By Stella Strong
Larry Bessler, pastor of the New York Mills Assembly of God, retired on May 22.
Despite a rather impressive 36 years of serving various churches in the Minnesota area, Bessler admits that it took a little bit for him to even begin to think about becoming a pastor.
“Before God’s calling on my life, I trained at a vocational school for one year in carpentry, and following that I got a job in the iron mines,” said Bessler.
After working at the iron mines for five years, he describes what began as a rather difficult time in his life that would eventually lead him to switch careers.
“After growing older and facing some very hard times, I decided to seek God. Upon this intense time of seeking the Lord, I felt God calling me to prepare for ministry,” Bessler said.
Bessler was no stranger to church. As a child his mother had made sure that he and the rest of his family had gone to Sunday school every week. Even still, pastoring seemed like a full 180 from what he was originally doing. But he didn’t question it. After enrolling in North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minn., he would eventually be led to the small town of Laporte, Minn. There he would serve at Kabekona Community Church, the first of three churches, for eight years. It was also here that Bessler met his wife.
After Kabekona, he and his wife moved together to Wells, Minn. There, he served at Wells Assembly of God for 13 years, before moving to NY Mills where he would serve for nearly 15 years.
“At all three churches, the people were very good to us,” Bessler said.
During his time in NY Mills, he was also active in the school district. For 14 years he was a bus driver for the school, where he would also occasionally sub as a para or teacher.
“A big thanks to the school and all the people I worked with there,” Bessler said. “I enjoyed my time there and all the good people.”
From the school, to the various churches that he’s served at, Bessler has seen God in action many times.
“I have experienced some personal miraculous experiences that might seem strange to others, but to me, they were God showing himsel,” Bessler said. “The greatest experience that we all need is to quiet our lives a little so we can hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.”
Throughout his many years of serving that was one of the many things he hoped to help open people’s eyes to.
“God needs followers that will serve Him and do what He wants, even if it may be humbling or we do not feel like (it),” Bessler said. “I want other people to experience the joy and forgiveness I experienced and to have the hope and promise of eternal life.”
Even in retirement Bessler’s still planning on staying active in the church. But for now, he’s staying busy by spending his time with his family and grandchildren as well as trying to get some good fishing in these last couple weeks of summer.