Estelle & Joseph Rangen's Letter of January 1991,

from Fergus Falls, Minnesota


After some 20 years, we are situated again where the somewhat common transforms into a Winter-Wonderland! This is our third snow fall...but each time we are transfixed by the beauty of the soft languid flakes as they come floating down to cover the uglinesses of earth...and there is a feeling about this season that is in no other...a sense of snugness, security and solitude. We have found, it is good to be out in the bracing cold, which clears the mind and invigorates the heart. It is equally good to come in to our apartment and feel the warmth wrap around our bodies like a soft fluffy blanket.

At Christmas time, we had our heaviest snowfall which made the evergreens the loveliest...especially those the owners had strung white lights on and they peek out from the branches which reminded me of a small child peeking out from underneath his blanket.

Two occasions, we had a mixture of humidity and snow which covered all the bare branches and small twigs that when we walked out, we almost felt our breath would be a corruption...spoiling the beauty...especially when the sun shone and everything sparkled like silver and crystal. We are more than content to begin a day like this amid all the calm clarity of wintered earth.

However, let us hasten to mention, we did not move to Minnesota for the weather and elements...we are here for a unique Ministry...trying to get acquainted with the responsibilities as well as our privilege to add to this the activities we feel are needed tokeep our dear Students encouraged.

Two vans of Students and Staff, just came back from several weeks of Min istry in Mexico. Joe's office is laden with about 30 blankets purchased by the students in doubt as gifts for their families...and placed there for security over the night and until they can sort out their purchases after they have rested from the long trip.

We took three students (those who couldn't go to Mexico) with us Sunday evening to Jevnocker (?) Lutheran Church north of Moorhead, to conduct a Service. WE were very thankful for the participation of the two young men and one gal. We also sang and Joe conducted and introduced, etc. Their young people were in charge of the Service, so it was so fitting for our Students to speak, testify and sing too. It's a country church so it was a little difficult to find the location.

This coming Sunday will be the second Sunday we go to two Presbyterian churches to hold Services. They are country churches about 25 to 30 miles south of Fergus Falls. Joe preaches and I give the Children's story. We've enjoyed that. We are prepared to sing if they don't hhave enough to have their choir sing but no need yet.

If plans continue, we will leave for Arizona the 14th of Feb. first going to Phoenix where Joe will speak at the Alumni Banquet and then on to Yuma where a Service is set up there too for us. We'll be representing the Schools of course.

The World Mission Conference of the Lutheran Brethren Schoolwill be held Jan. 31-Feb. 3rd. This will be the 84th Annual Conference. The Alpha Way Mission Team will give their echoes [?] from Mexico as well as some singspirational skits, etc. Doug Heilman is scheduled too...beeen working with the Street-gangs in N.Y. He was with us in our Church in Fullerton years ago.

Have you heard? A Sunday School lesson was about Noah's Ark & the teacher asked the children how they thought Noah might have whiled away those 40 long dreary days [in the Ark during the Flood]. "I bet he spent a lotta time fishing," suggested one youngster. "He couldn't," retorted his friend, "he only had two worms."

Janelle and the two of us, took a fast run to Fargo-Moorhead last Saturday for some fast shopping (health store, esp.) and took in the Open House held in honor of a very good friend of ours who was celebrating her 90th Birthday. She and her Pastor husband used to attend our Church here in Fergus years ago when we served here. Her husband was called "HOME" this last year. We were happy we could make it.

We received a note from Donna Ysteboe saying that she understood from their Daughter-in-law Rachel Ysteboe, that her mother Mildred Erickson was feeling quite confined since her hubby Lester needs so much attention and watching now that he has Parkinsens. She suggested perhaps we would take her out to have lunch and get someone to watch Lester. Well, we suggested they come to our house and with Don two weeks away from his retirement, he thought he could take the afternoon off. We talked with Mildred and suggested we try to celebrate his retirement and also his Birthday (Don's, that is). The time was set for 1 p.m. They came, we ate, we chatted, and then we brought our cards...first celebrating his Birthday. We gave him one that had 5 "Over-the-Hill" Songs...with familiar melodies like "O, Give Me a Home", etc; that was fun! I had found an "olde tramp" and made up a few sentences to go with we could celebrate his retirement! It was such a light atmosphere...and before we knew it, it was time to bring out the Birthday cake and have coffee. I called Janelle and she came with balloons and a card...Oh, yes, Mildred had baked some Yulekake for Don too. We do believe it lifted the spirits of the Ericksons...I know it did ours!

Jan. 13 on Sunday night, the Churches of F.F. called a special Prayer Service to be held at the Jr. High School (They call it the Middle School now). There must have been close to 1000 people there. What a beautiful sight...we could hardly find a seat! It was called because of the 15th deadline before the U.S. would fight Iraq if they didn't leave Kuwait!

It was a beautiful time.

We had been to Fargo and took in the Service at Liberty L.B. Church in the A.M.

Saturday 19th Bethel rented the whole gym so that anyone from the church and friends could spend the evening (Sat.) in any kind of entertainment. Janelle and the girls went...we stayed home and prepared for the next day's services with the Presbyterians. It's so nice when a Church will do this for their Congregation. Many of them went swimming (Swensons did) and others played volley ball, etc.

The 24th of Jan. I'm going to a Calligraphy class at the Middle School...It'll go for 6 weeks. I'll miss Thurs. the 14th when and if we go to Arizona.

Feb. 9th on Saturday, our Bethel L.B. Church Adult Fellowship will be sponsoring a Valentine Banquet. The theme: "An Evening in Paris"...we have signed up and Janelle & Dave plan to go too, should be an enjoyable evening.

We bought an electric blanket shortly before we left Portland (not knowing we would be moving to a hot climate), well, the electric elements quit working. We went to the J.C. Penney Store (from which we purchased it) and today, we got a brand new one...identical to the one we had. We are so thankful. We did use the blanket in the winter in Yuma and believe me we will use it here even though our aprtment is toasty warm. Towards morning, it gets chilly!

Our large-numbered clock also gave out and Janelle saw that the Waremart Store in Fargo handled them, so Joe brought the clock to them and they replaced the one which refused to give lighted numbers with a brand new one too. Fortunate.

Most of every time we get to Fargo we try to see Martin (Koslowsky). The last time, Don, Marian and daughter were there taking down his Christmas Decorations so we had a most lively time of fellowship! They showed us the beautiful new, elegant top and bottom "Sweats" (I guess you call them!). Nice gift, Gary & Chloe!

Are you interested in a very good recipe for COFFEE CAKE SUPREME? [Yes, indeed, Aunt Estelle, we will add it to our Stadem cookbook on-line!--Ed.]

Combine 3/4 cup butter or ole [ole--sounds Norsk, a name for a butter substitute perhaps?] and 1 cup sugar.

Beat in 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. soda and 1 tsp. salt. Pour 1/2 batter in a 9 by 13 greased pan. Pour 1 can cherry pie mixture on top. Mix 1/2 sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle 1/2 of this over the cherry filling. Pour the rest of the batter over the cherry filling. Sprinkle the remainder of the sugar mixture over the top. Chopped nuts can be added. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. (Other pie fillings work well too). This is a very light recipe and tasty!

This came from Pastor Bob Wallen who has cooked and baked his own meals and has been so hospitable for years while his wife was in the Nursing Home but recently went home to Glory!

E.L. Hervey wrote, "Divine love is a sacred flower, which in its early bud is happiness, and in its full bloom is heaven."



Endnote: One thing would enhance the Coffee Cake Supreme: a dollop of real whipped cream or real vanilla ice cream! That should complement or lighten the extreme cherry flavor in a fantastic way. And for the sugar-conscious or calorie conscious ones, why not try a small to tiny portion? Less will do quite nicely, as the cherry flavor will be so powerful you shouldn't need a big portion to be satisfied. I recall that Myrtle Svanoe had small or even tiny dessert spoons, they seemed to make the ice cream dessert go much further that way than if you had gulped it down with bigger spoons.--Ed.

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