In The World

Mount Olivet and the Cranberry Ridge Affordable Housing Development

Mount Olivet and the Cranberry Ridge Affordable Housing Development

One integral belief that Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth holds is that God is active not just in church, but in our world. We look and listen for what God is up to through the work of our community partners - organizations such as PRISM, Northport Elementary School, and the Home Free women's shelter. Through these partnerships, we have discerned that God is calling us to be a church that works toward feeding people, housing people, accompanying people in transition, and working with faith partners.

One of our housing partners, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, has asked our congregation to support their work of developing new affordable housing right here in Plymouth through the Cranberry Ridge project

Soda Wada

Mount Olivet is working with our partners,Trinity Lutheran, St. Peders, and Nokomis Heights, along with Dar Al Hijrah Mosque, to sponsor a refugee family's  resettlement here in Minnesota. Mount Olivet member, Lisa Hansen, is one of three mentors from these congregations that will work along side the family through the coming year. We will follow both Lisa's, and this family's experience through her blog - Riverchilde: A Servants Journey - where she will be posting reflections about her ongoing role as a mentor.

Check back, or visit Lisa's blog for continued updates.

Blankets For The Kids at Camp Noah

blankettying Camp Noah is a week long summer camp supported by Lutheran Social Services for kids in communities that have experienced a crisis or natural disaster. In the past couple years Mount Olivet has visited families struck by horrible flooding in Colorado, as well as up north in Cloquet, MN. Organized by MO member Lisa Hansen, these experiences are transformative for both the children who attend, and the volunteers who are impacted by the pain and resilience exhibited by these young survivors of natural disasters.


Holly Carlson feels called to support this ministry by organizing volunteers to tie the blankets used by the campers during the week. Every child at Camp Noah receives a tied fleece blanket to use and take home at the end of camp. The blankets are wonderful gifts, but more than that, they are a recovery tool for children, providing much needed comfort as they continue to process their disaster and/or trauma experience.

hollysquare"I am called to serve these camps because I am passionate about helping kids build resiliency and see hope after a traumatic event in life. This is the 3rd blanket drive I have hosted at Mount Olivet. Every year we have met our goal of making 50 fleece blankets. These blankets are used in activities throughout the week and at the end of the week this is gift to for the kids to keep forever. I am excited to further my call this summer when I join the Mount Olivet Camp Noah team for a week in June!"

You can join Holly tying blankets on April 11, April 19 and April 28 in the Conference Room at Mount Olivet from 6:30pm to 8pm. Fleece donations for the blankets are also welcome (size must be 60x72 inches). Contact Holly ( if you are interested in helping!


Updates from Tanzania: Karibu. Karibuni. We Are Welcome.


Karibu. Karibuni. We are welcome. This is one of the first phrases a visitor to Tanzania learns. Karibu. I received my first Karibu at the airport, upon responding to the man checking to see I had a visa. In response to my Asante, I received a quick karibu.

You hear Karibu over and over again. It would be easy to assume it is only a pleasantry, much like our American tendency to ask everyone we encounter "How are you?" often disregarding or barely recognizing the response.

Within a few moments, however, you feel Karibu. Once we managed to get our travel worn selves and heavy luggage through customs, Karibu's were joined with bright smiles, handshakes, and warm embraces. Suitcases were swiftly exchanged for beautiful bouquets and a safe hand to guide us to our transport. We continued to feel our welcome as we arrived under the dark night sky at Msasani Lutheran Church, at nearly 11pm, to enter the rotunda of the Msasani Multipurpose Development Center, welcomed with two joyful songs sung by one of the church choirs.

The welcomes continued as we were each brought to our host locations, well past midnight, and it was made clear that we were entering our homes while in Tanzania. Karibu.

We have spent two full days with our friends from Msasani Lutheran Church. The first day, after being graciously allowed to sleep late and sleep well, we spent a bit of time walking through the Msasani Multipurpose Development Center, known locally as Msasani Tower. The MMDC is a project prayerfully and financially supported by Mount Olivet, though our contribution pales when compared to that made by the members and community of Msasani. The MMDC is a work in progress. The building manager, who kindly took time to not only lead us on a tour but also to answer our many questions about the building and surrounding area, explained how hard she works to fill the many beautiful offices, business spaces, and meeting areas.

Currently a number of businesses, including a Diabetes Center and financial management organization as well as a prominent bank, offer services to the community. The large meeting hall has because a popular site for weddings and celebrations, with bookings nearly every weekend. As Msasani is able to securely pay down the mortgage on the Center, they plan to increase the number of nonprofit organizations housed in the Center by offering generous rental rates and make the Tower a hub for community support and celebration. We could already see it is a safe and secure place for the community to conduct business and the views from the balconies are breathtaking.  We wrapped up our first day making last minute preparations for the next day's health fair. Saturday we joined Msasani members and many local medical professionals for the first annual AFYA Day - Msasani Health Fair. The first spark for this day ignited when our Msasani friends attended the Great Minnesota Get together, the MN State Fair, with Kirsten in 2013. The sweltering August visit to the Fair was spent mostly in the KARE 11 Health Fair tent. The Msasani team began talking about how they could see a similar idea being beneficial in their community. The returned to Tanzania filled with ideas and plans to talk to their community.

Fast forward two years and the ideas became reality. Supported by many doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and enthusiastic volunteers, 364 members of the Msasani community received medical consultation and a variety of health screenings and information. Some were Msasasani Lutheran Church members, some were from the surrounding areas, others were from local health organizations and health professional schools. All were filled with God's love.  Visitors had their blood pressure taken, their BMI calculated, and their blood glucose level tested. From there they received medical consultation and were sent on to many other stations: nutrition, eye exams, oral health screening, men's health information, breast cancer screening and women's health information, speech therapy consultation, and Healing Touch.

Sophie Pletcher pricked hundreds of fingers, Kirsten consulted on speech issues for many of all ages, and Tracy Dickovich, Kim Dunford, and Marcy Walker, with the help of the rest of our team when their room was full, provided healing touch sessions to many visitors.

The rest of us filled in where needed, got really good at inflating beach balls we handed out to the many beautiful children who joyfully played and smiled with us, and we did our best to share the feeling of Karibu with everyone who entered the Health Fair grounds.  It was a good day. Though we were on the "giving" side for the day, we ended the day feeling like we had received a great gift.

Karibuni - we were welcomed.

- Summer A.

Updates from Denver: Mending the Hole in Our Hearts  

(This blog post is being typed by Pete because Andi is currently sleeping outside)

Today's post is about how service mends the holes in your heart. We met a man named Luke one morning who told me that people who spend their youth doing service, good deeds, whatever you call it, do not have a hold in their heart, their soul where many adults do. I don't necessarily agree with that. I'm sure many adults went on mission trips like this when they were younger and still feel they're missing something from their lives.

Do you ever feel like you should be doing more; changing , evolving, and growing in your faith? That's the hole in your heart. Fortunately, it can be mended with purpose, intention, actions, and most importantly grace only given through Christ on the cross. Here in Denver we are having time and experience which allows us to reevaluate our perspective on the world and ourselves. We are being pushed to never allow a hole to grow, though inevitably, it will and that's okay. Because we cannot do this on our own. Christ fuels us to mend the empty space by being responsive to the world around us, bringing love and compassion into the world. The struggle to be whole will always be a struggle because we are broken. Love, compassion, faith are what mends the hole in our heart.

Updates from Denver: Waking Up Hello everyone! Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Andi Dickmeyer, the Mount Olivet Mission Intern. I have been working since November to reach out to our youth and teens to find better ways of maintaining communication and community as they grow up through the church. I’ve also been responsible for organizing volunteer opportunities, helping with our equivalent of a Prayer Tour for Minneapolis, advocating for change at the Capital, and helping to sort our Senior High Mission Trip students into their work groups and planning different parts of the schedule and guidelines.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how important is to be conscious about what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing versus being ignorant of society or why you’re thinking and feeling they way you do, essentially being asleep. Being awake vs. asleep to our minds. This concept is especially important here, in Denver, when we’re witnessing and experiencing countless things that must be reflected upon and analyzed.

As I was sitting on the sidewalk yesterday with my group, talking to Jack the homeless Veteran, I watched every single person walk by with either a look of bafflement or disgust or ignore us completely. Only one person walking by smiled and stopped to chat, one of the security guards at a nearby building that has known Jack for months. What is wrong with society that the mere concept of sitting and talking and treating someone on the street like a normal human being (Yes, they are humans!) is either surprising, disturbing, or completely irrevelevant?

A song popped into my head during that time, Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots. “And it’s faith and it’s sleep, we need to pick one please because faith is to be awake and to be awake is for us to think and for us to think is to be alive…” Walking blindly through life, ignorant of the wrongs of society, ignorant of our own minds, is not living. It is us being asleep. Wake up, folks. Question everything. Why do we treat people like this? What are the pros and cons of this solution? What needs a solution? Is there anything we can do? If there isn’t anything we can do, how do I accept it? What can I do? How do I make the world a better place? How do I live?

Wake up.


Denver: Day 1 We are here! Denver, the home of the longest street in the country, Colfax, which stretches 26 miles. Home of beauty and vulnerability; home of postcard views and poverty; home of 36 missionaries this week.

CSM is an organization with which Mount Olivet has partnered over the last four years of senior high mission trips. We were introduced to the city during orientation from a hillside that looked down on a busy, dynamic city. Our group was urged to push aside any expectations we had to allow God to surprise us. We were asked to use that space where our expectations lived to allow God to enter in. We were invited to fully engage in this intentional community; to be curious and open to the relationships we will form in Denver.

Monday's theme is all about planting and growing. You will hear more about our Monday experience from Andi Dickmeyer. Andi is an Intern on this trip and will be collecting stories throughout the week to share with you. ALSO - follow us on Instagram @moplychurch. Our hashtags for this week are: #moplymission and #csmdenver

Thanks for the prayers that have guided us to Denver and those that will sustain us in our time here. It's a great start to the week!

Duluth: Day 3 into 4

"And who is my neighbor?" - Luke 10:29-37

We've been busy. Up early to prepare breakfast, cleaning our home for the week, packing lunches, doing yard work and gardening, organizing food shelves, moving boxes/supplies/donations/food, painting, dancing, conversing, playing, laughing, crying, falling, singing, dwelling, praying. And then we do it all again the next day. It's wonderful. But it is so busy. One of the girls shared with me last night that while her body is really tired, it's her mind she's having the hardest time calming down each evening. She feels like gears continue to turn and once she gets one set of gears to slow down another cranks up and she's off to reflect on another part of her day.

We get to experience so many fun moments when we spend a week together in close quarters, sleeping mat to mat on a church basement floor, packed in and out of full vans. We giggle and joke our way through the down time because it can get really tough when the quiet comes and our minds remind us of where we've been, who we have met. For many, as we've painted fingernails and played games, or simply sat in quiet closeness to a nursing home resident, this has been the first time we've come face to face with the reality of aging and the possibility of doing that alone. For others, it is the first time entering the home of someone who struggles to maintain that home and has no one to call for assistance. And for a few, it is the first time we've met someone our own age who doesn't have a safe place to go to after school, who doesn't have an adult who makes sure they are fed and clothed. It's hard. And so we play and laugh and dance when we get a moment. Because thinking about who we've met gets those gears going and they are hard to stop.

"And who is my neighbor?"

Duluth: Day 2

[instagram url=] Have you felt as if your body is ready to collapse into your bed but your mind just won't stop turning?

Exhausted but excited.

That's how most of us feel as we attempt to adhere to lights out after our first day at service sites. Our bodies are longing to rest on our camp mats and air mattresses (You know you're tired when that sounds delightful!) but we can't stop reliving our favorite moments together, from meals, Club and Church Group Time, and especially from our service sites.

Despite rain keeping us inside most of the day, we were able to engage in a variety of Duluth communities. Many windows were washed, bathrooms scrubbed, food shelves stocked and organized, furniture moved, fingernails painted, Bingo cards filled, and board games played. We saw God in Duluth's diverse communities, ages 6 to 106. From the Boys and Girls Club to assisted living homes to private residences, we were invited into individuals' lives and offered an opportunity to hear their story. Did we take that opportunity?

Each evening we are fortunate to spend time with one another in small groups, "family groups," to reflect on the day and dwell in the Word. Our dwelling for this evening was Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

For the next three days we will continue to participate in charitable acts of service. With compassion and love, we will aim to meet the immediate needs of the organizations and individuals we are invited to engage with. But what will happen in these communities when mission trip season is over and all the vans and youth groups head home?

We challenged ourselves to take time tomorrow to hear someone's story. To stop and listen. It's a simple task, but can be so hard to do, especially when you are in an unknown and possibly uncomfortable place.

By taking the time to hear, getting past the nervousness and slipping into familiarity, we will begin to discover new and bold ways we can be an active part of God's work in the world. We will begin to figure out how we can respond to God's call to do justice. While we continue to support charitable organizations and stock the shelves of food banks, we will begin to explore how we can play a role in eliminating the root causes of hunger and poverty.

We will aim to be voices for change and justice.

 "We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God." -Timothy Keller

Duluth: Dawn of Day 2

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:7

Over the last 9 months, as our 7th & 8th grade, Senior High youth, and adult leaders have prepared to connect in Duluth and Denver, we have dwelled in the above verse. This passage has been met with mixed reviews. “So WE aren’t anything, only God matters?” “I work hard. What do mean only God makes things happen.”

Today we head out to our first service sites. Some of us will connect with nursing home residents, a few will engage with the clients, staff, and volunteers of the Union Gospel Mission, we will bring joy and love to children at the Boys and Girls Club, and others will join a couple in cleaning and sorting through 37 years of belongings as they prepare to move from their home.

We will look for God and discover ways we can be positive forces in the world. We will keep open hearts and minds as we engage with God’s diverse children, and we will discover how God is at work within us, planting, tending, and nurturing each of us.

As we engage with the Duluth community and with one another we will plant metaphorical seeds. We will tend to those relationships, watering and feeding them. And we will remind one another that God is at work within each of us, helping those seeds grow, giving us the strength to continue planting.