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Seeds of Rural Ministry Thrive With Prayer and Patience, South Dakota Pastors Say

“You’ve got to have patience with everyone and every situation you go through. You have to have faith in planting those seeds. Leave it in God’s hands to grow them,” he said.

Bethany Baptist has invested in a lot of planting. One instance included a family whose members attended the church sporadically and rarely all together. But they persevered and recently both parents and all three daughters were baptized.

This summer, the church held a vacation Bible school with the help of mission volunteers from First Baptist in Lawrenceburg, Ky., and First Baptist St. Charles, Mo.

“We had 35-40 kids each night in a community where Native American traditions run strong,” Keeble said. “Some came to our Sunday service.”

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For perspective, Waubay has a population of 530 and three stop signs spread across a two-mile radius. Bethany Baptist sits near the Enemy Swim area of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (“people”) tribal reservation.

Rural pastors, often the only staff member at their church, know the importance of learning on the fly.

Price grew up on a farm and knows well the benefits of ingenuity. “You learn how to do things because you have no other choice, and I had people who taught me,” he said.

It’s come in handy learning to adapt to the current situation, whether as a chaplain counseling others at a crime scene or announcing a close play at home plate.

“I joke that God has blessed me with many talents and I need to use them,” he laughed. “Often, what I see makes it into sermons. The kids tell each other to not do anything silly or I’ll use it. But I do that. If God brings something to mind, I’ll use that to bring home the point of the message.”

This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.