Former Little Falls pastor bikes the Mississippi River Trail for Congo

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To encourage and inspire people to support rural health care clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of cyclists biked the Mississippi River Trail, from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. The cyclists included (from left): Larry Babb, Dennis Carlson and Rod Carlson.

To encourage and inspire people to support rural health care clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of cyclists biked the Mississippi River Trail, from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. The cyclists included (from left): Larry Babb, Dennis Carlson and Rod Carlson.

Imagine walking for miles and miles just to get to a health clinic to have your basic medical needs met. Only 108 clinics are available in an area about the size of Minnesota, where about 1 million people are served.

“That’s the reality for many people in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Dennis Carlson.

Dennis served as the associate pastor at Grace Covenant Church in Little Falls for eight months beginning Nov. 1991. He is now the pastor at Faith Covenant Church in Farmington Hills, Mich. His church, along with several others support a rural health clinic, located in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, in between the Ubangi River and the Congo River.

His love for the African country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, was deeply rooted in the fact that his wife, Mary Lynn, grew up there. Her parents, Gordon and Geneva Christensen were missionaries in Congo for 40 years, Dennis said.

Dennis and Mary Lynn were missionaries in Congo, as well, in the 1990s. Their children, Timothy and Kristina were born there.

But in September 1991, they had to evacuate because of civil unrest in the country. Even though they returned later, Dennis and Mary Lynn had to evacuate once more with their children in 1997.

Because of their love for the people and the country, Dennis started riding his bike to raise funds to build and maintain rural health clinics.

Continue reading this Morrison County Record story.

 

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