Today I was talking with my Grandfather Leif and he was telling stories about his father Lewis, who immigrated to the US from Norway. It seems that he had moved here, in hopes of attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Unfortunately, his English wasn’t good enough for the school and he settled in Iowa.
Lewis had found salvation in Jesus through the Lutheran Revival in Norway. As he learned English, in the US, his passion for God grew.
In his thirties he had developed diabetes. He began to pray relentlessly these two requests: that God would call one of his two sons into pastoral ministry, and that God would heal him from diabetes and allow him to live a long life of serving through pastoral ministry.
There was a medical miracle and Lewis was healed of diabetes. He no longer needed medical care. He started his Christian work, travelling to tell people about Jesus. After a few years, he began to serve as a pastor and lived until the age of 87.
I remember being a 12 year old boy at Lewis’ funeral. Several people spoke kind words. We heard one person in particular describing the virtue of Lewis’ pastoral ministry. That moment was when I felt drawn to this life. That weekend I knew what I was born to do with my life. This is the reason that I’m in Baltimore today.
Lewis’ son Selmer served in the US Army for 25 years, retiring after WW2. Lewis’ son Leif (my grandfather) served as a pastor. He served people and lead churches across California, Washington, and Oregon.
It wasn’t until years after my Grandpa Leif had started his work in the pastoral ministry, that his father Lewis told him about that prayer. Leif didn’t know that Lewis had hoped “one of his sons” would serve in the pastoral ministry. Lewis didn’t hang that idea over his boys. It wasn’t the Malmin way. He prayed and waited to see what God would do. He continued to be a great father and follower of Jesus. Such is the way that my father Ken, lead me.
Lewis was proud to see his son, Leif, serve as a pastor. It was an answer to prayer. Leif still serves as a pastor today. Next month my Grandpa Leif turns 83.