THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE BATTLE LAKE WEEKLY - IN OUR BACKYARD COLUMN BY ROD BRODING
People with passion interest me. I resonate to those who have strong feelings about things whether it's a religious preference, a political choice or a sports fanatic. Or anything else for that matter. People with passion can provoke a conversation, change a mind or propel one into action. I found just such a person recently. While he maintains a home in the Battle Lake area, Dr. Gordon Rockswold spends much of his retirement time and energy in service to the poorer people in several African countries, perhaps Nigeria being his favorite.
I have a photo of Dr. Rockswold, the kind of photo you might find in a high school yearbook or in a list of company employees. But that's not the photo I'm going to remember; rather it's another photo of him standing over an emaciated child as if pondering how he can help this lad or whether any help is too late. Or another photo with a medical student and translator making plans for the day. I will remember, especially, the one of a Nigerian citizen offering Gordon a cup of cold water from the newly completed well (at a cost of approximately $4,000).
One of the Biblical passages that has provoked Dr. Rockswold into action is this: "how can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?" The answer to that question from Psalm 113:12 is simply we can't. No, we can't repay God. God's goodness sets us free to be brothers and sisters to one another.
In Gordon's own words, "I need to thank all my friends, family and Lord for their love and support for these years of recovery and renewal for me. We were not made to go through the dark valleys of life alone..." True. Neither were we made to starve, to drink poisoned water or to watch our children die without adequate medical assistance all of which are common occurrences in much of the lesser-developed world. Please note the colored photo of the water hole. This is not the sewage pond. It is the drinking water of a village. We would not water our pets or wash our feet in water such as that.
While Dr. Rockswold's life is instructed by Psalm 116:12, his life is fueled by a passion for others. One cannot listen to him very long without realizing that he takes very seriously the answer to the question the Lord asked of Cain (Genesis 3:8) "Am I my brother's keeper?" Gordon Rockswold struggles to live out the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ to "love one another". "to lay down one's life for a friend" or to be a "letter from Christ" as Paul referes to Corrinthian Christians. Life for Gordon is a matter of offering another "a cup of cold water in the name of the Lord."
Gordon graduated from Henning High School, St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota Medical School as well as Luther Theological Seminary where he majored in Islamic Studies in Mission During his service to the Lord and humanity among multiple countries in Africa as well as India, his life's purpose has been renewed and restored.
"During my 22 trips abroad, I have received much more than I have given," asserts Dr. Rockswold. Despite his mother's hope that he might become a pastor, he (as well as another of his three brothers) has spent his life in the field of medicine.
Dr. Rockswold serves as the Medical Director of the Isaiah Connection a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the "least of these" which Jesus recognized. Just in Nigeria over the past two years, this organization transported over $61,000 in medicines, medically treated and witnessed to 2,368 people and distributed 200 reading glasses, 120 pairs of sandals, 500 toothbrushes and 10 prenatal kits and 10 hospice kits. That doesn't include the more than 440 people for whom he and his prayer team prayed. The Isaiah Connection serves others worldwide too. Honduras, Central America, and the Native Americans in Alaska are just a few examples. In addition to the medical treatments they supply, a variety of other services are provided as well. They hope to dig three wells in the coming year.
The Isaiah Connection welcomes volunteers. Most serve for one to two weeks, although longer terms of service are possible. Extreme care is taken not to place anyone in an unsafe area. If anyone is interested in serving the needy of the world contact the Isaiah Connection. Financial contributions are always appreciated (and are tax deductible as we are a 501c3 non-profit).
THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE Winona post- Benefit and Fundraiser COLUMN- 2013
"STUDENTS FUND RAISE FOR MISSION TO CRAIG"
Area teens are working hard fundraising to go on a missions trip to Craig, on Prince of Whales Island, which is part of Alaska. The need for this mission trip came when St. Paul's Youth (S.P.Y.) learned from the Isaiah Connection of the need for people to lead vacation bible school, a sports camp, and work with area youth and their families. The Teenagers that are traveling to Craig also know that they too will benefit from this missions trip by being stretched in their spiritual, leadership, and volunteer roles. To help fund this missions trip, S.P.Y. will be raising money through a concession stand at the Business Expo at the Lewiston- Altura High School this Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23, 2013. Youth and families will be serving walking tacos and hot dog meals from 4-9 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, along with other concession stand items. All profit will be used to supply