St. John's provides temporary church for missionaries. For complete coverage of this story, check out the April 15th edition of the Herald-Dispatch.


The Hartman family was in a bind. As missionaries in Mexico, they were recently forced to relocate from the town of Torreon to Leon due to safety reasons.

However, no Lutheran churches exist in their new city. Thus, until they can found a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) congregation, the missionary team is out of luck for a place to worship.

That’s where St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sleepy Eye came in. For about a year, the WELS congregation has been broadcasting their services live each week via the Internet.

After hearing about these online services via Facebook, the Hartman family decided to tune in to experience a worship service together.

“We really felt like we were participating,” explained Rachel Hartman on the family’s blog. “We sang along to the hymns, followed the liturgy and prayed with the congregation.”

Helping those without the chance to experience live worship is the primary reason Pastor Kevin Draper and his wife Sallie have devoted so much time and energy to this endeavor.

“Anytime we have the opportunity, we turn the camera on,” said Sallie. “Why not make use of technology to spread the good news?”

Pastor Kevin agreed. “If it helps just a couple people hear something they wouldn’t have heard otherwise, it’s worth it,” he said.

The Drapers explained that WELS is seeking to move forward with technology throughout their churches. In fact, Sallie works for the synod as a technology trainer and does a weekly Podcast about technology in ministry.

“We definitely want to use the tools that God has given us,” she said.

The Hartmans were very appreciative of the work St. John’s has went through to provide this service to those in need.

“Special thanks to Pastor Kevin Draper for the sermon, and to his wife Sallie for some of the tech savvy that makes the live services possible, and to the other members in Sleepy Eye,” Hartman wrote. “We’ll be seeing more of you during these next few weeks!”