Each month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with the latest news from various mission fields.
If your last visit to the little town of Mapleton, North Dakota, was more than a year ago, you might not recognize it today. Mapleton, which serves as a bedroom community for Fargo, has benefitted from the recent boom and expansion of this neighboring city. Pastor Del Maas writes, “The boom (in Mapleton) is also evident with neighborhoods being platted and new houses seeming to appear overnight. The residents recently approved the building of a new elementary school, and so even more trucks and heavy equipment abound in this swiftly growing town.”
This has placed the members of Gift of God in a wonderful situation, since it is the only church in town! With this opportunity, Pastor Maas says the congregation “has been ramping up its efforts to reach this town, and its many newcomers, with the Gospel.”
Here are a few examples of their efforts
to point their community to the Savior:
• Last December they hosted an Advent VBS series on Thursday nights. The purpose was to introduce the children to the real meaning of Christmas. Pastor Maas reports that “many of the children had little or no idea about who Jesus really was and why He came into the world. So, on the first night the pastor set up a large nativity set and introduced the children to its different characters—from the lambs to the Christ Child Himself. Then a crucifix was erected above the manger scene and the connection was made between the One in the manger and the One on the cross. Many were shocked and amazed that the little Baby grew up to be the Jesus who was willing to die for their sins on that cross.”
• This summer Gift of God hosted VBS with help from the Traveling Vacation Bible School team, and teams from Mankato and Eau Claire. Many children from around the town were blessed to hear about the “Pictures of Christ from the Old Testament.” One of the visible results of this effort was an increase in their fall Sunday school attendance, which was double that of last year!
• The congregation has also prepared gift bags to welcome newcomers to the area. The bags include information about the church, sermons on CDs, and a jar of ingredients to make Roughrider Cookies. The opportunity? “As the bags are delivered, it gives us a chance to chat with the new folks and personally invite them to the only church in town.”
Pastor Maas finishes with a request: “Please keep our Mapleton congregation in your prayers that these Gospel-seeds may take root and grow!”
Nathanael Mayhew is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota and Faith Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota, and a member of the Board of Missions of the CLC.