in­struction during a week in the summer or as a series of retreats.
We have found students are much more engaged in the summer and enjoy getting to see their friends again. We offer our “Basics Camp” on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. and then from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This gives us a large chunk of uninterrupted time to teach. As an added bonus, we have found children with atten­tion disorders have an easier time engag­ing during the daytime hours.

Work to build relationships.
We begin each morning by getting youth moving and interacting through games like “Minute to Win It”. We have found this is a fun way to get youth comfort­able with one another and fired up for another awesome day. This also seems to help youth focus and engage in the morning lessons.

Try using objects to teach.
Jesus did this throughout His ministry. We use objects for each of the six chief parts. For example, in teaching the need for the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit we give each student an unlit candle and turn off the lights. Sitting in a circle, we discuss why we all need the Holy Spirit because we are all spiritually in the dark. Then we bring in a lit candle along with the Bible and the baptismal bowl filled with water. We talk about how the Holy Spirits brings us the light through the Word and Sacrament to shine in our hearts through faith. After lighting each student’s candle, we continue this light/darkness metaphor of the Gospel throughout the lesson.
Other ideas include guest speakers, video clips, skits, sign language and small group discussion.

Look at your overall structure.
Our structure includes: First Communion (7th grade), Confession Sunday (8th Grade), Confirmation (10th Grade) and Commissioning Sunday (12th grade). With each of these steps we provide oppor­tunities for youth and parents to learn the basics of the Christian faith.

Make review fun.
This summer we are going to use a fun online learning resource called Kahoot! (getkahoot.com). It is a great tool that we will use to reinforce the basic teachings of the Christian faith.

If you want more information, I invite you to join the free RSTM webinar March 9th at 1 p.m. as I present on teaching the faith to junior high youth. You may also email me at mtcalpastor@gmail.com or give me a call at 308-995-2208. I would love to assist you in any way I can.


Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. If you have a good idea for outreach or a story you’d like to share so that we can share it with others, please email Amy Gerdts atamy.gerdts@lcms.org.

Learn more about us at www.lcms.org/rstm , by calling our office at 888-463-5127, by email at rstm@lcms.org or “like” us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lcmsrstm.

Click here for the Rural and Small town Ministry newsletter

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/teaching-the-faith-confirmation/

Thank you for your generous support for Lutheran Education!

During Giving Hearts Day, your gifts totaled $33,000 for Grace Lutheran School, Fargo, and $22,000 for Martin Luther School, Bismarck.
Your support is greatly appreciated!

Grace Lutheran School
Mr. John Hagge, Principal
Martin Luther School
Mrs. Kathy Jones, Principal
Preschools in the District
Grace, Fargo
Immanuel, Grand Forks
Immanuel, Wahpeton,
Martin Luther, Bismarck
Our Savior, Minot
Redeemer, Dickinson

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/thank-you-for-your-generous-support-for-lutheran-education/

Arndt Earns Education Award

Cynthia Arndt, a member of Immanuel Lutheran, Hankinson, earned statewide recognition as a Title I Educator of Excellence!

Arndt is excited about education and her role with Lidgerwood’s Title I program, which moved to an all-school program three years ago, so she oversees kindergarten through 12th grade. That attitude earned Arndt a Title I Exceptional Educator award, joining nine other teachers recognized in North Dakota for this honor.
Her big and ready smile is a trademark of this small, yet vivacious educator. For her, the lines are blurred between being a teacher and mother, more like teacher – slash – mother.
“I really kind of see myself (as their mother). All of these kids,” Arndt said, spreading her arms wide, “they are my kids. I feel that my most important role as a teacher is to be an advocate for all of our students.”


What a blessing to see Cynthia use her gifts to the glory of God in her vocation as teacher!

Click here to see the article featuring Arndt in the Wahpeton Daily News.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/arndt-earns-education-award/

Elder’s Retreat

Topic: Marriage in Today’s World 
30 elders from the Southeast Circuit met at the Coteau Des Prairies Lodge on February 11, 2017, to discuss the topic of marriage.The topic was marriage is a gift of God, and how we can address some of the issues we face in regards to marriage in this day.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/elders-retreat/

Confessing Sin; Confessing Jesus A Higher Things® Youth Retreat

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wahpeton, ND
April 28th and 29th

Click here for registration and more event information.

“With the heart, one believes and is justified; with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.”

Friday, April 28th
6:00 PM Registration and Pizza
7:30 PM Evening Prayer
8:00 PM Welcome and Introductions
8:15 PM Plenary 1: Confessing Sin – Part 1 (Rev. Daenzer)
9:15 PM Icebreaker: Whoopie
10:00 PM Compline
10:30 PM Evening snacks
11:00 PM Optional Movie
1:00 AM Lights out

Saturday, April 29th
7:30 AM  Breakfast
8:30 AM Matins
9:00 AM Plenary II Confessing Jesus – Part 1 (Rev. Richard)
10:00 AM Icebreaker: Straw tower
11:00 AM Plenary III Confessing Jesus – Part 2 (Rev. Richard)
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Plenary IV: Confessing Sin – Part 2 (Rev. Daenzer)

2:00 PM Closing Divine Service
3:00 PM Dismissal

How to Register, Contact:

Tana McKenna
(701) 308-0411

RSVP: via online registration at

or Patrick Sturdivant
Higher Things Retreat Coordinator (888) 482-6630 or

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/confessing-sin-confessing-jesus-a-higher-things-youth-retreat/

In Memorium

Evelyn M. Allensworth

August 8, 1950 – February 24, 2017

Evelyn M. Allensworth, age 66, of Grafton, ND passed away on Friday, February 24, 2017, at the Altru Hospital of Grand Forks after a fierce battle with cancer.

Evelyn Mary Heuchert was born August 8, 1950, in Grafton, ND, the daughter of the late Raymond and Helen (Williamson) Heuchert. She grew up in rural St. Thomas where her family farmed. She graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1968 and then attended Mayville State University where she graduated with a degree in Education.

After completing college in 1972, she taught at the Turtle Mountain Head Start Program in Dunseith, ND. She later taught first and second grade in Goodrich, ND. In 1976, Evelyn was called to serve as a missionary teacher in Papua New Guinea for both the children of missionaries and the native children of Papua New Guinea. She taught both religious curriculum and academics. Evelyn often recalled this experience as one of the best of her life.

She returned to the United States in 1978 where she taught grades 1-8 in Hannover, ND, and in 1979 began teaching religious education to the clients of the Developmental Center at the All Faith’s Chapel in Grafton, ND. She met her former husband, John “Kevin” Allensworth there, and they were married in 1982. They had two children together-Zachary born in 1988 and Laura in 1994. Evelyn moved to Grand Forks in the fall of 2015 and retired after 38 years at the All Faith’s Chapel in August of 2016.

Evelyn was a former member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of St. Thomas and currently a member of Zion English Lutheran Church of Grafton. She was active in both churches; teaching bible study and Sunday school, participating in the LWML, church choir, and helping with the confirmation classes. She enjoyed music, crafting, doing puzzles, watching musicals, and bible studies. Evelyn lived a life of kindness and serving others. She was always ready with a smile, a joke, and a hug. She will be missed by many.

She is survived by her children: Zachary and Laura Allensworth, both of Grand Forks, ND, former husband and friend John K. Allensworth, Grand Forks, ND, brother Glenn (Cathi, Aaron) Heuchert, Grafton, ND; nephew, Jeremy Lane, Grand Forks, ND, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, infant sister Bonnie, and sister Betty Heuchert, and nephew Brian Johnson.
Cards may be sent to the family at this address:
Laura Allensworth
615 N. 39th St. 208 D
Grand Forks, ND 58203

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/in-memorium/

Youth participate in MercyCare Visit to Chilé

The North Dakota District has partnered with MOST Ministries to send four youth to engage in MercyCare and continue to cultivate the relationship with the Lutheran Church in Chilé. The group, lead by Chaplain Rick Jones and Deaconess Faith Swenson, had a great time immersing themselves in the Chiléan culture while helping the congregations in the Maulé Region with some church repairs and revitalization, evangelism, and English classes for children. This trip marks the first time a full team has gone down to Chilé to further build this partnership with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in this part of the world. Highlights from the trip (presented in the participants’ own words) can be found at nd2chile.wordpress.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/youth-participate-in-mercycare-visit-to-chile/

What a Great Turn Out for the Annual Men’s Retreat!

Thirty-Seven men from around the district attended the Annual Men’s Retreat at Shepherd’s Hill at the Crossroads. Pastor Jon Walla (Bethel, Bismarck) was the speaker and led the men in studying “Manhood Redeemed” on January 20-21.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/what-a-great-turn-out-for-the-annual-mens-retreat/

Teaching the Faith

When I was first asked to take on the role of VBS Coordinator as a junior in college I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. With the help from my Pastor and many volunteers in the church, we have been able to make a successful VBS week each summer. Here are a few of the many things that have helped our small congregation reach out to a whole community.

When planning a VBS so much or­ganization and preparation take place months before the actual week. It is highly important to be selective in the week that is chosen for VBS. In our small community, before we set the date for VBS, we check with the local swimming pool for swimming lessons, baseball/ softball schedules, and surrounding county fairs. Once a week is set for VBS flyers, postcards and a Facebook page are created and set out to families that are members of the congregation and also families that are not members but have come in years past.

The next focus is finding volunteers. It is so important to seek volunteers and helpers months and weeks before VBS. Our church is so blessed to have many teachers that can work together to make it a success! The main goal is to find helpers that can lead the main stations: crafts, music, snacks, games and lessons.
Then find younger volunteers that can help lead groups from station to station. It is very important to consider the gifts that your volunteers have. We have a volunteer that loves to sing and has an amazing voice; therefore she helps each year with the music. Encourage your church members that they are never too old. We have a member that is 90 years old and helps every year!

Many people in the congregation who are not able to help during the week of VBS are willing to help provide in other ways. It is best to get a list of donated items that are needed for the week of VBS out ahead of time to church mem­bers. Snacks and craft supply donations big or small can be the biggest blessing for VBS.

Each year it is so important to keep de­tailed records of everything. Document who was able to volunteer to help teach, lead or donate. Keep records of the children that attended. It has also been helpful for us to document the good, the bad and the ugly on how the week ran. It is so helpful when planning to know what worked well the year before. I have found it is also helpful to review what didn’t work so well to prevent the same outcome and to fix it and make it better for the years to come.

Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. If you have a good idea for outreach or a story you’d like to share so that we can share it with others, please email Amy Gerdts at amy.gerdts@lcms.org.

Learn more about us at www.lcms.org/rstm, by calling our office at 888-463-5127, by email at rstm@lcms.org or “like” us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lcmsrstm.

Click here for the Rural and Small Town Ministry newsletter

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/teaching-the-faith/