At the core of the Marie Sandvik Center lie the Christ-centered adult ministries. Either through an evening service, Ladies’ Day program, Christian movies or Set-Free Bible based addiction recovery meetings, the staff at the Center are working to help people anyway that the Lord leads.
What Marie Sandvik started so many years ago, holding an evening church service with a meal, juice and coffee, has continued through the years. Chaplain Gerald and different speakers from the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, continue the clear message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. All of our guests hear the message of hope for the sinner and freedom in Christ from all the snares of sinful living. Drugs, alcohol, prostitution, abuse and sometimes just bad life choices lead many people to our Center for help. We stand ready with the Gospel and love of Jesus to aid all of the lost and broken folks the Lord leads to us.
In addition to the speakers, the night services provide some shelter and rest from the extreme Minnesota weather. A hot meal comforts a weary body that sleeps under the bridge in the cold. Following the service, the clothing rooms are opened up. Donations of clothing and various items fill these rooms. Men’s, women’s and children’s clothes are available along with hygiene kits, household items, new quilts and blankets.
Chaplain Gerald facilitates the 12 Step Set-Free Bible studies. The goal is to show people that they can be victorious over addiction through freedom in Christ. It begins with having a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. The studies meet every Tuesday evening at five o’clock before the seven o’clock service.
After years of investing in the adult ministry, in 1965 Doris Nye, along with the help of Julie Walhoff (who went on to be a missionary in Indonesia), started the Marie Sandvik Center’s Children’s Program. Picking up 200 children in North Minneapolis and 200 in South Minneapolis, serving them a nice meal and giving them a Biblical foundation to build their lives upon. The two women lovingly shared the Gospel, ministered to unstable families and fought against hunger.
Forty-seven years later, the Marie Sandvik Center runs Kids’ Club throughout the year, ministering to children kindergarten through eighth grade. The aim of Kids’ Club remains the same, to demonstrate the love of Christ and to clearly convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these precious children.
During the school year, the teaching staff spends time with the children on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. Thursdays they meet in small groups. The teachers rotate small groups of children from week to week so that they can have more one-on-one time with them. Saturdays all of the children come to club on a chartered a school bus. They spend time in worship, Bible lessons, crafts, gym time and they always receive a meal each time they come to club. Summer Kids’ Club is more of the same.
Instead, it is five days a week, for 7 or 8 weeks during the months of June and July. At the end of each summer, the kids are taken on “Rewards Trips”. The older children go to a lake for a picnic, swimming and boating. The younger children go to a special park to eat lunch and have a blast, climbing lots of ladders and slides.
The Center is always blessed to have dedicated teachers that love the Lord and have a passion to see these young people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at an early age. Many of the children have already faced many hardships and have issues that only God can make right. As the Lord wills, we will continue to be like a road sign pointing the children to His precious Son.
In 2006, the Center acquired a fifteen foot box truck. This made it possible for the Marie Sandvik Center to help many needy families that lack furniture. People donate gently used furniture that is in turn given to these families. Chaplain Gerald and Isaiah go to the homes of donors to pick up large items. Then they take the donated items right to the homes of people who have contacted us with a need. This program has blessed many and opens the door to share the Gospel with people who have never come to our mission.
Street Light Ministry:
The Marie Sandvik Center and Northwestern College have had a long standing volunteer relationship. Every Friday night during the school year, a large group of Northwestern College students come to the Center to volunteer. The group is called “Street Light”. After the service and clean up, the group will sometimes go to the shelters downtown to feed folks and share the Gospel. They even go under the bridges on cold nights to hand out sandwiches, gloves and blankets to the homeless.
In addition to the four weekly adult services, there are special events that take place at the Marie Sandvik Center. Resurrection Sunday and Thanksgiving are celebrated with a special sit-down dinner. At each ‘banquet,’ we serve around 500 meals. Every second Tuesday of each month is the “Big Dinner,” where a similar style meal serves around 300. On Christmas Eve, six hundred shoe box gifts and food bags are handed out. In a addition to that, about four hundred are sent to Cass Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The annual Jesus Jubilee is celebrated on the second Tuesday each August. This party is held in our parking lot. The Center rents a moon walk and dunk tank and has carnival games for the kids of the neighborhood to have some fun. A big smoker grill comes out and delicious barbecue is served. Live worship and preaching go on through the event. It is a wonderful way to draw a close to the summer activities at the Marie Sandvik Center.