Build UP the Body:  Share Your Story

Thanks to the friends of Immanuel who shared their stories of how Immanuel has Built up their Faith.

Share Your Story- Nancy Wheeler

Kermit & Nancy Wheeler

Kermit & Nancy Wheeler

From the day of our wedding faith has guided Kermit and me. We were married Immanuel Lutheran in 1962. Our infant children were baptized there. When life got so hectic we could not attend we still relied heavily on our faith. During our children’s growing up years we attended Our Savior’s Lutheran in Bonner because it was closer to where we lived. After an absence when work, life and other things that kept us away we went back to Our Saviors for Easter service.

The following Sunday morning we attended Immanuel Lutheran. It was the beginning of our new family in Christ. Everyone made us feel so welcome and loved like they had known us all our lives. We had come home. Soon after that we decided to become members. It was hard to wait but the day we became members was our proudest ever. Kermit and I had been of two faiths. Regardless, we agreed the children would be brought up Lutheran. When he decided to become a member of Immanuel it was a lifetime dream come true for me. We were finally, and forever, of one faith.

This last two years brought on health issues we hadn’t dealt with before. Kermit had several heart attacks leaving him unsteady when walking. His last year was a steady deluge of hospital stays and recovering. Through it all Kermit held fast to his belief. Our brother in Christ, Greg Karlsgodt, brought communion to the hospital so he wouldn’t have to miss having it. Kermit’s last stroke was a few days before Christmas last year. When he returned home he insisted on returning to church services, even though we could have watched it streamed live. Only twice was he too ill to attend. Pastor Greg Karlsgodt sat long hours with my family the day of Kermit’s surgery, giving us strength through prayer. Pastor Molly Sasser-Goehner arrived early the next morning. She was present when we received the news of Kermit’s passing.

Kermit’s favorite holidays were Easter and Christmas. How fitting it was that he would pass away during Easter week.

Kermit & Nancy Wheeler

Kermit & Nancy Wheeler

Our church family helped us plan for Kermit’s memorial service. It was a splendid job. I was told later it was the most moving and beautiful service some had ever attended which I attribute to our wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. (Those that could not attend were grateful for the live stream that made it possible for them to watch.)

One problem I was not aware of personally was persons with greater handicaps than Kermit and I. I had requested the luncheon be held downstairs at Immanuel. Even though Kermit and I had difficulty in navigating the stairs for soup suppers it hadn’t entered my thought that others couldn’t. Several family members and friends had to leave before the memorial luncheon for lack of elevators. This shows just how important it is for our church to put the accessibility elevators in place. All areas of our beautiful church need to be available for all attendees, members or not.


Share your Story:  Greg Karlsgodt  

Pastor Greg Karlsgodt

Pastor Greg Karlsgodt

I was blessed to serve as the pastor of Immanuel from 1991 to 2001; and then I filled in while Pastor Aprille Jordan was on medical leave in the fall of 2012 to the middle of January of 2013.  Pastor Jordan had graciously welcomed Carrol and me back after we returned to Missoula in 2011.  

What a joy it has been to once again be part of such a welcoming, mission-minded, and generous congregation!  Pastor Molly Sasser-Goehner has become a vital leader and partner in Immanuel’s ministry; and we are blessed to have her along with Allen and Luke.  She welcomed me to help out with visitation and in other facets of ministry as needed.  I was honored to serve on the Accessibility Committee and was pleased with the recommendations it subsequently made to the congregation.  It was even more gratifying when the members of Immanuel accepted the final recommendations and agreed to support them financially!

This congregation has shown over the years that it wants to continue to reach out to others and welcome them into the family of Christ.  Making our facility more accessible will make it possible to accommodate those who would otherwise be excluded.  As we see these improvements come to fruition, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit will surprise us and lead us into even more exciting possibilities for future ministry.  I’m so grateful to be able to take part in this caring community of faith.  May we all remember the meaning of our name, Immanuel, because God is surely with us!

 Your Brother in Christ,

Greg Karlsgodt


Share your Story by Bob Seim

I have been a part of Immanuel congregation since 1973.  My early days were at St. Paul’s Lutheran.  After a 16 year absence, I returned to Missoula and began attending Immanuel.  In my absence I was deeply involved in the trauma surgery for our Vietnam casualties.  One such soldier, Harry, had open fractures and was a real challenge orthopedically, medically and psychologically.  His lack of cooperation and noncompliance made it difficult to treat him and to keep one’s cool with this young man and many more just like him.

I remember my dad as our 6th grade Sunday School teacher, and how he emphasized Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before me, and glorify your father in Heaven”.  He stressed this on the athletic field and in our everyday life.  This is the charge when we are baptized and become part of the Lord’s work force.  It has been the focus that has helped me in many tense situations.

 This last spring Harry walked into the veteran’s clinic for another problem but recognized me some 40 years later.  He was very thankful that we had been patient and understanding.  He dropped in to say hello a couple times and sent a Christmas card.


Share your Story by Celia (Cy) Linsted

CY LINSTEDI have been a part of Immanuel’s congregation since moving to Missoula in 1975.

Theme verse:  In Christ, we, though many, form one body, and we belong to each other (Romans 12:5)  How has being a part of Immanuel helped BUILD UP YOUR FAITH?

We have had a varied religious life.  My husband Bob, was raised Lutheran, until a junior in high school, he left the Church and attended the Presbyterian Church.  Some very dear friends were the head of the youth group and so rewarding in all the events and sessions they held.  I grew up in a Community Church (Presbyterian, Congregational, and Methodist). I taught Sunday School at my Church from 7th grade to 12th The Lutheran Church was on the same block, and was attended by all my friends, which invited me to their Youth Group, which I attended weekly through High School, and also took part in my Church’s group.  We attended some Church’s in the different towns we lived in.  I took our children to Sunday School and helped with Bible School in the summer.  When the time came for our children’s confirmation, we started them in Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Helena, with Pastor Wahlen.  I signed up for a two-year Adult confirmation, and Church membership.  My confirmation studies were difficult, but very rewarding.

Our move to Missoula took us to St. Paul’s with our former pastor.   We never felt welcome at that Church, or the other Lutheran ones here in town, but always were very comfortable and well received by the members when attending Immanuel.  

Busy with children in school, working, and school activities, our time “flew by.”  Then at one of our Swedish Midsommer Celebrations held at Benson’s Gardens, we met Immanuel’s temporary replacement, Pastor Oliver.  We soon learned that he and Bob had family ties to Miles City, MT.  A friendship was soon formed, and that Sunday Bob said “lets go to Church,” and that we did every Sunday from that day forward.

Theme Verse:  Love one another with mutual affection and delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10).  How has Immanuel helped you to connect with others at church and/or with our people in need? When Pastor Aprille came, we were a part of her first New Member Gathering.  They were always from early afternoon till early evening, and included dinner, and a very effective way of introducing us to the Church History, and the workings of the Church.  We had fruit juice, coffee, and cookies for snacks.  We developed special friendships with the folks that were with us that day, and from that point on we helped Pastor Aprille with each New Member Gathering.  We got in touch with the last group, and arranged for them to bring the dinner for the new group ( a way of getting acquainted)  plus we invited the Church Council to come to eat with us.  We always has a pretty flower (violets with their happy sunshine faces were my favorite), and when available we had the Church Cook Books for each family.  Pastor Aprille liked giving a loaf of bread (her favorite Wheat Montana).  So as we had guests at Church we would donate and try to deliver bread and Church Information, and we had pictorial Bible Books for the children to welcome them.

Soon after becoming members the Witness Committee was without a chairperson. Bob had mentioned he felt he would be comfortable and helping with it, He talked to Pastor Aprille, and she was very thankful for his offer.  Our committee members were excellent, and very profound in their feelings for the needs of the Church.  We had many rewarding discussions.  We implemented the Phone Tree/Prayer Chain which has been a tremendous help in keeping our members informed, and prayers for those in need. We started the Prayer Shawl Ministry, which was a wonderful blessing for the Church and the receivers of the soft, comforting shawls, each with a prayer for peace and recovery.  A lot of the yarn was donated through the years.  We received a discount at Joann’s Fabric and Michaels Craft Store, as it was a Church related expense.  We had a member from the Bitterroot Valley, Toni Keel offer to send cards she would make to one’s that were ill, needing a prayers, or comforting words.  We have other members who do that as well, it has meant so much to so many.  What a blessing we have with our caring, kind, and faithful members of our Church.

We served on the Church Council, Bob as Chair of the Witness Committee, and  I served as secretary. I felt veryCy and Bob Linsted 2013 smorgasbord privileged to be able to keep the congregation informed to the workings and implementations of each committee.   We felt very rewarded with each Council Meeting with each member being so profound with their feelings for the needs of the Church, their various inputs, suggestions, decisions, and approvals.  Bob also served on the Endowment Committee.  It has been a great asset to our Church, very deserving of praise for their work and considerations,  with the appreciation of the recipients of the funds given out.