Pastor Dave Strable accepted a pastoral call from Trinity Lutheran Church in Blunt, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harrold, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Onida, and began serving the three parishes in January.
“I always wanted to go into ministry, but kept putting it off,” said Pastor Dave. His intention entering college was to get back into farming “like my dad wanted me to.” Instead, he took a course in social work and changed direction.
“I enjoy working with people, and enjoy the social work atmosphere,” said Pastor Dave. He did volunteer work at a crisis pregnancy center, worked with mentally handicapped individuals, and with adjudicated youth.
Still, Pastor Dave felt the call to ministry. “I had a whole life long before becoming a pastor in June of 2009.”
He attended seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, and after being ordained, served a church there. While in Fort Wayne, he worked with Burmese refugees. “It was a big ministry to the largest contingency of Burmese refugees in the country,” said Pastor Dave of the population of 6500.
Pastor Dave also did inter-city ministry work, and developed relationships with parole officers that led to work with individuals charged with sexual offenses. “Our church hosted a Halloween containment event for them for eight years.” During the containment event, Pastor Dave was free to minister to the offenders as he saw fit. “I also worked with people whose incarceration was coming to an end, helping them reintegrate into society and learn about changes that occurred while they were in prison and advancements like cell phones.”
“My whole ministry was isolating my family because of who I worked with,” said Pastor Dave of the need to keep his family safe.
After a decade serving a church in Fort Wayne, Pastor Dave returned to his Iowa home to care for his mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. “She passed away four months after we got back.” The family was in Iowa 18 months waiting to receive another call. During the year and a half they were in Iowa, Pastor Dave filled in for pastors on vacation and preached once a month for a deaf congregation. “I learned not to watch the interpreter, or I’d get lost.”
“We got to Onida on December 20, and I was installed on December 27.”
Pastor Dave and his wife Sally have been married 25 years and are parents to three grown children. “Our daughter is switching from a teaching career to working with autism awareness, our son is trying to get into nursing school, and our daughter Ellie is a college senior in elementary and special education.”
“We’ve never lived as a family in a small community,” said Pastor Dave. “I grew up in a small town in Iowa, but my wife is in from the Boston area. She grew up hiking the Appalachian Trail and likes spending time outdoors.
Speaking ironically Pastor Dave says that “coming here in the middle of winter was fun.” He admits that the opportunities to be outdoors are a draw, as are the communities he’s serving.
“It’s a chance to serve God,” said Pastor Dave noting he’s performed five funerals since his arrival. “I gotta be where people are. I’ve been a people person through my life, and enjoy comforting others.”
The move has also been a chance to be in a smaller community where Pastor Dave says even though he expected it, “I didn’t realize everybody is related.”
He looks for opportunities to get to know different people such as the patriotic cantata. “I grew up musically and love to sing – my wife says too loud,” said Pastor Dave. “I got involved in singing groups to nursing homes. My mom was musical as well, and loved singing for funerals.”
His wife with her East Coast upbringing sees her historical ties in colonial times, but Pastor Dave says he has “always had a heart for native populations. I enjoy those roots.”