My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…Isaiah 56:7
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations…. Mark 13:10
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ... Mathew 28:19-20
I believe God’s command to love ‘all nations’ defines the essence of our ministry at the POBLO Friendship Center. My name is Sandy Severson, a POBLO volunteer, who has had the wonderful privilege to become acquainted with many POBLO participants. I teach POBLO classes because I want to share the love of Jesus with the ‘people of all nations’. For me, loving those who walk through the doors of POBLO constitutes creating a personal bond. Many students in my class come from China and are working at Mayo Clinic for 6 to 12 months in research appointments. In my Medical English class, I first relate to students through our mutual interest in research, discussing the merits of scientific papers in a quasi type journal club. We have fun interacting while working toward their goal of improved English proficiency.
Outside of class, I have invited my students to attend my church, to my home for a meal, and a Reformation concert by the Bach Society of Minnesota. It has been so rewarding to me to have POBLO students express the joy they feel after attending an Easter church service or their sincere participation in singing and reading the scripture lessons in their native language at the Pentecost service. This bonding with POBLO participants, however, extends much further than myself. Building relationships is a united effort of many POBLO volunteers from the circuit of seven churches. For example, the same students that attend my Tuesday Medical English class may also attend the Monday Bible Class taught by Katrina Meyer and the Wednesday Advanced English Conversational class led by Molly Gommels. Time outside of the classroom is important in providing the memorable experiences that knit relationships together. Recent examples include harvesting gladiola bulbs at Katrina’s farm or a field trip to an apple orchard organized by Molly.
God’s love for the ‘people of all nations’ is evident in the POBLO ministry. While I was preparing for class and learning how to pronounce certain medical terms, the Holy Spirit was quietly working in the background. Through the Biblical teaching and witnessing of believers, POBLO participants were being convinced that Jesus was their Savior. The Holy Spirit was using our interactions and imperfect acts of kindness to lead people to the awesome love of God and ultimately to faith in Jesus. And so it was, on October 4th, two of my students asked me how they could become a Christian. After meeting with Pastor Koglin, three baptisms, which included an eleven-year old daughter, were performed on November 12th at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Baptismal sponsors were POBLO teachers Katrina, Molly and myself.
I have been blessed and honored to be a part of these baptisms. I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those recently baptized. In my own life, the Spirit’s power is undeniable and has made me fearfully amazed. Together with my new sisters in Christ, I thank God for the wonderful mercy and grace He has shown to ‘the people of all nations’.
- Sandy Severson (POBLO volunteer)