Volume 123, Number
James Mulvihills continue family tradition of ministry
BY RICHARD PETERSON
Jim Mulvihill returned to the area he grew up in a few weeks ago and found there had been many changes. Esmond is very different. Devils Lake is different. What remains the same is that the Mulvihills are still spreading the word of God.
Jim and his wife, Jan, are missionaries in Belize, which used to be British Honduras. It’s a country about the size of Massachusetts located south of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in Central America.
They’re back in the US for a year on furlough. Furlough means they are raising funds so they can return to Belize to continue their ministry for Child Evangelism Fellowship.
That name Mulvihill should be familiar to longtime residents of this area. Jim’s father, LuVerne Mulvihill was pastor of the Esmond Congregational Church and the Hesper Evangelical Free Church from about 1952 to 1959. He was also pastor of the Bethel Evangelical Free Church in Devils Lake beginning in 1962. He preached in many churches in this area before his retirement.
LuVerne and his wife, Eleanor, now live in Taylorville, Ill. He is 94 and just recently passed his annual driver’s exam. Eleanor’s eyesight is poor, but they still live in their own home and he continues his ministry by being a substitute Bible studies instructor.
Jim’s brother, John, was also a minister in this area. He was the pastor when the new Bethany Evangelical Free Church in Esmond was built. If memory serves correctly, he was also a pastor in Devils Lake for a time.
LuVerne and Eleanor instilled deep Christian values in their children and all have participated in spreading The Word.
Ruth, a 1958 graduate of Esmond High School, is a social worker in Bellingham, Wash.
Mary, a 1959 graduate of Esmond High School, lives in Chatham, Ill.
She and her husband, medical doctor Gary Draper, participate in medical missionary work.
John is the chaplain at the Montgomery County Prison near Hagerstown, MD.
James and his wife Jan are missionaries.
Lynn and her husband, Doug Johnson, live in Billings, Mont., where they are Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) directors for the southeast district of Montana. They are also state coordinators for CEF.
Chris and her husband, Alan Gulsvig, live in Devils Lake. They have served as missionaries.
Jim graduated from Devils Lake High School in 1963. He attended Bismarck Junior College and Moorhead State University and is also a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Army from 1967-69. He was a medic with the Big Red 1 north of Saigon.
While working for the Internal Revenue Service in Oklahoma City he became treasurer of CEF for Oklahoma City. A few years later he went to work full-time for CEF in Warrenton, Mo. This is the world headquarters of CEF, which has 2,500 full-time employees and 40,000 volunteers in 156 countries. It is the largest ministry directed at children in the world.
While working at Warrenton, he met Jan, a Chicago native who was there for missionary training. She went to Manchester, England for a year as a missionary, but not before she and Jim became engaged. He flew to England to visit her during her missionary service. When she returned to the US in 1989 they were married.
The missionary call is strong and they served as missionaries in Manchester from 1992 to 1996. Both their children, James II and Janelle, were born in Manchester. While in England they spent three months in training in Switzerland.
Following their service in England they spent a year in the US raising funds for their next missionary assignment in Belize. In 1997 they were the first CEF missionaries to live in Belize. But first they had to obtain work permits and provide proof they would be able to support themselves.
In 2001 they returned to the US on furlough to raise funds again.
They returned to Belize in 2002 and came back to the US in 2006 for their fund-raising furlough.
Belize is a multi-racial country of about 275,000 people. It became an independent country in 1981 but remains a member of the British Commonwealth, like Canada and Australia, so ties to the mother country have not been completely broken. The weather is tropical with an average rainfall of 80 inches. In contrast, Benson County gets about 16 inches per year. English is the official language and is the language spoken in schools.
Tourism is a big industry in Belize. The Caribbean Sea off the coastline boasts the second largest coral reef in the world with beautiful clean and clear water which provides great snorkeling. The Mulvihills are located in Belmopan, the new capital of the country, which was carved out of the jungle. It is the smallest national capital in the world, with a population of about 7,100. There are Mayan ruins nearby.
The schools have a time set aside for religious instruction and the Mulvihills minister at five schools on a regular basis, reaching 821 children. Jan does the coordinating and puts effort into getting volunteers involved. The idea is to get the indigenous population to take over the job of providing religious instruction. Jim teaches Bible classes from second grade through eighth grade. James II (14) teaches third grade religious lessons. Janelle (11) isn’t officially involved yet, but undoubtedly she will eventually be a teacher as well. Another portion of their ministry involves teaching people to be Bible teachers.
They also teach Bible lessons at Good News Clubs, which are one-hour sessions once a week. When school isn’t in session they have Five-Day Clubs, which are similar to vacation Bible school, except that it is one hour per day for five days. They also have a tent at the annual five-day national fair.
A couple years ago they were in charge of distributing about 2,000 shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts which came from the US under a program many in this area contribute to. It’s called "Operation Christmas Child." In 2005 North Dakota churches and other organizations packed 12,462 shoe boxes under this program. The Mulvihills vouch for this as a very worthwhile project.
While on furlough they are hoping to raise $14,000 for a vehicle and $1200 per month for living expenses.
While in the US they virtually live in a 1990 Chevrolet conversion van which was given to them by a supporter in Minnesota. The van is jam-packed with necessary items for the family. "We often stay in the homes of people who want to help," Jim says. Since returning to the US, they’ve spoken in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Alberta, Canada.
While in the Esmond area, they stayed at the home of Tom and Nita Hill in Hesper Township. During their stay in this area, Jim and Jan and their kids spoke at several churches. A small part of their schedule included speaking at New Rockford Nov. 9, Grace City Nov. 10, the Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren on Sunday morning, Nov. 10 and in Rugby that night. It’s a busy schedule. Raising money is not easy.
Donations can be made to them at Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 348, Warrenton, MO 63383. Checks should be designated for the Mulvihill Support Account 69949. E-mail can be sent to them at [email protected].
The Mulvihill family presently serves as missionaries in Belize for Child Evangelism Fellowship. Belize is located in Central America.
They also ministered in England, where the children, Janelle, 11 and James II, 14, were born. Jim graduated from the eighth grade in Esmond in 1959 and from high school in Devils Lake in 1963. They plan to return to Belize next year.
Engstroms honored at NDSU
Jim and Judy Engstrom of Leeds were among outstanding agriculturists from each county in North Dakota and western Minnesota honored at the NDSU Harvest Bowl awards dinner November 10. Joseph A. Chapman, NDSU president, presented the Agriculturist Recognition Award. The Harvest Bowl was established in 1973 to recognize respected community citizens who are dedicated to agriculture as a vocation. During its 33 years, the Harvest Bowl has recognized more than 1,800 agriculturists and awarded more than $70,000 in scholarships. The Engstroms raise wheat, barley, corn, soybeans, black turtle beans and pinto beans. Along with their son, Brian, they own and operate Engstrom Bean and Seed, which buys and processes beans in Leeds and Petersburg. They partner with NDSU Roughrider Genetics. Jim is a county and state director for the ND Farm Bureau. He is on the Board of Visitors for the North Central Research Extension Center in Minot and a member of the American Legion, Lions Club, Elks Club and Benson County Crop Improvement Association. Judy is co-owner of Cottage Floral and Gift in Rugby. She has served as a Boy Scout leader and Sunday school teacher. The Engstroms have two children.
The Leeds Dollars for Scholars Organization recently held a "Table Extravaganza" as a fund-raising project in the Leeds School gym.
Tables were uniquely designed by area hostesses who provided their own place settings and decor. Tickets were sold for each place setting by the table hostesses. Area vendors sold jewelry, craft and food items and a silent auction was also held. Pictured here is Susan Braun at her table entitled "Serengeti."
Cindy and Karlee Gronos are pictured at their table entitled "A Tribute to Our Home Town Heroes." (Photos by Karyn Nathan)
Study four tribes
The third graders from Leeds studied four Native American tribes during the month of November. They compared their homes, food, clothing and crafts. Carley Baker and Lane Ritterman show the Native American wall display featuring a totem pole, weaving, pictograph stories on paper bag animal hides and star legends. (Photo by Karyn Nathan)