No matter where they find themselves, Roger and Hillary Kaldahl know that they better be listening for God. In fact, it was during a worship service when the two of them first laid eyes on each other. Roger was visiting Bethesda with his brother; Hillary found herself singing in the choir after some 30 years serving as a missionary in Kenya. “I looked at her up there,” Roger said, “and whispered to my brother, ‘I’m gonna get to know her.” And so he did. The pair have now been married for eight years, and have hardly been idle a day since.
Roger and Hillary were two of the very first proponents of the Food Pantry here at Bethesda. “We knew this congregation needed something,” Hilary said, “so we called together the council and the pastor at the time, and we just brainstormed for about three hours.” What came out of that initial meeting is what is now known as Bethesda’s Food Pantry , a partner agency of Food For Lane County (FFLC).
“I couldn’t stop being a missionary,” Hillary said. And as a result, what began on one Saturday morning with three families, has now grown to a ministry that gives countless pounds of groceries to (on average) 100 families twice a month. The food is provided by FFLC, and the Kaldahl’s organize volunteers from both Bethesda and the local community.
“We run a very unique pantry,” said Roger. “It is just so much fun and there’s so much laughing and joking. We’re very much like a family—both the volunteers and the clients.” He blames this atmosphere on Hillary, who after her work of organizing the pantry is done, loves to walk around and hug everybody. “She’s just created a joyful place.”
Hillary knew it was time to stop her work in Kenya when, while boarding a plane, she heard God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. It’s time to go home.” So, being faithful to the whims of God, she went home. Now, she knows that God is calling them both toward another type of ministry. “First we’re just going to rest. I’m really tired,” she says. “We’re going to do some traveling and visit family. I just know it’s time to refocus and see where God is leading us next.”
August 9th will be the Kaldahl’s final food pantry distribution, but it will always be a part of their family. “We hope it continues to grow; that the people of Bethesda continue volunteering and serving; we’d love to see a building which could hold more food and more people. We have so many dreams for this pantry. And, we know God will continue to speak to us, and to the rest of you.”
We wish Roger and Hillary much joy as they begin this next phase of the partnership, trusting they will continue to listen to the voice of God, who again says, “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants.”