Birch Island Lake
There isn't much to see between the Badlands National Park and home, but there are friends. We stopped in Worthington, MN, to see Jonathan and Lois Larson. He is pastor of Indian Lake Baptist Church. She was a high school friend of Steve's. Lois's mother (age 93) is a dear friend and neighbor of Mom's.
Worthington is an amazing community expecially in these days of xenophobia in America. Once an all-white northern European farming community, it now has a major hispanic population, a significant black population and large Asian population. Whites are the minority. Most of the Asians are Karen refugees from Burma who have arrived in the past 8 or 9 years. The Karen (Ka-WREN) people group were converted to Christianity in the nineteenth century by Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary. So where did the Karen decide to worship when they settled in Worthington? Indian Lake Baptist Church. The church and the community have embraced the newcomers. The Karen now have their own worship service since most of the adults don't speak much English. Their service goes on for hours. On Wednesday nights there is an extensive kids program. At Lois's invitation, I spoke to a dozen lively (and talkative!) Karen teens about living between cultures. Lois herself was born in China and grew up in Japan before coming to Cambridge at the age fo 14. The Karen teens were born in refugee camps in Thailand; their parents were mostly rural farmers in Burma. So all of us know what it is to feel like a stranger. I told stories about my own frustrations with places that are, as our daughter Erika expressed it in junior high, "all white and they speak English. It's so boring!" I ended with the Hebrews 11 verses about seeking a better country, not the one from which they came, but heaven. Those are the verses I focused on in my novel Between Two Worlds, and the kids seemed to identify. Meanwhile, Steve spoke to a group of white seniors who have seen their community change completely and discovered new opportunities to minister.
After a lingering breakfast, we headed northeast through Marshall, where Steve's dad grew up. His mom has been working on a family history we hope will be ready by Christmas, so it was fun to review stories, pass the family home, and find the site of the G. J. Hardy and Son Grocery where Hardy's Peanut Brittle was invented in the 1930s.
|The current Bike Shop is the former G. J. Hardy and Son on Main Street.|
We stopped for lunch at a Mike's Cafe on the way out of town. Inside we discovered that it had been founded in 1936 and originally located downtown. Although Mom didn't remember being there herself, she did remember people talking about going down to Mike's. While we studied the pictures of Marshall in the old days on the wall and tried to pick out the store, a man overheard us talking and introduced himself. He turned out to have been a friend of Steve's cousin "Jimmy." So it was a fun stop. The food was good, too. We were very glad we hadn't settled for Taco John's!
Dropped Mom at her house and made it home a little after 6. Tonight we will sleep in our own bed! So until the next adventure...
|Door Trail, Badlands|
for good friends.
for the riches of many cultures.
for people you began preparing for Worthington two hundred years ago.
for the eager teens in Lois's Bible study.
that we "happened" to stop at Mike's for lunch.
for safe driving through many miles.
for keeping our home safe while we were gone.
for the colors that remain on the trees here at home.