Saturday, July 28, 2012
An amazing story
By Tom Marsland
Special Correspondent to ASSIST News Service
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA USA (ANS) -- 40 years ago I gathered with a 5,000 soul packed hometown city auditorium to witness a remarkable moment of evangelism. Only 40 miles from Canada in North Central - North Dakota, Minot only boasted a little over 30,000 inhabitants at the time. That evening Lowell and Connie Lundstrom preached and sang their hearts out with their entire extended family. Brothers and sisters and kids and in-laws and even an outlaw or two … specifically one who was a former convict who'd spent part of his life in prison for many horrendous crimes he’d committed and the stories were unnerving. Lowell had led him to Christ and now he was working for the ministry.
Lowell and Connie extended their stay an extra week and the entire community was affected. Many tens of thousands of people got a straight shot of a Billy Graham like message with a rural twist. You see the Lundstroms hailed from a tiny Indian reservation community in neighboring South Dakota and they were really ordinary, approachable, warm Midwest folks.
I was in my late teens and my own newbie relationship with Christ deepened as the revival meetings were held. In fact I met Lowell one evening and for some reason he always remembered me after that. Perhaps it was a quality of his or maybe we’d connected as they say, but I was certainly impacted in a big way.
One night during the series Lowell was preaching an especially fiery sermon telling all the middle age men in the auditorium that they may or may not even draw their next breath. Just like Christ had told the parable of the young man he called a fool because that very night his very soul was required of him.
As if on a morose dark queue Lowell’s sermon was interrupted as the eyes of the entire assembly seemed to be looking in my general direction. Actually they were all looking on with horror as a middle aged man above and behind me stood up and quite dramatically clutched his chest and with an audible expelling of breath sound fell forward. He was dead as he the floor with a thud that we shouldn’t have been able to hear in a crowd of thousands … but everyone did.
My friend Randy was with me and we both strained to see who it was. And you can’t make these things up, nor would you want too, but it was my friend Randy Leonard’s dad. Wow … Lowell and others in the crowd delivered some very powerful prayers, but it was Mr. Leonard’s time to face his Creator.
As the paramedics left the area Lowell asked for any man that was uncertain of his relationship with God to step forward and confess his sin and he invited these same men to give their hearts to Christ. The floor filled as they came forward by the hundreds for what I think may have been more than a thousand visibly shook men. Yes his message picked on the guys as was his actual sermon plan penned earlier. Who knew? OK, that’s a trick question … as only ONE knew.
Years later Lowell was a constant guest on my radio talk show in Minneapolis Minnesota. Lowell and I revisited that story more than once.
I preached in Lowell’s church, broke bread with him and prayed with him. We really had a genuine deep friendship and both Lowell and I suffered some of the same medical issues over the years and would comfort each other from time to time.
I am sorry to say that I hadn’t spoken with Lowell since his dear wife’s death, for which I felt terrible for Lowell and the kids.
I long ago gave up on wondering what God says to people on their eventual arrival on the other sides of this veil of tears. But I have to believe Lowell has already heard “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.