By Kristen Miller
Pastor Mark Little is happy to be in the congregation of Stockholm Lutheran Church in Cokato and is looking forward to the ministry he and the members can do in Jesus’ name.
As of Nov. 28, Little is the new full-time pastor at Stockholm, and he is no stranger to the country churches.
Coming from a rural church in Buffalo Lake, Stockholm is just the type of congregation Little is accustomed to, he said.
“I like the rural flavor with the rhythm of the seasons,” Little said, explaining the agricultural surroundings in Stockholm Township.
For Little, it’s important for him to get to know the members as people rather than someone who walks through the church doors on Sunday morning, he said.
Little grew up in South Dakota, attended South Dakota State University for mathematics, the School of Mining and Technology for a degree in engineering, and then off to Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
With his wife, Heidi, teaching third grade at Dassel Elementary, geographically, Stockholm was a good place to be, as well.
Together, Little and his wife have two boys, Kyle, 7, and Nicholas, 5.
For fun, Little enjoys camping, hiking, playing guitar, singing, reading, and playing with his boys.
One of the most exciting times in Little’s life was traveling around the world after seminary.
He spent several weeks in Africa, beginning in the southern end and working his way north to Ethiopia and Nairobi.
Because of all the sad stories that come out of Africa, Little wanted to journal and take photos of Africa’s beauty.
“I was able to see how people with nothing still have a lot of joy and can teach us all something,” Little said.
He learned how it is important to stop trying to do so many things and slow down in life.
While there, he was able to see the Lutheran church ministry making a difference in the lives of the poor. For example, through Lutheran World Relief, people are taught how to grow crops more effectively and how to start a small business.
Little’s vision and hope for the church is to get more involved and find even more ways to go out into the world and care for people in need.
For example, Little is involved in The Crop Walk, an organization that takes pledges and walks to raise money in an effort to help others.
He would also like to begin small support groups where people can study God’s word, pray, and support one another, Little said.
Upon arriving at Stockholm, Little became aware of the church’s “self-starters” and the willingness of members to take initiative in projects surrounding the church.
Little also noticed men are more active at Stockholm than at any of the other congregations he served.
One of Little’s favorite Bible verses is “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“It’s a very simple phrase but it can be very difficult to do,” Little said.
Little is happy to make Stockholm his new home and looks forward to building connections with its members.