Peace with God through Jesus Christ

The Olive Press — October 2016

Dear Mount Olive Members and Friends,
I recently heard an interesting report on the radio.  A strong signal of some sort has been picked up by a very powerful Russian telescope.  What makes astronomers excited is the faint possibility that the signal may be artificial in origin.  In other words, another civilization, technologically far advanced over our own, may have sent it.
As it turns out, for a variety of complicated reasons, hardly any of the experts believe that the signal actually came from extraterrestrials.  No matter how fascinating it might be, it’s generally believed that this particular incident will likely be categorized as “transient and unexplained.”
The part of the story that intrigued me the most was the estimated distance the signal may have traveled before being received here on earth.  The figure given for its distance from us is 94 light years.  How far away is that?  The speed of light is around 671 million miles per hour.  In one year, light travels about 6 trillion miles.  So if something is measured as being 94 light years away, it’s beyond our ability to imagine.
About the same time I heard that report on the radio, I made a Communion visit to one of our homebound members.  For my devotion I used Psalm 103:11 which says, “As far as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s mercy toward those who fear Him.”  In the grand scheme of things, that news is much more exciting and hopeful than any report of a possible artificial signal sent from outer space.
Sometimes the memory of a past sin haunts us and we have a hard time believing that the Lord would really forgive us.  Maybe we worry that we’ve already exhausted all of God’s patience with us and that there is no longer any mercy left for us.  That’s a real worry, because if God is no longer merciful toward us or if His willingness to not punish us for our sins has been depleted, then we would be without hope.  Then we would be left with the prospect of having to pay for our sins by our own efforts and good works.
How comforting!  God assures us that His mercy for us is as far as the heavens are above the earth.  Elsewhere, in describing the immensity of God’s love for us on account of Jesus’ holy life and innocent death, the apostle Paul wrote, “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.  Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:32,33)    We may never fully grasp the enormity of outer space.  It’s beyond our ability to fathom such dimensions and distances. But there is another dimension God wants us to know and depend upon.  “I pray, that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17, 18)
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Pastor Petersen

Meet Sam & Elisa Johnson

Samuel and Elisa Johnson were recently married in July, 2016, at Trinity Chapel at Bethany Lutheran College with the reception at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church.
Sam was born in St. Peter and grew up in the Norsland area. He was home schooled through high school. He then went to Bethany and has a Music minor, emphasis on Piano and graduated this past spring. He was an accompanist on the Bethany choir tour. His father is Dan Johnson and his mother is Emily. He has 3 brothers and 6 sisters.
Sam met his wife Elisa Mayer at Bethany. Elise was born in Papillion, Nebraska. She attended Kindergarten through grade 3 at Good Sheppard Lutheran School. She was home schooled from grades 4-8. She attended High School at Nebraska Lutheran in Waco. She was homeschooled by her Mom, Patty and Dad, Ken, who was the principal of the high school. Elisa has a music major at Bethany with a goal of someday writing church music!
Elisa recently gave Sam a parakeet for his birthday. Sam works at Taco Bell and likes to juggle. Elisa has worked daycare for two summers and is nanny for 2 churches in the Norsland area. She has many hobbies but particularly likes to explore Minnesota. She appreciates the wide open spaces and loves the oceans.
Sam would like to be a pastor of a small country church. He is now in the process of learning Greek and Hebrew before attending the Bethany Seminary.

Important Dates at

Mt. Olive Lutheran School

Tuesday, October 4
No AM Busing
Thursday & Friday, October 20 & 21
No Busing
Wednesday, October 26
Early Dismissal at 11:15AM
No PM Busing
Thursday & Friday, October 27 & 28
No School – Teacher’s Conference

Bible Classes at Mt. Olive

The following Bible Classes are offered at Mt. Olive:
9:40AM Sundays (BIC)
9:40AM Sundays (Bible Study)
10AM 2nd & 4th Mondays (Veteran’s Bible Study)
8AM Tuesdays (Ladies Bible Study)
8AM Wednesdays (MOM’s Bible Study)
9AM Wednesdays (Bible Study)
Bible Information Class (BIC) is available for anyone interested in learning more about our Christian faith.  Please talk to one of the Pastors if you’re interested.

Online Worship Services

Our Services are ARCHIVED ONLINE!  Mt. Olive has a page on VIMEO where our services are archived. Check it out:

Serving Mt. Olive

     1st Service: Juel Merseth (capt.), Ron Bequette,
Greg Lieske, Ron Koth, Tim Merseth
2nd Service: Dean Kluge (capt.), Bill Bukowski,
Joe Madson, Jon Mueller, Jacob Mueller
     1st Service: Arden Olson (capt.), Lane Buck, Eldon
Sting, Peter Finken, Joe Finken, Mark Graham,
Greg Costello
2nd Service: Don Lehne (capt.), Mark Johnson,
Aaron Heyn, John Weber, Matthias Leyrer
1st Service: Ross & Betsy Hermanson,
Eldon Sting, Lois Otto
2nd Service: Robert & Ruth Heidenreich,
Dan & Joanne Maas
1st Service: Ernie & Marge Lillo, Eldon Sting,
Keith Anderson
2nd Service: Connie Long, Robert Goetzke,
Mike & Anita Smith
Altar Guild
October: Carol Leiferman, Ellie Fisher
November: Carol Petersen, Sherri Bukowski
October: Ron Younge, Jeff Younge
November: Dan Gerdts, Joe Meyer

New 2 You

Mt. Olive volunteers are scheduled to work at New2You for the first Saturday of each month. There is a morning (9:45-12:15) and afternoon (12:15 – 3:00) shift. Would you consider helping at one of them – JUST ONCE A YEAR? The sign-up sheet is on the table in the narthex.  If you would like to become a volunteer, you may also call New2You at 507-385-1455. Thank you!

Coffee & Donut Volunteers

We are looking for more volunteers who are willing to make coffee before our services and pick up donuts/treats and bring them for our Bible Study time. If you would like to volunteer in this way or have any questions, please contact Sam Barbosa. Email: or call: (507) 382-4928. We also extend our thanks to the Barbosas and to the Waltzes for providing coffee and treats in the past years!

Encourage One Another Seminars

Encourage One Another, Mt. Olive’s support group for persons with depression, will be holding a series of workshops on mental health issues during October. These seminars will be held on Thursday evenings, beginning at 6:30PM in the Social Hall.  The series is entitled, “I Don’t Know What to Say!” and is designed especially for people who do NOT have mental health problems, but know someone who does. Everyone is encouraged to attend. The first seminar will be held on Thursday, October 6. The evening’s presenter will be Kari Fletcher, nationally known speaker on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  Kari is passionate about educating others on this disability and has been training parents and professionals in Minnesota and nationally since June 2005. Each session will be approximately 1 hour in length, with time for discussion and questions to follow. Coffee and snacks provided. Babysitting provided. (Call ahead if you will be bringing an infant, so extra staffing can be on hand.)

ELS Women’s Missionary Society Meeting

Our next rally is being held at Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church in Rodgers, MN on October 22, 2016 from 9AM to 3PM. Please sign up on the narthex table by October 10 if you plan to attend.

The Annual Fall Picnic & Bonfire

will take place on Saturday, October 1 beginning at 5:30PM at the Bethany athletic field fire pit. All the food will be provided thanks to a Thrivent Action Team grant. Please join us and just bring roasting sticks (if you have them), lawn chairs and games (if you wish), and a generous food donation for the ECHO food shelf.

Day-Trip to See the Martin Luther Exhibit

We have a once-in-a–lifetime opportunity to see the Luther Exhibit at the Art Institute in Minneapolis! This exhibit is here because of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation update to the Luther Museum in Wittenberg. Through Thrivent our tickets and bus fare are at a reduced rate. It will be a total cost of $20 for the trip! (We ask you to either bring your own sack lunch or purchase lunch at the MIA cafe.)  We have space and tickets for 50 people.  Even better, Professor Bill Bukowski will be narrating as we tour the exhibit on Tuesday, November 15.   Please see the sign-up sheet on the narthex table, and give your $20 to Marge Lillo or Lois Johnson. Thank You!

Bethany Lutheran College

49th Annual Reformation Lectures
“The Cost of Confessing: Luther and the Three Princes”
The Lectures are held at BLC in the Sigurd Lee Theater on October 27th and 28th beginning at 10:30AM. The speakers this year are Dr. Roland Ziegler, Dr. Charles Cortright, and Dr. David Lumpp. For further information, go to or contact Elsa Ferkenstad at 344-7354 or email:

Board for Home Outreach Newsletter

“Are You Ready?”
A mother asked her daughter what she had learned in Sunday school that morning.  The little girl replied, “The teacher told us that one of the reasons God put us in this world is so we can get ready for heaven.”
“I think your teacher is correct dear,” the mother said.
“Then why aren’t more people getting ready?” said the girl.
(cont.) A child-like question, but one that is valid.  If one of the reasons we’re here is to prepare for eternity, then why aren’t more people getting ready?
In the hustle and bustle of the world, people have become so occupied with the affairs of the day, the oppressing problems of the world, etc., that many have forgotten to get ready for the next world.  There is a bumper sticker that reads, “You are not a physical being on a spiritual journey.  You are a spiritual being on a physical journey.”
Psalm 90:12:  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Praise the Lord that in His wisdom He sent His one and only Son to suffer, die and rise again for the sins of the whole world.  You are no exception to His love.  He wants you to know and to grow in His love for you.  He wants you to know that through faith in Christ heaven is your eternal home.
It is time to get ready.  Lord, teach us to regard this life as a period of preparation for a greater and much more wonderful life which is still to come.  Teach us to use our time in glory to You.
Are you doing that?  Are you getting ready to meet the Lord?  Do you confess your sins to your Father in heaven?  Do you give all your worries, cares, and dreams to the One who is all powerful and all knowing?  Are you clinging to the Savior Jesus Christ? If so, you are prepared.

Mt. Olive Building Committee 

October 2016 Update

Our Mission
“The mission of Mount Olive Lutheran Church is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ through God’s Word, so that souls are called into and kept in the Christian faith unto eternal life.”
“Mt. Olive Lutheran School exists to carry out Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations, by assisting parents in the Christian training of their children to live a life of faith here on earth and forever after in heaven.”
After reviewing Request for Proposal documents from three architectural firms the interview team from the Building Committee conducted interviews of two firms. At its September 20 meeting the Building Committee unanimously selected ISG to serve as the architectural firm for the project.
Our Vision
Upon careful review and extensive discussion of the many suggestions from the congregation, the task of the Building Committee has been to prioritize which items appear to be the most immediate needs and which also serve to best support the mission of our church and school. The Building Committee’s recommendation is that a combination of new construction and remodeling of current spaces will be necessary to accomplish these goals and will request that the following items be considered by the chosen architect when preparing the initial pre-design phase:

  • The Project
    • IMPROVE our main entrance and narthex
    • ENHANCE curb appeal
    • ADDRESS security for school and church
    • IMPROVE office space for pastors, support staff, and principal
    • INCREASE available space for fellowship, meetings, kindergarten class size,
      school-related activities, and various groups
    • ADDRESS the need for additional storage for items above
  • Desired Results
    • FACILITATING better pedestrian flow before, between, and after worship to better serve our members and guests
    • PRESENTING a more user-friendly, welcoming, and less confusing entrance to our visitors
    • PROVIDING more and better facilities for fellowship opportunities, larger kindergarten classes, meetings, groups within the congregation and the community, and for various events
    • ENSURING better security for the children of our school and for the congregation at large
    • ENHANCING the physical work environment for our pastors, support staff, and principal
    • IMPROVING the storage, arrangement and usefulness of current facilities impacted by the addition

ISG will be engaging with the Building Committee and select user groups over the next two months to collect the information and ideas necessary to create a schematic design for potential building projects. Please remember your congregation and your building committee in prayer, asking God to guide us all to decisions and to the direction most pleasing to Him.