This month Gloria and I celebrate another milestone of our marriage and ministry. It hardly seems possible that these 40 years have flown by so quickly.
Gloria and I were married October 16, 1965, on a beautiful Saturday evening. We dashed off on a three day whirlwind honeymoon to Canada, returned home, packed our wedding gifts in the attic at my parents farm and on Wednesday, October 20th, I packed my new bride and our the few belongings we had into an old 1948 Flex bus. Believe me, you had to be plenty flexible to live in it. On October 21, Gloria and I, along with my brother, Lowell, his wife, Connie, and their two children ventured off on our journey into full-time evangelism. Years later, my brother, Leon, and his wife, Ronda, joined the team as well.
We traveled with Lowell and Connie for over 21 years. God greatly blessed our combined efforts through weekly radio and television shows, united crusades, primetime television specials and the nightly rallies held in communities all over the nation. Multiplied thousands made decisions for Christ during that time.
We raised our families on the road and they were a big part of our ministry. Everyone enjoyed "The Little Lundstroms". As the children grew up, we realized we had two sets of keyboardists, drummers, bass players, singers, etc. In November 1982, Lowell suggested we take our family on the road and become the Associate Evangelist of Lowell Lundstrom Ministries and double the ministry's outreach. On December 13, we packed our family and instruments into a coach given to us by Lundstrom Ministries and off we went!
Our family sang and ministered coast to coast. From 1982, until 1996, we were privileged to have our children LaShawn, LaDawn, and Donovan travel, sing and play in our "Family to Family" rallies. Only too soon, they all left the nest and in 1997, we were back down to two-just Gloria and I…just like we started back in 1965.
In the past 24 years we have seen nearly 60,000 people make decisions for Christ in our rallies, television appearances, retreats and marriage seminars. It's been great!
Has the 40 year run been worth it? A thousand times over! To see all of those people come to Christ is thrilling. I thank God that He called Gloria and I into the ministry as teenagers from the same little church youth group in Sisseton, SD, in the 1950's. I'm thankful for a wife who was willing to hit the road for 40 years with me. She's been faithfully by my side. I couldn't have done it without her. I'm thankful for a wonderful dedicated office staff in Sisseton, I'm thankful for you, our extended family, friends and partners who have faithfully prayed for us and have supported this ministry with your financial gifts. Without all of you…this ministry wouldn't be. You have faithfully sent us all these years and for that we are most grateful. With your help, your prayers and God's strength we plan to keep going a long, long time. We are called and committed to continue to reach the Lost for Christ… "til death do us part".
We pray that God will bless you, and please remember, you are our family and we love you!
Reflections: 1965 - 2005
Today I was reflecting back to October 1965. My life was buzzing with wedding plans: the hustle and bustle of wedding showers, last-minute decorations, final alterations on my wedding gown, and final decisions to be made on flowers, cake, and so on! All efforts were at full throttle for the upcoming long-anticipated day. On the evening of October 15, we had our wedding rehearsal and dinner at my parents' home. I remember that I had a hard time going to sleep that night, due to all the excitement and anticipation of the wedding. The countdown was on-the hours were now ticking by quickly.
The next morning, October 16, Mom and I sat in the old kitchen booth and had our "last breakfast" and chat time. Mom had poured so much of herself into my life the previous 21 years. Was I prepared to apply all the advice and principle to my upcoming role as a wife? I had hoped and prayed so.
I raced to the church by mid-afternoon to be sure that everything was proceeding as planned. At 6:00 that evening, I anxiously put on my wedding dress. I looked in the mirror and thought, "It's really time…I'm getting married…it's finally a reality." I heard the organist start playing the prelude. My stomach began to churn with excitement. I stepped out into the church foyer to meet my dad. It was an emotional moment for both of us. He acted nonchalant, and I was somewhere between cheers and tears! We hugged, and then he gave me a kiss on my cheek. It was our last hug with me as "Daddy's little girl" before I walked down the aisle to become Larry's wife. It was a bit scary to let go of Daddy, as he had always been there to be my protector. The wedding music continued to play…then it stopped…and then finally, proceeded again with the song we had chosen for my walk down the aisle: "Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us."
As I started down that long aisle, I caught a glimpse of Larry waiting for me. When our eyes met, he smiled-and I melted. The crowd of 500 people seemingly vanished for that moment! I fixed my eyes on the one I had chosen to be my life's mate. I immediately felt peaceful and secure, knowing that I had made the right decision.
My brother-in-law, Lowell Lundstrom, officiated the ceremony. We repeated our vows: "For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse…" Little did we actually know, on that night, what those vows really meant! Now, 40 years later, we know what the "for richer or poorer" meant, as we struggled financially in those early years. "In sickness and in health"…Larry never dreamt that he would have to walk through so many physical valleys with me, but ever so graciously and compassionately, he has been there. "For better or for worse"…Oh, Lord, we never could have anticipated that life could have so many "worsts." But together, we have weathered life's storms-and it's only drawn us closer, and made us a stronger couple. "'Til death do us part"…we are absolutely committed to being best friends until our very last breath.
We thank God for these past 40 years together. We have been blessed with thousands of miles of smiles, worlds of fun, and much laughter. We thank God that we have been called as a couple to travel and present the Gospel to others.
I thank God for a wonderful husband, who is my best friend and fellow "trench-mate." I'm also so thankful for our daughters LaShawn and LaDawn, our son Donovan, and our grandchildren Dante and Myanna. They have all given us so much joy!
What is ahead for us? We are committed to keep moving forward, staying faithful to do our part in reaching the lost. Printed on our wedding napkins in 1965 was the following saying: "Each for the other and both for the Lord." That statement still stands true 40 years later!
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