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We met Dann and Karla Juntunen at the Open Bible church in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Dann’s story is a sermon in itself. Here it is in his words:

I was raised in a typical dysfunctional family. My dad, an alcoholic, was seldom around. When I was five we moved four times in one year, landing in Rapid City, South Dakota.

A family across the street, the Segers, invited us to attend Sunday school with them at Open Bible Christian Center. We enjoyed it and soon Mom joined us. We were not the most hygienic kids and our clothes were mostly hand-me-downs, but that didn’t seem to matter to our church family. My mom accepted Jesus as her personal Savior. At camp, I gave my heart to the Lord.

My dad couldn’t stop drinking, so Mom filed for divorce when I was about thirteen. Raising six boys on her own was more than she could handle, so over the next five years she married and divorced twice more.

When I was 15, we lived in a mobile home about two blocks from Rapid Creek. On June 9, 1972, 14 inches of rain fell in six hours. The Canyon Lake Reservoir burst, sending water surging through the city, destroying everything in its path. My oldest brother awoke in the night to see his car floating down the creek. By then it was too late for us to get out of the house. Another mobile home rammed into ours, knocking ours loose and shoving us into a telephone pole with a cable support. Thankfully we stayed “caught” on the pole. We spent the night knee-deep in water, listening to the screams of our neighbors and praying we would survive. Nearly all the homes around us were swept down the creek. The flood caused 238 deaths. Several bodies were never found. For some reason God spared our lives.

After that I entered my rebellious years. At my lowest point, God told me I was at a crossroads. I could go down the path my dad took or accept Jesus back in my life and serve Him again. I packed my belongings into one suitcase and headed for Open Bible College in Des Moines, Iowa. Upon arriving, I learned of an anonymous donation from a member of my church that helped with my first year’s tuition. There I met my wonderful wife, Karla, and have served the Lord ever since.

About that same time my dad gave up drinking, and the same year Karla and I married, my mom and dad remarried. They lived the rest of their lives together, serving the Lord. An entire family was changed all because someone invited some dirty kids to Sunday school. How would our lives have turned out had no one invited us?

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.