Guatamala anyone?

Diane Nesselhoff is a long-time friend of CLF and and even longer-time friend of Guatamala.  For many years, Diane and others have been developing rich and meaningful ministry connections through Sharing the Dream.

Sharing the Dream in Guatemala is a non-profit organization that promotes fair trade with cooperatives and small businesses in Guatemala. They are committed to providing fair wages and employment opportunities to low-income artisans, which results in creating sustainable markets for their products. Sharing the Dream craft products are handmade by Mayan artisans using many traditional techniques.

The Sharing the Dream website has been added to the blogroll of this page, so that you can have easy access to their ministry updates.  You can also click here to see the  website.

Custer Lutheran Fellowship also  has another connection with Sharing the Dream.  At the moment, Katrine , Gene and Linda Fennell’s foreign exchange daughter from Denmark is working for several month with the organization.  You can click here to see some of Kat’s journal.

Diane Nesselhuf will be taking a small group to Guatemala June 27-July 7th.   The group will visit some new areas and new groups for Sharing the Dream as well as seeing well established groups, schools, and the Sharing the Dream elder center. E-mail Diane at for more information.

Youth Room is now “The Downunder!”

Youth rooms are often consigned to the basement.  In CLF’s case, that is a good thing.  We have a large, well-lighted, and now PAINTED basement.  About a dozen Rap Group members attended an overnight lock  last night and painted the room.   Rap group is the name of our high school youth group –a name which makes our Norwegian foreign exchange student laugh since Rap in Norsk means, Burp.

In the spirit of high school creativity they decide the youth room needed a dinosaur — of course.  We spent the night redacting dinosaurs into the story of Moses and the Red Sea, Jesus riding into Jerusalem, and a variety of others.

Instead of Cowboys and Cowgirls to label the bathrooms we have Moses and Judith.  I made the mistake of telling the high school Bible study the story from the apocrypha where Judith saves Israel by beheading the Assyrian General Holofernes.  They really liked the story.

The weather turned bad, so our plans for a bonfire turned into a sand box full of stubby candles, but Pastor Kent’s campfire songs made us sing loud enough to become hoarse.  It was a good night.

Now it is time to sleep.

Vocation in Lent: Week 2, Numbers

Last night we continued our Lenten series on vocation by talking about professions that rely on accurate numbers.  How appropriate that I also read today about the late Dr. Norman E. Borlaug being honored with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.  Dr. Borlaug was  a 1970 Nobel Prize winner, ELCA congregation member, and prominent agricultural scientist who is credited with saving an estimated one billion lives worldwide through his development of new varieties of wheat.  How’s that for a number?  Vocations make difference.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Last night the CLF puppet troupe presented a funny skit about the importance of numbers in their cooking show entitled, “Bad Math Cooking.”  Click on the arrow to see the video.

We heard the interview of three Custer Lutheran Fellowship members who work with numbers as a part of their vocations.  Allen Canete is a financial planner.  Lonnie Hosman is an accountant.  Bill Leschensky is retired math teacher and text book author.

Click on the arrow to see a portion of their interview.

Vocation in Lent: Week 1, Conservation

Last Wednesday we began our Lenten series talking about God’s work in our vocations.   During this first session we heard from people who work in the area of conservation.  Matt Padilla who works as an archeologist for the Forest Service, Blaine Kortemeyer who works at Mt. Rushmore, and Anne Sandvig who works with drinking water quality were our speakers.  Click on the arrow to see and hear a few highlights from their presentation.


The middle school puppet troupe also gave their take on vocation.


This Wednesday we will be hearing from “number people,”  including financial brokers and others.  Tune in later this week to see their interviews.


The earth is the Lord’s

What is men’s ministry?  As a pastor, I have a very theological definition.

men’s ministry: /menz min-is-tree/ (verb) A group of men who get together to do stuff.

How’s that for theological?  Like many congregations we have different, overlapping groups of men who get together and do things.  We have monthly men’s Bible studies, groups that build things,  groups that have breakfast together, and one of my favorites — a group of guys who go winter camping.

The camping group isn’t really a church sponsored event.  It’s just a group of guys who like to winter camp who happen to go to the same church.  Last weekend five of us guys headed to the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming.  We cooked and ate a lot of high calorie food,  prayed before meals, stretched the truth when we told adventure stories, climbed a mountain, made good conversation, bragged a little about our cool gear, and laughed a lot.   If that isn’t ministry, I don’t know what is.

The psalmist wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”   There is simply something healthy about spending time with friends in the great outdoors.  We don’t always think about this time together in creation as a religious thing, but it is.  The earth indeed is the Lord’s, and everything in it — mountains, prayer, friendship, good stories, cold air, sound sleep, burnt food.  Good things.

Here is a video of the mountain we climbed.  Tiring, but fun. (Click on the play arrow to see the video. )

Announcing a Baby Boy!

In the world of blogs, this is old news – now one week old, to be exact!

Even so, Pastor Kent & Elisabeth are pleased to announce the birth of a baby boy – Leif Samuel Cherland-Narum.

As you can see from the picture, Leif (which rhymes with “safe”) weighed in at 7 lbs. 9oz.  He was 20″ long and arrived in the world at 1:10pm.  His parents left their home exactly one hour before he was born.  So the next time you’re driving to Rapid City, leave from the church parking lot and drive to the hospital and see how much time that leaves you… It was a fairly exciting drive, to say the least.

Here’s another picture of the new family shortly after the birth.  Elijah is quite excited to be a “big brother” (you can see in the picture the “big brother” bracelet that the nurses made him to match his parents’ and little brother’s bracelets) and he’s been handling it quite well.

Finally, here’s a short video of Leif’s first shower.  He’s a quiet baby who sleeps quite well.  We’re thankful for Leif and running water and health care facilities and vehicles that make it to Rapid City quickly… and we’re thankful for all of your thoughts, prayers and support!

Ash Wednesday: Where is your treasure?

The traditional scripture reading for Ash Wednesday comes from Jesus’ sermon on the mount where he first warns his listeners about hypocrisy then reminds them to be careful to “store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Examining your own treasure can be frightening and vulnerable task, because only you knows what lies deep in your heart.  When I was in seminary my worship professor was gifted preacher named Ralph Smith.  Ralph once said in an Ash Wednesday sermon that “you alone can die to your own sin.  For the next 40 days you and I are invited to look for those things within us that need to die.  Perhaps along the way we will find that we have made another discovery as well — that someone has been with us all along in the search, at times unrecognized; yet at the cries of our deepest distress and longing, at the moments when we allow ourselves to stand unmasked, finds a way to speak, and to touch, and to heal.”

Welcome to Lent.