Civil rights, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Moon. These were the national issues that would profoundly shape my childhood growing up in Houston in the 1960s. They would lead me to become and remain a big fan of the space program. I would feel the responsibility to take my turn serving in the Army in Vietnam if necessary. I missed Vietnam by less than a year. I served in Germany and became increasingly aware of the growing danger in the Middle East. The Christmas Eve reading of the creation account by the astronauts orbiting the Moon in 1968 set off a chain reaction of events that eventually led me into pastoral ministry. In 1969, I worshiped at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Houston. In 1989, I was ordained in the same church.
Graduation from high school came in 1976 on a Friday night and I began classes at the University of Houston the following Monday. From hot and muggy Houston, I traveled to hot and dusty Lubbock, Texas where I attended Texas Tech University. With two years of college work completed, I enlisted in the Army and served from 1978 to 1985 in various locations and capacities. Also in 1985, I completed my studies and graduated from Concordia University Texas in Austin. My theological studies occurred at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and I graduated in 1989. I also received my doctorate degree in 2006.
Susan and I met during a vicarage internship in Omaha. We married in 1988 and began our lives together serving as many as four congregations in north Texas from 1989 to 2000. We moved to Oklahoma and served a brief two years before receiving a call to serve in Greenfield and Winterset, Iowa. We came in 2002 and we’ve been in Iowa ever since.
We adopted our son and daughter, David and Joanna, from Russia in 1997. Joanna is married and has four children. David lives in Des Moines and is still looking for Miss Right.
We’ve all been incredibly blessed. I love the ministry and the work we share with the wonderful people of God in my two congregations.
The images from those fateful events in the 1960s remain a vivid matinee that plays continuously in my memory. As does the continuous ringing in my ears from my Army years. Ours has been a richly blessed and amazing odyssey. I give much thanks to our Lord.