This is going to be one of those blogs that you will have to hold onto your hats and follow along. This could get complicated but it’s a perfect expression of the connections and the interwoven fabric of life we lead up in the North country.
We came to Grafton and Drayton in 1978. We arrived a month and a half before our furniture and household possessions did. Since our clothes were the clothes that we carried in the car the first order of business was getting a washer and a dryer and we asked to have a clothes line set up in the back yard of the parsonage. One morning we awoke to a lot of noise and a group of people digging a hole and installing a line. One of the men working on the project was Elmer Schultz. As I got to know Elmer and his family better his wife would talk about her home in and around Ada Minnesota called Twin Valley, or Green Meadow or something like that. She still had a sister there and her name was Ardis Horn. Mr’s Schultz, Lola, also told me a story about being a sponsor for a child in the Twin Valley church and how she would bake him a “lamb cake” every year and send it to him on his baptism day. I thought that was a great idea and that was that.
Skip ahead several years and I am attending a reconciler training workshop in St. Louis and seated with a man named Roger Drevlow. Somehow in the conversation he mentions that he used to get a lamb cake every year on his baptism date and he got one every year until he reached the age of 21. You guessed it. Roger was born in Twin Valley and his father was the Pastor there. Lola Horn was asked to be the sponsor for Roger. Roger and his wife had been members for a while in East Grand Forks at First Lutheran but he had moved to Bismarck to work with what was at that time AAL. His wife was the principle of Martin Luther School and his Pastor there was Tom Marcis who at that time was the chairman of the Board for LCMS World Relief and Human Care.
We struck up a friendship and over the years had a lot of fun hunting pheasants together. Roger is a wonderful servant of God with a marvelous family and a deep and abiding love for Christ and his neighbors. In 1991 Roger was a delegate to the convention in St. Louis and so was I. At that convention I was elected to the Board for World Relief and Human Care, which Tom Marcis had to leave because of term limits. That outgoing Board had called Rev. Matthew Harrison to be the Director of World Relief and Human Care, and I met Matt for the first time at that convention. In 2003 I traveled to Kenya with Rev. Harrison, John Fale and Rev. Tim Yeadon from Connecticut. The next year the church in Kenya became a partner church. I had been impressed with the orphan situation and with the chicken programs and the need for cows for the Pastors. When I returned to Kenya in 2005 I was determined to take people who could come back home and be advocates for the various issues that we saw over there. I took Roger Weinlaeder a seed dealer and farmer from Drayton, ND; Bill Sharpe’s daughter, Rachel who was interested in youth and children; and Joanne Drevlow who was something of an expert on chickens and feed etc as well as being a principal in a parochial school and quite a good artist as well. Joann fell in love with the orphans at Motango and Roger W. had already planted the seeds for what would become Project 24.
This is where things get hazy but somewhere along the line people in Ada and Twin Valley invited us to come and speak about Project 24. If my memory serves I believe that a man named Karol “Bud” Berglind met with Roger and invited us or Roger and Joanne’s families had something to do with it but a great relationship developed that still reaps benefits. Bud Berglind, who Roger Drevlow worked for when he was a boy had a great heart for mercy and a concern for the orphans that I still find inspirational. Over the years John Halake the General Secretary of the Kenyan church has spoken there as have I and Roger Weinlaeder.
Bud passed away in September leaving a gap in the networks that we hold so dear. He cared for the needy half way around the world. He cared for his children and grandchildren. His grandchildren attend parochial school in Crookston, MN, and Grace School in Fargo. He was very proud of his church, St. John’s, serving in various offices which included: Chairman, Elder, Trustee and Treasurer. He also served on MN North District LCMS Evangelism Committee. Bud was a Gideon member for many years. His concern for the orphans in Kenya intrigued me and I asked him after the Mission Fest that I preached at how that came about. I wish I could say that I recieved and answer that I can relay to you but I didn’t. Bud simply had a heart for mercy and Project 24 was something that resonated in his soul. I thank God for that.
Roger and Joanne Drevlow have suffered some afflictions. Roger suffered a stroke a few years back and I met them in the airport in Minneapolis a while back, headed off the visit one of their children. They continue to exhibit that abiding faith in Christ and concern for others by which I always get refreshed and renewed. Their son Ryan was recently installed as the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Breckinridge Minnesota, and if my memory serves he was a child the last time I saw him and we hunted pheasants together.
So there it is 6 degrees of separation and another example of the conenctions and crossings and how God brings us together and separates us in this life. There really is a plan to all of this “stuff” that happens in our life. He has appointed our “times and seasons” and the “boundaries of our habitations” (Acts 17). Interesting stuff this life that we live together up here in the North Country.